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REALITY CHECK! Writing for PROFIT Options · View
MorganHawke
Posted: Monday, March 7, 2011 12:07:02 PM

Rank: First Person Smartass

Joined: 2/8/2011
Posts: 345
Location: The suburbs.
REALITY CHECK!
Writing for PROFIT
It's Not just an Adventure - It's a JOB
.


Whoever told you that writing fiction for publication - for money - is supposed to be Artistic, Fun, or Easy -- LIED.

Writing may look artistic, and creative writing certainly is artistic (that's why they call it Creative writing,) but writing for a living; writing for publication with the intent to get paid on a regular basis is NOT artistic, it's NOT always fun, and it certainly is NOT easy.

Writing for publication is WORK. Sure, some of it is fun, but the bulk of it is mind-bending, eye-straining work. Don't get me wrong, creativity is part of the job of writing for a living, but if you think us professional writers turn on "the Creative Muse" at 8 AM and shut her back off again at 5 PM then you are missing the point entirely.

The Road to publication is paved with glamorous Half-Truths.

• Half-Truth: "If you write it someone will publish it."
• Whole Truth: "If you write it and the publisher is already looking for it, they'll publish it."


If you have written a spectacular SCI-FI story and the Publisher is looking for a Mystery story, they will pass over your wonderful SCI-FI for a Mystery with only half the quality of your SCI-FI, because a Mystery is what they have an opening for -- not your SCI-FI.

When they hang onto your stuff for months or even years at a time? They're probably waiting for an opening that they have the perfect story for.

• Half-Truth: "Once you're in with a good publisher you're in for life!"
• Whole Truth: "Once you're in with a good publisher you have to prove that you can Write on Demand."


While your name is still sitting on the `net (or the shelf,) you have until the next publishing cycle to punch out another story equally as good. (One month for your average magazine and one year for a novel.)

Only this time, the publisher is going to tell you what they want: "Gimme the same story, different characters, same plot arc but move some stuff around. Oh, and this time, don't have them do this, the readers don't like it, have them do that instead." (Sigh.)

Look at it this way: You don't have to guess what the publisher wants this time around.

• Half-Truth: "Once I'm in with a good publisher I can write whatever I want."
• Whole Truth: "If you want to stay with that good publisher you better write what they want, when they want it, in the way they want it written."


You're going to tell the publisher that you will only write what YOU want to write? Do you really think any publishing house is going to hire a writer that won't do what they want them to do? Unless you are Susie Bright or Anne Rice: "Game-Over, man. Game-Over."

Time to go back to your desk, find a new pen name, punch out yet another novel and go through the whole damn thing all over again to find another publisher. Only this time your new publishing house will call your old publishing house and ask what the problem was. Why aren't you with Them anymore?

Let me repeat myself: Do you really think a publishing house is going to hire a writer that won't write what they are Paying them to write?

You want to make money? Then you knuckle under and work your butt off to deliver what the publisher is asking for.

Writing for Publication is NOT about creativity. It's about MONEY.

Writing for a living is about sitting at a desk in an office every day and WRITING whether or not you 'feel like it'. Does this make you less artistic? Does this mean that you are not being creative? Does this make you a hack writer?

Forget all that stuff - it makes you EMPLOYED.

What else would you call it? Authors telecommute their work and progress to their editors and get paid for it. The faster they write the faster they're paid. The better they conform to the publishing house's demands, the better they are paid. End story.

A publisher is in the business of selling Books or Magazines not displaying Art or promoting Literature. They are looking for what THEY want, WHEN they want it in the WAY they want it. Period. If you can sneak interesting, different and Creative writing in between their formulaic demands GREAT! They Love that, but in the mean time the rest of your work had better conform to what they want.

What if the Muse strikes and you get a terrific idea? Great! Write it between assignments and make the publisher PAY through the nose to get it.

• Half-Truth: "I can make a fortune writing Erotica."
• Whole Truth: "You can make a fortune writing Erotica - if you sell it to a top publishing house, and it ends up on the New York Times Bestseller list in one of the top 5 positions."


Erotic Romance is currently the most profitable genre in both the eBook market and in New York. (Which is why I write it.) Authors for ePublishing Houses like Loose Id, Mojo Castle, Changling Press, and Samhain are making rather tidy - and regular - royalties on their erotica novels, but not a fortune.

If xXx is the way you really wanna go, writing a sex-story or Porn Letter for an adult magazine or eZine is much faster and far easier to crank out at volume. It's also steadier work than erotica and it pays better per word count. ($25.00 to $150.00 per letter, roughly 2 cents a word, at 15,000 words max.) Not to mention that you don't have to worry about characterization or plot, just spelling and grammar.

What? Did you think adult magazine Letters were written by Amateurs? Hell no! Those are professional writers. Trust me, a magazine editor will accept and pay more for a letter written by a professional writer than anything written by an amateur. In addition: the more expensive the magazine, the more they'll (probably) pay their writers.

Note: The writing standards for Erotic Romance markets are FAR higher than those asking for porn stories. Translation: To publish Erotic Romance, you have to use basic grammar, characterization and an actual PLOT.

