This post is part of 'WORLDS WITHIN WORLDS', a series of writings about Prunella (Ella) Smith, author, editor & reviewer, and the many worlds she inhabits: her physical reality; her online world where disgruntled author Dita stalks; the worlds of the books she edits; her dream world, and the world beneath the veil of her ordinary reality. Click here for the previous offerings in reverse order, or here for links to them in order. The Publisher's Brush-off Downward Dog is a strange name for an arrangement of the body. Bum up, head down, arms and legs straight. Imagine someone lifting up your hips ….Ssttrreeeettcchh. Ahhhh. It feels goood. I bring myself upright, stretch my spine up and arch backwards. Three times and I’m done. Pain is a great discipliner. If I don’t do my daily exercises, my back soon reminds me. So I do what the physio told me to, I strengthen my core muscles in a regime I attend to more religiously than my meditation. I walk from my studio—polished … [Read more...]
Have you ever asked yourself – is it good enough?
At various points in their careers every artist, and probably everyone with an assignment or presentation to hand in, will ask themselves this question and it’s just hit me (again) because I have a story all ready to roll out to the world. I’ve had it professionally edited and I’ve formatted it beautifully using HTML, ( a fun learning curve) so it looks better than a lot of ebooks I’ve read, and now I’m asking myself, is it good enough? This is the quandary of any author whose work hasn’t been picked up by a publisher. In this case, because we’re talking about one short story, I haven’t even submitted it, because no one publishes one short story. An anthology of short stories is coming next and I’m not submitting that to anyone either because no one publishes anthologies of short stories by new authors. So, how do you know if your work is good enough? Answer - show it to people who will know. Seven people have looked at the anthology and every one of them has enjoyed them and agreed … [Read more...]
Guest post by G.L. Breedon – key points on Indie Publishing
Today’s post is by Geoffrey Breedon who wrote the fabulous ‘Wizard of Time’, a book I recommend for all YA fantasy fans. It’s a great book for both boys and girls and for readers both younger and older than teens. Read my review here. Take it away Geoffrey. After having three novels rejected by every agent who worked with YA fantasy and every YA fantasy publisher that would accept unagented submissions, I decided to follow the indie route and publish my novels myself. There were some key best practices I picked up as I researched indie publishing and as I tried to implement them, I learned some lessons of my own: Business: Treat indie publishing your novel like a business - because it is. I have been coordinating corporate events for the last 15 years, so thankfully, I knew how to create a production schedule and stick to it. Research: Do your research early on, so you know what the whole process will be like, what to expect, and what you will need to do at each stage. I found … [Read more...]
Wanna read a positive rejection – sob, sigh!
My agent just got the following response from Allen & Unwin I read the sample chapter over lunch. It's clear that Tahlia has a good handle on action and pace, and I'm tempted to ask for the whole manuscript. But as we've got a number of similar titles in the pipeline, I think it's best at this stage for me to decline, as I don't feel confident, in such a crowded fantasy market, that we could successfully publish this novel in addition to the others. I'm sorry! I'm sure you will find a good home for it and wish you and Tahlia well. That's the nicest rejection I've ever had. What do you think? … [Read more...]
Submission news & are demons finished?
My agent has finally sent email proposals to contacts at Allen & Unwin, HarperCollins and a letter submission to Harlequin Teen in New York . In the email telling me this, Debbie said, 'Harlequin Teen looks like as good a possibility as any. It is very tough at the moment and demon stories seem to be out of fashion.' Out of fashion! Sheesh, what a reason to be rejected. I replied to this by saying .. 'It might be good to point out, if anyone gives you the chance, that the demons in my story are not based on a western idea of demons with heaven & hell & angel mythology, as other demon stories are. My demons are based on the eastern view of demons as a metaphor for negative emotions. To a reader, the world in the book looks quite different to the world in other demon books.' Will any of the publishers get so far as to notice that? Or have they all just decided demons are out. They weren't when I wrote it. In fact I hadn't even read a book about demons until it was … [Read more...]
I spoke to my agent yesterday. She’s read the re-edited version of Lethal Inheritance and she loves it as much as she did the first time she read it. She noticed the new beginning but couldn’t see what else I’d changed in the ms. That’s because the main changes were in the quality of the writing, not in the big structural elements. I told her that basically, it’s just much better written. Specifically More skill in showing not telling – a lot of subtle changes here that add a lot to the immediacy of the writing.. More clarity in the explanation of how the elements of the world fit together More clarity in the nature of the energy exchange between Nick and Ariel A slower & more interesting development in Nick and Ariel’s relationship She was a little concerned that it’s 97,000 words long, thinking that publishers might be reticent to publish a YA one of that length. Personally, I like long novels – more value for money - and none of my teen readers thought it was too long. I … [Read more...]
Interview with Mary McDonald author of ‘No Good Deed’
I came across Mary in the comments on a post on the Fiction Groupie blog asking if people would buy self published books. Some people said they would never look at them. Mary began her comment with - As a self-pubbed author who has never been traditionally published, I guess I'm one of those some of you would never buy. Then she went on to say that her book No Good Deed was doing quite well. I checked out the book and bought it (only $3.99 on Smashwords for the ebook – I can take a risk for that). From the reviews I read, I thought it might be a candidate for an M-Award. It was and I awarded her one last week because I found the book highly moving and memorable. Here’s the blurb. Due to an unfortunate set of circumstances,Chicago photographer Mark Taylor finds himself in the incredulous position of being arrested as a homegrown terrorist and incarcerated as an enemy combatant. There's no rights, no trial--no way out. After reading it, I wanted to ask Mary some questions and I … [Read more...]
Rejection isn’t rare, but feedback with it is.
One of the things that annoy some writers is that rejections don’t come with any feedback on the story or novel being submitted. The reason given is that agents, editors (in the case of magazines) and publishers just don’t have time. I understand that completely, because to give responsible feedback takes a lot of thought as well as the time to write it properly. So when feedback does come, it’s greatly appreciated and very heart warming. It shows that someone has taken the time to nurture your writing. It’s only happened to me once, in this recent response from Aurealis Magazine (an Australian and New Zealand Sci fi/fantasy magazine). On the 4th May, I submitted a 6000 word story called ‘Butterfly’. The first 500 words of it are at the end of this post. (I won’t put it all up yet, because I’m still hoping to find a Magazine to publish it.) In italics below is the email I received from the editor. My comments are in ordinary type. 'Dear Tahlia, Thank you for submitting your story … [Read more...]
The query letter
How do you get an agent or a publisher? You write a query letter. Maybe it’s called that because you’re asking the question, ‘are you interested?’ You only get one shot at each agent and each publisher, and they’re very busy people. If your letter doesn’t grab them, they won’t read the rest of your submission. This is why the query letter is so important, and it’s why I rewrote mine maybe twenty times. The most important part of the query is the ‘blurb’ for the back cover of the book. The aim of it is to give an idea of what’s in the novel and make people want to read it, all in around 100- 150 words. Doing this was a wonderful exercise in clarifying the main thrust of the book, being succinct and choosing words carefully. Although seven agents and, so far, three publishers rejected my novel, one agent picked it up, so it can’t have been too bad. Also my agent, apart from rewriting my brief bio - I would never have thought of mentioning the masks - has used the guts of my query … [Read more...]
Searching for a publisher – the next step
My agent has sent an email proposal for my book to Macmillan Australia, Text publishing, Macmillan in the UK and Simon & Schuster and Walden Media in the USA. The news we want to hear is that one of them wants to read the ms, but there will inevitably be rejections. … [Read more...]