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I’ve Got Questions About Publishing – Ask Anne The Pro Writer

Hi Anne,

I still seem to be stuck as to what I should do. There’s so many scams out there, it’s hard to decipher what’s real. I am trying to find information about getting published, if I need a publisher, if there’s financial aid for beginner author’s, etc.
So far, I’ve gotten a few e-mails from someone at booksurge.com and they’re on the other side of the country. Do I have to keep searching in order to find a specific publishing service that deals with my genre of writing?
I have a variety of writing genres and have written them in trancript form. Nobody is able to tell me the difference between trancript and manuscript. Is it alright to submit my completed story in transcript form, or would I have to change that?
Since I transcribed an eight episode show a few years ago, it’s been easier for me to write that way.
I’ve been writing for about eight years now and thought it’s time to get something on the shelves instead of having my completed stories collect dust. I have about eight to ten completed, but I’d like to know what to do.
I do have a book of Writer’s Market from a couple years back (2001 I think) but many of them won’t even consider unless I have an agent.
How does an agent differ from a publisher or editor? 
I’ve seen your answers, and you’re pretty straight forward and simple when you reply. I appreciate that, keeps me from trying to read between the lines. I also appreciate you helping others like me finding the answers to questions I have and not just throwing pricing information back or answering just one question.
Thank you and have a great day.
Tina G
Hi Tina,
Wow, you do have questions. Thanks for your confidence in me. Let’s see how I do:
To get a book on the shelves it has to be written then formatted and manufactured into book form – cover and pages – so it can be sold or at least displayed. This can be accomplished through a trade publisher (names like Random House, Pocket Books, etc.), or self-publishing. Thinking About Self-Publishing will give you an over view of trade and self-publishing.
Booksurge is a Print On Demand (pod) or author services company. They are owned by Amazon and frankly don’t have a great reputation. I’ve not worked with them, so I’m operating from hearsay. Picking A Self-Publishing Company will give you some solid hints about what questions to ask, etc. before you decide on a self-publishing company if you do. Two Helpful Posts on Self-Publishing gives you more information, hopefully not too much.
If you want a trade publisher or want to work with an agent, they generally have speciaties or niches or genres. The current, 2009 Writer’s Market will help, and it’s worth buying the newest edition.          

Briefley, an agent represents you to a publisher, the publisher manufactures and distributes the book. An editor is the one who makes sure your spelling is correct, your sentences complete, etc. If you have a publisher they will hire the editor; if you self-publish, you’re responsible to make sure the editing gets done.

I’m not at all clear what you’re asking when you talk about a transcript. If it’s an audio of your words that has been transcribed into text, it probably needs a lot of editing so it makes sense. When we speak, we often go here and there in ways that make sense at the time but don’t when you read it in print.
In terms of financial aide, there are grants. I’m far from an expert, but I know one.  C. Hope Clark is the creator of Funds for Writers, a website devoted to just that and she does an outstanding job. 
This may be more information than you need all at once, but it may also give you a place to start.
Do you have a question about freelance writing? Ask Anne, The Writing Pro – that’s me 😉 Ask in the comments or send an email and put Q&A in the subject line so I can sort it out from spam and I’ll do my best. Meanwhile, you’ll find some Q&A’s here: Ask Anne, The Pro Writer   

Write well and often,

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Abundant Freelance Writing – a resource for freelance writers including 3x a week job postings.
Writing With Vision – for those who want to get a book written.

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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • admin

    Good points Devon. As I said, I’m not at all clear what she is asking about when she refers to transcripts… I hadn’t thought of scripts… and the library suggestion is excellent. Thanks.

  • Just to clarify, a “transcript” is not a publishable format. It’s a working tool from which to create something.

    One transcribes something that has been spoken, such as a taped interview, and builds the article from that, or transcribes notes for a script or a novel or a short story.

    The transcription itself is not a finished piece of work in submission format.

    A script, which is very different from a transcript, be it theatre or film or television, has specific formatting rules, as do short stories and novels. Not to mention that various publishers have their own versions of standard manuscript format.

    Your local library should have a vast array of writing books with all the details on various formats. You will still need to read and follow individual guidelines when you submit.

    Devon Ellington’s last blog post..January 14, 2009

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