-----Original Message-----
"What a wonderful rant! And here I was thinking that perhaps my being a mercenary writer was an anomaly! Fortunately, I have been doing everything you state here since I started, and people have become very annoyed with me because I keep succeeding when they fail… But even writing isn't everything. Your post didn't go far enough...

• Half-Truth: "Once your masterpiece is in print, people will buy it, love it, and demand more."
• Whole Truth: "People will buy it if they KNOW about it, will love it if the reviewers tell them it's wonderful, and will demand more if they know more are possible."


You also have to SELL.

Sell yourself, sell your book and sell your ability to do it all over again. The publisher doesn't want to work. They want to put the book on the shelf and have people slavering over it. But that doesn't just *happen* all by itself. Someone has to hype it, and it won't be the publisher.

The author must tell the readers. The author must solicit the reviewers, must produce press releases and attend book signings and make sure the readers know there will be new books.

But thanks for bolstering me up a bit. It's a lonely life in front of the computer, pushing and pushing to get noticed. Apparently, it's worth the trouble!"


~ Cathy Clamp ~ Published Author
(Posted with permission.)

Does all this seem like Too Much WORK?


The average 60k category-length book takes 6 to 8 MONTHS to write.

• And then you have to Edit the manuscript, which takes about a month just for typos - that's if you already know your grammar and have the basics of story structure.
• And then you have to Shop it to the publishers, this alone can take YEARS, (Christine Feehan had a over half a dozen full novels WRITTEN before she was noticed by her publisher.)
• And then you have to negotiate with the publishers, which can take months just in haggling over contract clauses.
• And then you have to Edit the story AGAIN to what the Publisher thinks they can sell. This can mean ripping out whole hunks of plot and rewriting your characters to make them more suitable for THEIR reading audience. Add a few more months.
• And then it may be a Year or More before it ever shows up on the shelf.

Don't even THINK about royalties unless you sell spectacularly well. And even if you do sell well, royalties won't even show up until a full YEAR AFTER PUBLICATION.

Writing Is NOT a Get-Rich-Quick career by any means.

Writing is TIME CONSUMING hard freaking work. Make no mistake - Writing for Profit is a 24/7 JOB - not something you pump out on the weekends when you're bored.

If you are prepared for the realities of Publication, you CAN Profit, in the long run. But - Not everyone wants to devote their entire waking life to research and typing.

The big question is: What Do YOU Really WANT?

What is more crucial to your Personal Writing Happiness?

Your Artistic Expression?
~~~~~~~~~~~~
Then you are a "Recreational writer"; someone who writes for the sheer pleasure of doing something creative. You are an Artist. Your future consists of publishing one 'great work', with the possibility of publishing another 'great work' a few years (or more) later on down the road - and never with the same publishing house.

Making Money?
~~~~~~~~~~~~
You are a "Mercenary writer" who has their own home office -- with a door -- that will pump out what ever is asked for in a timely, professional manner. You are one of the few, the proud, and the paid regularly. You don't need a day job because writing IS your day job, only it's 24/7 without holidays -- or insurance. :)

Anne Rice wrote Adult fiction under the name: AN Roquelaure. Horror author Steven King wrote for magazines, and Romance author Nora Roberts, also known as JD Robb, made her money writing Harlequin romances. Dean Koontz used to write smut and gothic romance to pay his bills. These authors worked their butts off writing whatever their publishers asked for all by themselves with no support, until they made a name big enough to dictate their demands to their publishers.

