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Archive for September, 2011

The Eye of the Beholder: litcomp judging and grant assessment

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on September 24, 2011

This week Margo Lanagan, four time World Fantasy winner, is talking about her experiences judging literary competitions and grant applications. Take it away, Margo …

I’ve just finished two simultaneous 3-year stints, one as a judge for the Australian/Vogel’s Literary Award, managed by Allen & Unwin, one as a member of the Literature Board of the Australia Council for the Arts, the Australian Government’s arts funding and advisory body.

This means that for great slabs of the past three years, I’ve read little else but novel-length manuscripts by authors 35 and younger, or grant applications with supporting material.

This post isn’t about how to write a Vogel winner or a winning grant application. Sit me down and give me a coffee and I’ll rattle on about that for as long as you like. This post is about what these tasks are like from the inside—what joys and frustrations do they bring?

The frustrations are probably shared by any ‘slush-pile’ editor or literary agent.

  • The sheer quantity of material you have to get through, combined with
  • the fast-oncoming deadline and
  • the fact that you need to make some intelligent contribution to discussion on assessment day,

means that you never feel you’re giving each competitor or applicant quite the amount of attention she or he should get. You can’t read every word of every submission; you’re always wondering whether it’s okay to take the shortcuts you have to just to get through.

Particularly with the Vogel and the Lit Board’s Emerging and Developing grant categories, you also have to be spectator to a lot of running into brick walls—not the authors’ own, original and peculiar brick walls, but the same kinds of brick walls you remember running into yourself, that pretty much every new writer hits:

  • choosing the wrong book to write
  • stretching a sketch’s/short story’s worth of material out to song-cycle/novel length
  • describing every object and slant of light in an inconsequential room
  • in novels, being so scared of dialogue that you omit it completely.

Those are just a few of the larger issues an MS can have; there are also the regular mini-blows dealt to grammar, tone and characterisation. You have to keep on reading and maintain an open mind even while an author is repeatedly kicking you out of their story with errors, odd phrases or outright howlers.

One other frustration is a side-effect of too much joy. There are good and bad seasons for these competitions and assessments. When there are too many good entries or applicants, but the pot of money doesn’t grow, it can be disheartening to cast numerous worthy entries/applications aside with only a reader’s report or the hopeful message to the author that they came quite close and should apply again.

On to the joys.

Novels, stories, plays and poetry are mostly written alone. But judging and assessing, even though I’ve done the bulk of the work in solitude, have admitted me to wonderfully fruitful and inspiring gatherings with fellow authors, critics, booksellers, publishers, theatre people and tech-heads. Fascinating people in themselves, these colleagues have arrived at the assessment meeting via the same seemingly-never-ending tunnel of intense work and thought as I have. Sitting around the table sharing our experiences of that journey, hearing how each person’s been struck by totally different aspects of the submissions, wondering at this person’s articulateness or that one’s blunter passion for the entry/submission at hand—it’s been a privilege, and I’ll miss it that a lot.

There are the times when I’ve read 20 unremarkable submissions in a row and begun to doubt whether I have any critical faculties, let alone whether they’re in tip-top form. Then I’ve opened the next file in the folder (both the Vogel judging and the Lit Board assessment processes have gone electronic during my terms) and found a work of skill, integrity and clear purpose, by an author who’s been prepared to revise and polish until the novel or the poem or the new-media project shines, and I realise that yes, I do have instincts and opinions about what’s good and bad, and here is what I’ve been looking for.

This pleasure in watching the cream rise during the judging or assessment process, and then seeing the very cream of the cream rewarded, and knowing my vote has counted towards that, is what has made worthwhile these marathons of reading, annotating, time management, e-squabbling or debating around the assessment table, and agonising over scores.

With my own writing and day-job to fit everything around, it’s been a mad, madly busy three years. I don’t think I’ll ever commit myself to doing so much obligatory reading again, but I’ll never regret that I did.

If anyone is interested Margo could write a post on the fine art of writing grant applications.

