1. Bluemouth
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    Bluemouth Contributing Member Contributor

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    Australian Writers

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Bluemouth, Jan 11, 2007.

    Hi,

    I am a writer of horror and plan to send off my work for hopeful publication once it is finished, but I am not sure on a few things. This post is probably directed to published Australian authors or anyone that knows about Australian publication, but I am open for any kind of answer from anyone.

    What sort of publisher would be interested in my work? i.e. who deals with horror in Australia? Will my chances be immediately cut down since I have never had something published before? I've looked in the Writer's Market books for publisher names etc. but I've found nothing that really relates to horror, and I'm starting to worry. So if anyone can possibly help me out I would greatly appreciate it.

    Cheers.:)
     
  2. Wader Go
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    Wader Go Member

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    I'm unpublished, but just like you I am close to sending my stuff off. I've done a lot of research into this, and probably the best advice I can give from my limited experience is not to look for a publisher, but rather try to find a good agent.

    Most Australian publishers won't look at the work of an unpublished author unless the author has gotten a positive assessment of their work from an accredited appraiser, or they are represented by an agent.

    An agent would know what publishers would be interested in your work, and although they take 10% of your profits, they also (in theory at least) try to get the best deal possible for you.

    And if that fails, there's bound to be a sub-publisher of Random House that would accept horror, although I think that Random House would be a tough nut to crack.
     
  3. Axis
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    Axis Member

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    I agree with everything Wader says. You need to look either for an editor or an agent first.

    You can also look on the Voyager site, which is a sub of Harper Collins I think. They do a lot of fantasy, and might be interest in some horror, but similarly this is a prestige publisher and they are unlikely to look at non-represented writers.
     
  4. Bluemouth
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    Bluemouth Contributing Member Contributor

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    Interesting. Thank you both. I'm just a little worried that hiring an agent may be too expensive, but I understand that if I really want to make it onto the scene then I'll either get freakishly lucky with a publisher, or just go and seek help from an agent.
     
  5. Wader Go
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    Wader Go Member

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    My understanding is that most agents don't cost anything until you get published, and then they only take money from your book royalties. No money up front.
     
  6. Bluemouth
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    Bluemouth Contributing Member Contributor

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    I swear I almost fainted. If that's true then they can take my 10%! Just the feeling that your book is out on the market would be enough for me ... of course after that anyone would love to get contracted.
     
  7. Wader Go
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    Wader Go Member

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    Of course there are some agents that charge you to read your manuscript, but that's why you have to look around first.

    Compile a list of prospective agents, find out how they charge, email or phone them to see if they're interested in your work, then send your manuscript to those who are interested.
     
  8. Arktos
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    Arktos Member

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    ... and never ever pay upfront. If a specific agent asks for the money first, run away.
     
  9. Bluemouth
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    Bluemouth Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well noted. And now I'm not so inhibited by this whole "find an agent" business. As long as I go at it correctly they can be very helpful people.
     
  10. SeaBreeze
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    SeaBreeze Banned

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    Ooohh. I've always wondered about this! Wicked, I now have hope!
     
  11. Fiesty Kel
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    Good thread, very helpful. I never knew any of this either, have not reached that point yet!
     
  12. Axis
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    Yeah, Sara Douglass says on her website that if you cna get a manuscript accepted by an agent, you're about 90% of the way to getting published. Because an agent doesn't get paid unless they can sell your ms (at least the scrupulous ones don't). So if they take you on it's because they know you're going to be placed.

    Definitely never ever ever pay upfront. Some agents will ask you to get a manuscript assessment. If they offer it in-house, cast them aside! They are trying to screw you. If they say, "Here is a list of manuscript assessors we recommend" you can be less sceptical, but still do your research.

    I have gone through this once. I wrote to about half a dozen manuscript assessors and asked what experience they had with fantasy writing. Most mace back with some not-specific claptrap about really enjoying fantasy fiction *makes masturbating gesture with hand*.

    Then I read an interview with Sean Williams, who is just a sensational Australian fantasy and SF writer, which said that he was still having his work edited by Driftwood Manuscripts. Well, he's a fantasy writer and so am I, so that was good enoough for me. Kristy Brooks (I think that's right) is still operating and you can find her website either through Google or from the Voyager website (I think).

    Now, I still haven't hit her with an MS, so I don;t actually know how good she is. She could be Sean Williams' girlfriend for all I know. But this is an example of the sort of research and questions you should be asking about both your editor and agent. I sent an MS to Lyn Trantor from Australian Literary Management after finding out she represents Sara Douglass (who is in the Voyager stable, where I'd love to be).

