Opportunity for Writers… QWC/Hachette Manuscript Development Program

Via the Queensland Writers Centre:

This is an excellent opportunity for writers of any genre, fiction or non-fiction, to get feedback on their manuscript from Industry Professionals in a wonderful setting on a writers retreat.

QWC/Hachette Manuscript Development Program
Queensland Writers Centre and Hachette Australia are proud to announce that the 6th national QWC/Hachette Manuscript Development Program will open to applications on 1 May. Open to fiction and non-fiction writers, the program gives up to 10 lucky emerging Australian writers the unparalleled opportunity to work with editors from Hachette Australia to develop their manuscripts. During a four-day retreat in Brisbane, the winning writers will work intensively on their manuscript and learn from publishing industry professionals including literary agents, booksellers and established authors.

See here for the Guidelines and here for the FAQs.

Feedback from previous participants:


“I had only been writing for a short time. But during those five days I learned an enormous amount and still refer to the notes I took during the seminars. I was subsequently offered a two book contract.” Phillipa Fioretti was accepted into the program in 2008 and her debut novel Books of Love was published in 2010. Her second novel Fragment of Dreams was release in April 2011.


“Not only did I get to go on a five-day retreat in sunny Queensland, but I also got to share the experience with seven other fantastic writers. I left the program with a strong direction and focus.” Favel Parrett was accepted into the 2008 program and her debut novel Past The Shallows was published in 2011. It has since been longlisted for the 2012 Miles Franklin Award and won the Australian Book Industry Awards for Newcomer of the Year.


So this is an opportunity for people writing across different genres.

Posted in Creativity, Editing and Revision, Editors, Mentorships, Publishers, Publishing Industry, Writing Opportunities | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Shortlistings Galore

We’re having a little Squee Day over here at ROR.

First there’s Tansy and the Galactic Suburbia team who have been nominated for a Hugo for the second time.  (You can see their interview after last year’s nomination here).

Alisa, Alex and Tansy. Good Luck!

Then Margo has been busy as usual.

Sea Hearts

From the Independent Bookstores

Sea Hearts by Margo Lanagan (Allen & Unwin)

Independent booksellers do what all booksellers should: you know your books and you know your customers, and you match the one to the other with skill and enthusiasm. You ARE word of mouth, the most important factor in any book’s success. Margo Lanagan, Sea Hearts


And ‘Sea Hearts’ has been short listed for the Stella Award.


There’s the Aurealis Awards 2012. Margo’s book and short story have been shortlisted in three sections.


Sea&Hearts by Margo Lanagan (Allen & Unwin)


“Significant Dust” by Margo Lanagan (Cracklescape, Twelfth Planet Press)


Sea&Hearts by Margo Lanagan (Allen & Unwin)


Wishing everyone on the Hugo, Aurealis Awards and Stella Award the very best of luck!

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Editing an Anthology

Nicole Murphy shares with us her experiences and insights while editing In Fabula-divino.

Photo courtesy Cat Sparks
Photo courtesy Cat Sparks








I love editing. I’d not edited for a number of years (since The Outcast and Issue 25 of Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, which means I’ve actually edited FIVE of the RoRians) and I missed it.

This was the impetus behind In Fabula-divino (a very loose translation from Latin of The Tale-tellers – don’t tell my high school Latin teacher how bad it is).

infabuladivinocoverfinal- sml

I’d sold my trilogy to HarperCollins and was anticipating a bright, shining career as an author. However, I didn’t want that mean that I never edited again.

What I came up with was a bold plan – I’d take one story a month from an up-and-coming writer, work them like crazy through an approximation of the editing process at a major publishing house, then publish them: first online and at the end of the year, in an anthology. During the month they worked with me they’d also be able to use me as a mentoring resource, firing questions at me about the industry and how it worked in the hopes they’d avoid the mistakes I’ve made.

Oh – and I’d pay them a professional pay rate.

I had a dream of this being a project that continued for years, with the sales of the end-of-year anthologies funding the continuation. Unfortunately, life decided that wasn’t to be and the project ended with just eight stories published.

I’ve gone ahead and published the anthology anyway – for some of these writers, it will be the first time they ever see their words in print, and that’s something every writer should get to experience.