Margo is the author of award winning short story collections like Spike, White Time and Black Juice which won  two World Fantasy Awards. Her novel Tender Morsels won the Printz Honor Award. Her latest anthology is Yellow Cake.

Margo’s blog.

Margo on GoodReads

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Posted in Australian Spec Fic Scene, Grant Writing, Literary Competitions, Nourish the Writer, Writing Craft | Tagged: , , , | 8 Comments »

Winner Lara Morgan Give-away!

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on September 21, 2011

Lara says:

I really liked Melita’s answer and Brendan made me think but the winner is Braiden. Those two books are definitely on my to read list now.

 

Congratulations, Braiden.  Email Lara on:  serpentfire(at)westnet(dot)(dot)au

Posted in Book Giveaway, SF Books, Writing for Young Adults | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Book Trailers — Are they worth the effort?

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on September 17, 2011

This week George Ivanoff, Award Winning author of the Gamer’s Quest series (YA fiction) talks about book trailers ….

Watch out for the give-away at the end of the post.

George Ivanoff

 

There has been much debate about the relevance of book trailers. Are they a worthwhile investment of time and money for publishers and authors? Do they actually sell books? Does anyone watch them?

Well, I don’t have any definite answers for you. Sorry! But I do have a few observations based on personal experience.

I had my first trailer made for my 2009 teen novel, Gamers’ Quest. I had no idea if it would be worthwhile. And I had no budget. After an aborted attempt to make it myself (it was pretty crap), I got some help. Friend and computer animator, Henry Gibbens stepped in and produced a trailer for me, with my brother-in-law, Marc Valko, writing and performing the music. I wanted it to look a bit computer-gamey, as the novel is set within a computer game world, and I wanted music that sounded a bit like a 1980s sci-fi tv show theme. This is the result…

It has been up on YouTube since October 2009, but has had only a little over 800 views. Does that mean it’s a failure? Perhaps if I had spent lots of money on it, it might be considered a poor investment. But I didn’t. So even though it has only had a relatively small number of views (compared, for example, to Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters which has views in the hundreds of thousands), it has at least had some people watching it, and it’s not languishing at the bottom of the heap, as so many trailers are, with views not exceeding 100.

YouTube aside, it has been a very successful trailer for me in another way. As a writer of books for kids and teens, I do school visits, and the trailer has proved to be a great way to capture the interest of a young audience. Starting a school talk with a short video that has computer game-like visuals can seize the attention of the most bored and uninterested of teens. So for this reason alone, I was keen to have a trailer for the sequel, Gamers’ Challenge.

I showed this trailer to a couple of school groups last week. The reaction was fantastic! The trailer is more dynamic that the first, and the music deliberately more upbeat and techno. The feedback from the audience was very positive.

Currency did exchange hands this time around — but I already consider it money well spent, purely because it will be a useful tool in school presentations.

But what about YouTube? The trailer has been up for a little over a week and still has not broken the 100 mark. What do I do?

I’ve posted it on FaceBook and Twitter, and on my blog. But this doesn’t seem to have done a huge amount. In fact, reaction has been slower than when I posted the Gamers’ Quest trailer two years ago. You know what? I think people are gradually paying less attention to videos on FaceBook and Twitter. So much crap has been posted over the last two years, that people are more reluctant to click on a vid, and, in fact, will often bypass them without even registering what they are.

Certainly, my use of FaceBook has changed over the two years that I’ve been using it. When I first started, I used to religiously log in every morning and check my friends’ updates… and again at the end of the day. As the months rolled by, and my ‘friends’ list expanded, I started to skim rather than read. Another few months down the track I divided my friends up into groups, so that I could keep track of those who made interesting posts, while bypassing those who status updates consisted of what they had for breakfast. And still, FaceBook was eating up my time (it is, I am convinced, the Black Hole of the Internet)— time that should have been spent writing. So now, I glance at the status updates every couple of days, and look up genuine friends when I’m thinking about them and wondering what they are up to. Do I ever look at videos posted to FaceBook? Rarely!

If this is the way I use FaceBook, how can I expect to get lots of people looking at the videos that I post?

