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Felicity makes the Final Three of the Text YA Fiction Competition

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on July 19, 2012

We’re doing a Squee! for Felicity, regular ROR blog reader and guest poster.

(See Fel’s post on using research to give authenticity to your writing. She talks about her time on the tall ship and a balloon ride).

Felicity (writing as Louise Curtis) entered her book Heart of Brass in the Text Young Adult Fiction Prize. She was delighted to hear she’d made the final three. While her book didn’t win, this is an excellent result and we’ll be keeping our fingers crossed for her!

Posted in Australian Spec Fic Scene, Editors, Literary Competitions, Nourish the Writer, Publishing Industry, Writing Opportunities | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Possible Market for SF, F and Horror

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on June 20, 2012

When I was at World Con in 2005 I met Jo Fletcher (we were on a panel together). At the time she was editing for Gollanz. Now she has her own line with Quercus Publihsing. And she’s looking for books.

From the web site:

Jo Fletcher Books is a specialist science fiction, fantasy and horror imprint, but as Jo’s own personal tastes in fiction have always been so wonderfully eclectic, and as the field of imaginative literature is so incredibly wide, Jo Fletcher Books is going to be as broad a church as possibly, hopefully publishing something for everyone.

Submissions

Jo Fletcher Books is currently accepting submissions of finished manuscripts in the science fiction, fantasy and horror genres.

Please contact Nicola Budd with the first three chapters (or first 10,000 words), plus a synopsis and covering email sent to the following email address:

submissions@jofletcherbooks.co.uk

 

 

Here’s a link to the books s Jo Fletcher is releasing.

 

(With thanks to Angela Slatter for bringing this to my attention).

Posted in Editors, Nourish the Writer, Publishing Industry, Writing Opportunities | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Angry Robot open their doors again!

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on January 26, 2012

If you have an epic fantasy, or sf and fantasy in all flavours for the YA reader, then you may want to submit.

Full instructions are here.

Time frame is April 16th to 30th, 2012.

Best of luck!

Posted in Creativity, Editors, Pitching, Publishers, Publishing Industry, Query Letter and Synopsis, Writing for Young Adults, Writing Opportunities | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Is that a door opening or are you just pleased to see me?

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on January 7, 2012

Lyn and Lee Battersby, Photo Courtesy Cat Sparks

Back in March 2011, Angry Robot Books, a UK-based publisher that generally only accepts agented submissions, held their first Open Submission Month, an experiment to see whether there were any unrepresented gems floating around the submitosphere that might be of interest.

In one month, they received 994 submissions. Mine was amongst them.

I’d had a somewhat frustrating time when it came to novels. I’d established a pretty solid reputation as a short story writer, at least on an Australian level: I’d sold a bunch of stories in Australia, the US and Europe, won a handful of local awards, and even had a collection published through an American small press. My reputation had been parlayed into teaching and mentoring stints at various industry associations, and I was pretty confident that, when it came to short stories, I knew what I was doing more often than not.

But therein lay the rub. Increasingly, I was confronted by the feeling that my career, such as it was, had reached a cross roads. I could continue to do what I was doing, and do it well enough, and accept that I had reached a natural level I was incapable of exceeding. But I’ve had a bee in my bonnet for a long time, one that demands I at least move towards a full time career in writing, if not actually achieve one. To do that, I needed to sell novels.

I’d come close with my first attempt, which I’d sent to 68 agents the previous year. One had picked it up, but we parted ways after she was unable to place it and didn’t like my second novel. No blood, no foul, and we separated on good terms. That second novel, an anti-fantasy romp entitled The Corpse-Rat King, was the one I sent to Angry Robot.

The deal was simple. Supplicants were invited to submit the first 5 chapters, or 10 000 words, of their novel, along with a synopses. A team of readers would plough through them, and ask to see the full manuscript of anything they believed merited further examination. Should that full manuscript be considered suitable, it would be passed upwards to editing bwana Lee A Harris. If it rocked Lee’s socks, he would take it to the editorial board and make a case for its purchase. Should the editorial board be persuaded then, and only then, would a contract be prepared and Angry Robot Shangri-La be achieved.

