Monthly Archives: May 2010

More discussion on e-books

There’s a post over at the Mad Genius Club – writers division on e-books. Apparently Penguin have entered into an agreement with Amazon. But the pricing structure of their e-books doesn’t appear to make sense. Why pay more for some e-books than you do for the paperback?

One commenter sums it up succinctly:

For Baen e-books, they have apparently set their price point a little below their currently available hardcopy. This is exactly what I see as reasonable. The truth is that there is a loss of tactual enjoyment by reading e-books. You lose the colorful cover. You lose the non-volatile storage format (excepting things like fire and water). You end up with weird layout bugaboos and editing glitches from the combined effects of data-format transfer and whatever point in time the manuscript was ported over during the production process.

What you gain? Well, the books are readable if not necessarily as friendly or professionally laid out. You get more shelf-space. The ability to have multiple “books” in one device. Library portability. And the recurring need to recharge your reader.

I recently spent 9 days on a driving holiday in Tassie. I took my laptop to write on. I would have taken some books to read but I tend to read big fat fantasy books and they take up so much room and are so heavy … A small, user friendly e-reader would have been great. I could have had my pick of books, depending on my mood. (I know I could have taken e-books on my lap top but it is a baby lap top and the screen is the size of a postage stamp. Trying to read on that, after writing on it would have driven me crazy).

One thing about belonging to a shared blog with US citizens is it makes you realise how cheap ordinary books are over in the states They talk about paying $10 for a paperback. Here we pay $19.95 and think that is reasonable. (I’m not going to get into the discussion about Parallel Importation because we would only end up with the remaindered books from overseas and it would kill our publishing industry).

Does the price of paperback and hardcovers in Australia inhibit your purchasing of books?


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Filed under E-books, Publishing Industry

For those who like their fantasy dark …

I’m currently teaching college students who are too young to have watched Buffy first time around. They don’t get any of my Buffy jokes. It is very sad.

For lovers of Dark Urban Fantasy a group of authors have gotten together to set up a blogspot here. Over the month of June they are giving away approximately 70 books. So it is worth dropping by.

I notice that Melissa Marr’s name is on that list. I’m a big fan of her writing since I discovered her first book Wicked Lovely.

Have you come across any books lately that swept you away from the real world and into another one that looked a lot like ours but there was a dark side?


Filed under Genre, Movies & TV Shows

Pitch that Book

If you’re a writer, you probably dream of getting published. I know I did. (And yes, it really does feel as good as you imagine it will, the day the editor rings you up and says ‘I want to publish your book.’)

But it is really hard to get your book past the gate keeper. More publishers are saying they don’t take unagented submissions and it is hard to get busy agents to look at your work.

One way to get your work in front of an agent or an editor is to Pitch your Book at an event specifically designed for this. Pitching opportunities occur at conferences and festivals. On Saturday I ran a Pitching workshop to help people prepare for what can be a very nerve wracking experience. And I promised to provide a list of pitching opportunities. So here they are:

There are online pitching opportunities such as:

Allen and Unwin Friday Pitch

Random House Children’s Pitch

To pitch in person attend conferences. These vary from year to year. I know the Brisbane Writers Festival has had pitching opportunities. So check out your local writers festival and see what they are offering.

National Romance Conference

Childrens and Young Adult Conference

Bundaberg Writers Festival

New York and Algonkian Conferences

Here is a UK agent’s blog dedicated to the art of pitching.

The Pitch Parlour

And keep an eye on the agent and editor blogs. They often offer advice on pitching. Every now and then and agent will announce that they are open to pitches via their blog, so it is worth finding s few you like and following their blogs.

Sydney Literary Agent.

Kristin Nelson from Nelson Literary Agency.

Nathan Bransford from Curtis Brown.

Book Ends Literary Agency.

So that should be enough to get your started. Let me know if you have any questions.

Meanwhile, there were some questions about agents, so I’ve done a post here, for anyone considering approaching an agent.


Filed under Competitions, Pitching your book, Publishing Industry, The Writing Fraternity, Workshop/s, Writing craft

Drive by Post.

I’m running a Hands-on Pitching Workshop tomorrow.

Once again, the Redlands Libraries are supporting the writers in their area. For those of you who live in South East Queensland and know where the Victoria Point Library is, the workshop is on from 10 – 12 noon. Call Leah on 07 3829 8779

Bring your thinking cap, as they used to say in school!

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Filed under Publishing Industry, Workshop/s, Writing craft

Back refreshed and ready to tackle a recalcitrant book!

You know how your mind gets when you’ve been working too hard. Seen the same thing day after day, done the same thing day after day and tried to be creative on top of that?

