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How to get published?

Discussion in 'Book club' started by patsworth, Nov 6, 2007.

  1. Hi,

    i have a pupil in a gifted and talented group who has written a book. I haven't seen it as yet and don't want to offer false hope, but how would she go about getting it published? I thought normally people sent copies to as many publishers as they can and wait hopefully for a response, is this correct? If so are there any publishers for pupils that anyone would recommend?

    Many thanks
  2. Hi,

    i have a pupil in a gifted and talented group who has written a book. I haven't seen it as yet and don't want to offer false hope, but how would she go about getting it published? I thought normally people sent copies to as many publishers as they can and wait hopefully for a response, is this correct? If so are there any publishers for pupils that anyone would recommend?

    Many thanks
  3. Angelil

    Angelil Occasional commenter

    You don't send unsolicited work to publishers as it will normally go straight in the bin. Publishers tend to only accept work that has been sent to them from agents, so anyone wishing to publish will (in most circumstances) require an agent.

    However, I would hesitate to submit this pupil's work to anything other than competitions meant for those still in school/college. As good as the work is for someone of that age, chances are it won't stand up in the professional market (unless they really are extremely good, but people with this kind of talent are few and far between). I wrote a novel when I was 14, attempted to have it published and was not surprisingly rejected by everyone I approached. I would be extremely embarrassed now if it had been published as while it was good as far as the general ability of 14-year-olds goes, in the overall context of the market it is embarrassingly bad. Equally, I wrote another full-length novel when I was 18, which was thankfully rather better - but now that I am almost 22 and seriously considering finding an agent, said novel still needs some severe editing before it will see the light of day.

    I don't say all this to deliberately rain on your/your pupil's parade - I say it all from experience! Stick to school/youth competitions for now, and by all means develop and nurture their talent, but I wouldn't advise seeking publication unless you genuinely think it could hold its own in the current market.
  4. Thanks Angelil, I have my own concerns about this too but said I would find out information for her. I've not seen the transcript to comment on it any further but I don't want the pupil to given false hope.

    Thanks for the comments and the quick reply.
  5. Lead them to the Writers and Artists Yearbook 2008, packed with gorgeous and practical information.

  6. I repeat here m post on another thread in this forum:

    "AK -

    Happy to give some advice. I have come so near to publication with a couple of my novels that I feel a long-term confidence that it will happen; but it is a long, stony road. I heard one author say that you can't call yourself a writer until you have at least a hundred rejection slips.

    When you are satisfied that your book is in the best condition that you can bring it to unaided, pay for a formal review from The Literary Consultancy. They charge a minimum of £150 for 15,000 words and £10 per 10,000 thereafter. They will tell you if it has the remotest chance of being published. Well worth the money, for however good you are, another trained and objective eye will always see things that you don't.

    The current Writers' and Artists' Yearbook will give you all UK Literary Agents. Read their details and look up their websites. Do not bother with publishers direct unless you have an introduction. An Agent will typically receive anything from 25 to several hundred unsolicited submissions a week. A very large number of them are immediately rejected because they do not meet the submission requirements. If they ask for 12pt Grammond, double-spaced with 1.5" all round wth primary literals in single quotation marks and page-numbered in the top right in 12pt Gill Sans, then that is how you present it. Most prospective writers are too lazy or careless or inattentive to bother. Your submission MUST BE PERFECT. Not an extra space after a comma, no spelling mistakes, no typos at all. Some older establishments might even insist that italics are shown by underlining not by a change of font style, although that is dying out. But check.

    In order to differentiate yourself from the heap of slush that pours through the door every morning you must spend a lot of time on your c overing letter, your CV and also your synopsis. Start with the synopsis. Write it in 1,000 words, then 500, then a paragraph, then a sentence. That will focus the mind as to what it is really about. This is an earlier one of mine:

    "A child is born, and named for the flaxen texture of her hair. She grows up, marries, gives birth in turn, lives happily, domestically, uneventfully ? dies in due season and is mourned by those who love her.

    "Six thousand years pass: and in the long shadows cast upon a field at dawn, in the winking of a tiny white flower from a streambank, in a broken tile, in an unremarkable grave and in the names of a landscape ? but above all in the patterns of events in the lives of those who have long succeeded her, and in the strange repeating dreams of Mary ? a young archaeologist and mother ? there is still Evidence of LIn." (book title)

    The covering letter often gives the appearance of an afterthought: "Dear Sirs, I've just finished my first fictional novel and want you to find a publisher . . ." Make it stand out by describing why the agent should read it first out of all the scripts that are lying on the mat. Identify the genre and focus your selling on explaining why this is a unique and valuable addition to it.

    The CV should make you sound an interesting prospect. Relate your life experiences to what you are writing.

    The letter. CV. and synopsis are however merely to get the agent to read the first paragraph of the submission. Most don't get read, so even to get that far is an achievement. By the end of the first hundred words you need to have excited a curiosity. A letter that began:

    "Why should you choose this from the dozens of other scripts that arrived this morning . . ." followed by three succinct reasons why, and the following opening paragraph, got me an agent at the second attempt for my current book.

    "Headlights dazzled her. Charlotte raised her arm to shield her eyes. The car swooshed past her, unseen tyres flinging the effluvia from a flooded field across her windscreen. She jabbed the brakes. The wipers flapped the water away and she could see again. She flicked on main beam, then off again as she saw the flare of more lights against the hedge. In the second before the glare blinded her she fancied sight of a figure stumbling on to the road. She braked again, and this time mud thumped in gobbets across the glass and blocked her vision completely. She bumped the car to a halt on to the verge, switched off the headlights, clicked the hazards on and pumped the washers until two segments of clear windscreen gave her sight of the road once more. She flashed the main beam for a moment. There was nobody walking the road ahead. Just a trick of shadows and reflections. The rain had eased to a light shower."
  7. Angelil

    Angelil Occasional commenter

    All very good advice for adults, Martin, but I don't really see how it applies to pupils.
  8. Angelil

    Angelil Occasional commenter

    and to the OP - I'd suggest you read the transcript before you look any further for information. You really can't promise anything until you know what you're dealing with.
  9. Angel -

    Fair comment. I have no direct experience of children's writing. However, the overriding interest for both Agent and Publisher is "Can we make money out of this?" And if it is not in a more-or-less perfect state, is it worth the effort to bring it up to a marketable standard? If your young author is called Pixie Geldorf then it could be worth three months of an editor's time to re-write the whole thing, but if she's Jane Smith then it has to smell of frying bacon, newly-baked bread, and chocolate and cinnamon croissants straight out of the submission envelope.
  10. I haven't spoken to pupil since her initial request as I don't actually teach her. Thanks for all the comments as I feel more equipt to deal with her query now.

    Many thanks
  11. At ZigZag Education we have only published two resources written by pupils. The best one is a set of Geography videos (see the demo on YouTube - go to www.zigzag.at/GeogVideos).
    The key is that both had very high support from their teacher in each case who revised the material and brought it up to publishable standard.
    If you (or your top students supported by you!) wish to register as being interested in publishing resources then go to the ZigZag author website at http://publishmenow.co.uk/index.asp?link=teswebsite
    JL Hagger

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