No guarantees, but then, only death and taxes and all that (and thanks to superhero comics and Christopher Skase, even they’re not absolutes).

So I submitted my synopses and five, and got on with other things. One of those other things was to continue my pursuit of an agent. I’ve always felt I needed an agent as part of my long-term strategy: whilst I want to write and conduct business to my own benefit, I’m aware of my weaknesses, and time-management is amongst them. An agent could take up much of the slack and apply much greater knowledge than I possess in terms of publishing law, contract negotiations and the like. Not only would I not have to do these things myself, I wouldn’t have to devote the time necessary towards gaining an intimate knowledge of them. I can take care of the creative stuff myself, but a business partner was always going to be a necessary component of building “Battersby, Inc.”

So, while I waited, the novel went out to 58 unsuspecting literary agents. And I got on with other things. Thankfully, I’ve got a lot of good friends who are experienced novelists. I’d been well informed: the novel game is a waiting game. Keep busy, keep working. I was tutoring an online course, and my day job is in the arts, and if you’ve met my family, well… occasionally I slept, and I could just about recite the Monarch Song from Horrible Histories off by heart. Most importantly, I started work on a new novel: Father Muerte & The Divine, a lengthier exploration of the character I’d created in several short stories, and a chance to finally answer many of the mysteries I’d raised in them. I kept busy, and tried not to watch the calendar.

Then word came from Angry Robot. The first reading round was complete. I’d passed. Now they wanted the whole manuscript. I sent it off. Word started filtering back from agents: rejection after dismissal after non-interest. Line after line on my spreadsheet was coloured in appropriately gloomy shades of grey.

I got on with other things.

Four months after submitting, I received a positive response from an agent. Then another. And a third. All liked the book. All were interested in representing it. I hadn’t mentioned Angry Robot. This was all about the book itself. Things looked positive.

Five months after submitting, word from Angry Robot: ‘my’ reader loved the full manuscript, and had passed it on to Bwana Lee. If he liked it, it would go to the publishing board. I’d passed again.

I compared agents, and came to a decision. And got on with other things

Father Muerte & The Divine hit 50 000 words. I joined The Angry Robot Waiting Club, a social forum on the Absolute Write forum boards devoted to the 22 authors who had gone right the way up to editorial and were now just waiting to find out if we were going to take the short, final hop from ‘aspiring’ to published novelist. We waited, together. I could recite all the way up to George IV.

October 26. Almost seven months to the day since I submitted my little package, and Bwana Lee sent me an email.

I’d made it. All the way through. A contract offer was, well, offered. As soon as I signed it and returned it to them, I would officially be an Angry Robot author.

Just one final thing to do: I forwarded the offer to my new agent, Richard Henshaw of the Henshaw Group. And got on with other things.  I was right the way up to Victoria, now.

The contract went back. It went forth. It went back again. For six weeks, Richard and Lee negotiated. Angry Robot announced the first two Open Door month authors. One as even called Lee, damn it! Negotiations continued. I waited. My wife and kids began to comment openly about my crankiness.

They say most people drown in sight of shore.

And then it was all over, so quickly it took me two days after I was announced before I got myself together enough to make my own proclamation. The final contract arrived in my inbox, I signed and emailed it back, and my mug was up on the Angry Robot website in less than 18 hours. The Corpse-Rat King will be published in 2012. A sequel, Marching Dead, will follow in 2013.

All of a sudden, after nine months, I was an author with an agent, a two-book deal, and a deadline.

Nine months after submitting my package on the last day of the Open Door month, the landscape of my career has changed completely. Far from hoping for an opportunity, I’m in the position of making the most of one. For the first time in a decade, I’m heading into uncharted career territory. I have a sequel to write, and I need to make sure I’ve got novels to follow after it, so that my second book isn’t my last. I need to build a relationship with my agent, and provide him with materiel with which to approach publishers. The door may be open, but the next few years will determine whether it’s at the front or just the workman’s entrance in the alleyway round the side.

