Posts Tagged ‘publish’

CYA Later, Alligator Conference

September 22, 2009

That CYA bit up there, it stands for Children and Young Adult. It’s part of the Brisbane Writer’s Festival. I was there, had a great time. Check it out here http://www.cyaconference.com

I’d been invited as my new book had been part of their manuscript competition a couple of years ago. It didn’t do well in the competition. In fact, it did so badly that I asked for the title to be removed from the listings. But there was an up side. They sent me the judge’s score sheets.

The competition is based on the first thousand words of the manuscript. That sounds like a lot, but even a short novel will be over 50,000 words. That means that no matter how good it is in the main part of the novel, if it doesn’t catch the judge at first bite it is going nowhere.

I knew that I had a good story. The judge’s notes told me that I didn’t have a good beginning. So I fixed it. Worked it up a bit. Put some heat in it. Added an exploding helicopter or two. The result was that my teenage narrator changed from being an effervescent character to a simmering character. And with the opening of the book simmering away, I then had to carry the heat further into the story. The difference improved the whole novel to the point where it was picked up by a publisher.

And it was being published that brought about the invitation to take part in a couple of sessions at the CYA Later Alligator Conference. I was there with two other authors recently published, and who had come from the CYA competition. One was Dee White and her YA novel, Letters to Leonardo. The other was Kathryn Apel and her children’s picture book, This Is The Mud.

Gotta love a story with a happy ending.

The Book is Here!

May 3, 2009

Just heard from the publisher. The book is back from the printers.

Lots of them.

Cartons of them.

Pallets of them. OK, maybe not pallets of them. You can fit a lot of books onto a pallet.

All we need now is pallet loads of customers.

It’s the end of the author chapter and the beginning of the marketing chapter.

Call for Full

August 14, 2008

Bit of writer’s jargon there. This morning I had a publisher request the full manuscript of my YA novel. Any writers out there will know that this is the big ask, and something that does not come often.

Is this the beginning of the end?

Skin

November 13, 2007

I’m sitting here waiting. Not that it’s doing much good at this time of night. After dinner on a quiet Tuesday is not the time when a publisher is going to call and offer a contract on my novel. I know there’s more waiting to be done. It helps to have thick skin.

An editor friend ran through the early ms. She sent it back filled with scribbles and attached pages of notes. It was daunting to see her thoroughness but it sure did improve the novel. She emailed me to see how I was getting on, hoping that I hadn’t got discouraged. It’s a skin thing, writing.

Then I met one of Australia’s most highly regarded authors who thought the work had merit and deserved some mentoring. This wonderful experience meant very significant work. Chopping and changing wasn’t easy. But hey, I can take it.

Lots of reading by the mentor and lots of writing by me and it was pronounced ready for submission. I sent it off to a publisher. Also entered a competition.

The query came back with a polite negative. They read the synopsis but didn’t call for the ms. It didn’t fit their profile. I survived it. Their politeness helped.

Then the competition result was announced. I’d been longlisted! Translated, I didn’t get anywhere. They sent the judges’ tally sheets and things got really interesting. The novel had been judged on the first 1,000 words, that’s it. The judges agreed that certain elements were missing from what they had read. All I had to do was move those bits to the early part of the work. Sounds easy? After all, it’s only a skin thing.

I sent the new beginning to my editor friend and the mentor. Got good responses. So I queried another publisher and they asked for the ms. And that is where I’m up to. Waiting. Sitting in my skin and waiting.

Back when I sent off my first short stories to a publisher I got the reply, “Three of these we would publish straight off, the others need work.” I got a little morose, and bit discouraged, I got angry even. I sulked a bit and went all quiet inside. It did me no good. Then I woke up. “Hey, they want three, that’s pretty good for a first time ever submission.” So I worked on the others, asked the editor’s opinion of their poor showing, took his advice, re-wrote some, discarded others, wrote some new ones. The result was a book in print.

I respect that editor. He published a book of shorts a year later and won one of Australia’s significant literary prizes. $15,000, how’s that sound? I’m glad I took his advice.

This writing lark has got its moments. I love it when the ideas come and the words flow and the universe seems to constellate around my keyboard. It makes even my skin seem more alive when that happens. But there are other times when a thicker skin is needed. Comes with the territory.