11 January 2011

Location! Location! Location!

Apparently, 2011 is the Year of the Writer. Well, it's not official or anything, but judging by the amount of blog titles and general links that have appeared on my Facebook feed in the last week or so, 2011 seems to be THE year to get published. Never has there been so many fledgling authors who are desperate to score their big break.

Of course, with every new year comes a rise in the number of would-be authors, which of course makes it that much more difficult to get that elusive first publishing contract. There are a number of blogs around that have given out advice on how to go about selling your work, so I'm not going to say much on the subject or I'll run the risk of repeating ad nauseum, but something that interests me is the difference between Britain and America when it comes to getting yourself published.

Unless I'm mistaken - which I might be because, well, it's me - if you live in America, you won't get anywhere with your publishing dreams unless you hook yourself an agent, whereas over here in Britain, an agent would be an advantage, but is not really necessary.  Now, that got me thinking... which way is better? If indeed either process is better? When you send your query and sample chapters, they are most likely going to be seen and judged by a single person no matter if it's a huge publishing house or an independent agent. So I don't really see any difference there. And if you are going to be rejected - which, let's face it, is going to happen whether you like it or not - it doesn't make a difference to your disappointment where that rejection comes from.

But it's apparently considered easier to break into the publishing industry in Britain than it is anywhere else in the world. Don't know whether it's because we are a small country, so there are less authors wanting to get out there, but that doesn't seem likely. There's probably a number of authors/ number of publishing houses equation to work this out, but I'm not mathematically inclined so I won't go there. I don't even know how I know that Britain seems to be a good place to live if you want to get published, it's just something I've sort of absorbed through my reading of many blogs.

I've also noticed that if your genre is Sci-fi or fantasy, then you're much more likely to attract interest in your work from an American agent, whereas if you write chick lit, then Britain's the place to be (which is good news for me seeing as the nearest thing I have to a completed novel is a chick lit comedy, though I may have to emigrate if I ever finish the fantasy/myth and magic/questy type novel).

I'm not sure where other genres fall in the 'best' location to publish from because I haven't really looked at anything other than my own genres, but it's definitely something to look into when you are ready to send off your queries.  Maybe it's a bit of a stretch saying that you need to live in a specific country to have a better chance of publishing a specific genre, but I firmly believe it's worth looking at publishing houses and/or agents from Britain and America when you are ready to send off your literary masterpiece. *nods*


Colene Murphy said...

Interesting. I just assumed it was the same everywhere, agent wise. Ah well.

I have noticed that about 2011 too. It must be the year for writers! (count me in that bunch)

CA Heaven said...

2011 is the year I will finish my so-called novel. But will I be published? Very unlikely >:)

Cold As Heaven

Crystal Collier said...

I disagree on two points.

1. e-publishing has made it so easy to get published that anyone anywhere can do it. (But will you get paid?)

2. AND you missed one crucial word. This not the year of the writer, but the year of the musical writer! =) (I hope.)

You do tempt me to try my fate across sea...

Great post!

Hart Johnson said...

I think the agent layer makes it a little harder because a book needs to 'sell' not once, but twice. That said, an agent should theoretically be able to help you clean it up enough that the second sell is easier. And theys should KNOW enough you go to the right publisher with it. (in theory)

I think America sort of owns Cozy Mystery, and I know suspense can probably be done everywhere... my real sadness for being here rather than there, is it seems Americans have the shortest attention spans and I would REALLY rather write novels that spend some time introducing characters before diving into the action.

Amber T. Smith said...

Colene - I used to think the same too, but there are definitely different routes to take in different parts of the world.

Cold as Heaven - I'd LOVE to be published this year -ANY year! - but like you I think my main goal is to have at least one completely finished product by the end of 2011.

Happily Cheesy (great name by the way), I agree with the e-publishing thing mostly, but I think self-publishing doen't help either. There are very few self-published authors who make the big time. And not to take anything away from the self-published authors out there, but I would much rather have an agent or a publishing house represent me. I've read several self-published works - and I'm not naming authors - and they were very poorly written in my humble opinion. You can't tar everyone ith the same brush, but I've definitely been put off the whole idea.

Tami - Yup, you are right about the having to sell twice thing. And I agree that the more wordy books tend to come from this side of the pond (apart from Stephen King, that is, who takes five pages to tell you how blue the sky is. A beautiful description of the sky to be sure, but... well, we don't need all those pages...)