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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Publisher pitch sessions?

So, I've been seriously considering attending RNCon this summer.
It's a totally new convention, it's in Las Vegas, and it'll be a nice excuse for hubby and I to get away.

So I started thinking about whether I should advertise there, and maybe put some swag in the bags...

And in reading their promotional opportunities, I came across an interesting theory.
Not only do publishers have to pay to have a table/pitch session scheduled, but they must pitch their company to three authors at a time. Likewise for editors, cover artists, reviewers, web designers, etc. Now, I read the text provided and I "get" where the owner (a cover model) is coming from. His stance is, without authors, the romance industry would come to a halt. He thinks they are the only people in the industry who could continue on without anyone else. (seriously an author I can attest, if every writer decided to eschew editing from here on out, the romance industry would DIE. Readers could only stand it for so long. lol But back to the topic...) Okay. I can see how a web designer, promoter, or cover artist might promote their business to authors--self pubbers, for the most part.

But editors and publishers? I'd say only an ed or pub who is desperately hard up (probably one an author should be wary of) would be willing to "pitch" their company or editing skills to a bunch of authors whose work they have not previously reviewed. Because let's be honest: For every good author, there are at least 20 more who--I'm not mincing words--suck. People who rush out some crazy story with no thought to story arc, character growth, or resolution. People who think their "life story" would be of great interest to everyone in the free world. People who spell and punctuate at or below a 3rd grade level but think because they can put 95,000 words' worth of that poor spelling and grammar (quantity being paramount over quality, naturally), they should be published. Just because somebody can type in a word processing program does not mean they can write. Just because it's a story, does not mean it's worthy of publication.

I'm going to be even more honest now. I've got loads of better things to do with my time than to spend it working on a subpar book. So am I going to "sell" myself or Lyrical Press to a bunch of unknowns? Heck no. If they send me a book and it looks ready for editing and publication, then we'll talk--about the good things Lyrical Press does for their authors, or about positive referrals from authors I've edited.

An author should always check out any publisher or agent before signing contracts. But she'd be a fool to simply go by what a person tells her in a "pitch" session and she should research more--online--about that entity anyway.

Quite frankly, many of those authors who'd feel they need pitched to are divas who are completely clueless about the publishing industry and what marketing and promotion are really about. They've got another think coming, but I'm not about to be the one to spend months explaining that "think" to them.

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!


Sutton Fox said...

Hmm. That is odd. You do have better things to do with your time, for sure. Honestly, as an author, if I'm sitting at any kind of pitch session, I want it to be one on one with the editor/publisher.

It's business, and my business is just that. Mine. Er, where is that diva line? Oh, okay, I'll go wait over there. lol!

Anonymous said...

That is an interesting requirement. And I totally hear you on how you really shouldn't have to pitch - good authors/writers should do their homework and come to you. Trust me, I know. ;-)

But at the same time, might this not be a good way to reach out and spread the word about Lyrical to the authors with potential who ARE trying to do their homework? I mean, they paid to go to the conference, so you hope they are somewhat serious about their search. And hopefully they're learning how to be a better writer at the conference's session.

Not saying you're in any way wrong, just trying to play devil's advocate. :-)

Piper Denna said...

No, I've had those same thoughts, Kyra.

I guess the conference owner's vernacular kinda set me off, because he's all about "what the publisher will do for the author"...and I've had a few authors lately who submitted to me, I spent time reading their ms, and then they decide they don't want published someplace where they have to market (which is, in my opinion EVERYwhere).

Also, I'm loathe to put myself in the position to be hammered with contract questions, which seems to be lots of what 'new' authors want to ask about. A)I'm not the contract person. B)Contracts can be individualized C)As Sutton said, those particulars are that author's business--nobody else's. And D)many authors have NO idea what this stuff means and they start asking for things to be removed. For instance, we have a new author negotiating to have "merchandising rights" struck from the contract. Which would mean Lyrical Press would then have no legal right to even advertise the book using the cover... It's like, if you're going to hammer out tiny details, then you should do so ONLY with the aid of an attorney. LOL

But either way, don't try to do it through me! ;)

Kate Reedwood said...

I'm scratching my head here. You mean they want publishers etc. to be pitching to authors and not the other way round? How bizzare. I'm trying to come up with some witty analogy as to why that's not going to work very well, but my brain's still stuck on 'how bizzare.'lol.

Piper Denna said...

LOL. got it right. I just..."get" how certain services for indie authors would do well with this...cover artists, freelance editors, publicists (who might also help out authors with smaller presses).

But I'm still not sure as an author I'd want to spend my pricey time at a conference listening to a publisher tell me what I could find out on the internet. LOL. But hey. Diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks, right?