The Terry Pratchett Prize, Round Two...

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Re: The Terry Pratchett Prize, Round Two...

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Fri May 03, 2013 3:34 pm

I'm actually more or less fixed on a self-publish gig now as I've found myself some great readers and editors, so I'm really just waiting on these other 2 agents to get back to me on the off chance and then I'll probably go for a free dual-prong deal with ebooks and print (paperback) on demand with Lulu.com who also do an ISBN package so you can sell everywhere, but specifically with them on Barnes & Noble, Nook and Amazon as well :lol: No 20% (or more) leeches and I'm in charge of the timetable! :P

This is the reject letter I got back last week, which was actually quite helpful -
EW agency wrote:Thank you for writing to us. I do apologise for the standard email; we have been so inundated with submissions recently that we are unable to give each one an individual reply. We have considered your proposal
carefully, but I am sorry to say that we feel that it is not going to be one for us.
If you feel you might benefit from more tailored editorial advice, you should consider discussing your work with a literary consultant.
Details can be found on our website on the ‘Submissions’ page. Additionally, if you would like an assessment report on your manuscript, we recommend Daniel Goldsmith Associates,they give an honest, comprehensive and constructive review on manuscripts...

I am sorry not to be writing with better news and I wish you every luck with finding an agent elsewhere.

At least it was v. polite! :roll: The Goldsmith link is to a page on submission letters which are a bloody minefield as they ask for all sorts of things like a CV (resume) or synopsis of such and such a word count so you have to revise each submission doc heavily for every mailing. :?

The thing I find most frustrating for this specific novel is the 'first three chapters' criteria, as I have the start of the book almost as 'stand alone' stories that only start to join up later on. Although chapters 1 & 3 are quite strong, my 'best' ones are actually further into the book and arguably the best is also stand alone as it introduces the full background story of a central character who's actually deceased for the entire main storyline :P

The established 'traditional' route is actually moribund now I think - with 50 Shades, whatever your personal opinion of the writing is, being the supreme example of 'If you self-publish they will buy it anyway' even with dubious editorial input. For what was originally a not terribly great but racey piece of Twilight fanfic, it just shows that anyone can do it even with dodgy editorial standards (and I'm talking hard grammar not soft porn here) :P I've certainly read (and written) far better stories on other fan sites :twisted:

Good luck with yours Jeff - I think you're absolutely right to stick to your full concept! Who needs to read yet one more murky story about NYC when you can have real rednecks and fundies! Haven't they seen Deliverance?!!!!! ;)
Last edited by Jan Van Quirm on Fri May 03, 2013 8:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Terry Pratchett Prize, Round Two...

Postby raisindot » Fri May 03, 2013 7:28 pm

Quatermass wrote:Well, not only am I sending my book around to various publishers, but I have another book for another prize.

This competition requires a fee to enter. But it's not only one of the more prestigious awards in Australia, but it's hosted by a well-known and reputable company. It's the Vogel Literary Award, hosted by Allen and Unwin and funded by the most prestigious newspaper in Australia, The Australian.


A bit of unsolicited advice from someone who went down this road many years ago and found it completely bogus and fruitless: Don't enter competitions, especially one you have to pay for. You're only funding the eventual winners, and unless your book fits the judges' own biased editorial standards it won't get anywhere.

Plus the fact that you're sitting there waiting for months, while instead you could be putting your queries and chapters out to publishers whose job is not necessarily to choose projects with literary merit but to choose projects with marketable potential. At least you've got a chance to have the merits of your book or the concept (or selected chapters) judged mercilessly and quickly by a large number of people.

If you must enter the competition, submit it to publishers at the same time. The worst thing that could happen is a publisher accepts it and you remove it from the competition. Life is too short and waiting periods are too long for writers to have to sit around waiting for things to happen.
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Re: The Terry Pratchett Prize, Round Two...

Postby Quatermass » Tue May 07, 2013 1:14 pm

Jan Van Quirm wrote:The established 'traditional' route is actually moribund now I think - with 50 Shades, whatever your personal opinion of the writing is, being the supreme example of 'If you self-publish they will buy it anyway' even with dubious editorial input. For what was originally a not terribly great but racey piece of Twilight fanfic, it just shows that anyone can do it even with dodgy editorial standards (and I'm talking hard grammar not soft porn here) :P I've certainly read (and written) far better stories on other fan sites :twisted:


Yeah, except 50 Shades of Grey started as crappy fanfic of a crappy book. :roll: I'm sure that there is a lot of fanfiction of Twilight that actually surpasses the original.

I am considering going through the self-published ebook route. I'm even considering commissioning a cover for it. My prose needs work, but my story is a good one.

About the competition, I am considering not entering it. But it depends on many things, like whether I am satisfied with the finished product in time or not, or whether I think it is of a high enough standard for the competition.
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Re: The Terry Pratchett Prize, Round Two...

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Tue May 07, 2013 5:21 pm

Q wrote:Yeah, except 50 Shades of Grey started as crappy fanfic of a crappy book. I'm sure that there is a lot of fanfiction of Twilight that actually surpasses the original.

There are countless millions out there who haven't gone near a book or even a decent magazine or newspaper since they left school and whose literary interest barely makes it to Marvel comic level or, if they've no imagination at all, but have persevered with their reading skills, a Jackie Collins 'novel' (which is practically War & Peace in contrat to 50) :P

If you've gone into your niche market well enough then almost anyone who can put a story together should on paper do well, especially when they have 'captive' fandom audiences they can reach or infiltrate... :shifty: I'll certainly buy yours and Jeff's books Q ,simply because I know we like the same kind of writing, and by that I mean not just Pterry - I may even buy an ebook if that's all you'll release ;)
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Re: The Terry Pratchett Prize, Round Two...

Postby Quatermass » Tue May 07, 2013 10:39 pm

Unfortunately, I am pretty much a beige prose guy. Comes from reading too much Terrance Dicks. I concentrate more on dialogue than description, and my expressions get repetitive. I'd probably be a better scriptwriter... :think:
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Re: The Terry Pratchett Prize, Round Two...

Postby raisindot » Wed May 08, 2013 12:56 pm

Quatermass wrote:I am considering going through the self-published ebook route. I'm even considering commissioning a cover for it.


Definitely worth doing. I commissioned a cover for mine after throwing out a free ad promoting the gig on Craiglist (in the states, this is essentially a nationwide free classified advertising board). I got nearly 200 responses, and finally found a struggling art student who was willing to create the whole thing in Photoshop format for $100, which is chump change. He was a pleasure to work with, even through the multiple revisions it took to get it right. I ended up sending him cash (dollars) and it was fine. If you ever want his info let me know. He's in the U.S., but this kind of work has become worldwide by now.
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Re: The Terry Pratchett Prize, Round Two...

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Sat May 11, 2013 5:24 pm

This is a blog series I've been following on The Writers and Artists magazine site and I think it's really helpful on the 'official' route to getting published and also on how you see yourself as writing professional. Simon Clark's English but currently lives and works in the US as Staff Writer on the New York International. His first children's book is coming out in the latter part of 2014 but he's had short stories published in various anthologies. Thought I'd pass it on as he's got tons of good advice and encouragement and even though it's mostly fixed on the UK market, the gist is something that must good for the global industry too at least in 'Western' culture... :D

What To Do After You've Finished Your Book

What To Do After The First Draft's Done

Getting Plugged In To The Writing Community

Editing, Editing, Editing

Query Letters - What, Why, How?

Acting Like A Pro

Your questions (on the series) answered

Writers& Artists wrote:Simon grew up in the UK before moving to rural Japan to teach English for three years after graduating. From there he moved to New Jersey, USA, where he works as a writer. His first children's book, EREN, is represented by Molly Ker Hawn of The Bent Agency and will be published by Constable & Robinson in Autumn 2014.. He blogs about writing and publishing at http://www.simonpclark.com.
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Re: The Terry Pratchett Prize, Round Two...

Postby Quatermass » Mon Jun 03, 2013 6:56 am

Well, nobody's posted this, so I might as well...

http://www.terrypratchett.co.uk/?p=2673

The winner was announced as 21 year old Alexander Maskill with his entry: THE HIVE

Alexander Maskill is currently studying a Politics degree at the University of Leicester. He began his novel in August and completed it in just five months. The prize is a £20,000 publishing contract. He had this to say:

“I’m incredibly thankful for the opportunity the folks at Transworld have given me. I was up against some amazing writers on the shortlist and I’m still reeling from the fact that my story was chosen for the award. I’m really looking forward to working with such a great team to get The Hive published and out into the world.”

Sir Terry commented:

‘2013’s shortlisted novels were of an exceptionally high standard. It was remarkably difficult to choose just one winner but we felt that Alexander Maskill’s The Hive was a unique and original take on Man vs. Technology in an altered future. Alex has a promising future for one whose first attempt at writing a novel has won him the prize!’

The Book

The Hive takes us to New Cairo, a city built on technology, from the huge solar panels that keep civilisation going in a changed world, to the artificial implants that have become the answer to all and any medical problem. When a powerful new computer virus begins to spread through the poorest districts shutting down the life-giving implants, it threatens to tip the city into a violent class struggle. Hiding out amongst the riots and underground resistance, Zala Ulora, one of the most wanted criminals in the city and a gifted hacker, must trace the virus to its source before it destroys the city, or the city destroys itself.

