Guest Blog by Judy Wollin
Getting your work in front of selected readers before it is in the public arena will help it be the strongest you can write. Such input and advice can improve the quality of your writing, which can increase the likelihood of publication and sales, whether you are traditional or self-published. By reaching out, you can also build a network and get to know the publishing world. Building a network allows even unknown writers to get known.
Joining writers’ groups is a way of getting your work out there.
General groups are valuable based on the variety of work you will hear about, read, and share. Gold Coast Writers’ Association is one such group. Specialised writers’ groups focus on a single genre usually. Children’s authors and illustrators, crime writers, and romance writers are examples. They provide up-to-date industry news relating to the genre and discuss the nuances of getting published in that genre.
Critique groups bring together writers seeking and providing feedback for each other in a structured way. Alpha and beta readers have a similar function, but these are usually one-on-one.
Sensitivity readers have the key role of reviewing your work to identify and help you avoid biases, inappropriate language, stereotyping, racism, and other critical errors. Employing an editor is another avenue to improve your work and increase the likelihood of success.
Mentors and courses can provide education and feedback to help you become the strongest writer you can. Mentors work one-on-one whereas courses usually involve group learning. Both are useful ways of getting your work reviewed.
Manuscript assessment and pitches are another avenue for getting feedback. A manuscript assessment can be offered on an entire manuscript or a set number of words. The feedback may be written or verbal. Pitching your novel is a brief, usually three-minute, opportunity to promote your story and yourself to an agent or publisher. Given the short duration of a pitch, it is best to seek expert advice in preparing for it. The Australian Society of Authors, Queensland Writers’ Centre, and the Australian Writers’ Centre provide suitable courses.
Competitions are a good idea for strengthening your writing. Writing to a specific criterion may stretch you in directions you would not try otherwise.
Submitting to anthologies is also a good way to get published. These are often published by writer’s groups. The Gold Coast Writers’ Association has published anthologies in the past. Editing and feedback for group anthologies is usually a collaborative affair, with writers swapping work among themselves.
Finally, a digital presence, Social Media platforms and your author website, for example, are important too. Publishers often look for an author’s digital presence for establishing an author’s willingness to market themselves and their work.
In summary, getting your work out there will improve your writing and increase the likelihood of your success in publishing. There is an option to suit every writer. Whether you prefer one-on-one or a group setting, broad writing groups or genre-specific groups, or a paid professional, course, or mentor. The choice is yours.
As part of my journey to have my middle grade novels published, I completed the ‘Pitch Perfect’ online Zoom course run by the Australian Society of Authors (ASA). This course was very helpful.
In the first session, participants examined the foundations of developing a pitch. They were asked to identify what they wanted to achieve with publication and examined different publishing options, multinationals, independent and self-publishing.
The second session discussed whether authors need an agent, and the type of content that must be included in a pitch. Participants examined their genre, readership, and the importance of knowing comparative titles.
The third session covered writing a 300-word synopsis which formed the core of your pitch.
The fourth session addressed the format of pitching to an agent or publisher, preparing a pitch, and the need to practice.
The course was very informative and the resources very helpful. Course participants were given prior access to book their pitch sessions in the ASA Literary “Speed Dating” event. I would recommend this course to authors wanting the opportunity to present their work and themselves to agents or publishers.
Judy Wollin – Contributor
Alliance of Young Authors https://www.facebook.com/groups/YAauthoralliance/
Alpha and Beta readers. https://www.ingramspark.com/blog/alpha-and-beta-readers-what-are-they-and-why-bother You can find talented readers on fiverr.com, or somewhere like Writerful Books.
Australian Crime Writers Association https://www.austcrimewriters.com/ dedicated to promoting greater recognition for crime, thriller, and mystery writing in Australia.
Australia Society of Authors https://www.asauthors.org/ the professional organisation, community and voice of Australia’s writers and illustrators. Provides training, mentorships, advocacy, support, advice and literary speed dating.
Australian Writers’ Centre is one source of excellent courses https://www.writerscentre.com.au/
Book Links Promote authors, illustrators and storytellers for children and young people. https://booklinks.org.au/category/queensland-authors-and-illustrators/
Queensland Writers Centre https://queenslandwriters.org.au/ a not-for-profit membership organisation that supports, celebrates and showcases Queensland writers. It offers training, mentorships, critique groups, resources and meeting rooms. It is based in State library Brisbane.
Romance Writers of Australia https://romanceaustralia.com/ promote excellence in romantic fiction, to help aspiring writers become published and published authors to maintain and establish their career.
Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators https://www.scbwi.org/ specifically for individuals who write, illustrate, and translate for children and young adults.
Vision Writers home for speculative fiction, science fiction, horror and fantasy writers in Queenslandhttps://visionwriters.net/