I'm an established full-time author - willing to answer questions if you have them



Walter Scott wrote throughout his professional life, often well into the night, even though he had a thriving legal practice. When they made him a judge, he would write from the bench in between cases and during recesses.

Some people write because they can’t do otherwise.


Yep, you do what you have to :slight_smile:


Nice - A great choice.


Yep, that’s me.


Gosh, I finally finished reading all of these posts! Happy New Year by the way.

Anyway, I was wondering about the markets in different genres, specifically YA. I know that this market has been skyrocketing ever since dystopian books came out, but that’s mostly gone and now it’s heading towards realistic fiction type.

I’ve been working on a very realistic YA novel, but now I’m wondering if publishing it in the future, give or take a few years, would be too, well, risky (for lack of a better word) since the market could die down and no one would want to read it.


Hey there. First of all, I should mention that I don’t write YA so I may not be as knowledgeable on that market as, say, adult fantasy (which is where I write), but I’ll do what I can to answer your question.

  1. YA is a very hot, and very competitive market. If you have a compelling story and it can be the cream that rises to the top, there is the exceptional opportunity, but again “competitive” is the watchword meaning a lot of books will fall short.

  2. As to “market timing,” I think it’s folly to try to follow trends. Publishing takes a long time and as you rightly noted, by the time you get your book done and polished the market may have moved on. My best advice is to write a book that you want to read…one that you think has universal appeal and a timeless attraction. Write the book that only YOU can write. There is always room for a book in even the most crowded of markets if it’s something that people love.

I wish you well.


What advice do you have for hiring and editor?
I’m worried about scams and shortcuts an editor might try to pull on someone who doesn’t know any better. It would be dishonest to pretend money isn’t an issue. I want to make sure I’m getting quality work for however much I spend. I reached out to an editor some time ago who offered a free sample and when the editor returned it I felt like it was something I could have asked a friend to do and it wouldn’t cost me $2000.
What questions should I ask before I decide to hire and editor?


I write poetry and am concidering publishing. The thing is, poetry isn’t very popular, so I’m not sure- do I really want to? I’m not interested in making money, a few dollars a month would be great but not nessisarry. How on earth would I go about publishing something that no publisher would ever take?


You’d self publish it.


Poetry chapbooks would be the best bet for you. Btw I’m in the same boat as you with my poems as well.


Hi Michael,
Thanks for starting this thread. I hope my curiosity won’t kill my currently creative cat (don’t worry, it’s got 99 lives) but:

Is it more the case more that:

A) there is so much talent out there that agents/publishers are inundated with unique, compelling stories and have to sort out the ‘cream of the crop’


B) do they have scouts (AKA interns) reading forums like Wattpad looking for undiscovered talent (AKA every writer’s wet dream)? And if so, I’m sure those scouts would just read the Wattys winners, etc., correct?

Also, any place, heaven or earth, that you would suggest submitting a collection of short, humorous, slice-of-life stories? Or is the demand mostly for certain genres: vampire/werewolf, romance, teen fiction, etc?

NSD (Never Stop Dreaming) :wink:

Thank you,


This. Reputable publishers rarely scout places like Wattpad, because they don’t have to. They are INUNDATED with submissions from agents. (Very few publishers allow writers to query them directly.)

Of the queries sent to agents: 95% of those aren’t ready for prime time and are immediately rejected. For the remaining 5% of manuscripts, it’s a matter of finding the right agent at the right time. Agents get about ~100 queries per week; they take on 1-3 new clients per YEAR.

If a particular manuscript is picked up by an agent, it has a 50-75% chance of being accepted by a publisher.

It happened back in the first few years – back in the Anna Todd days. Not common at all these days. Many of those who were picked up didn’t earn out. Publishers figured out that Wattpad popularity doesn’t translate into sales.

It happens VERY occasionally now, but you truly do have better odds of winning the lottery.

Short story collections don’t sell well. Publishers publish short stories collections by famous authors almost exclusively – because they’re counting on the name to sell the book. The chances of an unknown writer selling a collection of short stories is almost nil.