Even though it hasn’t turned out the way I wanted it to, I’ve loved the process and should ‘life’ change its mind, I want to do it again and here’s why:

  • Working on story at this level sharpens your own understanding of story. My insights into things such as backstory and characterisation have deepened a great deal, and this has helped my own writing
  • Authors are very cool people to work with. They come from such diverse backgrounds, and with differing interests and styles. In In Fabula-divino for example, the eight authors include a retiree from Alaska, a pastor from Sydney and a high school student from Wollongong. It broadens my own horizons and experience, which is always a good thing for a writer
  • There’s so many myths out there about writing, and what’s required to be a successful writer. It’s great to have the one-on-one opportunity to debunk these. Every writer I save from ignorance is a good thing
  • I get as much – if not more satisfaction – from the successes of others than I do my own. Publishing people, giving them their first story credit, seeing them get great reviews and feedback – that makes me very happy
  • I get to create very pretty books. The In Fabula-divino anthology has just 12 stories in it (I convinced four fabulous friends to contribute as well) and the amazing Shauna O’Meara did the art, while Jodi Cleghorn from eMergent Publishing joined as publishing partner. The result is a lovely little book that I’m very proud of

In the meantime, I’ll try not to get too antsy about the fact I’m taking another break from editing…


Nicole Murphy is a writer and editor whose latest editing project was the mentoring/publishing scheme In Fabula-divino. The anthology has been released and is available at Amazon  and Smashwords  (print version coming soon). For more information visit http://thetaletellers.wordpress.com


Posted in Australian Spec Fic Scene, Book Launches, Editing and Revision, Editors, Indy Press, Mentorships, Nourish the Writer, Writing Craft | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Writers Contracts Beware

There has been some comment on onerous contracts on the blogosphere this week.

Scalzi talks about Hydra (and breaks down why this is not a good contract for authors) and he also talks about Alibi (both imprints of Random House)

Writers Beware talks about Hydra and talks about Random House’s response to SFWA delisting the imprint.

There are some very questionable contracts being offered authors. It is up to the author to do their research. Don’t sign the first thing you are offered.

If you belong to an organisation like SFWA or RWA you’ll get alerts via the lists on these topics. It pays to belong to writers organisations which do so much to support us.


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It’s a Cover! (posted by Richard Harland)

By George, I think we’ve got it! And a devilish fine cover it is too!

Song of the Slums


back cover of Song of the Slums


You can see Astor and Verrol running down a wet alleyway in a Victorian era city (could be London, could be Brummingham – both feature in the novel). The wetness of the alley is a triumph of art over nature, because Cathy Larsen, the genius who created the cover, had to scoop dirty water from a puddle and splash it by hand over  the cobblestones to get the right effect for the photoshoot (the alley is actually in Melbourne). Astor has copper-colour hair, as in the novel, Verrol has a steampunk guitar slung over his back because they’re in a Victorian-era rock band. What, you didn’t know rock n roll began in the 19th century? Um, well, here’s the blurb from the back cover, copied out to reveal the whole story …

What if they’d invented rock ‘n roll way back in the 19th century?

What if it could take over the world and change the course of history?

 In the slums of Brummingham, the outcast gangs are making a new kind of music, with pounding rhythms and wild guitars.

 Astor Vance has been trained in refined classical music. But when her life plummets from riches to rags, the only way she can survive is to play the music the slum gangs want.

 Charismatic Verrol, once her servant, is now her partner in crime … and he could be so much more if only he’d come clean about his mysterious past.

It comes out in May from Allen & Unwin – not long now!


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Louise Curtis shares her journey to Self Publish

IMG_002222How to Publish Your Ebook


The first step to internet publishing success is writing – and above all editing – an excellent book. You can find HEAPS of excellent advice on writing by clicking on “Writing Craft” to the left of this screen.

My own book was a product of National Novel Writing Month 2010 (followed by two and a bit years of editing). Like the rest of my books, it’s a fantasy adventure for young adults.

The next step, chronologically speaking, is to commission a cover. Spelling errors and a dodgy cover are the clearest signs of someone who isn’t worth reading. If you’ve ever spent half an hour looking at ebooks for sale, you’ll know this already. You really can judge a book by its cover a lot of the time – and if you can’t, you can judge it by the free sample. A cover will cost you $30-$200, and will take at least a few weeks.

