Monthly Online eZine  
News And Views For Working Writers

 INside Scoop
 IN Her Own Write
 Pen IN Hand
 Write On!
 Screen & Stage
 Top 10 Resources
 Book Reviews
 Items Of INterest
 Global Offerings
 INside Services
 Bill The Bard
 The Writer At Work
 Games & Puzzles
 Classic eTexts
 Free Software
 IN Banners
 Who's IN
 What's IN
 Editorial Calendar
 Join IN's Team
 Contacting IN

IN Front Cover


Learn To Be A Better Journalist

Buy Classic Literature Collections

Acclaimed Screenplay Writing Software

Books On How To Write Fiction

Become A Well Paid Travel Writer

Vote daily and raise our ranking!

IN Her Own Write
January, 2008

Food of Love

Who Needs An Agent?
Not us
By  Anne R. Allen

Since I've been writing about agent-hunting, I've received a number of e-mails from readers who tell me they don't have agents and they're doing just fine, thank you.
I believe them – and appreciate the reminder to tell readers: You don't need an agent to sell a book. I sold three novels to small presses without representation. Unfortunately, I also got in deep financial doo-doo because I was clueless about how to negotiate the sales.
An agent would have saved me some grief. But so would a union rep. If you're going the no-agent route, I recommend joining a union. In the US, The National Writer's Union is a powerful ally – and members can access great insider information, including a comprehensive comparison study on POD publishing – the best I've seen. You need to be published to join, but a few articles will qualify you. Dues are way cheaper than hiring a lawyer.
If you haven't queried widely, keep at it. But if you're getting dozens of "great writing but I don't know how to sell it" rejections for a polished novel and query, consider the self/small-press publishing route.
I know people say if your work is good enough, eventually an agent will take it on. But definitions of "good" can be subjective. Check an agent's recently sold titles. If you'd rather read cereal-box copy, your stuff won't float her Lucky Charms, either.
It's like an American/Pop Idol competition. The top contenders are excellent practitioners of a prescribed, copy-cat style. But Mr. Cowell would sprain a sneer muscle if confronted with a young Dylan, Louis Armstrong, or Ralph Stanley.  
The global economy has American Idolized the world. In Jane Austen's lifetime, success meant selling a few thousand books. Her publisher didn't worry about sales in Durban or Perth – or whether Texas Wal-Marts might ban Pride And Prejudice because Lizzie's sister was a fallen woman. But today a TV show is cancelled if it only draws twelve million viewers. Big publishers buy fewer and fewer novels. Like television producers, they make more money with schlocky "reality" than with crafted fiction. And that fiction has to appeal to millions.
It's true you can't get a manuscript read at a big house without an agent, and even medium-sized presses are closing doors to the unrepresented. But major house publication can be overrated. Often a first novelist gets fifteen Warhol minutes, then splat – if she doesn't have a film in development at Warner Brothers within the year, she's a failure who has to change her name to publish again.
Writers – even novelists – can start careers through small presses and/or self publishing if they're good at promotion and publicity. A great source for book marketing strategies is writing guru Dan Poynter His valuable newsletter is free.
The Web provides increasing alternatives to the old publishing paradigm. E-publishing is still in its infancy. Clever online networking can reach way more customers than treeware languishing on a shelf.
Plus there's much talk now of "Long Tail" marketing – a term coined by Wired editor Chris Anderson. It refers to the part of the sales chart composed of niche sales, which he argues will become as important as mega-hits now that technology has provided the "infinite shelf-space" effect.
One caveat if you go the POD route: Have your book professionally edited and proofread. Every shoddy self-published book adds to the bad rep of the rest.
If you're not Web savvy, consider regional publishing. Most areas have small presses that specialize in local history and guidebooks. Sometimes they'll take on a novel or memoir with a local setting. Or self-publish for the local market. Sometimes you can place books on consignment in gift shops, hotels, and restaurants – which avoids the problem of bookstores' distain for POD.
Suggestions for becoming a big fish in a hometown pond: 

  • Incorporate a local legend or ghost story into your paranormal romance.
  • Set your cozy at a nearby landmark. 
  • Contact community outreach at your local police department. (Some offer formal classes.) A fictionalized version of a famous local case might make a great police procedural.
  • Write about sex in your city. (If your heroine shops in neighbourhood stores, they might carry your book.)
  • Join local genealogical/historical societies and set a family saga against the backdrop of your region's history.  

