RWA Pitch Program

Get Fresh in 15The annual RWA conference is rolling round again (21st – 23rd August), the largest professional publishing conference in Australia. This year promises to be the best ever, which is particularly good for me, because it will be held in my home state of Victoria. It provides unique networking opportunities for writers, editors and agents, as well as a speaker line-up including Anita Heiss and Graeme Simsion. The program features a wide range of workshops designed for writers at every stage of their career and publishing journeys. Get Fresh in 15 is the theme for Melbourne, and it will build on Melbourne’s strong literary culture through partnerships with Melbourne Writers Festival and Writers Victoria.

Brumby's CoverI received my big publishing break through the Pitch Program at an earlier RWA conference. My pitch of Brumby’s Run to a commissioning editor has led to five Penguin contracts so far. This fantastic program is being offered again, with a stunning range of editors and agents. It offers one of the few chances that aspiring writers have to get face to face with key publishing industry professionals. And the opportunity isn’t purely for romance writers. A wide variety of manuscripts are being sought. International literary agent Courtney Miller-Callihan is looking for general women’s fiction, historical fiction and young adult. Publisher Martin Green of Pantera Press is open to submissions in all genres, particularly commercial women’s fiction. Publisher Rebecca Saunders of Hachette is busy building a commercial fiction list, and wants to see all categories of popular fiction. And my own agent, Clare Forster of Curtis Brown, is looking for adult fiction, young adult fiction and non-fiction for mainstream publishers. Check out the amazing line-up here.

On-line registration for the Pitch Program opened on 1st June and will close on 30th June 2015 at 9pm. If you will have a suitable manuscript completed in time, why not have a go? You’ve nothing to lose, and I’m living proof that a conference pitch can lead to a publishing contract. I’ll do a post on pitch tips and etiquette prior to the conference, so stay tuned …

BB14

 

Release Day For Currawong Creek & Giveaway

CC 4It’s that time of year again. Time to give my blog over to shameless self-promotion, for Currawong Creek will be officially released this coming Wednesday 26th June. I’m also approaching another very important milestone – 20,000 hits on my blog.

To celebrate, I’m offering two book-pack giveaways. Wasp Season, Brumby’s Run and Currawong Creek all bundled together with a ribbon around them! The launch for Currawong Creek will be held on the 3rd of July at Readings Carlton, 309 Lygon St, Melbourne. 6.00 pm for a 6.30 pm start. You are all welcome, of course! I’m very excited about this book. And not only because for the first time I get to have bestselling author on the cover! Apart from its heartfelt and turbulent romance, Currawong Creek also tackles some topics that lie quite close to my heart. The importance and challenges of foster care, equine therapy for children, and land and water conservation in Australia – looking at coal seam gas mining in particular. I hope my book can spark some interesting debate on these issues.

Thank you 3A big thank you to Belinda Byrne and all the Penguin publishing team, for their generous support and faith in my work. Thanks to my lovely agent, Fran Moore of Curtis Brown Australia. And an even bigger thank you, of course, to my wonderful readers. Without you, none of this would have been possible!

 

Outback Currawong CreekOne more thing. Please don’t confuse my novel with a book of a similar title – Outback Currawong Creek, which is a stylish, coffee-table book filled with beautiful photographs of nude men. Oddly, some of them have an uncanny resemblance to the men in my book …

Penguin is also offering a pre-publication price promotion on my earlier novel, Brumby’s Run. The ebook version is only $4.99 across all sites. So if you haven’t read it, grab yourself a bargain! For your chance to win a three-book prize pack, please leave a comment on this post. I will announce the winners of the draw on Sunday July 14th. Good luck!

Heartfelt and passionate Australian story from the bestselling author of Brumby’s Run.

CC 1 003Currawong Creek is the story of Clare Mitchell, a young Brisbane lawyer who is very caught up in her career. When she becomes the unlikely carer of a little boy, a problem foster child named Jack, her ordered world is turned upside down. In desperation she takes leave of her job and goes with Jack to Currawong Creek, her grandfather’s Clydesdale stud at Merriang in the foothills of the beautiful Bunya Mountains.

Clare arrives to find part of the property leased by a local vet, Tom Lord. Tom is an advocate of equine therapy for children. Jack falls in love with Currawong’s animals, and Clare falls in love with Tom and the life of a country vet. But trouble is coming, in the form of the Pyramid mining company. Trouble that threatens to not only destroy Clare’s new-found happiness, but also the peace and beauty of the land she loves.

BB2013_Nominee

Earning Out that Advance

I recently read an interesting article on Crikey about how authors are paid. (Advance Australian Authors Fair)  According to Fiona Inglis, Managing Director of Curtis Brown Literary Agency, ‘We consider money vulgar.’ This seems to be the general consensus in the publishing world, so in the same spirit I’ll confess to receiving a five figure advance for Brumby’s Run, and leave it at that. Stories abound of authors who never earn out their advance, with figures as high as seventy percent being reported by the New York Times. I’m therefore relieved to announce I’ve officially earned out my advance for Brumby’s Run after only three months. A huge thank you to all my wonderful readers out there who have made this happen! Thanks to Penguin Books Australia as well, most particularly to my lovely publisher, Belinda Byrne.

Publishers offer the advance they project your book will earn back in the first six to twelve months after publication. This sum is advanced against future royalties, kind of like a loan. It needs to be paid back before an author will see one more cent from book sales. If royalties earned fall short of that initial advance, then the author has failed to earn out, and the publisher might be reluctant to contract them again.

There is nothing quite so satisfying as receiving that first royalty cheque, however modest. It means your book has lived up to publisher expectations. Very good news indeed.

(2) Landing that Elusive Agent

A couple of years ago I decided I wanted a literary agent. I read everything I could on the subject, lurked on agent blogs (Kristen Nelson’s Pub Rants was a favourite, along with mysterious Agent Sydney’s Call My Agent)and poured over the acknowledgement pages in my local bookstore, searching for likely candidates. I completed a third draft of my manuscript, and launched into an organised campaign bearing all the hallmarks of a military operation.

Firstly, I purchased an up-to-date copy of the Australian Writer’s Marketplace. Each country has its own version, containing current details of every contact you could ever need in the publishing industry, including agents. This is also available online, but there was something very satisfying about highlighting each suitable listing, and then  ticking them off as I made submissions. Australia is a small market with a correspondingly small number of agents. After carefully reviewing them all, it turned out just eighteen agents were accepting submissions for adult fiction.

I listed them in order of personal preference, agonised over a query letter, then in October I queried the top twelve all at once.  I received six requests for chapters. Of those, I received four gracious rejections and  two requests for the full 80,000 word manuscript. One of these was from Curtis Brown (Aust), my first choice! Trying to remain calm, I sent off my submissions and waited. Finally in February I received a phone call from Curtis Brown requesting a meeting. It turned out I was already heading to Sydney that week  for an Australian Society of Authors course. That meeting was a great success and I was offered representation.

Hurray! I thought all my troubles were over. It was only a matter of time before my manuscript found a home. Nothing could have been further from the truth. My agent submitted to six publishers and got knock-backs. Write the next one she said. I did, while my old manuscript languished. By the time I’d finished the next one (about a year) the agency had lost interest in me in a major way. They couldn’t even find the time to read it. A cold stone settled in the pit of my stomach. If I didn’t do something soon, I felt sure they’d drop me. What I needed was a plan B!

Next week – Plan B The Conference Pitch