    So, research agents and editors, and trust your instincts.
     
  13. Bluemouth
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    Bluemouth Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks Axis! Very helpful post.

    One more thing, hope you're still on ...

    I'm writing a story set in America, but wish to publish it within Australia (at least at first). I'm using Australian english, is this a problem for a story that's set outside of Australia? I've had it read by a few people and they've commented that perhaps I should use American language. The only time I plan to use American english is if a character has to write something down, eg. "The tire is here" as opposed to "The tyre is here". This is create a sense of realism. What would you suggest?
     
  14. Wader Go
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    Wader Go Member

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    On the note of manuscript assessment, I had my novel assessed by Lynk Manuscript Assessment Service, who I learned about through the older-version Random House website. While my appraisal came back with a "not quite ready to be published" response, they thoroughly went through where it needed improvement, and were frankly worth ever cent, as it not only showed me what areas I needed to work on as a writer, but it also allowed me to fix my novel with very little fuss.

    I personally would recommend them.

    I will point out that manuscript appraisal is not cheap, costing hundreds of dollars, but if you are serious about being a writer, and have not yet been published, then an appraisal would be a good idea. If they say that your book is good enough to be published, then you can approach many publishers without needing an agent, and if they say it's not ready, then you know how to improve it, which will help reduce rejections from agents.

    And speaking of agents, as I am currently looking for one, I had best tell you that as best I can tell, there are little more (possibly less) than 20 legitimate literary agents/agencies in Australia, many of which aren't accepting manuscripts at the moment (of course this could change by the time your work is finished). In fact I have only found 3 agents that my work is applicable for (way too many agents don't accept sci-fi, fantasy and horror)

    The point is that you should make sure you understand all your options. If you can't find an agent, then go for the appraisal.
     
  15. Bluemouth
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    Bluemouth Contributing Member Contributor

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    Why does Australia have to be so hard???

    I'm really daunting when it's time to look for an agent. I doubt I'll be bothered spending mega bucks on the appraisal. So I'm prepared to be in for some trouble. Maybe I should just try my luck in a bigger market like America if it all starts falling through.
     
  16. Axis
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    I agree with Wader. When I was looking for an agent there were few that represented artists in my genre, and two of them weren't accepting new, unpublished writers.

    However, the way to convince them is to get a positive assessment from a good editor. The money (I was looking at about $500, and my story was over 200,000 words) is worth it if it gets you closer to being published.

    In terms of aussie english as opposed to US english, grab a Matt Reilly book and do whatever he does. I haven't got one handy, but my feeling is he writes using Australian english (and almost exclusively about Amercian characters). I don't see how it would make a terrible amount of difference. If your publisher wanted to release the book in the US, they would have proof readers make what corrections are necessary.

    I think write for your market, which at this point is Australia.
     
  17. Wader Go
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    Wader Go Member

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    Another thing to point out is that copyright laws are different in other countries. We're lucky here in Australia, because we're under the "as soon as you write it, it's copyrighted" system, but in some countries you have to register your book.

    I believe America is one such country (although I could be wrong) so if you wanted to try and get published in America, you would have to make sure that you understand, and more importantly COMPLY with their laws. However, an Australian agent with international contacts would be a far more convenient bet if you can get one.
     
  18. Bluemouth
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    Bluemouth Contributing Member Contributor

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    I couldn't resist making this comment:

    Matt Reilly is the worst author I have ever read. Ice Station contained some of the weakest, primary school standard writing I have ever seen. And I think he made best-seller. Ridiculous.
     
  19. Axis
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    Axis Member

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    I completely agree. Well almost. I've also read Dan Brown, so now I'm not sure Reilly is the worst. But he's close.
     
  20. Bluemouth
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    Bluemouth Contributing Member Contributor

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    Dan Brown is another no-skill successful "author".
     
  21. jj3125
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    cool cool. i shall have to find myself an agent!
     
  22. Weaselword
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    Weaselword Banned

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    I find written Australian English indistinguishable from British or Canadian or South African or Indian or any other non-American English. From a page of text, I simply can't tell which former Commonwealth dialect is which. At least, not unless the Australian is deliberately trying to sound "Aussie" by using specific dialect words and telling me how to survive when you're out in the bush and you get bitten by a crocodile and stung by a blue-ringed octopus on the same day. Or something.

    So that means you've got India as a marketplace--a country with rather a lot more English-speakers than the US--and about seventy other countries comprising about 20% of the world's surface. :)
     
  23. SB108
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    Thank god I'm not the only one! I also read 'Temple', and I'm sorry I bought either book.
     

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