Father Muerte and the Divine, 55 000 words old, has been put aside. 25 000 words of Marching Dead have already been written, as of penning this post.  Still, at least I know what I’ll be doing most evenings for the next three years…

(Departs, singing): William, William, Henry, Stephen, Henry, Richard, John, oi! Henry, Ed, Ed, Ed, Rich two, then three more Henrys join our song….

BIO: Lee is the author of over 70 stories in Australia, the US and Europe, with appearances in markets as “Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror”, “Year’s Best Australian SF & F”, and “Writers of the Future”. A collection of his work, entitled “Through Soft Air” from Prime Books. He’s taught at Clarion South and developed and delivered a six-week “Writing the SF Short Story” course for the Australian Writers Marketplace. His work has been praised for its consistent attention to voice and narrative muscle, and has resulted in a number of awards including the Aurealis, Australia Shadows and Australia SF ‘Ditmar’ gongs. He lives in Mandurah, Western Australia, with his wife, writer Lyn Battersby and an increasingly weird mob of kids. He is sadly obsessed with Lego, Nottingham Forest football club, dinosaurs and Daleks. He’s been a stand-up comic, tennis coach, cartoonist, poet, and tax officer in previous times, and he currently works as Arts Officer for a local council, where he gets to play with artists all day. All in all, life is pretty good. More information, and infinitely more lies, can be found at his website or his long-running blog The Battersblog.

 

 

Posted in Agents, Australian Spec Fic Scene, Contracts, Creativity, Editing and Revision, Editors, Nourish the Writer, Pitching, Plotting, Publishers, Publishing Industry, Query Letter and Synopsis, Writing Opportunities | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Calling YA Novelists …

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on December 6, 2011

Do you have a YA book written?

Can you write with an authentic voice for YA?

Then this may be for you.

Hardie Grant Ampersand Project.

They say:

‘ Speculative elements are welcome, so long as they adhere to the rules of the real world. The difference is in the execution; for example, Tomorrow When The War Began is a real-world exploration of war as it could occur today, but The Hunger Games is not.’

Who are Hardie Grant Egmont?

Worth checking out.

 

Posted in Editors, Nourish the Writer, Publishers, Writing for Young Adults, Writing Opportunities | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Lazy morning, busy afternoon

Posted by richardharland on November 27, 2011

Having a great time in Paris! Not as cold as expected (there are still leaves on the trees!), though grey, except for one sunny day.

On the first evening, we went to dinner with my publisher, Sophie Giraud. Here’s a pic –

That’s Sophie next to Aileen (Gilberte, editor, and Valérie, translator, turned up after the photo was taken).

Next day we went to the Musée d’Orsay, then the following day was readings and signings at Les Enfants Sur Le Toit bookshop in Montmarte. Here’s a pic of me with Cirinne and Valérie (a different Valérie), the owners.

Our apartment inParis is near Rue Oberkampf, which is where the young people in Paris come to party. So I was told, and it was true last night. Boy, what a party they were having in the apartment next to ours. Here,s a view from our apartment window –


Today we went to the famous flea market at St Ouen – bought a whole lot of clothes, boots, jewellery for Aileen and steampunk goggles for me (at last!) We’ve been eating great French and Algerian food … All going good!

Posted in Authors and Public Speaking, Book Launches, Creativity, Editors, Promoting your Book, Publishers | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Paris ooh-la-la!

Posted by richardharland on November 17, 2011

Five and a half days to go until we fly out to Paris, yay! My French publisher is flying me over for the big Montreuil Book Fair, plus some other talks and signings, and we get the use of an apartment in Paris for a fortnight. Of course, we had to pay Aileen’s flight ourselves, but she gets to gallivant around Paris with no duties to fulfill. (My publisher says that Aileen belongs in Paris!)
Here’s the team from Helium – a photo from when we had lunch on the Left Bank in 2010.