So where does that leave me and my trailer with regards to YouTube? I’m not a big-name-author with a high-profile book published by a large publisher that can afford a big-bucks trailer that is guaranteed immediate and constant attention. But I need to get people to watch my trailer… otherwise why bother having it up there?

Talking to other authors and trailer makers, I’ve discovered something. Even though a book trailer is a piece of promotion for a book, it also needs to be promoted. You need to let people know that the trailer exists… and you need to tell them repeatedly. If they see a link to it often enough, and if you tell them interesting things about it, then they are more likely to invest their time in watching it.

But I hardly have enough time to promote my book, let alone a video about my book! I hear you scream. But promoting your book trailer is simply another way of promoting your book. And believe me, after the umpteenth interview and gazillianth guest blog post, I need something a little different to say in order to interest my readers and maintain my sanity.

And so, here I am, telling you about my experiences with book trailers in the hope that you, my dear, dear, readers, will all spare a couple of minutes to go and watch my latest book trailer. And hopefully, if you actually like it, you may tell other people about it. Or, if I’m very lucky, it may inspire you to seek out and purchase a copy of my book (titled Gamers’ Challenge, just in case you’ve forgotten).

But I’m not relying solely on the readers of Ripping Ozzie Reads to boost my YouTube status. I will be writing about this trailer whenever I get the chance, to as many different outlets as possible. This article is the first of many!

Will all of this boost the trailer’s views and hence sell some more books? Time will tell! In the meantime, excuse me while I go check YouTube to see if anyone else has watched it.  😉

George is giving away 2 copies of Gamer’s Challenge.

Give-away Question: If you could replace the music on the Gamers’ Challenge trailer with a pop song, what would it be?

 

George Ivanoff is a Melbourne author and stay-at-home dad, best known for his Gamers series of teen novels. Gamers’ Quest won a 2010 Chronos Award and is on the reading list for both the Victorian Premier’s Reading Challenge and the NSW Premier’s Reading Challenge. Gamers’ Challenge was released this month by Ford Street Publishing.

George spends most of his time writing books for the primary school education market, and also writers a regular bookish blog, Literary Clutter for Boomerang Books online bookstore.
More information about the Gamers books is available on the official website.
More information about George and his writing is available on his website.

Posted in Artists, Australian Spec Fic Scene, Book Launches, Book Trailers, Collaborating, Creativity, Musicians, Nourish the Writer, Promoting your Book, Publishers, Publishing Industry, Sales, Visiting Writer, Writing for Young Adults | Tagged: , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Is your manuscript you ready for the next step?

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on September 15, 2011

Still time to get that manuscript in to the Harper Collins Varuna Awards for Manscript Development. (Closes September 30th) According to the web site:

‘The HarperCollins Varuna Awards for Manuscript Development is all about finding the essential kernel of a manuscript and allowing it time to develop. It’s about enabling possibilities – for both writer and editor – rather than about rushing product into print. A delightful aspect of the program is that this is done residentially, in an environment famously supportive of the writing process.

This program provides five new or emerging writers each year with the experience of working closely with a senior in-house editor from HarperCollins Publishers to develop a book-length manuscript.
15 shortlisted applicants will be offered a discounted 30-minute phone consultation with a Varuna writing consultant. ‘

They say: ‘Projects in all commercially viable genres of fiction or narrative non-fiction will be considered, including young adult, fantasy, romance, popular, crime, literary, travel, life writing and biography. We are looking for projects with a well-established sense of direction and with clear potential for publication. This program is ideally suited to writers on their second or third draft, rather than newly commenced work.’

For more details see here.

Posted in Editing and Revision, Editors, Publishers, Publishing Industry, Writing Opportunities | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Sharing Reviewerly Goodness!

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on September 14, 2011

Kudos to Tansy and the team at Twelfth Planet Press. There’s a good review over on Gwennth Jones’ blog. (See it here)

As authors it is always a buzz when a fellow author says they like your book or story. Another author can see all the craft because they build stories too.

So, it’s a bit like building a bridge and then having another bridge engineer come along and say: ‘Hey there, like your bridge’.

