View Full Version : Replies to Guide

10 November 2005, 12:58 PM
If you have any questions, please ask them here, at least until I get the rest of it finished. If you find something that I missed, let me know.

I will work on the rest when I have time, for now I have to start getting dinner ready :D

Jax Nova
10 November 2005, 02:09 PM
It's helpfull. I will have to read through it a couple of times before I remember it all, but I thank you for posting it. :)

How do you get paid for reviewing books?

Just to clarify on the typs of stories.....

If it is hightech and fiction then it is science fiction.

If it is like midevil times it is just fiction, fantasy...?? And what about all the others??

Jax Nova

10 November 2005, 11:23 PM
This is why Sci-fi, Fantacy, and Horror all get lumped together. Really it just names the setting. You can have a sci-fi romantic comedy if you so choose.

Basically, its:
Sci-Fi: Super techknology, Theoretical Science, and plausable futures (or pasts)

Fantacy: Very low tech. Most do not even have steel and use minerals like iron or bronze for weapons and armor.

Horror: Just that, it's scarry.

The "Pern" books are a good example of sci-fi/fantacy mix. Its low tech, yet high tech. I'll explain.

In the Pern series of books, the main location is the planet Pern. It was settled thousands of years ago by space fairing humans. Some very bad things happend and they lost most of the technology. Now, a few thousand years go by, and we see the sociaty as it is now. They have most metals, steel and such, but nothing really great, like aluminium or titainium. They also ride dragons (read "The Dragon Riders of Pern" for more info.) They also have magic, wich is actually science disguised as magic to fool the uneducated. They also have a masive super computer that they recently figured out how to turn on, and it is slowly teaching them about science, but some people prefer the 'old ways' and want to destroy this computer they believe is trying to become a god. This creates tension, thus you have a story.

At the same time, only four or five buildings have electricity. Most people cook on wood stoves using animal fat for grease, and light there wooden houses with fish oil lamps. Only the royal guard has guns (and even then the ammo is very limited, so they also carry swords.), everyone else uses low tech weapons such as sword, bows, blowguns and the like. Armor is usually boiled leather, sometimes with a metal breast plate, but not always. Even the ability to make hiigh quality glass (for microsope lenses, telescopes, truely flat mirrors that don't warp the refelcted image, etc...) is so hard to make, only a privilaged few have them or can even get them. Even then it takes months, and a lot of gold to fill the request.

To make it truely a sci-fi/fantacy/or horror book you have to make the setting main character.

Sci-Fi: Just about anything by Izac Azimof(I hope I spelled that right). In his book, yes you have charactes, a plot, a real story. But it all takes place in these fantantic places, and the science behind it all, that makes the world the characters live in function, is plausable.

Fantacy: Ann McCaffery(Agian I am not sure if I spelled that right). In her books, again you have characters and a plot, but the locations are so believable you can see it your mind as if your standing there, in that very spot. The social interaction between everyone, not just the key players is astounding. These are the things that make a fantacy book truely great.

Horror: Steven King(The master of horror!). From around page 7 to the very last page your scared. You can feel the fear in the main characters as if it was your own. This is what horror is about, not hack and slash like the "Friday the 13th" movies. A great horror book will scare the reader just enough to make them turn the page, to make it to irisistable not too.

If you took the example of the Pern books from above, you could EASILY make a horror novel in the same setting. Then the book would cross-over all three.

Sci-Fi/Fantacy/Horror are settings. Things like Action/Comedy/Romance/etc... are plot descriptions.

I almost forgot to answer your first question ;)

Once in while publishers will place adds in lterary magazines. Personally I subscibe to Writer Digest. Other times, it's an agency that has contracts with many publishers. Either way, there looking for fellow writters (or at least people that understand the elements of writting) to be a reviewer. They generally pay from $5 to $50 per manuscipt depending on length. You usually get 3-6 per month. If you want to read for a living, you can sign up with more than one of these. If you take an average of $15 per manusript (always low ball when figuring potential income) at 6 per month, that is only $90 per month. So would have to read 60 (60X$15) complete books per month to garuntee an income of only $900 per month. I did it once for a while and was averaging $27 per manuscript back in the 90's (the prices may have gone up, I havnt looked in to or a while) and read around 35-40 per month. This gave me an expected income around $1000 per month, but generally was closer $1200. Trust me, after a while they all start looking the same, and you can get burned out very easilly. When you think about it, I was reading a little more than 1 entire book per day. You have to (although I often found short cuts) read them cover to cover so that you can give an acccurate review.