It’ll be cold, the start of their winter, but who cares when it’s Paris?! I’m nearly about to reach the two thirds point in the next steampunk novel – then I can put my iPad aside (I type up on my iPad!) and start serious preparations. I checked out the apartment on Google – I’m still not sure of the actual building in Rue St Maur, but this is the view onto the street from where we’ll be.

I’ll keep posting here on the ROR site every few days, and I’m very determined to post daily on my own blog at richardharland.wordpress.com

PS I’ll be taking Tansy’s MS with me to read on the iPad – the MS we’ll be critiquiing at the next ROR retreat. Good food, good wine, good reading!

Posted in Australian Spec Fic Scene, Authors and Public Speaking, Creativity, Editors, Publishers, Steampunk | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

Calling Aspiring Writers …

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on October 31, 2011

The Varuna Publisher Fellowships is open for 2011.

What is Varuna?

It’s a beautiful house in the Blue Mountains which is run as a writers retreat. (For more see here).

What is a fellowship?

In their own words:

‘The Varuna Publisher Fellowships can provide a pathway to bring your work to the attention of a publisher.  It also allows you to work on your manuscript in the unique residential environment of Varuna. You can work on your manuscript, knowing that there’s a publisher who has chosen to read and consider the finished work for publication.

The Varuna Publisher Fellowships program offers 15 one-week residential fellowships during 2012.’

Five publishers are involved in this particular fellowship program. The applicants send 20 -50 pages of their manuscript with a pitch for the project. The publishers select writers based on this. The lucky writers will get a one week stay at Varuna where they can work in peace on their manuscript. There is a consultation with Varuna writing consultants during the residency and when their ms is finished a Varuna writing consultant will read the ms before it is sent to the publisher.

The closing date for applicants is Nov 30th.  For full details see here. The publishers are looking for a broad range of genres.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to get away for a week and do nothing but write?

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

Alisa wins World Fantasy Award!

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on October 31, 2011

Alisa was interviewed here recently because we were really excited about her nomination for a World Fantasy Award. Well, the big news is SHE WON!

Here’s the Link. Scroll down to Non-Professional Award (meaning they edit for love, rather than being paid by a publishing house).

Special Award—Non-professional
Winner: Alisa Krasnostein, for Twelfth Planet Press

And here’s the winners’ speeches. Alisa comes on at about the 36 minute mark.

Right now Alisa is over at the World Fantasy Awards probably knocking back the chapagne! go Alisa!

Posted in Australian Spec Fic Scene, Awards, Editors, Fantasy Genre, Indy Press, Publishing Industry, Writing Craft | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

The Inner Life of a Successful Writer

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on October 29, 2011

Chocolate and Coffee - also must haves for the writer!

Back in the late nineties after I had my first children’s book published I wrote up a Beginning Writer’s Checklist (here’s the updated version).

Recently, I came across this post The Common Traits of the Successful Writer by Bob Mayer, Part One and Part Two. He starts with:

‘It’s not normal to sit alone and write 100,000 words.  So let’s get that out of the way.  You aren’t normal.  You aren’t in the bell curve and you aren’t necessarily on the good side of the curve. ‘

I had to smile.

He says the publishing industry is changing faster than ever and he’s absolutely right. Once there was one way to get published – Write. Write short stories and books, develop your craft, attend workshops, develop your craft, make short story sales, enter competitions. Do all this while writing every day. Win or place in competitions. Develop your craft. Approach publishers with a CV of published short stories  and placings in competitions, get rejections.  Attend more workshops. Develop your craft. Keep writing. After about 10 years get that first publishing contract from a major publisher. And then you really start to learn, because as a writer you never stop learning.

Was it perfect? No. Good books were overlooked. (Some people lucked onto a book sale with their first book. Then they had to do all their development as a writer meeting deadlines in the public eye).