I must admit when ever I read a Terry Pratchett book I read it on two levels, one for enjoyment and one for the pure appreciation of his craft.

 

So Kudos to TPP, Tansy, Lucy Sussex, Deborah Biancotti and Sue Isles.

Posted in Australian Spec Fic Scene, Creativity, Editors, Indy Press, Nourish the Writer, Reviews, Writing Craft | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Ghosts by Gaslight!

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on September 14, 2011

Stop Press!

Richard says:

Just received some great news from my French publisher. They want me to go over for the Montreuil Book Fair, plus some bookshop signings and schools. They’ll fly me over at the end of November and rent an apartment for two weeks in Paris for Aileen and me. Formidable!!

And …

Whoo! The Ghosts by Gaslight anthology just came out from Harper Voyager in the US—and I’m in it! A very special moment for me, to be in the company of names like Robert Silverberg, Gene Wolfe, Peter S. Beagle, James Morrow and Jeffrey Ford!

I think it was at the Melbourne Worldcon when Jack Dann said he’d like a story from me for a collection he was editing with Nick Gevers, a collection that combined supernatural with steampunk with Victoriana. Right down my alley! He mentioned other potential contributors he was going to invite, like Gene Wolfe and Robert Silverberg, Garth Nix and Sean Williams, and I remember thinking, well, it would be nice if just a few of them accepted. In fact, the final roll-call turned out way way better than Jack ever hinted. So many of my all-time favourite authors, including our very own Margo from ROR,with a very good ghost story called “The Proving of Smollet Standforth”.

I took it as my role to be a strong steampunk representative, since that’s what I’m known for nowadays. And the basic idea for my story had been lurking in my mind for a long time.  It tied in with the first memory that I’m sure is my own real memory—and not recreated from what adults told me—which is when I was about our or five. We were on holiday in the seaside town of Fleetwood, in Lancashire, England, and looking at Fleetwood pier, which had been recently destroyed by fire. It stuck far out into the sea, a wreckage of tangled, twisted girders, and not just tangled, not just twisted, but racked and contorted like an expression of agony, a frozen shriek of pain. That was the seed for “Bad Thoughts and the Mechanism”.

It’s sort of supernatural, but it’s also very definitely steampunk, with steam-age machinery at the centre of the story. Late nineteenth century research into electro-therapy is also involved, as carried out by such pioneer brain-scientists as Eduardo Hitzig, Sir David Ferrier and Friedrich Goltz. Although there are ghosts in the story, these are not ghosts as we have known them!

“Bad Thoughts and the Mechanism” was an amazingly difficult story to write, because I couldn’t get the voice I needed. I started to write in First Person, re-wrote in Third Person, tried again with a different-sounding First Person, another go at Third Person, and finally—phew! gasp!—hit upon a First Person voice that sounded just right. I guess the problem was the contradiction between using formal vocabulary and long sentences, necessary to get the 19th century feel, but also conveying intense emotion and an underlying thrill of horror. My lifeline was Edgar Allan Poe—I confess, I actually read a Poe short story every morning before starting work on “Bad Thoughts and the Mechanism”. I’ve never put myself  deliberately under an influence in that way before, but it worked!

Any questions on writing steampunk?

Posted in Australian Spec Fic Scene, Creativity, Editing and Revision, Steampunk, Writing Craft | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

YA Books for Girls, where does that leave Boys?

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on September 10, 2011

Lara Morgan, author of the Rosie Black Chronciles is visiting ROR.

 

 

Take it away, Lara.

These days it seems that whenever you look in the YA section of bookshops the titles that smack you in the eye first are those dark covers with brooding images, aimed squarely at the teenage girl. Heroines with powers, heroines in danger, heroines with quirky side kicks – it’s all about girl power in the market. Or so it seems.  Blogs, newspapers, earnest people over coffee, are all talking about how there aren’t any books for boys in YA anymore. That the market has been overrun by books for girls, about girls, with girly themes, and that the implication then is this is all wrong and something should be done for the poor hard done by teen boys.

