Tag Archives: submissions

Ultimate Release (Guest Blog: Sean Hayden)

Ya, I know what you’re thinking. “That sounds dirty.” Well it’s not. I’d heard the expression over the years, knew what it meant, but I can honestly tell you, “You’ve got it wrong!” The ultimate release is nothing of the sort. The ultimate release is knowing, within a few days or weeks, the book you wrote will finally, finally be available for people to read.

The release of Origins has been one HELLUVA ride. I don’t see it as being over, either. These long and winding months of waiting are drawing to a close, but that wasn’t the ride. That was the rollercoaster climbing the first incline after leaving the gate at the amusement park. The real ride is just beginning. When it’s available for purchase, the rollercoaster will just be cresting that first hill and the whole ride will be laid out and I’m expecting to yak over the side of the car at some point in time (the true sign of a great ride).

Many of you might not know, but I only started writing about a year and a half to two years ago. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The reason I started writing is very simple. I had read a lot of things out there that I couldn’t believe had been published. I bought them for their shiny covers (ya, I know I shouldn’t judge it from it, but I did. Sue me), brought them home, brewed some coffee, got through the first few chapters, and threw them down in disgust. “How the hell did that get published?” Ever have one of those moments? Ever have one of these? “I could write better than that!”

I said it, and I realized what I said as the words dribbled from my numb lips. Did I just say I was going to write a book? Could I? Would I? Should I? I did.

As the final words of Origins made their way from my imagination, through my fingertips, onto the keys of my laptop computer, and etched onto the screen and hard-drive of my computer, I SMILED. I had done it. Now I just needed to find somebody to publish it. That would be easy, right?

*Insert hysterical, maniacal laughter soundtrack here*

Okay. Let me tell you something. WRITING A BOOK IS EASY!

There, I said it.

Now let me tell you what’s not. FINDING A PUBLISHER!

The rollercoaster lap-bars had come down, the ride was starting to move slowly forward. GASP! There’s a hiccup in the rides internal circuitry. Now the car will sit for a few months while they repair the ride.

Uh, huh. That’s what happened to our brave adventurer. He had a completed manuscript, but because he knew nothing about being an author or finding an agent or finding a publisher, he relied on the greatest purveyor of ultimate truth. The internet. I mean, if it’s on Google, IT HAS TO BE TRUE? RIGHT?

Ya, not so much.

“You will never get you published if you ain’t got an agent, son,” said the carnival operator to our stranded hero.

“Gosh, I’m gonna have to get me one of those,” I said.

And so I wasted the next five months of my life looking for an agent. See, the problem was agents are busy. What I didn’t know at the time was that I wasn’t the only hombre who had hopped on the “I WROTE A BOOK” rollercoaster. I had a lot in common with those other folks too. Not only had they written about vampires, too, but they were also (forgive my use of foul language) unpublished authors! Duh, duh, duuuuuuuuuuuuuuh. See, we are the LEPERS of the publishing industry. Because we had never had our work published in so much as a school newspaper (I’m kidding, don’t put that down on your resume), agents wouldn’t even take the time to read our stories. The bastards (yeah, I said it).

“Well, no problem,” I said when I realized that my rollercoaster wouldn’t get going if I kept vainly searching for someone from the Dewey, Screwum, and Howe Literary agency to take a gander at his magnificent manuscript. “I’ll just go right to the source and find me a PUBLISHER!” HEAD –>DESK

Have you ever heard the term SLUSHPILE? Sounds nummy, don’t it? Like a big SLURPEE just sittin there waitin for you and a straw. Hope it’s cherry. Hope somebody actually runs out of suggested manuscripts from reputable agents, skims through said pile, singles out your manuscript, gives it a read, likes it, makes you an offer, and publishes you. That would be nice, wouldn’t it? So would going to a local convenience store, picking up one of those little pencils, grabbing a lottery form, making little black squares with #2 lead, waiting until drawing night, watching the blond in the shiny dress pull little numbered balls out of an acrylic tube hooked up to a backwards ass vacuum, and watching your numbers come up.

Then, one cloudless summer’s day, a ray of light shone down from the heavens, lit up my keyboard, and a choir of angels sang out in joyous three-point harmony as I hit “ENTER” on my latest Google search. I had heard the term “INDI PUBLISHER” and decided to give it a whirl. Hmmmm, Echelon Press, that sound’s cool. Let me give them a shot. “BEST DAY EVER.”

Slowly, the ride crept forward on its rickety wooden frame and iron tracks. I could feel my manuscript and the ride of my new career being propelled slowly forward.

That was several months ago. The ride was filled with exciting things like getting my cover, and being assigned an editor, and then seeing the different edits as the book changed into something a little less raw and something more akin to the dreams I had of holding my book. Looking back, I can honestly say, there isn’t one thing I would change about the whole ride. It taught me so much, not only about publishing and writing, but about patience and perseverance as well. It made me not only a better author, but a better person as well. I just can’t believe I kept my sense of humor through the whole thing. What’s that? My sanity? HEHEHE. That’s a different story.

Origins

Ashlyn Thorn was born different.  She was born with all the characteristics of a vampire, but in a world where vampires, elves, and werewolves work, play, and die side by side with normal humans, everyone knows vampires aren’t born, they’re made.  The only thing she ever wanted is to know her true Origins.  Ashlyn’s tale takes her on a quest to find out what makes her different and to find out the truth, but with every question she gets answered, she uncovers more uncertainties.  To make things worse she makes enemies of the most powerful vampires of the city who consider her powers to dangerous to let go unchecked.  She is saved by the government only to be trained and used to serve their purposes, and Ashlyn finds herself torn between two worlds.  She can either be a monster, or help fight the monsters.

Born in the suburbs of Chicago, Sean Haydeen moved to the frigid arctic climes of southeast Florida as a small child.  The son of a fireman and a proofreader (that’s what they had before spellcheck) he fell in love with reading at a young age.  When he hit the age of 35 he wrote his first novel, an urban fantasy about vampires and demons entitled Origins.   Unsatisfied with one novel, he penned the sequel Deceptions and both titles of the Demonkin Series will be available from Echelon Press soon.

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Response to Hostage Demands

Okay, quite a few of you have asked to see my repsonse to yesterday’s hostage demands. There are those who will think the following is unprofessional. That is probably true. I probably should not have made the contents of the note public in the first place. I, however, think that everyone should have the opportunity to learn from the mistakes of others. I have made my position on things like this so clear  you’d have to be dead not to know what was going to happen. Below is my response. Do I feel bad about it? Do I feel bad about posting it on a public forum? No! When you send stupidity to me, I will respond as I see fit. It is the chance you take for poking me in the eye with a stick.

On a professional note. People, learn this. The cover letter or query you send a publisher is usually a first impression. Do your best to make it a good one. If you know a person and wish to use that familiarity to your benefit, use  your powers for good, not evil stupidity. If you honestly think that I am the only publisher who makes fun of things like this, you are sadly mistaken. I may be the only one foolish enough to post my thoughts on my Blog, but others talk.

One thing you should all know about me. I take publishing very seriously. I may laugh and I may joke, I may not be the epitome of professionalism, but that doe NOT mean I don’t put my entire self into what I do. Echelon does not want to work with people who think themselves above everyone else. We are a team. I don’t do things like everyone else, and you should know that going in. I believe in every author I acquire and I fully expect them to have the same belief in themself. I will not tolerate any author in my house thinking they are better than anyone else. We are all in this for the same reason. TO MAKE READERS HAPPY! You want to make a million dollars? Go start the next eBay or Amazon and good luck with that!

Dear Writer,

Thank you for taking the time to contact me regarding your work, although I am unclear as to what actual work you were referring to as there was no indication of an actual submission. Did you forget to put that part in?

I regret would like to inform you that I will be unable to meet any of your ridiculous demands. It pisses me off disturbs me to realize that the impact I have on authors at events is not what I had hoped for. I had led myself to believe nut job that I am that I since I was speaking very clearly to the masses about what they could and could not expect from a relationship with Echelon Press.

While your letter was written very well, the content was absolutely unthinkable. What the hell were you thinking? Echelon is not a large company and many of the larger houses would not even agree to these terms. Though we have been in business nearly ten years, we are still growing into our rightful place among respected publishers. We do this with the full and realistic support of our authors.

I just about laughed my arse off was particularly unsettled by your request for an annual marketing budget and a guarantee of acquisitions of your next four books. Really? Show me some sales track record.