Fame?
~~~~~~~~~~~~
That makes you an "Aspiring Author". You certainly have your work cut out for you. Your future consists of one great work that is most likely your own personal memoirs. Sadly, the only memoirs and biographies being published today are those belonging to big name Celebrities. But that won't stop you! You have a Vision! A dream! And a full time job that allows you time in the evenings and weekends to type away on your computer -- when your spouse isn't using it, or your children.

How do I know all this?

I actually write fiction for a living. However, I was once the copywriter / publicist for one of the largest internet porn companies in the world. This is where I learned all about writing on demand. Somebody had to write all that filler text, and make it interesting.

I am currently living on my ebook royalties. That's right, paying my bills by writing Romantic SMUT full time. I write what I'm told to write, when I'm told to write it, about things that I'm told to write about because I'm being paid to do just that.

I'm a Mercenary.

Advice to the Burgeoning Writer

Write every spare moment you have and FINISH your story. Always have at least two people check your grammar and your sentence structure. Have at least two more people read your stuff and check it for:

Readability: Can you tell exactly what's happening to who? And How?
Story-Drag: Is it Boring? Did your reader skim over any of your paragraphs to "Get to the Good Stuff"?
Effectiveness: Does it make your reader FEEL something? Happiness, sadness, angst, excitement, arousal?

BEFORE SUBMITTING ANYWHERE!!!

Read the Submission Guidelines carefully.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Send the editors exactly what they are looking for. Close is not good enough. If they are looking for Erotic Romance, then your story had better be sexually explicit and involve a couple falling in love. You have to have both the sex and the Romance to interest an Erotic Romance publisher.

Be willing to work with the editors on requested changes.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Many editors try to be gentle with their comments to new authors and have been known to understate what they mean. That does not make their comment random or invalid! If an editor goes to the trouble of noting something about your story, take it very seriously.

Remember: You are writing to Sell and Publication Editors are looking for authors to fill their readers requests. They are there to make their publishing house look good by making YOU look good.

This has been your Reality Check announcement.

Morgan Hawke
Mercenary Writer – and darn proud of it.

Morgan Hawke
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Purveyor of fine Smut.
DarkErotica.Net ~ My Website
DarkErotica Blog ~ My Writers' blog

"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."
Albert Einstein

Guest
Posted: Monday, March 7, 2011 6:18:01 PM

Rank: Lurker

Joined: 12/1/2006
Posts: 779,320
I love the dogged practicalness and clarity of your words, Ms. M. Thanks.
MorganHawke
Posted: Monday, March 7, 2011 6:24:55 PM

Rank: First Person Smartass

Joined: 2/8/2011
Posts: 345
Location: The suburbs.
daniel_mcleod wrote:
I love the dogged practicalness and clarity of your words, Ms. M. Thanks.


Thank you Daniel.
-- I firmly believe that sugar-coating the truth never helped anyone. The only way to overcome any difficulty is by knowing EXACTLY what we're up against.

Forewarned is forearmed.

Morgan Hawke
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Purveyor of fine Smut.
DarkErotica.Net ~ My Website
DarkErotica Blog ~ My Writers' blog

"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."
Albert Einstein

DirtyMartini
Posted: Monday, March 7, 2011 6:47:55 PM

Rank: Purveyor of Poetry & Porn

Joined: 10/19/2009
Posts: 5,900
Location: Right here on Lush Stories..., United States
Hey Morgan...you must have been reading my little mind, because this article is actually "right on time" so to speak...
Not that I necessarily wish to become a "professional writer" or anything...especially after reading your article, it definitely seems too much like work...

But myself, like some other authors on Lush, would like to perhaps take things to the "next level" and to that end have been submitting stuff to submission calls and ezines that pay...I started doing so late last year, and just got my first story (actually my second story "Morning In The Park") published in a paying ezine this past Friday, March 4...

This all sounded great, and indeed cause for celebration until I actually read my story in the ezine. Apparently my assigned editor, which I didn't even realize I had, took the liberty of making some changes in the story without bothering to ask me. Things like deleting a line of dialogue (why???), and changing a sentence which I feel changes the flavor of the story somewhat...I know I've been somewhat "ranting" about it, mostly to other authors on Facebook who I share a group with...and my status here and on StoriesSpace reflects my feelings...

Editor n. ('e-de-ter, rhymes with predator)...an occupation where someone is allowed to take a story an author has worked on for hours to get right, and change it as they see fit, presumably for no other purpose than to annoy the author. From an old Latin term meaning "Devil person from Hell"...

I wrote back to them after noticing the "changes" and they advised me of my assigned editor and gave me her e-mail address and told me I could e-mail her for details...lol...a bit after the fact I should say...
My questions...is this normal? Do they feel like they own your butt because they are paying you and therefore can do whatever they want to your story without the author's consent???
I feel like I ventured into a small southern town and see a toothless banjo player sitting on a porch...and I really don't like the looks of things...

The general consensus from other authors is that I should advise them of my feelings, but be diplomatic...I have to admit diplomacy is not always my strong suit, which is perhaps one of the reasons I write sex stories and don't work for the U.N. What I'd like to know, is really is there a "standard" here that is usually followed? Or, is my work just subject to some editor's "discretion?"

