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Robert Williams
March 24th, 2002, 02:13 AM
Hey all,

This is my first posting to this forum. I just POD published my first book,an SF novel called "The Remembrance" and, much like a lot of other writers here I see, I am trying to spread the word. Since the publisher posts the novel to read for free on its site, I also very much want some feedback. I set up a website that describes it and has links to the free sample material you can read, which is basically all of it if you have the time. All criticism is welcome. Here's the URL:
www.geocities.com/theremembrance_novel (http://www.geocities.com/theremembrance_novel)

I'm concerned: Does the title sound interesting? Does the cover interest you in the book? Most important of course, how is the writing?

Thanks in advance,

Robert Williams

March 24th, 2002, 04:22 PM
Congratulations, Robert!

Welcome to our forum. The cover looks fine, and I'm sure the title suits the story as well. I haven't had time to read a sample yet, but I'll try to...eventually! http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif

Cheers, Neil

PS: You can SUBMIT (http://www.sffworld.com/submit/publishers.html) an excerpt and/or synopsis to the site too, if you like.

[This message has been edited by erebus (edited March 24, 2002).]

Robert Williams
March 26th, 2002, 01:45 AM
Thanks very much for the suggestion, Neil. I will post an excerpt. I'm glad you think the cover and title work and I hope you like the writing too. http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif


March 26th, 2002, 06:40 AM
All I can say is...Wow! I read the first few chapters of your book and I was highly impressed. Your characters Seth and Kirin are very true and real. I enjoy the way your narrative flows as well as the freshness of your dialogue. I like how you introduced some history and explanations in your first chapter. You were able to slip in information about Seth's past without making it sound like a lecture. I have always hated books that give me lectures. Yours was at all times engaging. I do like the cover and from what I've read your title matches the book quite well. I would love to buy your book and I think I well. Congratulations on your publication! I can see that you are very talented and I hope you go on to publish more books.

March 26th, 2002, 07:22 AM
Congratulations, indeed. Your choice of a Frederic Church painting on your cover is great -- he's one of my favorites. Was intrigued with what I read and I plan on making the purchase. Can you discuss what brought you specifically to the "POD" market? Obviously, you've side-stepped the agent/publisher game and want to reach your audience directly. I commend this, because it is a brave new publishing world, so let's use it. But does that also bring you a huge burden of promotion, promotion, promotion? Do you have strategy in mind to keep getting the word out? Yeah -- I'm considering doing the very thing, so any thoughts are greatly appreciated. Best of luck, Robert.

Gary Wassner
March 26th, 2002, 09:28 AM
From experience, POD publishing should and could be a great way to bypass the horrible world of agent/publisher nonsense. I call it 'nonsense' only because of how hard it has become for an unknown to even get his/her material read, let alone represented by a reputable agent. I call it 'nonsense' because of how frustrating it is to have your manuscripts, that are the results of an indeterminate expenditure of your soul and spirit, returned unread by publishers and agents who 'only accept solicited material unless submitted by a current client or recommended by a current client'. I call it 'nonsense' because of how many incredible authors out there cannot even get their feet in the doors of the larger publishers of fantasy because their names don't ring any bells in the editor's memories.
So, POD publishing seems like a Godsend! But, it is so difficult to market a book alone. The bookstores, B & N in particular, which even owns a POD publisher (iUniverse), are reluctant to carry POD books on their shelves. They cannot be returned so they will not buy them. They also do not have the time or staff to read these books and determine if the quality is high enough to stock. Thus, your book can be the most incredible book of the century, and nevertheless, it will get no distribution and no exposure. Try making a living that way!
What is even more frustrating is that even reputable organizations like the SFWA will not even accept you as a member if you have published a POD book. They do not care how good the book is, believe it or not. They will reject your application unless you have received a payment upfront from a publisher for the right to publish your work.
There is so much resistance within the establiment of publishing/agenting/editing to the POD concept. It even seems that they are afraid of it, and they probably are! They become obsolete, and who would embrace a system that does not need them? But, the obstacles that they put in your way are major and will take years and years to overcome. The bookstores do not want to become the arbiters of literature. They do not want to have to determine which books to shelve. They need the publishers to make that determination for them, and the big agents and the p/r people and the marketing execs. POD is a last resort, and it can work if you have patience and you persevere and you have lots of energy! But, it is not an easy route to take.