I have written several books, but I chose to publish SEE THROUGH because I knew the opening grabbed reader attention immediately.


And that’s where I abandoned all sane advice. My own cover is taken from a photo I shot myself (and no, I’m no professional photographer!) I happened to have a photo of Canberra (the setting of the book, which is important for marketing) that lent itself to an easily-readable thumbnail cover, had two natural spaces for the title and author text, and had a slightly ominous feel because of being taken at night. You can judge for yourselves whether I made a glaring rookie error or a choice that works for this book at this time. (For the Canberrans out there, it was taken from a boat on Lake Burley Griffin looking towards Rydges.)

Step three is picking where to publish – Amazon is the biggest (in fact the only place you can directly buy ebooks from a Kindle) but Smashwords gives a better cut (70%) for books bought directly from their site, and if your formatting is up to scratch you are labelled “Premium” and sent to just about every other ebook retailer around, including Amazon.

I chose Smashwords. It means that when copies sell directly through Amazon, I don’t get much – but I do get exposure, and my readers get convenience.

Step four is the scary one – formatting. There are two basic rules: Keep it simple; keep it consistent. Most people fall down over paragraph indents. Tabs are a no-no, and so is pressing spacebar a bunch of times. You can choose to simply leave a line between paragraphs (as I’ve done here) or you can do as I do and take a manuscript with tab indents (classier and more popular than block paragraphs) and change them to automatic indents (then go back and manually fix chapter headings and first paragraphs, which shouldn’t be indented). Smashwords helps you through the process with their terrifyingly long formatting guide. (Don’t worry – it’s got plenty of extraneous information that is easy to flick through – it also tells you where to find cover artists or how to design your own). You will need several hours free (and maybe a lie-down or two).

Step five is getting paid – hopefully. Smashwords pays you quarterly (as long as you’ve made at least $10), and Paypal is the easiest payment method. Americans get a LOT of their wages taken by the IRS, and non-American writers need to fill out a long and terrifying form to say, “Hey, I’m not from the USA. Please don’t tax me.” You can register your Paypal address and find information on the Form Of Death through the Smashwords FAQ. You can start a new Paypal account here, and easily link it to your bank account.

Step six – which is really step five – is promotion. I’ve been tweeting and facebooking short stories for five years, so my first port of call was letting my existing readers know what was happening. Step two was this blog tour (hello!) I’ll be working on local paper and radio exposure, getting the book into libraries, and so on for at least the next couple of months.

Right now there’s a giveaway on my blog – an actual real-life print copy of the book, properly bound like any regular book and not available through any means other than buying the ebook and emailing me at fellissimo at hotmail dot com to register an entry.


You can enter too – just buy the book here. The first 20% is free, and the rest is $2.99 (US).

Update: Here’s the link to Louise’s blog.

Posted in Australian Spec Fic Scene, e-books, Editing and Revision, Self Publishing, Writing for Young Adults | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

What Maxine’s did…

Maxine McArthur everyone will remember as writing time travel Hard SF (as in science based, not hard to read) and near future mystery (again realistic setting). Her latest venture is into Diesel Punk.

I kid you not, there is a movement called Diesel Punk and here’s the website to prove it.

Since I adore the art of Leyendecker and the whole Art Deco period, I’m delighted to discover that others have rediscovered this period.


This could be a silver arrow. Car enthusiastic can correct me. I just know that I love the cars/houses/furniture/jewellery of this period.
This could be a silver arrow. Car enthusiastists can correct me. I just know that I love the cars/houses/furniture/jewellery of this period.

Now Maxine has been working on Secret Project for a couple of years now. For the past 2 RORs we’ve read her WIP (work-in-progress) and given feedback. She now ready to talk about it. (See her Next Big Thing).

Currently it is called A Cup to the Already Dead, based on a Royal Flying Corp drinking song, but I suspect this may be misinterpreted as a vampire novel, so the title will probably change. Maxine has spent a great deal of time researching her time period.