This is important because they advised me today that they would like to include my fourth story "Getting A Raise" in their April issue. I'd like your advice on how to handle this properly...I feel in a sense I need them more than they need me at the moment...I'd like to show that my stuff is "saleable"...

Not to mention that with 107 more stories and poems to send them...I certainly wouldn't mind the extra money in my PayPal account at the end of the month on a regular basis...icon_smile

Thanks,
Alan.




You know you want it, you know you need it bad...get it now on Amazon.com...
Lush Erotica, an Anthology of Award Winning Sex Stories

Guest
Posted: Monday, March 7, 2011 6:59:52 PM

Rank: Lurker

Joined: 12/1/2006
Posts: 779,320


Brilliant, no nonsense, real world advice....

It's Great and it's Fun that we like to write.....

But commercially that's the least important factor....

(I work as a Music Critic... I can't count the times that I've heard stunningly beautiful creations from bands THAT YOU JUST KNOW WON'T MAKE IT....) Commercially, I mean....

After a lifetime in journalism I'm working on a fictional historical novel.... Every word Morgan writes both educates and frightens me!!!!

But she does speak the truth....

xx SF
Guest
Posted: Monday, March 7, 2011 7:20:07 PM

Rank: Lurker

Joined: 12/1/2006
Posts: 779,320
DirtyMartini wrote:
Hey Morgan...you must have been reading my little mind, because this article is actually "right on time" so to speak...


Editor n. ('e-de-ter, rhymes with predator)...an occupation where someone is allowed to take a story an author has worked on for hours to get right, and change it as they see fit, presumably for no other purpose than to annoy the author. From an old Latin term meaning "Devil person from Hell"...

I wrote back to them after noticing the "changes" and they advised me of my assigned editor and gave me her e-mail address and told me I could e-mail her for details...lol...a bit after the fact I should say...
My questions...is this normal? Do they feel like they own your butt because they are paying you and therefore can do whatever they want to your story without the author's consent???
I feel like I ventured into a small southern town and see a toothless banjo player sitting on a porch...and I really don't like the looks of things...

The general consensus from other authors is that I should advise them of my feelings, but be diplomatic...I have to admit diplomacy is not always my strong suit, which is perhaps one of the reasons I write sex stories and don't work for the U.N. What I'd like to know, is really is there a "standard" here that is usually followed? Or, is my work just subject to some editor's "discretion?"

This is important because they advised me today that they would like to include my fourth story "Getting A Raise" in their April issue. I'd like your advice on how to handle this properly...I feel in a sense I need them more than they need me at the moment...I'd like to show that my stuff is "saleable"...

Not to mention that with 107 more stories and poems to send them...I certainly wouldn't mind the extra money in my PayPal account at the end of the month on a regular basis...icon_smile

Thanks,
Alan.



I work as a Newspaper/Magazine Editor....

(I also write.)

As an editor, I try to (a) correct basic grammar and punctuation, (b) edit the copy into the available space, (c) occasionally 'sex-up' the copy so it reads more easily in the manner that we need the piece to be read and received...

There are various ways of doing this.... The easiest, tackiest and most awful way is to simply remove the 'voice' and 'style' of the writer and "just print the facts, M'am....) Basically you take out all the opinion and all the jokes....

The other way of editing is when you have to genuinely CUT but try really hard to keep the spirit of the piece that the Writer originally intended.... Which can be difficult...

I try, most of the time, to do it the second way.... But journalists' copy comes invariably late and sometimes you have to use a scalpel... And don't they hate it!!!!

Try as I might, I don't work for Writers.... I work for Readers......

xx SF

sprite
Posted: Tuesday, March 8, 2011 12:35:00 AM

Rank: Her Royal Spriteness
Moderator

Joined: 6/18/2010
Posts: 20,558
Location: My Tower, United States
And this, in all honesty, is why, when asked why i don't try to get some of my stuff published, is the reason. i am ALL too aware of how much like WORK it is and, in the end, i'd end up hating what i love to do.



Love not hate.
MorganHawke
Posted: Tuesday, March 8, 2011 3:41:14 AM

Rank: First Person Smartass

Joined: 2/8/2011
Posts: 345
Location: The suburbs.
DirtyMartini wrote:
Editor n. ('e-de-ter, rhymes with predator)...an occupation where someone is allowed to take a story an author has worked on for hours to get right, and change it as they see fit, presumably for no other purpose than to annoy the author. From an old Latin term meaning "Devil person from Hell"...

...My questions...is this normal? Do they feel like they own your butt because they are paying you and therefore can do whatever they want to your story without the author's consent???


Yes, this is Normal and in fact Unavoidable in every form of written publication. They Can and Will edit your work -- the work they paid for -- to fit their word-count/space constraints and their house grammar and/or content rules.

If you are lucky, they will ask the author to do the editing. (Lush asked me to edit "Alchemical Ink" to suit their content restrictions -- and I DID.) However, if the publisher is in a hurry; they're up against a deadline, they'll do it right then and there because legally, they CAN.

However the editors as a rule, do Not "feel like they own your butt because they are paying you."

Quote:
One misapprehension that the editor is out to hack, twist, trash, or otherwise fold, spindle, and mutilate your work. The true job of an editor is to take what you have and make it the best it can be, not to rewrite it in their own image and likeness. Spelling, grammar and sentence structure are standard, as is consistency.

