Harper Voyager accepting unagented submissions

Discussion in 'Writing' started by RedMage, Sep 22, 2012.

  1. RedMage

    RedMage There is no tomorrow

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2009
    Messages:
    1,815
    Likes Received:
    203
    Trophy Points:
    98
    I was browsing the AbsoluteWrite forums last night when I saw this and I didn't see any note of it here. Harper Voyager is accepting unagented submissions from October 1--14. Here's the direct link at Thebookseller.com regarding this:

    http://www.thebookseller.com/news/harper-voyager-opens-doors-unagented-submissions.html

    I won't be doing it as I don't have anything ready but I thought some people might like to know about it.

    Oh, btw, this came to AW from Kevin Hearne, author of the Iron Druid Chronicles. So those of us who enjoy him (*puts hand up*) have another thing to thank him for now!
     
  2. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Staff

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2009
    Messages:
    6,209
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Gollancz, to contrast, always accept unagented submissions ;)
     
  3. RedMage

    RedMage There is no tomorrow

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2009
    Messages:
    1,815
    Likes Received:
    203
    Trophy Points:
    98
    I did not know that. Thanks!
     
  4. Laer Carroll

    Laer Carroll LaerCarroll.com

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2009
    Messages:
    1,313
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
  5. N. E. White

    N. E. White tmso Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    Messages:
    6,446
    Likes Received:
    196
    Trophy Points:
    163
    Did ya all see the comments and read what sort of contract Harpers is offering?

    They are offering to publish your work as an ebook, not a physical book. As the three folks (one of 'em is MJ Sullivan - woohoo!) who commented on that post said (or alluded to), if it is just an ebook they are offering the writer, why wouldn't you just do it yourself?

    With that said, I might submit...it's a chance to be published!!! :D :rolleyes: :eek:
     
  6. Wilson Geiger

    Wilson Geiger Greymane

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2011
    Messages:
    1,208
    Likes Received:
    73
    Trophy Points:
    58
    I believe Pyr has always accepted unagented submissions as well.
     
  7. sullivan_riyria

    sullivan_riyria Creator of Worlds

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Messages:
    1,032
    Likes Received:
    30
    Trophy Points:
    73

    No disrespect to Kevin Hearne...but I have a different take on this. Keep in mind that what they are offering here is digital only, and I would ask you to think carefully about the digital marketplace. *Distribution in brick and mortar stores is where publishers excel. It is nearly impossible for a small-press or self-published author to get shelf space so one of the reasons for going with a "big publisher" is for the infrastructure that they have in place to get you into these venues. *In this business traditional publishers can use their deep pockets (through co-op dollars) to get premium placement for certain titles.

    For digital books it is actually a pretty level playing field. The exposure that a traditionally published book is the exact same as a self-published one. Amazon has sent out emails on my behalf (when I was self-published) and I never sent them a dime. *Amazon's model is based on performance and a good selling book gets the same exposure (through "also bought", "recommendations", "search algorithm" and "bestseller status) regardless of who posted the book.

    Signing a "digital only" with a big six means you get 17.5% of list rather than 70% of list and books priced at $6.99 - $9.99 will sell fewer copies than those priced at $2.99 - $4.99. *In a "full publishing deal" you also get print sales and that helps to offset the difference income but Haper is offering only digital. *So what do you get for the difference in money:


    • [li] Cover design: which can be purchased for $150 - $350[/li]
      [li] Editing: which can be sub-contracted to a freelancer for $350 - $1,000[/li]
      [li] Their name on the title - yes this is worth something.[/li]
      [li] Loss of control over key factors like pricing and categorization[/li]

    Most full-blown (print, ebook, audio) debut fantasy contracts are $5,000 - $10,000 and only 20% earn out their advance. *My guess is the advance will be even lower because they are only taking one right (the most profitable right). *If we consider 7,500 copies (which is a good solid single in the debut author space) let's look at the income to the author:


    • [li] $6.99 priced traditional = $9,174 to author[/li]
      [li] $9.99 priced traditional = $13,112 to author[/li]
      [li] $2.99 priced self-published = $15,698 to author[/li]
      [li] $4.99 priced self-published = $26,198 to author[/li]

    Even after subtracting the production costs the self-published author is making significant more than going through the traditional route and considering that 50% of the Amazon Epic Fantasy Best seller list is self-published titles and 50% is traditional, it shows that self-published authors are selling at (or above due to lower list price) copies.

