Open letter to new writers:
Writing a manuscript is hard enough, but submissions can be downright scary. I get a lot of requests for advice, and although my own commitments won't allow me to take on any mentoring or manuscript assessment, I do have a few suggestions.
Please note: these are my opinions only. I am not a lawyer or copyright expert - please check the copyright council of the country you are submitting to for more specific and up to date advice.
Generally, you automatically have copyright of what you have written and do not need a lawyer when you submit your work to a publisher. This will be strengthened by adding 'unpublished work © your name, date' at the end of the piece. I think you can be very confident that your ideas won't be stolen.
It's helpful to have an agent but not essential; there's often a catch 22 that agents may not accept you unless you have a contract ready to sign.
Check the Golvan Arts Management site for thorough advice on submitting to a publisher or agent. To choose which publisher you will submit to, find the one whose work you like and where you can see your work fitting – eg if you're writing humour, send it to a publisher who publishes humour.
At the moment many of the big publishing houses have set days on which they accept unsolicited manuscripts. Check their websites.
Brian Grove at My Perfect Pitch
has general publishing advice for unpublished authors, and a list of publishers accepting submissions.
The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators has lots of information for members on their website and in their magazines, and of course at their meetings. http://www.scbwiaustralia.org
For general information on writing and contracts in Australia, consider joining the Australian Society of Authors. asauthors.org You can join as an associate member before you're published. There's also a Fellowship of Australian Writers.
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Labels: advice on manuscripts, advice on publishing, first steps in publishing, manuscript assessment services, writing for children