You may get a manuscript back marked with enough red to illustrate the St. Valentine's Massacre, and still find not all that much is changed, as far as the true heart of your work: the story.

An editor doesn't bake the cake, just decorates it.


Unfortunately, not all editors know their role.
-- Some want to rewrite a story in a way they like, regardless of author's voice. Others fail to understand the author's world building, and end up literally destroying the carefully wrought storyline. Still more take on the role with a minimum of training and experience, and end up putting in more mistakes than they take out.

Usually because of a bad experience such as this, the author goes into the publishing world mistrusting the editor, and the relationship is doomed from the start.

The trick is knowing the difference between a professional edit, and the evil alternative.

Editing can seem traumatic...
-- You just handed over your baby, and when you get that book back, you feel like you've been attacked. Sentences you labored over have been hash-marked. The quaint turn of phrase you spent a good amount of time getting just so has been designated "too passive", and there is a detailed note attached asking you all sorts of inane questions you thought were made perfectly clear in line 18 of page four.

What would bring an otherwise kind person to perform such brutality?

Oddly enough, they're doing it to help you.
-- If a publisher signs you, they think you have a good bit of writing that the public may enjoy. So their goal is to put out a book that people will want to spend money on.

Now, no matter how good you and your crit group are, things will be missed. That's the editor's job.
-- What seems perfectly clear and right to you after fifty readings may not be so to a reader during their first. A certain turn of phrase may read as offensive, or it may just not fit the image the house wants to project.

And of course, two words to strike fear in any wordsmith's heart: House Style.
-- Every publisher has their own style, terminology, and formatting methods. Which, in most cases, is nothing like yours. But the end result is not intended to send you into a fit of weeping and bosom-rending, but merely to create a marketable product.

If it's not about the money, or you think your misspellings are creative, and should be left in for emphasis, or you truly fear the evil editor, don't go to a publisher.

Insane advice? No, self-preservation.
-- You're better off going to a vanity press, or simply doing it yourself, because all it will result in is bad blood between you and the publisher.

If you sign their contract, you are in essence agreeing to do it their way. If you don't like their way, don't sign the contract.


And yes, an ebook publisher is a real publisher.

And a contract is a contract.

Going to an ebook publisher is not a "last resort."
-- It also does not mean you get the right to do or say whatever you like. An epublisher commands the same respect as any other.

If Doubleday signed you:
* Would you argue with and/or insult the editor?
* Would you ask the publisher after they spent hours editing and putting your book up for sale to dissolve your contract because you want to go to another publisher?
* More important, would they?

Straight up answer is no, on all counts. You wouldn't do it, and they wouldn't take it. So keep that in mind when you make your decision.

Stefani V. Kelsey
EIC (Editor in Chief) Mojo Castle Books


Stephanie is also one of my closest friends.


Morgan Hawke
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Purveyor of fine Smut.
DarkErotica.Net ~ My Website
DarkErotica Blog ~ My Writers' blog

"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."
Albert Einstein

MorganHawke
Posted: Tuesday, March 8, 2011 3:50:03 AM

Rank: First Person Smartass

Joined: 2/8/2011
Posts: 345
Location: The suburbs.
stephanie wrote:
Brilliant, no nonsense, real world advice.

It's Great and it's Fun that we like to write, But commercially that's the least important factor.

(I work as a Music Critic. I can't count the times that I've heard stunningly beautiful creations from bands THAT YOU JUST KNOW WON'T MAKE IT -- Commercially.)

After a lifetime in journalism I'm working on a fictional historical novel. Every word Morgan writes both educates and frightens me! But she does speak the truth....
xx SF


Thank you!
-- I don't believe in giving out pretty lies just to make people feel better. It takes a Lot of courage and tenacity to go the 'commercial' publication route. If someone is that determined to do it, they NEED to know the TRUTH, so they can prepare for the battle ahead of them.

Morgan Hawke
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Purveyor of fine Smut.
DarkErotica.Net ~ My Website
DarkErotica Blog ~ My Writers' blog

"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."
Albert Einstein

MorganHawke
Posted: Tuesday, March 8, 2011 3:53:02 AM

Rank: First Person Smartass

Joined: 2/8/2011
Posts: 345
Location: The suburbs.
stephanie wrote:
I don't work for Writers, I work for Readers.


THAT is the definition of an editor in the truest sense.

Morgan Hawke
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Purveyor of fine Smut.
DarkErotica.Net ~ My Website
DarkErotica Blog ~ My Writers' blog

"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."
Albert Einstein

MorganHawke
Posted: Tuesday, March 8, 2011 3:58:40 AM

Rank: First Person Smartass

Joined: 2/8/2011
Posts: 345
Location: The suburbs.
sprite wrote:
And this, in all honesty, is why, when asked why i don't try to get some of my stuff published, is the reason. i am ALL too aware of how much like WORK it is and, in the end, i'd end up hating what i love to do.


Have you considered looking at it from the Other direction?
-- Instead of writing the story THEN looking for a publisher, pick a publisher and write something specifically to suit their guidelines.

Look at publication as a Writing CHALLENGE, instead of a Writing Limitation.

Morgan Hawke
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Purveyor of fine Smut.
DarkErotica.Net ~ My Website
DarkErotica Blog ~ My Writers' blog

"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."
Albert Einstein

Irishgirl
Posted: Tuesday, March 8, 2011 7:30:47 PM

Rank: Active Ink Slinger

Joined: 1/31/2011
Posts: 18