Publishing with POD or regional presses can result in substantial sales if you're willing to work. Plus, your book can stay in print for decades rather than months. Go for it!

IN Icon

Anne R. Allen is a California novelist and freelance writer. Her latest comic novel, The Best Revenge, (Babash-Ryan) debuted in the UK in 2005 and is available from and most UK bookshops. Her first novel with Babash-Ryan, Food Of Love is available from and as well as

Sign Up and Use Our New Forums! Voice Your Opinion! Discuss Our Content! Ask for Writing Assistance. Post Your Successes, Queries or Information Requests. Collaborate with Other Writers.

© Freelance Writing Organization - International 1999-2049

IN Her Own Write
IN This Issue
For Whose Eyes Only?
Rewrites Without A Contract?
What's Your Genre?
Who Needs An Agent?
Lots Of Plots
Writers' Conferences?
Writing The Dreaded Synopsis
Hooks, Loglines, and Pitches
Landing An Agent

Support IN
Receive Free Gifts
$20.00 Voluntary Contribution
$35.00 Voluntary Contribution
$50.00 Voluntary Contribution

New Novelist Software

Effectively Manage Your List

Writers Digest 101 Site Award

Your Ad Here

Traffic Swarm For Writers

Hottest Books This Month!

Whose Books Are Turning Into Movies?
Bald Ego
Mouse Over To Pause

Writer’s Block
The path to inspiration starts
Upon the trails we’ve known;
Each writer’s block is not a rock,
But just a stepping stone.

Poetry Is Not
Penned to the page
Waiting for us to admire.
It is only a lonely thought
Caught by tears on fire.

Silent Echoes
A quiet rhyme upon a page
Is what a poet gives;
Some gentle words whispered in trust
To see if memory lives.

Bard From Deadlines
What makes a poem finally work
Is not the time it takes;
It’s how the poet used the muse
To prophet from mistakes.

Be Mused
The art and craft of poetry
Are not so far apart;
The craft comes from the cunning,
The rest comes from the heart.

Fine Vintage
Don’t plant your poem on the page
As though you’re hanging drapes;
It’s shape and flow should come and grow
Like wild summer grapes.

Getting It Write
Writers write what they know best,
Their passions, fears, and dreams;
Writers rarely write about
What other call their “themes.”

Double Vision
A writer’s life is paradox,
It’s more than what it seems;
We write of our reality,
The one inside our dreams.

The echo of a promise,
The thunder of a sigh,
The music of a memory,
A child asking why.

Letter Perfect
Twenty six symbols arranged on a page
Can send a soul to heaven or torment it with rage,
Can free a fragile world or hold it in its net--
The power and the magic of the mighty alphabet.

The Write of Passage
The jump from writing just for fun
To getting paid for it
Begins when you first realize
You know you’ll never quit.

It is not the magic of his wings
That sets us free from our bond.
It is the muse within ourselves
That lets our words lift us beyond.

Photo Poet
Consider your mind the darkroom,
Consider your life the lens,
Consider your eye the camera
On whose focus the poem depends.

Rising Moon
A poem is a rising moon
Shining on the sea,
An afterglow of all we know,
Of all we hope to be.

Star Light
Writing a poem,
Reaching a star,
In making good art
We find who we are.

Spider Web
A poem is a spider web
Spun with words of wonder,
Woven lace held in place
By whispers made of thunder.

The final draft upon the screen,
At last my poem’s through;
A verse of only four short lines--
I rewrote twenty-two!

Read All Of Charles Ghigna's Poetry at

Our Own Banner Rotator System
Any banner seen below is either our own or one of our members.
Support the cause - click a banner.

Want Your 468x60 Banner Above? It's FREE For Newly Published Books

© Freelance Writing Organization - International 1999-2049
All Rights Reserved. Copying in any way strictly forbidden.
Our Disclaimer Is Based Upon McIntyre's First Law: "Under the right circumstances, anything I tell you may be wrong."