This is a time-slip story about a modern fighter pilot, Jim, who finds himself back in World War One where he meets Tacs. A 17 year-old flying ace who went into the sky to battle the enemy with only 7 hours of flight training, and survived to become a Flying Ace. Luckily, Tacs takes Jim under his wing (sorry, couldn’t resist).

Tacs and JimAnd if surviving in the skies in World War One isn’t enough (pilots didn’t wear parachutes), Jim discovers something odd is going on. Certain people are not what they seem and the War between the Allies and the Central Powers is not the only war being fought!

I’m looking forward to reading the finished version of Maxine’s book!



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Pitching Opportunity at National SF Convention

The busy team of organisers for Conflux 9, Australia’s national SF Con, 2013 have announced the program. It’s an extra long convention because Anzac Day fell on the Thursday, so the Con runs, Thursday 25th April through Sunday 28th.

You can take a look at the program here.

The team says:

The readings timeslots can have up to five different reading sessions at the same time. It will depend upon how many people want to do a reading. If you do, then email conflux9 at gmail dot com to let us know

We’ll be announcing the workshops in a couple of weeks, and will be open for bookings by the end of January – except the pitching workshop, which will only be open to people who enter the pitching competition (See here)

Proposed panels will be announced by the end of January. If you’ve not let us know that you’ll be attending the convention, please do so by emailing conflux9 at gmail dot com as we’ll be sending out invites to participate in particular panels over the next few weeks

We’ve not yet got the launches placed on the program – if you’re planning on launching at Conflux 9, please contact us with your preferred launch time so we can program you in.

We’re looking forward to providing lots of development and networking opportunities for writers and industry professionals, as well as lots of fun, chatter and catch-up for everyone. It’s going to be a blast!

Nicole Murphy – Writer and Editor

The Dream of Aslarlai Trilogy




Donna Maree Hanson

Rayessa The Space Pirate (Escape Publishing)



Twitter: @DonnaMHanson


So if you’re thinking of attending or pitching, get organised and follow those links!





Posted in Australian Spec Fic Scene, Authors and Public Speaking, Conventions and Conference, Editors, Nourish the Writer, Pitching, Promoting your Book, Publishing Industry, Writing Opportunities | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Calling writers of Young Adult Manuscripts!

The first Ampersand Project book to be published.

The Hardie Grant Ampersand Project

This is an opportunity for YA writers to put their work in front of an editor.

‘The Ampersand Project runs annually in spring/summer. This year, submissions will open on Thursday 1st November 2012, and close at midnight on Thursday 31st January 2013. We’re looking for YA manuscripts from unpublished writers across all genres. Please refer below for guidelines.’

They are looking for YA manuscript (50,000 – 80,000 words). And to be eligible to enter, the writers should not ‘have been published under their own name with a mainstream publisher’.

(Their own name? Does this mean it is OK, if the writer was published under a pseudonym?).

They accept one submission per writer.

For full details see here.

Best of luck!

Posted in Publishing Industry, Writing for Young Adults, Writing Opportunities | Tagged | 1 Comment

New e-line for Random House

Loveswept (Romance and Women’s Fiction) has been going for a year now and they are starting three new lines: Alibi (Mystery and Suspense), Hydra (SF, Fantasy and Horror) and Flirt (New Adult).

Here’s the article on the Digital Book Wire.

And here’s the home page of Random e-originals.

They say: ‘this digital-only program will seek out the best and brightest names in the next generation of authors, enabling us to cultivate a team of writers in the publishing world’s most prolific and lively genres.  The format will allow us to publish more quickly and to nimbly embrace what’s new in each genre, delivering exciting, fresh, and varied new works every month directly to the digital devices of today’s most eager readers.  Dedicated to affordable, accessible, and accomplished genre fiction, these four imprints will have unprecedented potential, both in terms of breadth and scope.’

Apparently all titles will be available at major e-retailers and will be compatible with all reading devices.

So take a look at what they are offering.


And, while we are talking Digital, there’s a $20 tablet coming out from Data Wind.

‘ the seven-inch Aakash 2 tablet computer Tuli’s company is selling to the government for distribution to 100,000 university students and professors. (If things go well, the government plans to order as many as 5.86 million.)’

Wow… we’re living in the future.

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