I have a considerable number of bits of advice to give you, but they are all things I know I said when last we met. “You didn’t pay any attention then, why would you now? It is a shame that you chose to ignore my previous comments and display yourself in such a manipulative manner. I will be unable to offer you any furhter consideration and your e-mail address has been flagged as SPAM.

I would strongly urge you to familiarize yourself with how this industry actually works. The basic submission process begins with a query letter. Had you done any research regarding Echelon and myself, you would have known well in advance how this would play out.

Furthermore, you closed your letter by acknowledging me as “friend.” Please note that I am not your friend. Nor would I have been should you have actually submitted your work and we had acquired it. While I am quite fond of many of my authors, and a few I do call friend. A person who behaves so irresponsibly unprofessional would not fall into that category.

Publishing is a business and should be treated as such before, during, and after publication. Assumptions such as yours did not have the desired results. I am not so easily manipulated by a word. Please note that we do not wish to work with you at this time or any other time. Our submissions for all divisions are closed to you.

I sincerely hope you will consider my response before you try and hold another publisher hostage for your own personal gain use this manner to submit to another publisher.

Karen Syed, President
Echelon Press LLC

Today’s Publisher Peeve!

When submitting work to Echelon Press…

OK is Oklahoma.

It is not okay to use OK to say okay!

While it may be acceptable at other publishing houses, it is not okay at ours. Please do not tell me that O.K., OK, ok are correct according to etymology, I have read them all. I accept that. However, when the United States chose to change all the state abreviations, OK became Oklahoma, and in my opinion, that makes it incorrect when indicating that something is adequate.

That is all.

A Word to the Wise

Okay, for those of you who have recently had some kind of interaction with me or one of my staff at Echelon Press, please read this in the spirit it is intended. How is it intended? It is a gripe, not a rant. I am not angry, I am just frustrated. I don’t dislike you, but I did experience moments of annoyance with regard to you if you did what I am about to discuss.

Free editorial service. Yup, there I said it. When you submit your work to a publisher it it supposed to be the very best that it can be.

  • It should not need to be reformatted to fit our guidelines.
  • It should not need to be spell checked by our editors.
  • It should not need to be grammar checked by our editors.
  • It should not need to be rewritten to resolve major issues.
  • It should not need to be rewritten to resolve minor issues.
  • It should not need to be rainbowed (some of my auuthors call that the great was, were, that hunt)

Seriously. This is how MOST of the manuscripts we are getting have to be addressed. I understand and will accept some flaws, you are after all human. But let’s be serious folks. It is NOT an unwritten rule that you must send a fully edited manuscript to a publisher for consideration. It is written all over the place. 90% of our submissions need to be 50% overhauled.

Now, the free part. My editors are very considerate. I have always had a policy that if your work is rejected, you know exactly why. This means notes, suggestions, advice. You can take it or leave it. But I feel that it only serves to help the author better his craft. It is a courtesy.

Well, it seems that Echelon has gotten a reputation for being really easy! We have had an influx of authors who submit to us, I should say submit work that needs serious work, with the notion that we will edit it. Okay, we will HELP.

But those same authors are getting all kinds of input and help with revision suggestions, notes on grammatical and spelling errors, stuff like that BEFORE they have a contract. Okay, that stops here! Right now. From this point on, Echelon will only give editorial comments and the like on contracted materials. Why?

In the last month, we have had about a dozen submissions where a pending offer was made, the editor began working with the author, time was spent, MONEY was spent, and then when it came time to actually sign and mail the contract, the author decided to go with another publisher or in the case of five different authors, they decided to self-publish.

For pete’s sake people, you can’t make this decision BEFORE you submit and get a gander at our contract which is not for public viewing? You wanna self-publish, good for you. And I don’t mean that in a snarky way. If you are willing to make that commitment and follow through, then I applaud you. Sincerely. But do I have to pay the price?

I am, after all, a publisher, not a FREE editorial service. I have to pay my editors and when you get their work and then don’t sign the damn contract, I still have to pay them, or they quit. Are you following what I’m saying?

For those of you who fit this bill, I’m really not mad, but I am disappointed because we do put a lot of work into what we do, and when it is for nothing, that means you have taken the time we could have been devoting to someone who really did want to be published by us.

Be courteous. Is that too much to ask?