Friday, January 4, 2013

Much, much better than luck


           So, you’ve finished writing that book have you?   It’s a hard slog.  I know.   I’ve written two myself and I know how time consuming, emotionally draining it can be, and how fabulously exciting it is to type ‘The End’. 
It’s like being on a big, scary, theme park ride.  You’re having a great time, then a scary time, then a good time.  If it’s one of those freaky swinging tall ones, then you may spend the whole time wishing it was over.  Then suddenly it is over.  Now you’re thinking, okay I have to make my way through the crowd to the next ride but I’m not sure where to go because it’s a big park and I’m not getting on that whiplash scary &^#@* ride again. No sirree.
Well, I am going to break it to you gently. That roller coaster ride that has left you giddy whilst writing and editing your book until it is shiny like a diamond; that, my friend, was the easy bit.   But you knew that didn’t you?  You cannot attend a writing course or a workshop on publishing or read an article by a famous, successful author without hearing those wearying words.  “It’s almost impossible to get published.”  We know that. Yep. We do.
A few years ago, I attended a publishing workshop at a Writer’s Festival and by lunch-time most of the initially excited participants filed out totally transformed. They trudged towards the coffee shop, feet dragging and shoulders hunched. In huddled, dejected groups of despair they sat, staring at their cakes as the idea they had wasted years of their lives sank in. 
And whether you are the “I’ve been rejected too many times” author or an excited “Just finished my book and it’s really awesome” author, there may be something that will help with the toughest part of the job—chasing down an agent or a publisher. This is the part of the job where you need to remain diligent and determined and work smart.
And here’s my little secret weapon for you.  Get yourself a copy of the latest ‘WRITERS’ & ARTISTS’ YEARBOOK. The current copy is 2013.   The blurb on the cover says, ‘Everything you need to know about the business of being a writer.’  And they weren’t exaggerating.
Inside is a treasure trove of up-to-date information.  Terry Pratchett comments on the inside cover that it is ‘Much, much better than luck.’  It contains not only listings of addresses, emails, web addresses and phone numbers of literary agents and major publishers world-wide but also, newspapers and magazines. If your leaning is towards film and television scripting, poetry, art and illustration and even photography there are listings for you too.  Also, there is a very helpful section of ‘Societies, prizes and festivals’ and even though this is aimed at the UK market, many competitions are open to overseas authors.
But the real gems are the Notes from the authors. They are small essays from successful authors, like ‘Notes on becoming a novelist’ by William Boyd.  Or ‘Notes from a successful fantasy author’ by Terry Pratchett (quite an understatement to call him merely successful).  There are dozens of these type of essays from romance novelists to crime authors to J.K. Rowlings ‘Notes from a successful children’s author’ (again, it’s like calling a peacock a bird).
Then there are sections about the publishing industry written by people in the publishing industry, that span ‘The state of commissioning’ to ‘Understanding publishing agreements’ to ‘Marketing, publicising and selling books’.
And haven’t you always wanted to get inside the mind of a literary agent?    Carol Blake, one of the U.K.’s foremost literary agents with a career that spans forty-nine years tells us ‘How to make a successful submission to a literary agent’.  And we sure want to know that?  Should you want to bypass the publishers and do it yourself there is even information on indie publishing with articles on ‘Print on demand’ and ‘Vanity publishing’.
WRITERS' & ARTISTS' YEARBOOK 2013 is 788 pages of information that you need to know with nearly 4,500 entries in its up-to-date directory of media contacts. You could spend a year full-time on the web, Googling, reading blogs and news articles in an attempt to work out how to get your work published.  Or you can be smart and learn about the publishing industry from the publishing industry. 
Just sitting it on your desk near you is a reminder that there are many avenues to publishing your work.  Somewhere in this beautiful, glossy book may be the essay that gives you the inspiration to send that umpteenth query letter that will bring back that answer they told you wouldn’t come.  This book could be your ticket off those whirly, scary, rejection rides and onto a smooth train ride that will take you down the track to arrive at Station ‘Yes, we want your work’.
My review copy of "Writers' & Artists' Yearbook 2013" thanks to the loveable people at Bloomsbury Publishing Australia

To buy or learn more visit Bloomsbury's  The Writers' & Artists' Year Book 2013
Published August 2013:  RRP $39.99 in Australia.
Available Worldwide.

About Writers' & Artists' Yearbook 2013 from the Publisher

This bestselling guide to all areas of the media, now in its 106th edition, has been completely revised and updated. With 100 articles written by successful authors and publishing insiders, it advises, guides and inspires writers and artists on how to get published.
The 2013 edition includes new articles on, amongst other topics, memoir writing, apps, libraries and contains a wealth of practical information on a huge range of topics including copyright, finance, submitting a manuscript and marketing yourself and your writing.
With nearly 4,500 entries in its up-to-date directory of media contacts, the Yearbook is an in invaluable companion.

New articles for 2013 include:
Electronic publishing by Philip Jones

Notes from a successful romantic novelist by Katie Fforde

Writing for the theatre by David Eldridge

Why libraries matter by Maggie Gee

Writing for magazines by Hero Brown

Writing memoir by Irene Graham

The laws of privacy and confidentiality by Keith Schilling

'The one-and-only, indispensable guide to the world of writing' - William Boyd

'Everything you need to know about the business of being a writer' - Lawrence Norfolk

'Even established writers can feel as though they're climbing a mountain. Think of the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook as your sherpa' - Ian Rankin

'Full of useful stuff. It answered my every question' - J.K Rowling

'...much, much better than luck' Terry Pratchett

' a magic carpet that would carry the writer anywhere' Maeve Binchy

'... the book which magically contains all other books... an entrance ticket to the world you long for' - Fay Wheldon

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