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Archive for August, 2011

How to handle contracts …

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on August 28, 2011

Unless you have a background in dealing with contracts, they can be  pretty daunting for writers. When my contract came through for my first trilogy it was 75 pages long, (25 pages for each book). Gaah. I was swamped. Luckily I had an agent and handed it over to him. Before this I’d been published with my children’s books and short stories and the contracts had been pretty straight forward.

I did have one experience where I signed a contract to deliver 6 children’s books, then the editor left the publishing house and the publisher reneged on the contract. In this case I contacted the Australian Society of Authors for advice. (This is where it pays to be a member of a professional body such as the ASA or your State Writers Centre. I’m a member of the Queensland Writers Centre. Here’s a list of their resources for writers).

The ASA was able to get me a ‘kill fee’ on the contract. Of course I would much rather have had the books to add to my CV, but the kill fee was certainly better than nothing.

As a member of the ASA you can take a look at their standard contracts. Non members can purchase these. There are also free how-to-guides for members, which can be purchased by non members. And while I’m talking about writers getting ahead the ASA offers several mentorships each year. This year’s mentorships are closed, but watch out for the program, when it opens. Working with a published author as you develop your book is a wonderful opportunity.

While we’re talking about opportunities there’s the QWC Allen & Unwin Development Program and the Hachette Manuscript Development Program. Both are closed for this year, but watch out for them next year. All of these are great ways to get your manuscript noticed by an editor, develop contacts and polish your writing.

Back to contracts, over on The Pitch University Blog  lawyer, Jeffrey V Mhalic, analyses a contract and shows you what to beware of. This is where having an agent is great because they have experience in this field. I have one multi-published author friend who uses Alex Adsett’s services. Alex has experience in publishing and contracts. She will go over the contract for you.

So, if you get a contract, don’t feel overwhelmed, you have options.

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Posted in Agents, Contracts, Mentorships, Nourish the Writer, Publishers, Publishing Industry, Writing Opportunities | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Opportunity for Unpublished Manuscript

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on August 25, 2011

Over at Writing Australia a new award has opened up:


‘Unpublished Manuscript Award

$10,000 + $2,000 for a mentor of your choice

The Award, to aid in the development of the next stage of an unpublished manuscript, is for a work of adult literary or genre fiction. It will be granted to the work that shows the greatest promise and likely to benefit most from this opportunity.’

The judges are Valerie Parv, Mark McLeod and Peter Bishop. For more about Writing Australia, see here.

So get out your manuscripts, polish them, review them and get them in by October 13th, 2011.

Posted in Editing and Revision, Editors, Genre Writing, Mentorships, Nourish the Writer, Publishing Industry, Writing Opportunities | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Aspiring Writers Watch Out …

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on August 18, 2011

There are many traps out there for the unwary aspiring writer. Publish America has long been luring authors into ‘publication’ at their own expense. When I was at Worldcon in Glasgow in 2005 there was a panel on this topic. Half a dozen well known authors had all written a chapter of a book,without consulting with eachother, and sent the book to PA, which made them an offer of publication. To give you an idea how bad this book was, not only did the main character’s eye colour change, but the gender also changed.

The point the  panel was making was that many authors were almost ready to be accepted yet they went with PA and ended up with a garage full of books. Of course, in the 6 years since the Glasgow Worldcon the paradigm of publishing has changed and writers can self publish and get distribution which used to be the killer. But the hard part is still getting your book noticed.

Now PA are up to their old tricks with variations. Apparently they are approaching authors, offering to send copies of their books directly to famous people such as JK Rowling, or to put their books in promotional material which will be presented at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

For more detail on the JK Rowling scam see Victoria Strauss at Writer Beware.

For more detail on the Edinburgh International Book Festival see SF Writers of America.

There’s an old saying, the money should flow to the writer, not the other way around.

Posted in Promoting your Book, Publishers, Publishing Industry, Publishing Scams, Research | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Writers and the Shady Side of Publishing …

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on August 2, 2011

Over on Writers Beware Blog Victoria Strauss is talking about shonky publishing houses that approach authors and what to look out for. This is definitely worth taking a look at. If you get your manuscript tied into one of these houses it can be hard to extract it, due to their copyright clauses.

Victoria reveals the kind of approaches these publishers make and what to look out for. She says:

‘With blogs and online writing venues and social media, it’s no longer so unlikely that a reputable editor or agent might get a glimpse of an aspiring writer’s work and contact them directly. However, while you can no longer automatically dismiss such a contact, it’s still not the norm–and there are still plenty of not-necessarily-desirable enterprises that rely on spam-style solicitation to maintain their businesses. Direct contact from a publisher or agent should always be treated with caution …’

See the full article here.

Posted in Publishers, Publishing Industry | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Getting past the Gate Keeper

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on August 1, 2011

Pan Macmillan have set up a Manuscript Monday:

‘a new initiative which is part of Pan Macmillan Australia’s manuscript submission process. If you’ve ever dreamed of getting published, and have a story you’d like to pitch, here’s your chance to have it read by a publisher. No more navigating the slush pile! Every Monday we will accept submissions between 10am and 4pm that are sent electronically and comply with the guidelines .’

Here’s the link.

They are looking for Commerical Fiction  – women’s fiction, thriller, crime, historical, humour, paranormal, and fantasy. They say a story can have romantic elements but they don’t want romance, as such. Reading down, they also have a section for children’s fiction.

Remember, your book can’t sell sitting on your hard drive. Good luck!

Posted in Editing and Revision, Editors, Genre Writing, Nourish the Writer, Pitching, Publishers, Publishing Industry, Query Letter and Synopsis, Writing for children, Writing for Young Adults, Writing goals, Writing Opportunities | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »