The Terry Pratchett Prize, Round Two...

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

Postby Quatermass » Wed Jun 05, 2013 4:16 am

raisindot wrote:
Quatermass wrote:At the moment, I have submitted said work (in a revised form) to three publishers. None of them I have heard back from, although one of them, Penguin, requires the full manuscript and three months to examine. It's only been one. The other two...well, I have to assume rejection, as I have heard nothing after the time limit, and they say they'll only reply if they intend to take it forward.


I don't know how it is downunda, but in the states no publisher at all will accept an unsolicited manuscript that isn't first preceded by a query letter with a synopsis. Only if they write back telling to send the ms. will they actually read. Even then, very few publishers other than tiniest small presses will read ms's that aren't submitted by an agent. I don't care whether a Writer's Market listing says they accept new authors--that's total bs.


The websites of said publishers (Allen and Unwin, Hachette Australia, and Penguin Books Australia) do say that they accept unsolicited manuscripts, or rather, for the first two, the first chapter or 50 pages of the manuscript. However, Allen and Unwin only accept them on Fridays as part of their 'Friday Pitch', and Penguin only accepts manuscripts during the first week of the month.

http://www.allenandunwin.com/default.aspx?page=462

http://www.hachette.com.au/manuscriptsubmissions/

http://www.penguin.com.au/getting-published
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Re: The Terry Pratchett Prize, Round Two...

Postby raisindot » Wed Jun 05, 2013 1:52 pm

There's a huge difference between 'accepting unsolicited manuscripts' and actually reading.

The rule of thumb is that any unsolicited MS will automatically go to the bottom of the "to read" pile, and, if read at all, will be assigned to the lowest paid ground level assistant or the summer intern. And that they will read no more than the query letter and, if that interests them at all, the first 10 pages of the MS to make a spot-level assessment. So make sure that your query letter and your first 10 pages are gangbusters.
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Re: The Terry Pratchett Prize, Round Two...

Postby Quatermass » Thu Jun 06, 2013 11:23 am

...You're a ray of sunshine, aren't you?

Wait, what am I saying? The last time someone asked me that (which was at the first meeting of the Brisbane Pratchett Partisans), I snarked back saying that I was a ray of sunshine: causing sunburn and skin cancer. :P
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Re: The Terry Pratchett Prize, Round Two...

Postby raisindot » Thu Jun 06, 2013 4:53 pm

Quatermass wrote:...You're a ray of sunshine, aren't you?


Sorry, but I've been through this route before and know others who have been through it as well.

There are currently over 500,000 self-published books on Amazon right now. It's highly likely that 90% were self-published after the author either got no response at all or a negative response from a publisher or agent.

But to look on the half full side of this, you can entirely bypass the middleman and get your work out to them without having to jump through editorial hoops to please some 21-year-old assistant editor whose literary spectrum doesn't stretch far beyond Harry Potter and the Twilight series.

You can get your book our electronically, or you can make it available as print to order. The only sevices you're passing up from the publisher is professional proofreading and publicity. The former you can take care of by having good friend editors look at it, and the latter you need to handle on your own by promoting the crap out of it through whichever means you can.

And that fact that your book is competing with 500,000 other self-published books isn't an issue. If your book is much better than the other dreck out there, and you get readers on the bandwagon, yours will go places regardless of how many other SP books are out there. After all, there are at probably 25,000 or more English-language printed books published each year, and yet only a tiny percentage of these sell more than a few thousand copies.
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Re: The Terry Pratchett Prize, Round Two...

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Sat Jun 08, 2013 4:51 pm

Like raisin says - sending your work to a publisher direct is pretty much the worst lottery ever, if not completely pointless. Over here unsolicited novels are commonly referred to as the slush pile and that more or less covers the publisher attitude to most new authors unless they're well known in another field (reality show, comedians, politicians) whether or not most sane people would think they had anything interesting to say... :evil:

If you're longing to go the 'proper' route to authorship then finding a literary agent (like Colin Smythe) is a better bet as they are in the business of finding the next great book/author and almost all will guarantee to at least read your 'submission letter' and synopsis and maybe the first 3 chapters or 50 pages of A4 whichever is the greater as well. They do have slush piles too but they will generally get back to you with a definite yeah or nay, even if it's months after you've sent off to them (so far I've only had 2 (out of 6) not reply to me and one of those asked to be nudged if I hadn't heard by their target date). Most good agents will not charge you to submit to them and won't talk fees with you until they've hooked you a definite book deal so from that perspective you get read and may well find yourself well represented and supported through the real editorials for not too much of a commission from that point.

