On Saturday, I went to one of my favourite towns for Tenby Book Fair. This year I was accompanied by my writing buddy, Helen. It was lovely to have company, not least for all the calories we consumed over the day! We got there early and had coffee and tea cakes before going in. We slipped out when there was a break in between the talks to have a delicious lunch and finally topped the day off with another coffee and more cakes before the journey home. :-)
|Photo courtesy of Juliet Greenwood|
|Photo courtesy of Wendy White|
|Photo courtesy of Wendy|
I'd blogged about the fair a few weeks ago so I thought you may be interested in the talks Helen and I went to. We'd had to pre-book them and the two I found particularly interesting were the ones given by the editors of two Welsh publishers.
The first was given by Janet Thomas, editor at Firefly Press. Set up in 2013, Firefly is an independent children's and YA publisher based in Wales. It publishes quality fiction for 5-19 year olds. Janet advised on the submission process and gave us an insight into what writing she was looking for. She stressed how important it was that the sample sent in reflects the quality of the book. What is special about the story must be in that extract. Perhaps the story takes a new look at a subject that's already popular with the young readers. It's often the subject matter that makes a connection with the child. They may not know the author but they like what the book is about. Janet stressed the importance of keeping to the publishers' guidelines and making sure the synopsis includes the ending. She provided us with a very helpful pack of information about writing for children, including the specific requirements for each age group from Picture Books to Teen/Young Adult.
|Photo courtesy of Juliet|
Caroline Oakley, Commissioning Editor at Honno, opened her talk by giving us the background to the independent co-operative press based in Aberystwyth. Run by women, it is committed to publishing the best in Welsh women's writing. It was established in 1986 by four feminist women at a meeting in a flat in Cardiff. They wanted to increase the opportunities for Welsh women in publishing and bring Welsh women's writing to a wider public. They established a co-operative and sold shares in the company. Honno celebrated its 30th birthday at party In Aber on September 17th, the press having gone from strength to strength and becoming well established. It publishes a full range of genres and over the years both the press and its titles have won many awards.
Even though all the details for submission are found on the Honno website, Caroline gave some helpful pointers for submitting in general:
- ensure you do your research, identifying your target audience, your novel's genre and other writers in that genre and who they are published by
- find the name of the editor/literary agent
- send the publisher/agent what s/he has asked for, keeping strictly to the guidelines
- Honno asks for a 50 page sample
- the covering letter needs to be short, simple and matter of fact with no life story, no saying you've written the next best seller
- a brief description of why you've chosen to submit to that particular publisher
- only relevant writing experience
- synopsis - the plot and the role the characters play in it, where the story is going and what happens in the end. It should be clear what genre the novel belongs to from the synopsis which should be short and no longer than two sides.
What is Caroline looking for?
- readability, an interesting compelling voice
- something new or new facets/twists on a theme
- a gripping plot or narrative, intriguing characters
|Photo courtesy of Juliet|
One such book is Juliet Greenwood's third novel, 'The White Camellia', published recently by Honno on September 15th. The cover is stunning and from the pages I've read so far, it promises to be another excellent read from Juliet.
Helen and I returned from the fair enthused. It was an excellent day and huge thanks are due to Judith Barrow and Thorne Moore whose hard work ensured it was such a success.
Thank you for reading. Have you been to an literary event where publishers gave advice on submissions and explained what they are currently looking for? If so, I'd love it if you could leave a comment and share what they had to say. Thanks. :-)
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