It’s very exciting to finally see my two new young adult novels – Tall, Dark and Distant and Lust and Found in bookshops. The novels are part of a hot new romance series called Smitten, published by Hardie Grant Egmont. It has been a rewarding experience working with the very talented staff at HGE who have helped transform my stories into novels. I have learned a lot through the process, including a crucial addition to the long list of criteria for new writers to become published – timing!
I was lucky enough to approach HGE with a story of real-world teen love right when they were looking for writers for their new young adult romance series. My timing couldn’t have been better!
Everyone knows how hard it is to crack a first publishing contract, and there are plenty of experts on publishing with much more experience than me, but I think it’s worth pointing out a few things if you’re looking for a break in the writing world.
- All publishers are not the same. it is useful to go to conferences or read interviews with publishers to find out what editors and publishing houses are looking for in a manuscript. Publishers can take months (and months and months) to get back to you on a submission, so you need to aim your precious manuscript at the best possible publishing house for your story.
- There are no rules governing what makes a great story, but editors do seem to value a unique and authentic voice. The voice that comes through your characters distinguishes your writing. This aspect of writing is important through all genres and even age levels. I have been told that even primary school students are assessed on the voice of their work in persuasive writing.
- Just because an editor likes your work, it doesn’t mean that it’s perfect. Be prepared for several rewrites and try not to take them personally!
See the Hardie Grant Egmont Ampersand Project
See also Jackie French’s advice
These tips from Allen and Unwin
And this interview with Zoe Walton