I’ve always thought if I ever became really rich and famous from my writing, I’d like to set up a competition for new writers to help them break in. And this is what Terry Pratchett has done.
Sir Terry Pratchett and Transworld Publishers are proud to launch a new award for aspiring debut novelists, The Terry Pratchett Anywhere But Here, Anywhen But Now Prize. Transworld will offer the winning author a publishing contract with a £20,000 advance.
The award will be judged by Sir Terry Pratchett, Tony Robinson, Michael Rowley from Waterstone’s and two senior members of the editorial team at Transworld Publishers.
The deadline for submissions is 31 December 2010. For further details about the award, and full terms and conditions, please click on the link below
See the Terry Pratchett web site for full details.
I had the good fortune to share breakfast with Terry back in 1999 at the Melbourne World Con. I’m a big fan of his books. My favourite character is Vimes, although I am very fond of Susan and Granny Weatherwax.
Whenever I run a writing fantasy workshop for teenagers, there will be some boy sitting up the back, making wisecracks. I’ll say to him, ‘I bet you read Terry Pratchett. He’s brilliant.’ And the kid’s eyes will light up – a grown-up who gets Terry Pratchett!
So I have a soft spot for Terry. How can you not like a guy who says:
‘I’ll be more enthusiastic about encouraging thinking outside the box when there’s evidence of any thinking going on inside it.’
For more Terry Pratchett quotes visit this site.
So here’s raising a cyber glass of bubbly to you, Terry. I sold my first book after entering a writing competition. (I didn’t win or place, or get an honourable mention). What I did get was annoyed enough to send the book off to a publisher. LOL.
Have you ever entered a writing competition?
If you are a young writer who is looking for feedback on your work, showing your parents and friends is all very well but, unless they are writers, they won’t be able to give you the feedback you need to help you develop as a writer.
If you are serious about your writing craft, then join a local writing group. Look for one that specialises in your genre. If you’re writing speculative fiction (fantasy, SF and horror) then Visions Writers is great. They have an on-line group for everyone and meet in person in Brisbane city, so that’s handy if you live in South East Queensland. Grace Dugan joined the Vision group when she was 15 and went on to be published by Penguin.
The Queensland Writers Centre run a Young Adult Master Class series, specifically aimed at high school students who want to develop their writing skills.
It is also great to have goals and submitting to a competition is a good way to get motivated to finish the story. Who knows you might win or get noticed by the judges who are often editors. So there is the Somerset College novella competition. On the Ipswich Literary Festival site there is a list of writing competitions for people under 18. There is also the Voices on the Coast Literary Festival, which has competitions, although theirs is closed for this year.
And there are markets in Australia for spec Fic short stories. ASIM is a regular magazine which has a good turn around time for submissions. Here’s the guidelines. And here is the Specusphere web zine. And here is Inspillers which lists current markets, competitions, magazines
And if you are interested in the craft of writing the ROR site run a writing craft post every Sunday, just put in requests. The latest one was on agents.
Lastly, if you are keen to write, talk to your school or local library about bringing a published author in to run workshops. The Redlands libraries have had me run three workshops in the last month, How to write a Book Proposal, Writing Dark Urban Fantasy and Pitching your Book.
Writers are a friendly supportive bunch. We are all united by a passion for writing and our love of the genre. Feel free to ask questions.
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:
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.
Here is a UK agent’s blog dedicated to the art of pitching.
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.
Kristin Nelson from Nelson Literary Agency.
Nathan Bransford from Curtis Brown.
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.
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!