I, for one, am wondering if the teen boys in this question actually care. Has anyone asked them or are we all just speaking for them? And is the great female take-over really happening?

I’m not convinced. Actually after a century, or more, of books for YA being dominated by male characters, saving the girls, written by male authors, part of me is cheering just a little bit. A recent study of young adult novels released between 1900 and 2000 showed that males were the central characters in 57% of books published per year while only 31% of the central characters were female.

 

So, really, it’s only in the last eleven years that girls have started to become the more dominant lead characters in YA fiction. And I’m not going to be sorry about that. A part of me wants to say (hands on hips), well isn’t it about time we girls got to dominate something? Men have more of just about everything on this planet. More power, more money, more rights.  Is the fact that girls hold a bigger place in YA really such a tragedy?

I know some may say that is not a very PC view to hold, but I’m finding it hard to be repentant. It’s not that I don’t care about boys reading – I passionately believe all kids should read – but I don’t think there being a glut of books with female protagonists out there is what’s stopping them. Contrary to the hysteria, there are plenty of books with male protagonists, if that’s what you want.  I think boys not reading is caused by a range of issues and it’s certainly not a new thing, nor the result of more girls in fiction. Boys were reading less when I was in school and that certainly was before 2000.

I don’t have any answers, but what I do believe is, at the moment, girls read more than boys and I think girls are encouraged to gravitate more towards the inner life than the outer, but I’m not convinced that boys won’t read books featuring female protagonists. I think we train them not to and it’s such an ingrained habit that we don’t even know we’re doing it. I think part of the problem is that adults just don’t offer boys books about girls, probably with the greatest of intentions. The reasoning being; we need to encourage him to read so let’s give him a story about spies or pirates not that one about a girl who rides dragons. And even those of us who want everyone to read everything do it.

I write YA with a female protagonist and it is marketed for girls, though when I was writing it I didn’t think about who the reader would be, just what the story was. Now I have been delightfully surprised when people have told me their son read it and loved it, because I didn’t think boys would.  That fact I am surprised a boy read it shows I am also guilty of putting that boy in a ‘he won’t read that’ box.  You see how this mindset is everywhere?

So what do we do? Well we work on changing our own attitudes and try to pass that change on. Yes girls read more than boys, yes at the moment there are a lot of books out there with female protagonists but is that really such a terrible thing? For a long time girls have been reading about boys saving the world, about boys saving them and boys have been reading them as well and absorbing the message that they always have to be the hero, the strong one. Maybe it’s time to show a different point of view, maybe boys will be relieved they can be the side kick for a change with the wit instead of the sword. Give both sexes some credit and let’s see where this takes us.

 

 

 

Lara is giving away a copyof the Genesis and the question is:

What’s your favourite YA book with a female lead character, that you’ve read recently or as a child, and why?

 

 

 

 

Posted in Australian Spec Fic Scene, Book Giveaway, Gender Divive in Writing, Genre Writing, Visiting Writer, Writing for Young Adults | Tagged: , , , , , , | 32 Comments »

Indy Press Opens to Spec Fic Novels

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on September 8, 2011

Twelfth Planet Press will be accepting speculative fiction manuscripts

for the month of January 2012.

Alisa Krasnostein (interviewed here) nominated for a World Fantasy Award for her work with Twelfth Planet Press, has decided to branch into novels. She says:

‘Twelfth Planet Press is looking to develop a new line of dynamic, original genre novels. Twelfth Planet Press novels will push boundaries to question, inspire, engage and challenge. We are specifically looking to acquire material outside that which is typically considered by mainstream publishers.

We are looking for science fiction, fantasy, horror and crime. We will consider borderline literary, new weird, steampunk, space opera, hard science fiction, soft science fiction, urban fantasy, cyberpunk, military science fiction, young adult, paranormal romance and everything in between.’

For information on what to submit and how see here. Best of luck with this venture, Alisa.

Posted in Australian Spec Fic Scene, Editors, Genre Writing, Indy Press, Publishers, Publishing Industry, Writing Opportunities | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Getting your book in front of an Editor

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on September 7, 2011

You will have all heard of The Friday Pitch at Allen and Unwin.

