Sunday, January 26, 2014

Some info on getting published in NZ...UPDATED (2014)

I posted some general information on getting published in New Zealand on this blog in 2010 and it would be fair to say that the publishing landscape here has changed somewhat in the intervening years. So I thought it might be helpful to give y'all the 2014 version which is a little different.


So you’ve written 'The End', read your story umpteen times, checked and re-checked it for mistakes, and edited it till it sparkles – what do you do next? 

In the past I've recommended checking out which publishers were publishing what kind of books and then suggested submitting your manuscript to the publishers most interested in your kind. Now, you must first ask yourself - do I want to seek traditional publication of my work or should I self publish? Do you want to go digital only or have your book in print? Go look at sites like Amazon and Smashwords etc... and check out their best-sellers. Some genres sell very well for writers self publishing and it is an excellent option. Some books are best in print. I like picture books this way and would not want to attempt to arrange an illustrator, designer, editor, etc... and the printing of these myself. I want the help of experienced practitioners. On the other hand I am happy to try self publication of a novel, but in most cases I will pursue traditional publishing first. 

So do your homework before you decide anything. 

Then if you've decided to try the traditional route with this manuscript (go look here, here and here if you want to know how I tackled self pubbing a children's novel) start here: - 

Submitting

1. Re-read your work again. If possible read it aloud – you don’t need an audience for this but it is amazing what reading aloud will show you about your work – repetition, incorrect or missing punctuation, troublesome flow, missing information, or dialogue confusion.

2. Research the market – where should you send it? Who publishes this kind of thing? What are their submission guidelines? (Since the last time I posted on this topic publishers Penguin and Random have merged and Harper Collins and Pearson Education have quit these shores. At the moment of typing Penguin NZ have advertised for a children's editor. Publishers ARE still currently publishing children's fiction and non-fiction in New Zealand and are still looking for good material).

There is general information on 'Writing and Illustrating for Children in New Zealand' here at the Christchurch City Libraries website. This includes submission guidelines for most of the children's publishers in New Zealand

or you could start here and check out the online resources at the PANZ (Publishers Association of New Zealand) website.

And/or take a look at these
-Writers and Artists Yearbook
-Children’s Writers and Artists Yearbook
-Writers and Illustrators Market
-Children’s Writers and Illustrators Market

These books are published annually are available to buy from good bookshops and are held in some libraries

3. Do what the submission guidelines say – DO NOT DO ANYTHING ELSE. They supply guidelines because this is how they want to receive your stories. You might think it's a good idea to do something different and stand out from the crowd. But all it does is make you stand out for the wrong reasons. Follow the guidelines.

4. Query/covering letter. You need to include the name of your manuscript, the word count, genre, the intended market, a brief outline of the work, and your publishing credits, if you have some. For fiction you will need a synopsis, and either several chapters or the entire manuscript as per submission guidelines. For non-fiction you generally submit a proposal.


Educational Markets 
The educational market is considerably less robust than it used to be here in New Zealand. Many New Zealand children's writers and illustrators got their start with the School Journal - a New Zealand institution for decades - including me. The School Journal is in the process of changing to a new supplier so keep an eye on their website for submission details. 

School Journals - the contract to produce these is currently held by Lift Education
School Magazine – Australia


Competitions
Check out the NZSA website and Storylines for details on competitions, fellowships, and awards

The Joy Cowley Award (picture book) and Tom Fitzgibbon Award (children's novel by an unpublished author) are important competitions for children's writers in New Zealand. Scholastic NZ currently have the biggest children's publishing programme in this country but at the moment do not accept manuscripts from unpublished authors. However they do read every single manuscript submitted for these competitions (it is true - I know the people who do it!!) and they publish the winner and sometimes also publish other stories entered for these competitions. Entries for both close on October 31st every year

Agents
We don’t have many in New Zealand. You do not necessarily need an agent to get published here. NZ Publishers are used to dealing directly with the author. If you would like to try overseas markets then you would probably benefit from having either a NZ or overseas agent. It’s not impossible to get one. Check out this site for those NZ agents who belong to the NZ Association of Literary Agents. Books such as the Writers Market and Writers Yearbooks mentioned above have contact details for overseas agents.

Writers Organisations
NZSA (New Zealand Society of Authors)
Kiwiwrite4kidz (an online community of local children's writers on facebook)
Storylines (the Children's Literature Foundation of New Zealand)
NZ Book Council

If you are serious about writing there are a lot of benefits in belonging to writer’s organisations and joining critique groups. I have learnt more from my fellow writers than I ever could have learnt on my own.

Handy things to have: -

An up-to-date, reputable Dictionary
A Roget’s Thesaurus
Reference books – Baby names
Dictionary of Classical Mythology
Dictionary of Phrase and fable
Biographical Dictionary
‘How to’ Books
Books on Grammar (The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B.White, Longman)

And the most important thing you can do to help yourself in your quest to create publishable material? - read more books, especially contemporary ones, in the genre you are choosing to write in

1 comment:

Joy Findlay said...

Great post, up to date, and very informative. Thanks!