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Wonderful to find someone telling like it is....

I worked in theatre for many years and it broke my heart and gave me joy in equal pleasures. My work there was not as actor but producer / production manager and after my first year in a semi-pro capacity I learned the harsh truth that if what we put on did'nt please the audience, then no matter how wonderful it makes us feel, it will close after a week... So we worked around this and after some obstacles we produced what I think was far better shows.

That was not me or anyone else compromising our artistic ability, it was simply us realising what people want and if you want to make a commercial success out of any type of art then you need to be aware of what your audience wants.. That is assuming you are doing it for an audience, if not then it is simply for your own pleasure and none of what is said above matters a damn.. However if you are also doing it to please others, especially those unknown to you then you have to trust the editors etc of the world.. After all that is their job and they know far better than most writers do what the public want...
MorganHawke
Posted: Tuesday, March 8, 2011 8:57:48 PM

Rank: First Person Smartass

Joined: 2/8/2011
Posts: 345
Location: The suburbs.
Irishgirl wrote:
... realising what people want and if you want to make a commercial success out of any type of art then you need to be aware of what your audience wants... ...if you are also doing it to please others, especially those unknown to you then you have to trust the editors etc of the world.. After all that is their job and they know far better than most writers do what the public want...


I see I'm not the only one that had to learn it the hard way. :)
-- I have a head like a rock. More often than not, it take a large blunt object to get through to me.

Morgan Hawke
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Purveyor of fine Smut.
DarkErotica.Net ~ My Website
DarkErotica Blog ~ My Writers' blog

"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."
Albert Einstein

Guest
Posted: Wednesday, March 9, 2011 8:48:07 PM

Rank: Lurker

Joined: 12/1/2006
Posts: 779,320
My context for understanding what publications want, and the power with which they imbue their editors to make sure that what they want indeed is what they get, is grant writing. As an academic, I am sometimes slave to those who control the purse strings. Hell, a lot of the time. And, when I'm writing a grant, I KNOW that they who control the purse strings are driving. I do not EVER try to take license with their framework. I work my proposal around to exactly mirror what they want. There's so much competition for their money, they simply won't consider proposals that aren't in sync. Why should they? It's their money and I'm lucky to get it when I do.

So, same story, different milieu. Fortunately, creativity can still happen within a well defined framework. My question to you, Ms. M, is this: would you rather be doing anything else than writing, even though you must jump through Their hoops?

Cheers,
Daniel
Guest
Posted: Wednesday, March 9, 2011 8:48:08 PM

Rank: Lurker

Joined: 12/1/2006
Posts: 779,320
My context for understanding what publications want, and the power with which they imbue their editors to make sure that what they want indeed is what they get, is grant writing. As an academic, I am sometimes slave to those who control the purse strings. Hell, a lot of the time. And, when I'm writing a grant, I KNOW that they who control the purse strings are driving. I do not EVER try to take license with their framework. I work my proposal around to exactly mirror what they want. There's so much competition for their money, they simply won't consider proposals that aren't in sync. Why should they? It's their money and I'm lucky to get it when I do.

So, same story, different milieu. Fortunately, creativity can still happen within a well defined framework. My question to you, Ms. M, is this: would you rather be doing anything else than writing, even though you must jump through Their hoops?

Cheers,
Daniel
MorganHawke
Posted: Wednesday, March 9, 2011 11:03:13 PM

Rank: First Person Smartass

Joined: 2/8/2011
Posts: 345
Location: The suburbs.
daniel_mcleod wrote:
My context for understanding what publications want ... is grant writing. ... So, same story, different milieu.

My question to you, Ms. M, is this: would you rather be doing anything else than writing, even though you must jump through Their hoops?


No I would not. I chose this career back in 1980 when my very first short story was published. I spent the next 18 years working specifically for the goal of Author. I'll drop dead before I quit.

Morgan Hawke
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Purveyor of fine Smut.
DarkErotica.Net ~ My Website
DarkErotica Blog ~ My Writers' blog

"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."
Albert Einstein

DirtyMartini
Posted: Monday, March 14, 2011 1:15:50 PM

Rank: Purveyor of Poetry & Porn

Joined: 10/19/2009
Posts: 5,900
Location: Right here on Lush Stories..., United States
I know I said some negative things about editors the other day...but, I realize it could be worse...

Editor Cat does not look pleased...




You know you want it, you know you need it bad...get it now on Amazon.com...
Lush Erotica, an Anthology of Award Winning Sex Stories

MorganHawke
Posted: Monday, March 14, 2011 1:48:22 PM

Rank: First Person Smartass

Joined: 2/8/2011
Posts: 345
Location: The suburbs.
DirtyMartini wrote:
I know I said some negative things about editors the other day...but, I realize it could be worse... Editor Cat does not look pleased...


It CAN always be worse. Ask Nicola about some of the more...interesting stories she's Rejected sometime. :) Be glad that your eyes never had to suffer the torment hers have.

Brain Bleach is hard to come by.

Morgan Hawke
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Purveyor of fine Smut.
DarkErotica.Net ~ My Website
DarkErotica Blog ~ My Writers' blog

"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."
Albert Einstein

DirtyMartini
Posted: Monday, March 14, 2011 2:09:54 PM

Rank: Purveyor of Poetry & Porn

Joined: 10/19/2009
Posts: 5,900
