Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Now we REALLY know what the publishers want…

…and what they most definitely DO NOT want.  After our second Brit Writers’ Awards Publishing Programme group meeting, I think I can say on behalf of all the participants, we are on fire!  The meeting was jam-packed with information from ‘those in the know’, who gave us an inside view of the publishing industry.  Fantastic organisation BWA, incidentally.  I don’t know how you managed it.  It was awesome.  Pure magic. 

So, OK, some of the speakers—excellent speakers—reiterated what those of us who have been around for a while might already know, but the further insight…  Let’s just say it got the adrenalin pumping.  Why on earth someone like the inspired CEO of the Britwriters hasn’t come along before to offer such well put together programmes is beyond me.  Apart from helping writers to get it right (and I’m not just talking punctuation, grammar and presentation here, as all-important as they might be.  I’m talking writing that sizzles.  Writing that says READ ME!), surely the spin off will be less rubbish on the slush piles—in my humble opinion anyhow. 

From a personal pov, I have spent a small fortune enlisting the help of editors to try to get my own writing as right as it can be.  They have been good, excellent, in fact.  One lady I hold in very high-esteem and will continue to use.  With the help of the Britwriters though, I truly believe I have found that crucial missing ingredient.  And…big news…I sat down yesterday and whammed out a one page synopsis.  Oh, scintillating, I hear you yawn.  Actually, it is big.  HUGE.  I write books.  I weep over synopses.  I’ve read every piece of information there is on the subject and I just could not do it.  Britwriters haven’t shown me how, so much as got my mind totally focussed.  My story flows, ergo does my synopsis.  Whatever they are doing, it is doing it for me.  Oh, and I’m speaking in public much more confidently, too.  I’m not sure mine is quite there yet, but some of those pitches yesterday, like WOW!

Now, hopefully, I won’t have to sell a kidney in order to get my work into shape in future.  I just need to grow an extra set of hands so I can get all these demanding ideas going around in my head down on paper.

To sum up, we are going to get published, because we are going to give publishers what they REALLY want.  Do I hear a collective sigh of relief from the publishing industry?


  1. I have to agree. I learned so much about the publishing industry in one afternoon from the BWA itself and then the multiple guest speakers.

    And don't worry about your pitch - it was brilliant!

  2. Aw, thanks, George. I am so impressed by the quality of our various projects, it is quite breathtaking. Such a diverse group, too, yet all with the same commitment and passion to perfect their art and...well, write! It can’t be anything but exciting, can it? Then there are the VIPs amongst us, of course.:) Spencer Ratcliff on the Beeb, wonderful, hey? BBC Essex are covering Spencer’s book VOICES OF CRABTREE LANE. And from Spencer’s pitch that’s a book I will most definitely be reading.

  3. LOL - awesome is the word I'd use too Leanne.

    SO much key information shared from such 'in the know' speakers. Spencer's book (Voices of Crabtree Lane) is next on my list too - in fact I may start it after this post!

    Pitch perfect Leanne!

  4. *Take It or Leave It - An American Point of View"*
    Believe it or Not; The Easiest part about being an Author from Across the Pond or Not ... Is Writing the Manuscript. Then, Editing, Drafting,
    Re-Editing, Re-Drafting ... for the 506k time! The Miserable Part of the Entire process, is Shopping your Great "Brit or American" Masterpiece around to different Publishing Houses; one of which, may take the "Bull by The proverbial Horne's" & will take a Chance on => Y-O-U ! That's the Horns of the Dilemma! Don't even ask me the Q : 'What happens, when your "Child" reaches "ripe" old-age & goes Out-of-Print ...?' -Gary F. Rogers / Author/ Computer-End Program by Argile Stox / 2004 / Out of Print /2006

  5. A re-draft, dare I suggest? Make sure you have all the rights to the book, dust the ms off, polish it up and send it out again. I believe (and it is certainly true of my own work) that a novel is never really finished. There is always something you can do improve it, change or update it. And with ever changing trends… When I was writing stuff aimed at late-thirty, forty-somethings, a publisher speculated to my agent, ‘Hmm? Could be an opening in the market.’ Aaargh! My writing wasn’t good enough then, but after work, work, editorial help, work, more work and, finally…the invaluable guidance of the Brit Writers' Awards Publishing Programme, and feedback thereon, I know it IS now 'good enough'.

    If your book was good enough for publication, then—bearing trends and what publishers want in mind—it might well be now. Do some research and give it a go. I would!

    GOOD LUCK, Roger! Thanks so much for visiting from across the pond. :) Please feel free to pop in any time.

  6. One of our group, Spencer Ratcliff, based in Australia, is being featured on BBC Radio Essex currently - Ian Wyatt, on Saturday mornings. It links the area with his fantastic book, 'The Voices of Crabtree Lane'.
    Here's a link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00dfcft
    Cogratulations, Spencer.

  7. Here’s a link to Spencer’s third interview: http://tinyurl.com/6eas9s5.
    Encapsulates the book so well, Spencer.

  8. Here’s a link to Spencer’s fourth interview on Radio Essex, aired today. It’s 2:59 into the programme: http://tinyurl.com/5wlbb9r