March 26th, 2002, 10:28 PM
GemQuest is absolutely correct. I have never been able to find a reliable agent. I've tried all the major publishers without getting any sort of satisfactory answer. Once I sent a manuscript to Baen. They returned it after a year, unread. POD seems to be the only way to go, yet it has a crushing stigma, as pointed out. I am hoping that my novels will someday be read by someone fairminded, that they will be brought to the attention of people who can see for themselves that there are good authors out there in an untapped market. I've just published my 6th novel and will continue to defy the odds as long as I can. In order to get name recognition, I constantly improve my website, participate in relevant forums, write numerous short stories and articles which have been accepted by several SF/F zines. I'm not aware of an alternative these days and encourage all members of this forum to give POD authors a chance.

Robert Williams
March 27th, 2002, 02:52 AM
Thank you so much Fyre and Votarus4! It's a great feeling to hear people relate to what I wrote. It's been a long journey to get this book out and I appreciate your comments so much.

GemQuest and Penumbra are completely correct in what they say about the POD publishing and the conventional publishing world. I sent this manuscript to over fifty agents and more than a dozen publishers, and yes, most returned it unread with a form rejection letter. Only one agent actually read the work, and her response was "It's good, but not for me." I paid very expensive entrance fees to writer's conventions ($400+, and I am on a very limited income) only to have agents with whom I had set appointments to see reject it outright without even looking at the work.

So you can see why I turned to POD publishing. My experience is that the conventional agent/publisher system has become closed to new writers, just as GemQuest pointed out.

The best advice I could give you on promotion, Votarus4, is something you're doing now. I am new to this as well, but I have found discussion forums just like this one works very well for getting the word out. My strategy has been to set up a website devoted solely to the book with links to my publisher, iUniverse, then visit as many forums as possible and tell people about it. I also return to those forums and post replies. I think it would be rude to just visit once, say "Buy my book!" and then never post again.

I considered posting ads in newspapers. I have gotten some price quotes and it is very expensive, I would recommend it only if you have $1000 to spend on an ad that will run for only one day.

Then of course there is word of mouth. Friends and family are great at spreading the word, and I think it works better than most people think. I have already had several family members score sales for me.

Another trick is libraries. A library will order a book for a cardholder if you can provide the publisher information. This is only one sell, but it places your book on the shelves where people can check it out. They get to know your name and writing style and will be more likely to buy further books from you.

Yes, promotion is a lot of work, and it can cost you money. Create a budget and try to stretch it as much you can. Nothing is a sure thing to sell books, but the point is to get your name out there and get people curious. PenUmbra has the right idea. Keep working, keep putting your name out there, and persevere as long as you can. Good luck Votarus4, and post links to your novel's website here when you can!

Gary Wassner
March 27th, 2002, 03:14 AM
It always seems that there are so many talented writers who have had exactly the same demeaning experience with agents that so many of you here have had. Isn't it odd that the ones who suffer most from the cavalier attitude that many agents exhibit are those who ultimately provide them with their source of income? There is something inherently wrong with this system!
It would be wonderful if a group of us could create a forum for POD authors, review the books submitted in a critical and objective way, and present them to the public at conventions and on a website devoted to them. The real problem with POD is that many of the books are self published, unedited and not very good. But, to be perfectly frank, most of the books that come off the presses of the main stream publishers are awful too! They just benefit from the marketing and promotion of the publisher's machine.
Has it always been this way? I wonder.
Writing is one of the few creative endeavors where the author cannot simply present his product to the public and get a reaction. We are dependent upon the system to an extent. Clothing designers, inventors, musicians and artists can either show their product at a trade show or perform in front of the public somewhere and be seen. We cannot. The nature of what we do has sustained this system wherein we, the artists, have become the victims! How ironic.

March 27th, 2002, 07:34 AM
All right, GemQuest. I'm applying for membership in the GemQuest POD Forum Society, prepared to submit reviews, articles, short stories and anything else you recommend, just like here.