Sir Terry Pratchett and Transworld Publishers would like to thank everyone who submitted an entry to the prize.


:sad-suicidepills:

So, that was a year's effort, wasted.
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Re: The Terry Pratchett Prize, Round Two...

Postby raisindot » Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:11 pm

Quatermass wrote:Well, nobody's posted this, so I might as well...

http://www.terrypratchett.co.uk/?p=2673

The winner was announced as 21 year old Alexander Maskill with his entry: THE HIVE

Alexander Maskill is currently studying a Politics degree at the University of Leicester. He began his novel in August and completed it in just five months. The prize is a £20,000 publishing contract. He had this to say:

The Book

The Hive takes us to New Cairo, a city built on technology, from the huge solar panels that keep civilisation going in a changed world, to the artificial implants that have become the answer to all and any medical problem. When a powerful new computer virus begins to spread through the poorest districts shutting down the life-giving implants, it threatens to tip the city into a violent class struggle. Hiding out amongst the riots and underground resistance, Zala Ulora, one of the most wanted criminals in the city and a gifted hacker, must trace the virus to its source before it destroys the city, or the city destroys itself.


Sorry to say, but this seems like a pretty weak and overdone premise. Sounds like a cliched mix of Borg, Matrix, and Neuromancer. If this is the type of stuff that wins awards these days, then that's not a good sign for the future of the genre.
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Re: The Terry Pratchett Prize, Round Two...

Postby Tonyblack » Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:41 pm

Forbidden Planet maybe?
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Re: The Terry Pratchett Prize, Round Two...

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Mon Jun 03, 2013 2:48 pm

B*gger! Just lost a big rant... :angry-banghead:

Isn't this just typical of the way publishing's going these days? :roll: I know how you feel Q but it's really not a year down the drain. Image Look at it this way - you've now got a great manuscript that you can do what you want with and market it where ever you choose and not have to rely on 'me too', middle of the road, non-risk takers who wouldn't know quality original fiction if you hit them over the head with a brick thick book.

Let's face it, Terry only had the chance to develop Discworld by dint of spoofing up Robert E. Howard and Tolkien et al in CoM and LF and then it 'took' after some hard graft by Colin Smythe. Most publishers these days don't even take submissions from new authors and the agencies and 'consultancies' which prey on new blood pay lip service to wanting 'literary' fiction (aka commercial content but hard to read in some respect, never in a good way... :snooty: ) and saying outright not to bother them with SF&F genre. From that stance I suppose Transworld are offering an avenue or sorts, but really this winner's hardly innovative or even original in the accepted sense. Sure it's pretty well written - at least I bloody hope it is, but 'fresh' isn't what I'd use to describe that synopsis! :roll:
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Re: The Terry Pratchett Prize, Round Two...

Postby Dotsie » Mon Jun 03, 2013 6:08 pm

Non-risk takers sounds about right Jano. Seems to me like they're just sticking to the formula. I can't see it being a huge success though, they're probably just hoping to make their money back :roll:
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Re: The Terry Pratchett Prize, Round Two...

Postby Who's Wee Dug » Mon Jun 03, 2013 6:31 pm

Never seen anything else published from the other two winners of the 2011 competion.
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Re: The Terry Pratchett Prize, Round Two...

Postby Quatermass » Mon Jun 03, 2013 10:32 pm

Well, it's worth pointing out a few things. I'm not fond of advocating for one who got on the shortlist ahead of me, let alone the winner (I'm a bad loser, albeit a self-reflective one), but it's worth pointing out a few things:

1. Yes, that story sounds like a cyberpunk work. But keep in mind that this is meant to be set in a parallel Earth. It may be that it's set in a parallel past or present of Earth. And considering it may be discussing technology way ahead of its time, it may have a very drastic point of divergence.

2. The general outline seems generic, but then again, many stories have been done over and over again, and usually, it's the angle that must be fresh.

3. It's also a matter of the prose. Unfortunately, my prose for my entry was more than a little beige, on reflection (I did some cleaning up before sending it to publishers, and it still seems beige). Maskill's prose probably manages the right balance between beige and purple prose. That's why I'm doing a rewrite of one of my books where I am carefully dyeing the text a bit more purple.

Points made. Now, back to seething with envy. :P
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Re: The Terry Pratchett Prize, Round Two...

Postby pip » Tue Jun 04, 2013 8:15 am

Who's Wee Dug wrote:Never seen anything else published from the other two winners of the 2011 competion.

There is a sequel to Apocalypse Cow out later this year or early next called Cruel Brittania and Apocalypse cow has just been published in the states recently and seems to be going down well. So not a complete non starter.
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