    I'm not saying people shouldn't submit to this. *But if you are selected...take a minute to consider that you have a "stamp of approval' indicating that a major publisher finds value in your work...and you should realize that they are not the only option. *Try to balance the "excitement" of someone providing validation for years of work with the "business sense" to make sure you are maximizing your income. *You are about to cross a threshold to earning from your writing - and as such you need to be aware of the various alternatives.
     
  8. Wilson Geiger

    Wilson Geiger Greymane

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2011
    Messages:
    1,208
    Likes Received:
    73
    Trophy Points:
    58
    Excellent post, Mr. Sullivan. I know that for myself, this is all new experience, so I'm going to have to tread carefully. I'm not very finance-savvy at the best of times.

    It's good to have this information out there, so I can do research and make an informed decision that will work for myself and my family, if it ever comes to it.
     
  9. RedMage

    RedMage There is no tomorrow

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2009
    Messages:
    1,815
    Likes Received:
    203
    Trophy Points:
    98
    There was a bit of discussion about this on the AW forum as well in their SciFi&Fantasy subforum. I didn't really read it but they seemed to be discussing pretty much what we're discussing here. I don't even remember what Hearne was saying about it, just that he was the one to make the OP. I agree with TMSO about the whole ebook thing. The only difference between self-publishing an ebook and having HarperVoyager do it for you is that it's not self-publishing this way. And while the wall of stigma is falling it is still in place. But yes, like Mr. Sullivan says, there are better alternatives to traditional publishing than what is being offered here.
     
  10. kmtolan

    kmtolan KMTolan

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2008
    Messages:
    1,506
    Likes Received:
    80
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Looks at the deep water..plunges in like an idiot

    Getting accepted by any established publisher is not something to be sneezed at. You gain an immediate degree of credibility and acceptance that can take a self-published author a long time to earn through sales. This helps when you're trying to get on panels at conventions or otherwise want to be taken seriously. I still believe that much of the self published stuff out there is absolute crap. Wade in that pool at your peril.

    Don't forget that along with the publisher, you have the publisher's following of readers. You also have a track record started. Access to that publisher's reviewer list. You may even get a little extra marketing oomph if your publisher goes to conventions to display their (and your) titles.

    Yes, your editing, book covers, and distribution are free. Free. Yes, you lose some control, but in the end, who is better at determining what will sell your novel? You, or someone who has been marketing books for awhile?

    All of this hinges on getting a good publisher, of course.

    My opinion, based on my own experiences, would be to advise new authors to try a publisher first. It's an incredible lift to the confidence when someone else decides you're good enough to make money off of. Getting back to the OP's subject, I think this offer is worth a shot for a starting writer.

    Kerry
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2012
  11. sullivan_riyria

    sullivan_riyria Creator of Worlds

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Messages:
    1,032
    Likes Received:
    30
    Trophy Points:
    73
    Without question. I was willing to take a $200K hit to my pocketbook to go traditional because I thought from a career standpoint that credibility was an important part of a brand I was developing. I'm not saying "don't" I'm saying be aware of the costs and what you are giving up.

    Personally....I think they are going to make a separate imprint something like "Harper Digital" for the books they bring in on this program. In some ways it will be like "publishing light" and not have as much cachet as Harper Collins or even Harper Voyager...My guess is as they get their systems down they are going to be pushing through a larger number of titles and won't want to dilute their brand. Only time will tell as to whether that is true or not.

    I contend it's not free. Hence why I posted what I did. My guess is it's going to cost A LOT due to the difference in royalty. But...as I said elsewhere (not sure if it was on here or not) if you can't make a high-quality packaged product - then yes you are better off taking the financial hit and have them do it on your behalf.

    Certainly a matter of opinion, I'm actually glad I started self first then shifted over. I was in a much better bargaining seat then an author coming in with no track record. Some examples:

    * My advance was six-figures most debut fantasy authors is $5,000
    * I was able to get non-compete clauses changed even though neither my agent, nor my IP attorney thought they would.

    By having a proven record of selling I was in a much better seat for negotiation and so I think there are valid reasons for considering the start self then move to traditional route.