My mind felt stale.  Taking a trip to Tasmania was just the thing I needed to refresh myself.  The air was crisp and cool, something we don’t get much of here in Brisbane, and everywhere I looked there were scenes worthy of photographing. Not that I’m much of a photographer. Daryl took this one of Ross Bridge.

It was built by convicts back in the days when a soldier who had served at Waterloo could find himself on the other side of the world in a tiny town in the middle of Tasmania, guarding the female convicts.

I took this picture at dawn from the top of a hill at St Helens on the east coast of Tasmania. It was beautiful, the photo doesn’t do it justice. The people inthe house below had a fire going to keep warm and I was trying to capture the dawn sun shining through the smoke.

The other thing that I did a lot of was writing. I took my lap top and wrote about 60 pages of my latest WIP (work-in-progress). I did want to finish the book and I’m about a chapter off the end but I can’t finish it.

I know how I want the story to end, but the characters are refusing to go in that direction. I’ll have to return to the beginning and rewrite it, tweaking as I go, to get to know them all over again, because they have grown and changed as I wrote. Now they have a better idea of what is true to them, than I do and forcing them  to do something just because I’d planned it, is only going to make the writing flat and boring. Sigh.

Do you have recalcitrant characters?

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Filed under Characterisation, creativity, Fun Stuff, Nourish the Writer, Writing craft

Holiday to restore my Creativity

I’m about to leave for a driving holiday around Tasmania. And frankly, I need the break. I will be taking photos but I’m sure they will never be as good as these. So I’m going to leave you with them for inspiration.

From Travel Point.

From Gondawananet.

Meanwhile, I’ve done a post on creativity and promotion over at the Mad Genius Club blog. And there will be a post on the ROR blog on Sunday about Dialogue, and another one on the MGC on Tuesday about Characterisation.


Filed under Nourish the Writer

Industry Links

On Saturday I ran two workshops,  Proposal Writing and How to write Dark Urban Fantasy. The attendees asked so many questions about the publishing industry and the craft of writing that I kept saying I’ll put a link on my blog. So here is the post with the links to all those sites we talked about. Hi People  (waving madly).

Getting feedback on writing.

You’ll get feedback from a writing group, preferably one that concentrates on your genre.

A lot of the attendees were writing speculative fiction (dark urban fantasy, fantasy and SF). So here is a link to the VISION writing group. They meet in person in Brisbane, but they also have an online group where you can swap industry information and ask questions.

There’s also Romance Writers of Australia for those who are writing paranormal romance and dark urban fantasy. If you drop by the Authors page, you’ll see Keri Arthur (Best Selling Dark Urban Fantasy Writer) is a member. The authors are listed alphabetically and you can see what area they are published in on the right. RWA has a paranormal e-list for writers of this genre.

You could do Year of the Edit with the Queensland Writers Centre. They also run Year of the Novel which is on the same page.

Then you could get your manuscript appraised by someone who knows the genre. The Australian Writer’s Market Place is a great resource for finding publishers, agents, competitions and manuscript appraisers.

You could also apply for a mentor through the Australian Society of Authors. A mentor will guide you through the process of writing and give you feedback. Here are last year’s successful entrants who won a mentorship. The Competition is run every year, so watch out for it.

To get your work noticed:

You could enter competitions (you’ll find them in the Australian Writers Market Place) but here are a few.

Varuna runs a number of programs such as fellowships and mentorships.

The QWC is offering an opportunity for children and Young Adult writers to work with editors from Allen & Unwin. And this is their page for general compeitions and opportunities.

CYA Conference (Children & Young Adult writers) often runs pitching opportunities as well as a competition for both published and unpublished writers.

Bundaberg Write Fest is run each year and often has an opportunity to have your work read by and agent/editor.

There’s the Text Writing Competition for YA and children’s books.

The Ipswich Writers Festival aren’t runnign their competition any more and Voices on the Coast and Somerset Literary Festicval competition are for children who write, not for children’s writers.


The workshop attendees were also intrigued by the steampunk genre. Here is a link to Richard Harland’s post about how to write steampunk. And here is a link to Richard in his outfit, about to set off on his book tour. Here is a link to a post I did on the topic, complete with steampunk dalek!


I did a post recently onthe editing process and here it is.


I did a survey on e-books, who is reading, who is writing for them. Here’s the results. There are links through to several other posts on e-books.

So that is it for now. If there’s anything I’ve missed let me know.

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Filed under Competitions, E-books, Nourish the Writer, Publishing Industry, The Writing Fraternity, Workshop/s, Writing craft