I assumed it was set up by Louise Thurtel because she was reading the manuscripts, but I could be wrong there. At any rate they have been buying manuscripts from these pitches:

‘Friday Pitch has discovered several bestselling Allen & Unwin authors, including Fleur McDonald, the author of Red Dust and Blue Skies; Helen Brown, whose book Cleo has sold throughout the world and is currently being made into a film; and Mary Groves, author of An Outback Life. ‘

As for what they are looking for:

‘Allen & Unwin publish a wide range of literary and commercial fiction and non-fiction.  See detail and examples listed under Company Profile>What we Publish on the website. We are not interested in assessing poetry, straight romance, short stories or scripts.

For academic submissions and books for children and young adults, please see the separate submissions instructions on the A&U website.’

There’s a list of instructions on how to structure your pitch so take the time to make sure you present yourself professionally.

Now PanMacmillan have set up a Manuscript Monday.

It appears to work along the same lines. They say:

‘Commercial fiction – women’s fiction, thriller, crime, historical, humour, paranormal, fantasy; a story can have romantic elements but romance will not be assessed

Literary fiction and non-fiction – novels, short stories, and narrative non-fiction only

Children’s books and young adult – junior and middle grade fiction, young adult fiction; we are not accepting picture book submissions

Commercial non-fiction – history, memoir, mind body spirit, travel, health, diet, biography

Please familiarise yourself with what we publish at www.panmacmillan.com.au. ‘

And they have instructions on how to pitch along with the form/s you need to fill out.

 

So it is getting easier to place your manuscript in front of an editor these days.

 

Posted in Editors, Nourish the Writer, Pitching, Publishers, Publishing Industry, Writing Opportunities | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Congratulations Alisa Krasnostien and Twelfth Planet Press!

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on September 7, 2011

This post is also cross-posted to my blog.

Alisa Krasnostein is an environmental engineer by day, and runs indie publishing house Twelfth Planet Press by night. She is also Executive Editor at the review website Aussie Specfic in Focus! and part of the Galactic Suburbia Podcast Team. In her spare time she is a critic, reader, reviewer, runner, environmentalist, knitter, quilter and puppy lover.

Q: First let me say mega congratulations on being a finalist in the World Fantasy Awards (courtesy LOCUS) in the Special Award Non-Professional section for your work with Twelfth Planet Press.  I imagine you’ve been popping champagne ever since you found out. Did you have any inkling this was coming?

Thank you! My nomination was totally unexpected and took me completely by surprise.  I’m very excited because I was already planning on attending World Fantasy Con in San Diego.

 

Q: I was involved in Indy Press in the late 70s early 80s so I know how much work and money goes into this. If you’d had any idea that you’d be ‘working longer hours on the press than my day job and I still don’t have enough time in the week to get to everything that needs to be done.’  – (See full interview on Bibliophile Stalker) – would you have jumped in with as much enthusiasm?

Interesting question. I’m not afraid of hard work. I definitely lean towards the workaholic. I think also, being an engineer has trained me to get absorbed and focused on the task at hand. And the amount of time I work and the amount of work I create for myself is definitely self-inflicted. And I hear I can dial it back at any point in time if I want! I love indie press more now that when I first jumped in and I respect and appreciate the people who contribute to the scene even more so now that I know how much work and dedication and talent goes into everything that gets published. And I also believe that we are limited only by the passion, time, commitment and hard work that we put in. So. No pressure. And no regrets.

Q: And following on from that, if you could go back and give yourself advice about starting Twelfth Planet Press, what would that advice be?

The number one thing I regret is not taking my business more seriously from the start. My advice would be to set up my small press as a small business from the beginning and not rely on a box of receipts or a papertrail for forensic auditing later. I set the financial and business side up several years in and that was most definitely one of the most painful things to sort out. There’s so much more to writing and editing and publishing than the creative side and I would advise myself, and anyone jumping in (both at the publishing and the writing ends), to get a basic handle on accounting, legalese to read and understand contracts and basic business advice (like if you need an ABN and how to structure your business – will you be a sole trader or a company and what does that mean anyway?) .