A review staement often will be like:
Page 247, Paragaph 2, Sentace four, "The two men entered the building". In the preceding chapter the other cop went back to the station, no explanaition of how or when he got in to this scene at the same time as the first cop. If the other person is not the same one that went back to the station, which the rest of the cahapter clearly states it is, then there is no explanantion of who this "other' person is.

You have to do one for each discrepency you find, with out suggesting any changes, then you go down a list of items scoring the book. The list includes things readablity, grammer, puncuation, over rating, best and worst scene, etc....

It is very tedious work, and if you want to be an editor for a publisher, or become a publisher yourself, it is a great way to get started. If you want to be a writter, it can make you wish you never heard of writting around month 8 or 9. It is defently not for everyone. Trust me, if you do this, do not expect to read these for enjoyment, you will get very little of that. I still read a book cover to cover in two days if I want too (I could do it in one if I could free up an entire day to just read). When I find a book I want to enjoy, I purosfully limit myself to one or two chapters per day. This way I can read them, then ponder what has happened in the chapter(s) for the rest of the day. Drives my wife crazy that I can do that and still recall what the book was about ;) I have always loved reading and writting, When I was thirteen I would read with out blinking or taking breaks until my eyes burned and I had to stop. If I don't watch my self I still tend to do that. :rolleyes: When I was 16, I published my first short story in the school news paper. The teachers loved it and sent in to a magazine for me, and the rest is history.

Sorry, rambling again. :)

I hope all this answers your questions. If not, ask some more :)

Jax Nova
11 November 2005, 10:50 AM
Ok thanks, that about covers it.

Well, If I come up with some more I will ask you then.

11 November 2005, 05:37 PM
Isaac Asimov.

Just tryign to be helpful.

I like the first two portions of the guide. no time for more comments.

11 November 2005, 08:17 PM
Thanks :)

I will start working on part 3 tonight

Finished with part 3: Agents

12 November 2005, 05:33 AM
Now that I have the time, I cna make my comment.

Ya know, either you are incredibly biased or PODing and Self Publishing are really stupid. I'm inclined to think both, but mostly the stupid part. You really were alot more succinct in the guide than in the threads. Thanks.

Now of to read Agents.

12 November 2005, 05:42 AM
Good work on Agents. The perfect amount of non-specificness. Remember: Links to genuinely useful resources add credibility to guides such as this. If you have more...

I eagerly await Section 4!

12 November 2005, 11:26 PM
Now that I have the time, I cna make my comment.

Ya know, either you are incredibly biased or PODing and Self Publishing are really stupid. I'm inclined to think both, but mostly the stupid part. You really were alot more succinct in the guide than in the threads. Thanks.

Now of to read Agents.

Mostly I am biased, but this from personal experience. I have used both Vanity Publishing and Self Publishing, and my experiences where not the best I could i have hoped for. I did have someone (it was actually a cousin that lived next door) sue me. He claimed the main character in a short story I wrote was based on him. I won, but it still cost me nearly $2000.00 (I only made around 2500 gross from the story so after taxes it acttually cost me money, not to mention time) and has caused a fued in the family that still runs today. If my cousin had won, I would have owed him the entire amount of the money I made, plus still had to pay court fees and my lawyer. On top of that, there where others (non-family members) that where waiting to see if I won or lost. If I lost, they where fully prepaired to file there own suits. It was not a good sutiuation that dragged on for nearly a year. At the time, POD services where still to expencive to use.

If you publish through a publishing house, and/or have an agent, you also get the benifit of there legal staff. This fact alone makes people think twice before sueing you, and no lawyer will take the case with out rock solid evidence. This is because they know the publisher will do everything it can to protect it's image.

POD/Vanity/Self-Publish is a great route, as long you don't intend to make money from work. If you don't profit, you cant be sued for very much. If you do plan to make money, or even a living, with writting then it is best to partner with proffesionals who will, by protecting you, be also protecting themselves. Its just a win/win situation with fewer chances of pitfalls. Thanks to the modern American legal system, you almost have to paranoid when trying to make money writting (almost I said ;) ).

It is important to note, that even though i have own biases when publishing, all of the imforation presented is as complete and accurate as I could make it.

12 November 2005, 11:37 PM
Yes, a double post... I know.

Maybe one of you can help with a particular part of the next section. Formating on the forum can be hard, for sample querry/cover letters, should I just upload a document? If so, what word proccessos are you using? So I know what file format to use. I have office 2003, and openoffice 2.0 installed on this sytem, so i can save to just about anything.

13 November 2005, 06:22 AM
Word 97

I mightn ot be albe to load everythign properly, but everything I do is fully readable by practically everything cause mine's so old!

13 November 2005, 10:40 AM
Word 97 is a great program, mainly becuase it can do so much, yet is about on thenth the size of Word '03. (You should see the HD requirements of Word '05!)

I suppose I could do them in RTF format so that most people can read them even if all they have is WordPad. You dont need any great amount of formating for a cover/querry letter. Mainly its 1 Right Align, then Justify the margins (something you do NOT with the actual manuscript).

If that would be ok with you and Jax, I think that might be best. The idea is use a document format that as many people as possable can read, yet still be able to use some formating to make it look like what is suppose too.

Jax Nova
15 November 2005, 02:07 PM
( been away for a while )

I am not sure exactily all the stuff about the formating thing.

For typing on this computer I use Microsoft works.

15 November 2005, 03:48 PM
Due to the above, my Word can't convert RTFs. It gives th UI DLL message that results in Word 'ending'. (That aobut sums it up.) It gives said dialog box alot actually, but this is one of the cases where it can't be ignored.


Compile it in RTF by all means...but if you could do a .doc edition as well...

16 November 2005, 08:38 PM
Sorry for the latness of this reply, I have been very busy this week.

I can do one in .doc (since most people can use that. I also have works, so I should be able to one there. I will try to include all of the examples in a .zip file for easier downloading.

I have started working on it, just seems everytime I start, something tries to get in the way. :pitdroid:

Jax Nova
17 November 2005, 12:15 PM
Ok say I have this book that I want to publish myself.

Theese are the steps. ( I am guessing now )

1: obvoisly, write the book

2: go over it and be sure that EVERYTHING is how you want it

3: Then send it in to a publisher.

( this is asuming I DO NOT have an agent or editor )

If theese are the corect steps please let me know......

If they are the WRONG steps PLEASE LET ME KNOW.

Again I would like to express my gratitude for ALL the help that you have given I greatly appriciate it!!! :)

Jax Nova

17 November 2005, 12:36 PM
You got it. Not much really to it beyond that.

18 November 2005, 12:19 PM
ummm...how much would you say an agent would cost, on average??

18 November 2005, 12:42 PM
Depends on your contract, but is usualy 15% of what you get. I'll give you an example.

You get a book publisher to print your book. They offer an advance of $2500. You accept. The publisher sends the check to your agent, and he goes over the statment checking or errors, and when all is fine, he cashes it. He (your agent) then sends you a check for the $2500 minus his 15%. In this case you get a check for $2125.

Keep in mind that you still have to pay taxes on that money and you get and can resonably expect to pay the government (at least in the U.S.) 24% to 42% of what you recieve depending on the total eaned at by the end of the tax year. An accountant would be handy at this point so you can claim deductions that will reduce the ammount you pay in taxes. Otherwise, out of the money sent to you, you get to keep $1615 to $1232.50. As you can see, the money dissapears quickly.