6 benefits of NOT having a Literary Agent

Most blog posts on publishing related websites talk about how important it is to have Literary agents represent authors. So it is only inevitable that the reverse question comes up frequent, specially from authors who’ve tried their best to reach out to the best literary agents in town (and outside) and haven’t had much luck.

Aren’t there any advantages of not having a literary agency offer representation? You bet there are.

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Average word count for books: How long should a novel be?

This question came in as a reader comment on one of the earlier blog posts. This question about average word count was on my mind as well, when I started writing my book. Most blogs and writer websites had the more-or-less the same advice – forget the length and the average word count of your novel. Write your story and forget the rest.

I wouldn’t dispute that rationale to a large extent. But the follow-your-heart recommendation needs to be considered in the context of commercial and business interests of the publishing company too. So I continued searching for the other side of the story. Where word count translates into a specific number of pages, which in turn influences how painful it would be to publish your book.

I found several high level guidelines on the internet. These were to do with whether the book would be categorised as a Novel or a Novella or an Epic or something else. In this post, I’d like to share some thoughts on word count considerations.

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Book publishing industry: How the revenue pie gets shared

In traditional book publishing, authors get the short end of the stick. You already knew that. We are talking about income in the form of book royalty.

So if an author does all the hard work of writing the book and the reader does the (harder?) work of patiently reading it, where does the rest of the money go?

This is where the supply chain comes into picture and it might help understanding the behind the scenes dynamics, so you are better positioned to write that bestseller.

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Pros and cons of choosing a small publisher

Most authors who have a novel or non-fiction book ready for submission, start the query letter process by listing out the traditional publishing houses – Penguin, HarperCollins, Hachette, John Wiley, Simon & Schuster Random House, you know the list. But for many authors, it’s like trying to swim against the current and it can take forever for the biggies to even consider a query letter and ask for the full manuscript.

Many of those authors who’ve either not been lucky with the big names or have a different strategy to get published start looking at the small publisher. Here are some pros and cons of working with a small publisher.

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Query letter rejections: How writers can deal with it

Query letters for books need a lot of TLC (tender love & care) to create. Getting the mailing list of the best literary agents and publishers to send your carefully crafted query letter takes longer. Waiting for the publishers and the book agents takes forever.

So no matter how determined you are in wanting to get your novel or non-fiction book published, rejections can be very disappointing.

How you deal with rejections and move on is an important part of the learning curve. Here are a few things you can do to help you put things in perspective and improve your book proposal or query letters.

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Book publishers in India – International publishing companies

In India, many leading publishers directly accept submissions from authors. They might work with literary agencies too, but that pipeline of manuscripts is hardly sufficient to keep their wheels turning throughout the year. So they open up the doors to first time authors even if it means investing more resources to evaluate the avalanche of query letters and submitted proposals, in the hope that the best books and bestsellers are hiding in there somewhere.

Though there are hundreds (thousands?) of traditional publishing houses in India, a few prominent ones regularly come up in discussions and these are generally the ones that new writers target. Here’s a short list of some international publishers who have a presence in India.

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Book advances: How much should authors expect?

If huge, mouth-watering book advances got you interested in the publishing industry, you might be in it for the wrong reasons. Most of us will never be fortunate to get a big advance for our first book. But book advances, never mind the size, will figure in your publishing contract. It wouldn’t hurt to know more about the topic, so you know what to expect when it time to sign on the dotted line of the contract.

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