Location: Right here on Lush Stories..., United States
MorganHawke wrote:
Ask Nicola about some of the more...interesting stories she's Rejected sometime. :) Be glad that your eyes never had to suffer the torment hers have.

Brain Bleach is hard to come by.


I don't even want to entertain that thought in my brain...though she could probably publish a collection of some of the best, or should I say "worst" examples and sell it as a humor piece...

Have you ever read some of the examples cited here? Interesting stuff...
http://www.literaryreview.co.uk/badsex.html



You know you want it, you know you need it bad...get it now on Amazon.com...
Lush Erotica, an Anthology of Award Winning Sex Stories

MorganHawke
Posted: Monday, March 14, 2011 2:53:30 PM

Rank: First Person Smartass

Joined: 2/8/2011
Posts: 345
Location: The suburbs.
DirtyMartini wrote:
I I don't even want to entertain that thought in my brain...though she could probably publish a collection of some of the best, or should I say "worst" examples and sell it as a humor piece. Have you ever read some of the examples cited here? Interesting stuff.
http://www.literaryreview.co.uk/badsex.html


I have indeed. It makes me ASHAMED that these works were Published. What were their editors Thinking?!

Morgan Hawke
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Purveyor of fine Smut.
DarkErotica.Net ~ My Website
DarkErotica Blog ~ My Writers' blog

"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."
Albert Einstein

Irishgirl
Posted: Monday, March 14, 2011 5:53:30 PM

Rank: Active Ink Slinger

Joined: 1/31/2011
Posts: 18
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Ohhh dear god... I went into that link and my eyes are burning..... have never read a worse line in all my years of reading and I have read a lot!!!

Absolutely agree with you Morgan, no idea what their editors were thinking!! And by the way I can understand why you would be ashamed but having read some of what you have written there is no need for you to be ashamed... You are fantastic at what you do!!!! And I think someone who really loves books, which were my first love and still my greatest passion!!
MorganHawke
Posted: Monday, March 14, 2011 6:52:17 PM

Rank: First Person Smartass

Joined: 2/8/2011
Posts: 345
Location: The suburbs.
Irishgirl wrote:
Ohhh dear god... I went into that link and my eyes are burning..... have never read a worse line in all my years of reading and I have read a lot!!! Absolutely agree with you Morgan, no idea what their editors were thinking!! And by the way I can understand why you would be ashamed...

Where did they get their editors? From a high school? From a coffee shop? Or did they just skip using editors at all?

Irishgirl wrote:
...but having read some of what you have written there is no need for you to be ashamed... You are fantastic at what you do!!!! And I think someone who really loves books, which were my first love and still my greatest passion!!

Aww... That's so sweet! Yes, books were my first love and are still my primary love. This is why I refuse to write CRAP, even if they are just porn stories. 'Good enough' is Never good enough for me.

Morgan Hawke
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Purveyor of fine Smut.
DarkErotica.Net ~ My Website
DarkErotica Blog ~ My Writers' blog

"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."
Albert Einstein

DirtyMartini
Posted: Tuesday, March 15, 2011 3:25:34 AM

Rank: Purveyor of Poetry & Porn

Joined: 10/19/2009
Posts: 5,900
Location: Right here on Lush Stories..., United States
MorganHawke wrote:


I have indeed. It makes me ASHAMED that these works were Published. What were their editors Thinking?!


Yes...makes me think, where is an editor when you actually NEED one? Lol...that stuff would be rejected by Lush...


You know you want it, you know you need it bad...get it now on Amazon.com...
Lush Erotica, an Anthology of Award Winning Sex Stories

MorganHawke
Posted: Tuesday, March 15, 2011 6:46:44 AM

Rank: First Person Smartass

Joined: 2/8/2011
Posts: 345
Location: The suburbs.
DirtyMartini wrote:
...makes me think, where is an editor when you actually NEED one?

Real editors don't come cheap. My guess is they tried to do it themselves instead of hiring a real one. Just goes to show "you get what you pay for".

Morgan Hawke
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Purveyor of fine Smut.
DarkErotica.Net ~ My Website
DarkErotica Blog ~ My Writers' blog

"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."
Albert Einstein

AppleOfYourEye
Posted: Tuesday, March 15, 2011 6:29:09 PM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 7/19/2008
Posts: 101
Location: Pacific Ocean
Morgan~~ You mentioned finding out from the publisher what they want in a book, and then write to meet that desire. How does one go about doing that? I have a passion for writing and would love to know how to go about doing it in a methoidical fashion rather than just rushing in and then figuring out what to do. Your advice is a welcome treat.

I know I have a lot of growing to do as an author, so I'm open to all advice and constructive critisim that I can get. I hate when someone says "That's great!" or "That sucks!" That tells me nothing other than you liked it or hated it, but what about it did you like or hate. My own personal pet peeve I guess.

Thanks!!


Apple
GallagherWitt
Posted: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 4:23:19 AM

Rank: Advanced Wordsmith

Joined: 3/16/2011
Posts: 84
Location: Okinawa, Japan
MorganHawke wrote:
[quote=daniel_mcleod] -- I firmly believe that sugar-coating the truth never helped anyone. The only way to overcome any difficulty is by knowing EXACTLY what we're up against.

Forewarned is forearmed.


Quoted for truth.

I do this full-time too, and I love what I do, but make no mistake...it. Is. WORK. People who paint it all as cockshine and roses don't do anyone any favors.

It's a demanding job, I work more hours than I EVER have in my life, but I wouldn't trade this job for anything. Except maybe Jared Leto. But I'd at least have to stop and think it over.

Lori
L. A. Witt (gay male erotic romance)
Lauren Gallagher (heterosexual erotic romance)
Twitter: GallagherWitt
My Website * My Blog * Marginally Unhinged (my webcomic)