Now … People can self publish, release their books as e-books and Print on Demand. They don’t have to wait on recognition from major publishers. Of course this means a lot of books that are not ready for publication see the light of day. How do readers sift through these to find the gems? That’s a post topic for another day.

Back to the traits of a successful writer. This is an interesting quote from Bob Mayer:

‘Remember something about the art of writing: It is the only art form that is not sensual. You can see the colors and strokes that make a painting, feel a sculpture, and hear music.  The manner in which each individual piece in those fields impacts on the senses is different.  But every writer uses the same letters on a piece of paper.  You have twenty-six letters that combine to form words, which are the building blocks of your sentences and paragraphs.  Everyone has the same words, and when I write that word and you write it, that word goes into the senses of the reader in the same way.  It’s how we weave them together that impact the conscious and subconscious mind of the reader that makes all the difference in the world.

A book comes alive in the reader’s mind.  You use the sole medium of the printed word to get the story from your mind to the reader’s.  It is the wonder of writing to create something out of nothing.  Every book started with just an idea in someone’s head.  Isn’t that a fantastic concept?’

He’s right about writers all using the same 26 letters and the book going from the writer’s mind to the reader’s mind. But to me writing is deeply sensual. I create a Resonance file (See here and here). The file is packed with images, snatches of research, true stories and, while I don’t collect music, I know what music the characters would listen to. This file is a pale outer representation of the inner world of the story. In my mind the world of the story, it’s characters and society is richly sensual and packed with detail.

Mayer doesn’t actually list the common traits of successful writers because he’s plugging books on the topic. (The Writers Toolkit and the Warrior Writer – Both links were down).

Here’s my list of a successful writer’s traits:

1. A Passion to Write. This is the kind of passion that keeps you awake at night thinking about plots and characters. The kind of passion that drives you to sneak away from the family on Christmas Day to write because you just can’t keep away from the story. Which leads to …

2. Perseverance. The craft of writing is something you can read about in books, but often you have to ‘discover’ it as you write. The recognition of something only comes as you are doing it and you internalise the understanding. All of this springs from …

3. A Love of Reading. (This really means a love of story in all its forms). If you were the sort of kid who got lost in a book, if you are the sort of person who goes to see a movie and spends the next three days thinking about alternate endings, then you are a writer. The more you read, the more you internalise the craft of writing. And writing consists of …

4. A Love of Words for their own sake. I’ve always been fascinated by words, by the history that words contain and by the power of a single word, how it can change the meaning of a whole sentence. But words are just the building blocks for …

5. A Love of Story. Story is not plot. Story is a combination of plot (events that happen) and character (the people who react to these events or trigger them by their actions). Combine these two and you have something that comes to life in the reader’s head. Story. But just having a story is not enough. You need to hone that story with …

6. Persistence and Patience. (Writing is Rewriting) A successful writer needs the persistence to keep writing, but the patience to give your book time to sit while you mature as a writer. When you first finish a book you are too close to it to see the flaws. Time and distance is needed. Working on another project will help you hone your writing craft. Then, when you come back to the original draft of the first book, you’ll see ways to improve it. Published writers have editors who help them do this while meeting deadlines.

Do self published writers need all these traits? Of course they do. They need them more because they don’t have  a professional editor helping polish the story they love. Whether you self publish or are published by a major publisher you want your book to be the best it possibly can be. This means polishing the book and developing traits (strategies) to make you the best writer you can possibly be.

I haven’t mentioned writing groups here. I’ve done several posts on the importance of writing groups. ROR is an example of how a group supports the individual and furthers their craft. Here’s list of posts I’ve done on the topic:

Writing Groups where would we be Without Them?

ROR 101 (How we set up the group)

Critiquing 101

 

Do you belong to a writing group? Do you write every day? How do you motivate yourself?

Posted in Characterisation, Creativity, Editing and Revision, Editors, Nourish the Writer, Plotting, Publishing Industry, Writing Craft | Tagged: , , , , , | 5 Comments »