Monday, February 21, 2011

Writers need to keep on their toes ...

Here in Australia the REDgroup Retail, owners of Angus and Robertson and Borders Australia has filed for bankruptcy. We live in interesting times.

I belong to Science Fiction Writers of America and the latest issue has an article on digital books and publishing. (He basically said you were crazy if you didn't make your out of print back-list work for you). The author makes a good point about the writer as a business person. If you don't keep up, you'll be left behind.

As a writer you are madly juggling work, family and writing and you are expected to promote your books as well. Even if you have an agent, you need to be watching your genre to see who is publishing what and what the trends are. You can track your sales on Amazon, that's new. But I only found out that copies of book 3 of my first trilogy are selling for anything up to $200 from a reader who didn't want to pay this much.

I really should teach myself to do podcasts. I know I should, but with work and renovating and writing I just don't have the mental space for it right now. With so much to keep track of it's a wonder writers get any writing done.

Now, if you have managed to finish writing your book and you're looking for somewhere to send it, consider sending it to Angry Robot. They're opening their doors to submission in March. They say:

'All our books are “genre” fiction in one way or another — specifically fantasy, science fiction, horror, and that new catch-all urban or modern fantasy. Those are quite wide-ranging in themselves; we’re looking for all types of sub-genre, so for example, hard SF, space opera, cyberpunk, military SF, alternate future history, future crime, time travel, and more. We have no problem if your book mashes together two or more of these genres, but they must have that genre foundation – no thrillers with the merest touch of SF, for example.

Our books will be published in all English-language territories — notably the UK, US and Australia — so we’ll be buying rights to cover all those. If you are only offering rights in one territory, we will not be able to deal with you. We will be able to offer e-book and audio versions as standard too, plus limited edition and multiple physical formats where appropriate. We are not contracting any work-for-hire titles; we offer advances and royalties.

Beyond all of this, what we’re really looking for in your writing is this:
• A “voice”, that comes from…
• Confident writing
• Pacy writing
• Characters that live, have real relationships and emotions, even in extreme situations
• A sense of vision, a rounded universe that lives and breathes
• Clever construction, good plotting, a couple of surprises even for us jaded old read-it-alls
• Heightened experience – an intensity, extremity or just a way of treating plot or situation in a way we’ve not come across before. “Goes up to 11″, if you know what that means.

Do all those, and it will be almost irrelevant that your story is one or other sub-set of SF, fantasy or horror!'

There's a list of FAQs and some tips on presentation. Best of luck.

Tell me, are you also scrambling to keep your head above water, or is it just me?


8 comments:

MataPam said...

Oh, I've got my scuba gear on. I'm well underwater when it comes to keepingup with publishing. I poke my head up and read what Amanda has to say, whimper and submerge again.

I mean, I already have a big backlog of manuscripts out doing the rounds. More getting polished, more waiting in line. Ideas keep popping up . . . By the time there's a working pipline from writer to reader, I may have even figured out how to write what's selling.

Jim McCoy said...

I'm with you Rowena. Between school/paying job/family/doing renovations for a new baby do in May, things are a bit crazy.

I'll make it though, and so will you!

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Matapam, I was 10 years between my two trilogy contracts, then about a year between the next one.

So I have a backlog of books. But I keep discovering ways to make them better!

And giving myself a heap more work. LOL

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Jim, we cope because we have to.

I'm seriously thinking about decluttering my life!

Stephen Simmons said...

I was just grumping this weekend that I have to spend so much time and effort "being a writer", chasing blogs and trends and what-not, following industry news, etc, etc ... that I seem to have no time left to actually *write* ... and not-writing makes me grumpier, because the Characters get impatient, waiting to get out ...

Kate Paulk said...

Glub... glub... glub...

(Did you and Dave switch for this week?)

(And yes, I'm WAY underwater. Three projects at work when I'm supposed to only every be scheduled for ONE, plus trying to keep up with everything else)

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Stephen,

What I enjoy is when the story takes over and i can't write fast enough to keep up.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Kate, I find the work-work expand to fit time available. Especially as they keep changing things, so I have to re-learn them all!