Q: You did a post for Hoyden About Town on The Invisibility of Women in Science Fiction. It’s obviously a subject you feel strongly about.  Is Twelfth Planet Press seeking to address this issue with affirmative action?

Not in any formal or mandated way. Overall, I don’t have a gender imbalance issue at Twelfth Planet Press – I buy what I like and the best stories that are submitted to me. And funnily enough, that gender breakdown is different to the general norm (though that’s not true of my novella series).

The Twelve Planets – twelve four-story original collections by twelve different Australian female writers – is a project that came from a place of realising, at the time of idea conception, how few female Australian writers had been collected. That’s changed during the time of project development. But the Twelve Planets remains a project that will release over two years close to 50 new short stories written by women. And that’s something that I’m really proud to be doing.

Q: Twelfth Planet Press has had some remarkable wins for a new, small Indy Press. There were six finalistings in the Aurealis Awards this year. Two finalistings on the Australian Shadows Award. And Tansy Rayner Roberts’ novella Siren Beat won the WSFA Small Press Award for 2010. This novella was part of a series of back-to-back novellas that Twelfth Planet Press released.  It’s notoriously hard, from a writer’s point of view, to sell a novella to a publisher. Why did TPP start producing BtB novellas?

Thanks, I was particularly pleased with our Aurealis Awards shortlistings this year coming after seven shortlistings last year. It feels like validation for some of the choices that I’ve made particularly in terms of the direction I’ve taken. And the win from the WSFA was just unbelievably exciting. I’m so proud of the work that Tansy Rayner Roberts is producing at the moment.

I really wanted to have a product to sell at a particular price point, around the $10 to $15 mark. That was really the place that I started at for the novella doubles. I personally love the novella length, especially for science fiction and I loved the idea of paying homage to the Ace Doubles. I especially loved the idea of pairing two totally unrelated works and throwing them into a package like many of the Ace Doubles did. From a gambling sense, if you love one and not so much the other, that’s not a bad deal for $12. And from a publisher’s point of view I like the idea of perhaps enticing readers to find new or unknown to them writers or be exposed to a new genre by buying a double for one of the stories and getting the other one as a bonus. If I make the pairs right!

Q: An editor once said to me, I can’t tell you want I want, but I’ll know when I see it. This is incredibly frustrating to a writer. Can you tell us what you want?

Only that I’ll know when I see it. Sorry! But yeah, we look for what we aren’t expecting, what is outside of what everyone else is writing, that breaks new ground and feels fresh, that stands out from the pack. What I want is the project that stands out cause it’s not like all the other books on the shelf. I specifically look firstly for really solid writing – writing that is unpretentious and doesn’t get in the way of the story. And then I want to be emotionally or intellectually moved or changed by the work. I look for stories that demand my attention and then hold it. I look for stories that tell me something I didn’t know before – about myself, or about society or humanity. I look for a rewarding reading experience. So. Not much.

I’m very busy and I deliberately choose to read submissions when I’m in a bad mood and whilst doing something else. I want what I’m reading to demand attention, to demand I put everything down and just read it to the end.

Q:  A finalist placing in the World Fantasy Awards has to raise the profile of Twelfth Planet Press. Where would you like to see TPP in five years time?

I’d like to see us with wider distribution in brick and mortar bookshops all over the place (long live the bookshop!) and being in a position to pay pro rates for writing, art, design and layout. I’d like to see us pushing genre boundaries and continuing to publish top quality fiction by writers at the top of our field that inspires, engages and entertains.

Q: On a personal note, where would you like to see yourself being career-wise in five years time?

I’d like to be working full time for Twelfth Planet Press.

 

Follow Alisa on Twitter  @Krasnostein

Hear the podcasts on Galactic Suburbia

Hear the TPP Podcasts.

Catch up with Alisa on Linked in

Catch up on FaceBook

Drop by the ASIF Website.

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