From what I can tell, the ones you probably ought not to be tempted by are literary 'consultancies' who will charge you a pretty penny to polish and prune your work for submission to an agent and/or publishers of their acquaintance - in other words they're offering a 'complete' editorial and proof-reading service... Now all that guarantees that they will read your work - how well is another matter, as there are scam artists out there who lure you in with compliments, 'but it just needs little tweaks here and there to make it truly marvellous, so can you mail them another chunk of money to get it that way - and so on. There are good consultancies and when they find a book that's looking commercial, they will generally send that off for no extra fees (after giving it a reasonable and value for money dusting) to a good professional contact to do the pitching with the big boys for you. Worth a try if your budget will run to it and yo think it's more or less submission ready - on the other hand roping in friends whose opinions and taste you respect, like raisin and I have done might glean more purposeful and cheaper results... :shifty:
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Re: The Terry Pratchett Prize, Round Two...

Postby Quatermass » Mon Sep 16, 2013 11:03 am

BUMP!

Hmm...I wonder if there's going to be a third TP Prize. Because I have a real humdinger of an idea... :think:
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Re: The Terry Pratchett Prize, Round Two...

Postby raisindot » Mon Sep 16, 2013 12:59 pm

Quatermass wrote:BUMP!

Hmm...I wonder if there's going to be a third TP Prize. Because I have a real humdinger of an idea... :think:


Again, for got the go*sdam*ed contest and WRITE FOR YOURSELF instead. If your idea is that good, just write the thing with your own vision in mind--don't try to shape it into something for a single contest. And, if I were you, once you get it done submit to some other contests or parts of it to magazines or to an agent or anyone who can give you immediate feedback as to whether it's worthy or not. It's your work--why should you let anyone restrict where you submit it? If an agent loves what you did, you'd be much better off letting the agent get the thing published for you.
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Re: The Terry Pratchett Prize, Round Two...

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Mon Sep 16, 2013 5:06 pm

I agree with Raisin after this year's experience. It's hard enough to complete something you truly want to write about without narrowing it down to someone else's criteria. And really this contest is more limiting than most, in that it's specifies that it must be a first published novel which means you can't even submit other work elsewhere in case you disqualify yourself... :shifty:

For someone who gets a lot of viable ideas this contest is really not worth looking at - and the winners have hardly been that startlingly original even given the very broad brief. Certainly this year's winner appears to be following a well-travelled road... :roll:
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Re: The Terry Pratchett Prize, Round Two...

Postby Quatermass » Mon Sep 16, 2013 10:45 pm

I'm still concentrating on other stuff at the moment, thanks. But I have the very germ of an idea that intrigues and excites me and could be used for the TP Prize, and even if I don't get anywhere in the TP Prize, I intend to submit it to publishers.

Not only that, but if I get a story ready that isn't valid for the TP Prize, then I ain't hesitating to send it to publishers this time. This time, I'm keeping my avenues open.
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Re: The Terry Pratchett Prize, Round Two...

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Tue Sep 17, 2013 2:19 pm

Wish you luck whatever you decide to do Q - you have to be in it to win it as they say! ;) :lol:
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Re: The Terry Pratchett Prize, Round Two...

Postby Quatermass » Tue Sep 17, 2013 11:21 pm

Jan Van Quirm wrote:Wish you luck whatever you decide to do Q - you have to be in it to win it as they say! ;) :lol:


Thanks. The idea I have, I have explored to a degree in another book, but I have some other plans for it. I just have to watch out that I don't step on the wrong toes.

I actually have two ideas, but I can only submit the one novel AFAIK, and I can't combine the two easily.

Anyway, if and/or when the next one is announced, I'll start a new thread.
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Re: The Terry Pratchett Prize, Round Two...

Postby Quatermass » Thu Sep 19, 2013 4:24 am

In the meantime...

GOOD NEWS!!!

I have finally finished a draft, for the third and, I hope, more or less last time, of one of my books. It was one I had originally conceived for the first TP Prize years ago.

Some celebratory music...





Now, for some really bad dancing...

:dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance:

(The emoticons are so you don't see me dancing The Road Accident- godawful, with limbs everywhere, but nobody can stop watching)
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Re: The Terry Pratchett Prize, Round Two...

Postby The Mad Collector » Thu Sep 19, 2013 7:41 pm

Good luck with your draft Q, So what next with it?
One of those? Oh I'm sure I have one somewhere..

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

Postby ShadowNinjaCat » Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:00 pm

Glad to hear your good news, Q. :)
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Re: The Terry Pratchett Prize, Round Two...

Postby Quatermass » Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:54 pm

The Mad Collector wrote:Good luck with your draft Q, So what next with it?


Polishing it, getting it looked over by my target audience, and then considering publication avenues.
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