Archive for the ‘publishing’ Category

Publishing the work of currently and formerly incarcerated writers

Sun, 12 Jan 2014

Writers who are prison inmates seem particularly isolated from potential mentors and writing peer groups. Very few publishers specialize in their stories. Writing workshops for inmates offer education and inspiration, but the participants are bound to have a difficult time finding additional outlets for their creative work.

These are a few of the organizations that provide publication resources to, or publish the work of, currently and formerly incarcerated writers. Maybe prison workshop instructors will share this list or consider founding a new publication.

I’ll add to this list when I notice more in this niche. Please feel free to leave a comment about any publication I’ve overlooked.

Successful writers learn to conduct their own research and manage their careers, while novice writers often miss the practical lessons and remain stymied. Joining a good writers’ group is one of the best ways to get answers and advice about how to be published.

Writers and reinvention

Wed, 1 Jan 2014

I’ve been thinking about the qualities I should be looking for in prospective clients, because tomorrow I’ll resume taking queries from writers. You would think I’d have the selection criteria down pat by now. When I started my agency five years ago, the publishing industry was changing dramatically and I wasn’t the only person who had a lot to learn. From the start, I’ve looked for clients who are able to adapt to rapid technological innovations, but new technology is only part of what writers are contending with as they continually reinvent themselves.

Expanding the scope of what I mean by adaptability, and perhaps reframing it as resourcefulness, would more accurately describe what I need to see in prospective clients. A strong drive to achieve goals is essential, too, but persistence on its own—without talent, work ethic, intelligence, and social skills—comes across as mania.

On my agency’s website is a page titled Resources for writers that might be one of the best kept secrets on the internet. I like to hear from writers who know that an agent is just one of a variety of assistants and strategies—in other words, writers who already have shown the self-initiative to use as many available resources as they can.

This list tops my Resources for writers page:

On my site are more resources useful to writers, including writers who don’t need, don’t want, can’t get, or already have agents.

Reinvention is a survival mechanism. Writers who have learned to be resourceful and professional make wiser decisions about their careers, and they’re better able, when they choose, to collaborate with literary agents, editors, publishers, and publicists.

Literary agencies located in Australia

Fri, 29 Nov 2013

Review of Reviews
Why not share a list if I have it, right?

I’ve been told, as of 2013, there are very few literary agents serving writers in Australia. Following are the agencies I’ve noticed in both Australia and New Zealand, although I haven’t met any of the agents.

Please feel free to advise me if you learn of any others or if you’d like to have your agency’s website added to this list.


Alex Adsett Publishing Services – Brisbane, Queensland

Australian Literary Management – Balmain, Sydney, New South Wales

The Authors’ Agent – Terrigal, New South Wales

Calidris Literary Agency – Castlemaine, Victoria

Cameron’s – Surry Hills, Sydney, New South Wales

Curtis Brown Australia – Paddington, Sydney, New South Wales

Drummond Publishing Services – Woodend, Victoria

Frances Plumpton Literary Agency – New Lynn, Auckland, New Zealand

Gilbert Literary Agency – Dunedin, New Zealand

Golvan Arts Management – Kew, Melbourne, Victoria

HLA Management – Redfern, Sydney, New South Wales

Harry M. Miller Group (HMMG) – Fox Studios Australia, Moore Park, Sydney, New South Wales

Jacinta di Mase Management – North Fitzroy, Melbourne, Victoria

Jenny Darling & Associates – Toorak, Melbourne, Victoria

Margaret Gee – Sydney, New South Wales

Margaret Kennedy Agency – Brisbane, Queensland

The Naher Agency – Paddington, Sydney, New South Wales

Rick Raftos Management – Paddington, Sydney, New South Wales

Zeitgeist Media Group – Summer Hill, Sydney, New South Wales


For related information, see the Australian Literary Agents’ Association Code of Practice.

Image courtesy of the State Library of New South Wales via Wikipedia

Are you good enough to be published?

Sun, 8 Sep 2013

When you finish writing your first book-length work of fiction or nonfiction, you’re most urgently concerned about exposing it to readers. Yet you might be jumping the gun. Don’t forget that you’ll also be exposing yourself.

Are you good at networking?

Many writers still require basic training in the use of social media. A smaller percentage already have demonstrated their expertise, in ways that are discoverable 24/7. Literary agents, acquiring editors, book buyers, producers, and fans want easy access to information about authors and their books in order to make investment decisions.

Although creative writing is a vocation well suited to introverts, the publication of creative work involves a variety of interactions with other people, sometimes in person, requiring poise and self-confidence that not everyone possesses.

Are you good at research?

Do you know how to find answers and explanations so that you don’t require a lot of coaching? For example, if your editor or critique partner suggests that you eliminate “excessive exposition in dialogue,” will you know what that means? Have you attended a writing workshop? Can you go to a library or bookstore and locate a textbook that will teach you the creative writing techniques and grammar rules you need to know?

