Plight of the un­pub­lished author

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - HEART & SOUL -

IN her col­umn Lo­calise last week, Daphne Lee’s topic about sub­mis­sion of manuscripts was rather in­ter­est­ing.

I am guilty of bom­bard­ing pub­lish­ers with my manuscripts. I have just fin­ished my fifth chil­dren’s book, and although the last three manuscripts have never been sent out, my first was ac­cepted by two pub­lish­ers. How­ever, I turned down their of­fers when I was asked to help fi­nance the cost. Since then I have been looking for a “home” for my “ba­bies”.

As for sub­mis­sions, from my ob­ser­va­tion, most guide­lines are vague. Syn­op­sis, sam­ple chap­ters, and a brief bio about the author is what most pub­lish­ers ask for. We are en­cour­aged to sub­mit it on­line, too. One time, I got a reply from an agent that they weren’t ac­cept­ing sub­mis­sions, even though it was clearly stated on their web­site that they were.

One editor told me that my work did not “suit her list”. When I asked what list she was re­fer­ring to, she said that on their web­site they state that they ac­cept chil­dren’s books of every genre sim­ply to avoid any risk of miss­ing an ex­cep­tion­ally good book by a new author.

I guess at the end of the day, for an un­pub­lished author, it is still about bom­bard­ing – or rather, knock­ing on every door avail­able.

Why We Write: 20 Ac­claimed Au­thors On How And Why They Do What They Do is an ex­cel­lent book about writ­ers’ ex­pe­ri­ences prior to get­ting their big breaks, and they have writ­ten about sub­mis­sions, too.

Adrian T Penang

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