"Service with a Smirk, that's you." - Morgan Hawke
GallagherWitt
Posted: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 4:39:39 AM

Rank: Advanced Wordsmith

Joined: 3/16/2011
Posts: 84
Location: Okinawa, Japan
Hope Morgan doesn't mind me jumping in here...

AppleOfYourEye wrote:
Morgan~~ You mentioned finding out from the publisher what they want in a book, and then write to meet that desire. How does one go about doing that?


I'm more familiar with epublishers than NY, so I'll defer to Morgan for the big publishers, but as far as epubs...look at their websites. A lot of times, they'll have calls for submissions for a specific line or an anthology. Samhain recently did one for post-apocalyptic romance. Amber Quill currently has a couple of calls for M/M stories (one is western, one is vacation-themed).

The biggest thing, though, is to read what they're selling. Familiarize yourself with their lines, their themes, their content (i.e., how graphic is the sex? how much kink? etc.). Write and submit accordingly.

Also, a lot of epubs will mention in their submission guidelines that they're especially looking for a particular subgenre. Steampunk is in high demand at a few places right now. Some are really hard up for hetero stories. Others want as much gay as they can get their hands on. Futuristic sounds like it's going to be in-demand soon too. Mix and match a little...if they're looking for gay and steampunk, write gay steampunk. If they want shapeshifters, BDSM, and beach sex, then write about shapeshifters having kinky sex on the beach. You get the idea.

If you think I'm kidding about the mixing/matching subgenres, I'm speaking from personal experience: I write mostly contemporary, both gay and straight, with varying degrees of heat/kink/drama/comedy/etc. I subbed to one publisher, and the editor came back with, "I like your writing, but I'm not feeling the story. Do you have anything else?" As it happened, I had another one waiting in the wings, so I subbed that. Again, she liked it, but this time just didn't think it would be a big seller. She also commented, "I think I'm aiming more toward M/M right now." To which I responded, "Well, funny you should mention that...", and subbed her a M/M book I had just finished. She bought it. During the course of a conversation, she mentioned that gay and menage books were really big, so I (half-jokingly) asked if she'd buy a gay menage book. Why yes, said she, a gay menage book would be AWESOME. I outlined it, wrote that little bastard in about 2 weeks, and submitted it. She bought that one too. This entire process, from the first submission to the second contract, went down in about 3 months. The books went on to be two of my bestsellers, and she's bought three additional books from me since then (one of which was a result of "Hmm, I see gay, BDSM, and menage are all popular...here's a gay BDSM menage story."). Moral to the story? Be flexible and open to writing new things, and it never hurts to ask.

Quote:
I know I have a lot of growing to do as an author, so I'm open to all advice and constructive critisim that I can get. I hate when someone says "That's great!" or "That sucks!" That tells me nothing other than you liked it or hated it, but what about it did you like or hate. My own personal pet peeve I guess.

Thanks!!


I feel your pain. I've had beta readers who just say "I like it" or "I don't like it", but don't give me anything else to go on. It's frustrating as hell.

Lori
L. A. Witt (gay male erotic romance)
Lauren Gallagher (heterosexual erotic romance)
Twitter: GallagherWitt
My Website * My Blog * Marginally Unhinged (my webcomic)

"Service with a Smirk, that's you." - Morgan Hawke
MorganHawke
Posted: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 12:09:19 PM

Rank: First Person Smartass

Joined: 2/8/2011
Posts: 345
Location: The suburbs.
AppleOfYourEye wrote:
Morgan~~ You mentioned finding out from the publisher what they want in a book, and then write to meet that desire. How does one go about doing that?

What Lori says is 100% correct, and it applies to the bigger publishers as well. Most if not all of the big New York publishers, as well as most of the international publishers have websites where they post Submission Guidelines for their individual lines. READ Them. Embrace them. Love them for the writing challenges they are and try a few out, but be prepared to shift things around if it doesn't quite suit what their lead editor is looking for.

AppleOfYourEye wrote:
... I hate when someone says "That's great!" or "That sucks!" That tells me nothing other than you liked it or hated it, but what about it did you like or hate. My own personal pet peeve I guess.

Have you considered writing your critique partners and/or beta readers a List of what you want them to look for? I did. --> MY Beta-Reader's Questionnaire




Morgan Hawke
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Purveyor of fine Smut.
DarkErotica.Net ~ My Website
DarkErotica Blog ~ My Writers' blog

"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."
Albert Einstein

AppleOfYourEye
Posted: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 3:54:59 PM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 7/19/2008
Posts: 101
Location: Pacific Ocean
Lori & Morgan~~ Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. I'm always up for a challenge, I don't mind having to fit my writings to someone else right now. The advice is very helpful.

Thanks!!!

Apple
MorganHawke
Posted: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 5:55:06 PM

Rank: First Person Smartass

Joined: 2/8/2011
Posts: 345
Location: The suburbs.
AppleOfYourEye wrote:
Lori & Morgan~~ Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. I'm always up for a challenge, I don't mind having to fit my writings to someone else right now. The advice is very helpful. Thanks!!!


My pleasure!
-- I love being helpful. (It makes me feel all warm and squooshy inside.)

Morgan Hawke
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Purveyor of fine Smut.
DarkErotica.Net ~ My Website
DarkErotica Blog ~ My Writers' blog

"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."
Albert Einstein

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