Posts Tagged ‘publishing’

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

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 Clem Cover

April 2, 2009

Well, the final cover design is done.


Check it out –

The book is off to the printers.

We’re planning a book launch.

I’m now putting together a promo video. Lots of new stuff to learn in there. There’s a lot of promo videos out there. Some of them are pretty good, I don’t plan on being among the others.

The Next Step For Clem

November 29, 2008

That book, the one being published next year. Here’s the catch-up.

The publisher is Ford Street Publishing. Yeah, I know I can give you a link, but you can google it just as easily.

OK, here is is –

And here’s the book intro –

We are setting up for a June 2009 release.

That’s all, folks. Nothing to see here. Move along, please.

The Contract, The Cheque, The Date

October 28, 2008

Two out of three ain’t bad.

The contracts for the Clem book are all signed up and shared around. My copy is still sitting on my desk. I don’t have a place in the filing cabinet for ‘Publishing Contracts’, and can’t remember what happened to the contract for the first book.

And the first cheque arrived. Nice one. It ends with three zeroes, or five if I keep counting after the dot. Maybe I should say, “My latest royalty advance ends in five zeroes.” Nah. That’ll only invite requests for a loan until payday.

And number 3, we are talking about a release date. Nothing decided yet. Sometime through 2009.

Here’s a link.

The cover will change, this is merely a working sheet to inspire me. OK, it was a distraction dating from when the work of editing was getting me down. The publisher will get a designer to come up with something better.

The book is on the conveyor belt while I sit around drinking champagne. What a great life this is.

Clem Is Coming

October 15, 2008

Clem is the teenage narrator of the young adult novel that I have just contracted to a publisher.

Late one sleepless night when I was on holidays, January 2006, Clem walked into my mind and told me his story. OK, it wasn’t quite that simple. But the experience of the book building itself in my head while I lay there in the dark was not my normal expectation.

I got up in the morning, wrote a two page outline, and started typing. That old laptop ran hot for five days and I had 55,000 words and the story finished itself in a most unexpected manner. I had to get through the feeling that it was perfect as it was, that took a few months, then came the work of knocking the whole thing into shape.

A friend is an editor with teenage kids. She read it and pointed out some storyline inconsistencies. She also let me know how teenagers think these days, something that I have left behind. It was good to see the book improve as I followed her notes.

Another friend edits a national journal of childrens and young adult literature. I sent a copy. He liked it, reading it was a good experience, he thought it was worth publishing. He thought it needed work. He noted that it will have to find its way in some very hot competition in the YA world. I took his suggestions and the text cleared a little more.

At a writer’s festival mid 2007 I met an extraordinary woman named Hazel Edwards. Hazel is one of Australia’s most prolific authors for young people. Over 150 works published. Her first book is still in print after 29 years and is found on shelves everywhere.

Hazel read the manuscript overnight, filled it with notes, and we spent an hour talking the next day while I took more pages of notes. I did everything Hazel suggested and could see the wisdom of her comments as the book matured. Hazel mentored me in this work over the next couple of months, what a wonderful blessing from a very sharply focused teacher.

I started querying publishers. I entered a writers competition. There were a few rejections from publishers and I took each one as the stepping stone to the next query. Then along came the present invitation to send the manuscript. Then the offer of a contract.

I will continue the story in a future blog. Until then, Clem says “Hello world”.

Your Limo is Here, Sir

October 3, 2008

Sept 22nd and I blogged about waiting for something to happen.You can scroll down to the Waiting for the Limo post and check it out.

Sometimes things happen and interrupt normal life. Even silly things can do it, such as winning that James Bond contest and having the limo enter our mundane lives. And in those times everything else seems to sit around and wait with you as your brain goes into neutral. The Limo post was about one of those times.

The subject of that Limo post has happened. The publisher has emailed me. He wants to publish the book.

Yeehar! Break out the Bollinger.

Now the waiting is over perhaps I can get back to normal life.

Nah, let’s finish the Bollinger first. And I think there’s some more of that Moet & Chandon …

Waiting for the Limo

September 22, 2008

Every done it? Ever had to wait for the limo? To pick you up, I mean, not waiting for the limo to drop somebody else off. Anyone can do that. Find a red carpet and a crowd and you’ll see what I mean.

I had to do it once, wait for that limo. What a nightmare. So, you got time for a yarn?

I’d run out of shirts or jeans or something, and passing by a menswear store I remembered to go in and buy some.

“Fill in the form, sir?”

“Sorry, what was that?”

“The form. It’s for our shopping centre competition. Premier night at the new James Bond movie.”

“Oh, yeah. OK”

That was Friday.

Wednesday and the phone rings. It’s about 4:30pm.

“Hello Mr Miller. I’m ringing to tell you that you’ve won the James Bond competition. Tickets for the opening night.”

“Oh, that’s good. When’s it for?”



“The limousine will pick you up at 6:30.”

“Thanks. Thanks very much.”

Now what do we do? We’ve got two hours to get ready, much more time than we need. Dinner is included so we don’t need to prepare a meal. We have only to sit and wait. And fidget.

And so came into being the phrase, Waiting for the Limo.

It’s time that can’t be re-allocated. It just ticks away as you sit there. Your mind is on something important, or at least significant, or just plain distracting, and it won’t be turned to something useful in the interim. Your brain has gone to mush. It is as useful as a parking meter, but just a little less expensive.

And at the appointed time the limo arrives and the chronology starts up again.

A publisher emailed me today. I sent a manuscript to him a few weeks ago. A novel, a work of fiction. He’s interested. The book has passed through two levels of examination. He wants to ask me a question before sending it to level three. I answer the question, he replies with thanks. The book is now on its way to the final stage of assessment.

I am waiting for the limo.