You’d be better off submitting to short story markets and working your way up to the prestigious markets (like The New Yorker). Having that as a credit can carry some weight if you were to query a novel later.


I worked at a movie studio as a publicist. The impression I got, at least with the majors - not the indies or the mini-majors (eg Fox Searchlight etc) - they come up with the marketing concept first, THEN hire established writer/s to write the screenplay. They know that they have a built-in audience with a concept e.g. Marvel comics or Alvin and the Chipmunks. It’s already in the public consciousness and financial success with these type of movies is mostly based on opening weekend sales. For that reason, they don’t allow reviews to come out until opening day, so bad reviews will not run ahead of the movie. It really is hit or miss - with many a miss! The indies and mini-majors (born after majors saw success that certain independent movies have) are more likely to option a novel. They are set up to market a movie for financial success by building word of mouth for a quality story. One example of this set up was a pretty bad movie (ended up with a cultish following) made by a mini-major. As it had a recognizable lead actor, it was given to us at the “major” studio to release/market, because it was more fit for the marketing style of the major studios. Hope this was in some way relevant - or interesting!

Also, seems obvious, but with a novel, you read it and know if it’s good or not. But even studio execs, in the business for decades, say there is no known magic formula to know whether a script going to be a hit or a dud. There’s only a handful of directors - Spielberg, Scorsese etc who can pretty much guarantee a commercial success. Even big names like David Lynch have their share of commercial failures.


And yet hits are rate for publishers too. It’s the public that can’t be predicted.

Thanks for the post – great info!!


Here is a link that should help:

Some advice on finding and working with editors

I would start your search by putting a free ad on ACES (Americal Copye Editor Society) job board. Explain the length of your work the genre and ask people to email you. Then send them 3 - 5 pages from the middle of your book (not the front as it’s been highly polished – or should have been) and see what each comes back with. Some will be heavy handed, others a lighter touch. Ask them that given the sample, how much will they charge to edit the full book that xxxx words long. Then make your selection based on "level of editing you are looking for and price.

As for pricing. I use the top editors in my genre (the same ones that my big-five publishers use) and it costs me about $1,200 for a 135,000 word novel. So anyone charging you more than that are over priced. “Back in the day” I used to spend $350 for a 90,000 - 100,000 word piece, but that was 8 years ago. Bottom line you’ll get prices all across the board (from $50 - $5,000). I think anything under $1,500 which shows some good editing chops on the piece should be a good pick.


Poetry is EXTREMELY hard to make money at. Your chances of getting picked up by a traditional publisher (would be very slim). I’d recommend you (a) self-publish or (b) publish for free on websites and build a following. I wouldn’t expect much (if anything) from a financial perspective.


It’s neither of the above. Most queries sent to agents are bad…really really bad. So their accept rate is very low (1% - 2%). They’d love if if they could get more quality work submitted. It’s rare to find that cream.

And no, they don’t bother “scouting” for writers - in the past SOME did with regards to self-published authors who were absolutely killing it. But that’s cooled a bit. There is at least one publisher in my genre (fantasy) who is sending out feelers to well-selling self-published authors (to look at their next work). But that’s about it.

This isn’t something I have much experience with - DuoTrope is a database that many who are doing that use. It has a fee (used to be free) but it’s not too expensive.


It’s pretty much the same in traditional publishing. And because it’s so hard to “pick the winners” it’s why only 20% of books earn out. Still, even for books that don’t earn out the publishers usually make their money back (but not always). But a book that doesn’t earn out is seen as a failure by the publisher and it’s a nick in the reputation of the acquisitions editor.


Yep, the same problem exists in both industries.


How is that possible? If the publisher pays the author a $10,000 advance and the book only earns $9,000, how does the publisher make money? And that doesn’t even include the publisher’s costs. Maybe I don’t know what “earned out” means.

I once read that if the book doesn’t earn out in the first (I think it was) 6 weeks, it’s considered a failure even though over the long term it makes a lot of money.