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Re: Sports Publishing LLC thread closed

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by oscaroscaroscar, Oct 14, 2008.

  1. I'm a little confused here.

    A thread with a topic that affects several board members who might be looking for updates on a company that's stiffing them -- and branches into an overall discussion on book publishing during a time when writers are scrambling for different ideas on possible work -- is closed because a couple of guys are having a pissing match?

    Couldn't they have just been sent to their room without dinner or whatever without shutting down a board with great value to many other people?
  2. Rosie

    Rosie Active Member

    I wasn't here to send them to their rooms.

    Oscar, I'm guessing you're new here. This isn't unprecedented, and it's the decision of the board moderator to lock a thread. Upon occasion, threads have been unlocked, or new ones have been allowed to start.
  3. I kind of feel like a person told they're younger than their actual age and am ready to blush. I don't post much any more, but I've been around on and off since the joint started. I get that it happens. I just thought that thread had a little too much value to go away.

    But, hey, that's just my opinion. More importantly, here's a place if anyone has some updates or other thoughts.
  4. Clerk Typist

    Clerk Typist Guest

    And so we'll continue the intelligent part of the discussion here, while our two very wise friends (friendless or otherwise) glare at each other in the penalty box thanks to thanks to playthrough's ill-advised move.

    FotF's advice in other areas aside, I can't disagree more with this: "If an agent isn't interested in representing you, it's a bad sign about you or your idea or both. If an agent likes you but not your idea, the agent will always have the door open to you (until you fail, or maybe fail for a second time).

    "If you have to deal with publishers like this one, you shouldn't publish a book. There's just no value in it. You won't make money and legit publishers won't care."

    Friend, to paraphrase Francis Church's response to Virginia O'Hanlon, "You have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age."

    For one thing, as has been noted, an agent may not see enough money in a deal for him to try and peddle a first book, or even a second. No matter. There are several avenues to getting a first book published, but having an agent is not the be-all and end-all to success. One can work one's way up, so to speak, from the second-tier houses to major publishers, not all of which are located in New York or Toronto. (As an aside, Sports Publishing was at best second-tier, and more likely third-tier, just above vanity for those who didn't get all of their contracted-for advances. Their logo should be a skunk.)

    There are a large number of good-sized houses around the country with acquisition managers and editors who will listen to pitches from writers who have been recommended to them. Agents aside, the publishing business, like the newspaper business, is very much a word-of-mouth business. A first book written for an SP-sized house, at the very least, shows that an author can write and deliver a manuscript, never mind the quality of the editing on the house's part. Network with other authors and you may find doors opening.

    A friend who did so is on book No. 5, the last four good five-figure advances, well along in talks for a sixth, and is lining up a seventh. No agent. It can be done. Good luck!
  5. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    Welcome back Oscar3!

    Seems the discussion wandered far from the original point, which was protecting yourself from bad deals or unstable publishers, ie, Sports Pub Inc. The original suggestion was that an agent knows the warning signs and pitfalls, and can either protect you or warn you about what you might be stepping into. That, I believe, was the point Jones and others were making on the other thread.

    No clue how that turned into a battle over whether you can write quality books without an agent (you can). You'll probably get a better overall deal with one, though.
  6. friend of the friendless

    friend of the friendless Active Member

    Sirs, Madames,

    The idea is to be a first-time author who gets a six-figure advance. It happens. I live with one. It would not have happened without an agent. And without an agent she'd sorely have been tempted to write a book for an outfit like LLC. If you write a book for LLC, you are an LLC writer and you have to break out of the typecast and mindset. You'll have an unpleasurable experience and learn nothing. It's not that complicated. Whoever wrote that pitching a book without an agent is like giving yourself a haircut had it right. I'd say it's more like doing your own dental work, but no matter.

    YD&OHS, etc
  7. In Exile

    In Exile Member

    As one who was also unagented for a time and signed a few of what I thought were good five figure advances, as I've learned since I was robbed and never even saw the gun - in fact I was aiming it at myself. I guarantee you are leaving money on the table - and pure profit - for the publisher. That's why they are so eager to keep asking you for more. You are the writing equivalent of an ATM, doubling or tripling their profit margins and thanking them for for robbing you. I've never seen any publishing contract negotiated without an agent that was truly fair to the author. None.

    If you have reached the position of being offered "good five figure advances," an agent, even subtracting the commission, can get you more through simple supply/demand principles - having two or more publishers interested, or even the threat than another publisher might be interested, will get you a bigger advance and more favorable terms. It then builds like interest - he/she may get you an extra 20% on the first deal, then another extra 20% on top of the first one for the next one, then more for the next, then another... it makes big difference, plus you have an advocate if you run into trouble, like having your editor leave and being dumped on someone who didn't sign you up and doesn't care. Another consideration is that on several occasions my agent has brought work to me that I otherwise would never have heard about. And sometimes publishers actually go to agents and ask if they have an author who is capable of doing book X - without an agent, you don't even hear of this idea, and without an agent, many publishers won't even take you seriously.

    Can you be without an agent? Yes. Should you? Not for very damn long.

    Sorry for sounding like a broken record, but this comes up here over and over and over again.
  8. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    I don't have a problem with a new thread. Sorry if some of you thought locking the other one was "ill-advised", but that's what happens when two guys get into an extended pissing match with profanity and other assorted bull.

    Keep this one clean and you can go as long as you like.
  9. friend of the friendless

    friend of the friendless Active Member

    Mr X,

    Thank you. Everything I've been saying. If the writers had agents they would not have signed with Sports Publishing. The truth is self-evident.

    YD&OHS, etc
  10. BartonK

    BartonK Member

    I've wondered this for a long time... what does YD&OHS mean?
  11. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    Let's keep it on track.
  12. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    Your dutiful & obedient humble servant would be my best guess.
    Friend of the Friendless is a man of the letters.
    And I mean that as the best possible compliment.
    If you are serious, you should have an agent. If the weekend sports anchor at market No. 107 has an agent, you should have an agent if you consider yourself to be a serious writer.
    Just that simple.
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