Can you identify reliable resources on the web?

If you’re asked to obtain additional quotes from experts for your nonfiction project, will you have the ability to locate, evaluate, and contact those experts?

Are you good at self-promotion and marketing?

A polished, engaging web presence is the hub of your professional identity as a writer. Is yours already in place? Can you update and maintain it, or have you hired someone who will?

Have you published short works in magazines or online? Do enough potential book buyers know your name, because they’ve read your writing, met you, or heard of you through others? Do you know who these people are and how to communicate with them?

Do you understand how generosity and genuine interest in others are forms of self-promotion?

Literary agencies located in India

Mon, 12 Aug 2013

1947 India flag
When I started my agency almost five years ago, there were very few literary agencies in India. Times have changed. People suddenly took notice of the fact that South Asia is an enormous market with a growing demand for books.

If an author’s primary publisher will be in his or her country of residence, then there can be advantages to being represented by an agent located in the same country. I’ve compiled the following list of literary agencies in India so I can link to it whenever the question arises. I’ll try to remember to add to this list whenever I learn of a new agency.

Aitken Alexander Associates – Shruti Debi


Jacaranda (now located in Singapore, but its advisory board member remains in India) – Jayapriya Vasudevan, Helen Mangham, and Andrea Pasion-Flores

Purple Folio – Urmila Dasgupta

Red Ink – Anuj Bahri, Sharvani Pandit, and Sanya Sagar

Sherna Khambatta Literary Agency – Sherna Khambatta

Siyahi – Mita Kapur

Writer’s Side – Kanishka Gupta and Rahul Soni

In India, it’s still very common for authors to submit their manuscripts directly to publishers without the involvement of literary agents.

Image courtesy of India Post via Wikimedia Commons

Isn’t advertising actually the oldest profession?

Sun, 4 Aug 2013

It’s challenging to see the subtle transformation in publishing brought about by the migration of advertising to the web. Advertisers, instead of figuratively owning a publication because their ad money paid a supposedly editorially independent newspaper’s or magazine’s bills, now can and do own and produce the publication. The advertiser is the parent corporation.

The bigger the corporation, the more likely it is to own a magazine—or online channel. The publication doesn’t need to take the form of a magazine, and eventually we’ll use another word for it. Smaller companies can enlist the services of an innovative advertising firm that owns/publishes a magazine, but the effect is the same.

We were better at noticing advertisers’ influence in print and even broadcast media. Certain magazines, we could tell, were nothing more than junk mail posing as news or entertainment. Now that we can separate the components of an online magazine and share them individually, it’s not as easy to see the whole picture.

I’m not opposed to this trend. It’s an inevitable efficiency. I simply want to be aware of who’s doing the talking.

Two things.

One: Dark Rye, which is where I found this video, is a slick example of an online magazine that originates as advertising for a corporation (Whole Foods Market). A Spoken Dish is another.

Two: McClure’s makes the world’s absolute best Bloody Mary mixer. No kidding. And I wasn’t paid to say it.

Penny Sansevieri: “Why having a platform may be the only way to sell books”

Thu, 1 Aug 2013

Penny Sansevieri
Yesterday, I linked you to a blogpost written by a publisher who explained what he’d learned about selling the books he’s been publishing for 35 years.

Today, with book authors in mind, I’d like to recommend a Huffington Post article written by publicist Penny Sansevieri of Author Marketing Experts, who says that “in order to gain any kind of attention for your book, you’re going to have to have a platform.” I agree. Take a look at Sansevieri’s description of the basic components of an author platform and trust her when she says, “Without it, yours may be the best book that no one has ever read.”

Christina KatzMy friend Christina Katz, author of Get Known Before the Book Deal, has been a trailblazer on the topic of author platforms. I’m glad I met her before I started my agency, so I could learn what to expect of my clients and how to prepare them for their books’ publication.

A few months after I established my business, a young editor at HarperCollins told me he would not look at the work of a writer who hadn’t already established an online presence. In the years since, other acquiring editors have followed suit. They’ve found the author platform requirement a quick and dirty, not to mention objective and reasonable, means of eliminating quite a few manuscripts from consideration.

These days, I can’t consider taking on a new client who hasn’t demonstrated a capability for self-promotion, online and IRL. I still use the terms online and IRL for clarity, but I no longer perceive a distinction. To me, they’re one and the same.

I once thought I’d be able to teach every new client the platform development techniques I’ve learned from Christina Katz, Penny Sansevieri, and other book marketing experts. Instead, I found that it’s impractical to try to instill the motivation to make time, the competitive drive, the emotional stamina, and the willingness to learn, all of which are required of a writer who needs to build a readership. When I’m considering whether to work with a writer, I need proof of those characteristics.

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