Notes from KPSWC Publishers Panel

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These are the notes that Karen Treanor from Quenda Books used when on on Publishers Panel at Katherine Sussannah Prichard Writers Centre on 23/10/10.

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Notes from KPSWC Publishers Panel

  1. 1. Karen Treanor from Quenda Books Notes from KSPWC Publishers Panel 23/10/10 The eventwentprettymuchas intendedexceptwe ranoutof time anddidn'tgetto give our 'five minutesof advice"forthe participants'future directions. Iwouldhave said: My advice towritersis“Do it NOW;don’tsay “Oh, I wishIhad time to write.”MAKETIME. If you have to getup half an hour early,doso. Writingislike anyotherskill,use itorlose it. To would-be publishersI’dsay “Doit rightfrom the start—don’tgofor cheapoptions;hire professionalstodo whatyou don’tknowhowto do; have the courage of yourconvictions,anddon’tputit off—all too soonyou will be 92 and wonderingwhereyourlife went.” About16 people attended,mostlyfromthe KSPmembership;some are retirees,some are still in the work force,one is a uni student,andall eitherhave astoryto tell thattheyhope to have publishedone dayorwere simplycuriousaboutthe publishingprocess. The bigquestionof the day was "Howdo youget the attentionof publishers?" Sofew of themacceptunsolicitedmanuscripts: what'sa writertodo? Fremantle Pressisone of the more approachable publishers,yettheypublish lessthan1% of the manuscriptstheyreceive--andtheyreceive over600 a year! In previoustimes,awritercouldhope togetan agentinterestedinherwork,andthe agentthen frontedthe publishers. Agentsnowhave becomesoexclusivethatmanyof themwon't respondto unknownwriters. There are veryfewagentsin Australia,andtheyare fairlyspecificaboutwhatthey will representandwhattheywon't. Some don't touchpoetryor children'sbooks;othersonly handle nonfiction,etc. Bottom line,one hastokeeptrying,use anyopportunitythatpresentsitself,spendalotof time Googlingoutletswhere yourwritingmightfindahome--evenif itisn'tapayingproposition. There are websitesthatgive writersaforumforshort stories,butfew of thempay. And be extremelycautiouswhenlookingatthose ads that say "Youcan be published!""English publisherwantsauthors!" Nextthingyouknow,youhave signedupwithavanitypressandpaid $800 or more and got verylittle foritexceptaboxful of second-rate books. Irecommendevery writerchecksoutany potential publisheronthe Preditors(sic) andEditorswebsite;mostof the shonkyoutfitswill have hadabadreview onthere. Above all,be patient.Evenwhenapublisher agreesto lookat yourmanuscript,youwill have afour,five ormore monthwait for a response. In the good olddays,publishershada back roomfull of shinynew graduatesinEng.Lit whoread their waythrough the slushpiles; There are fewerreadersinbackroomsnow andit's much harderto make it that far. An alternative tohard-printpublishingise-publishing,butlike printpublishers,there are predators out there.Worse,anyone whowantstosetup a website cansayhe's an e-bookpublisher. There are some verygoodones,andsome awful onesthatwouldn'tknow one endof a blue pencil from another. If you've got a good book,youdon'twant itpublishedonline orinprintbya third-rate outfit. Do yourhomeworktake yourtime,anddon'tsignup withanyone youcan't finda good recommendationfor.

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