Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Emerging Writer's Festival, part five.

The Pitch was the final session of the Saturday I attended the Emerging Writer’s Festival. The ground floor hall of Melbourne’s town hall was, once again, packed with about 300 writers eager to be told, at least I was, that it wasn’t as hard to pitch to publishers as everybody else had said. This session was one that had piqued my initial interest in the festival.

Most of the publishers were from small independent magazines and not from the major book publishing houses.

Chris Flynn the editor of Torpedo magazine suggested that when pitching to him, or any other publisher:

1. Read the submission guidelines
2. Read the magazine
3. Don’t keep on sending the same stories out
4. Submit one story to a particular magazine at a time
5. Don’t say how wonderful the story is and go on about your previous publications, the story will be judged on its merits.
6. Be nice.

Nothing surprising there, except for number five, as I have been told that many publishers are interested in a writer’s previous publications, which would seem the case, as successful writers are a useful marketing tool for a magazine.

Emily Clark from Aduki Independent Press, which publishes non-fiction books, essays and magazines, suggested the following:

1. Know the publisher
2. Know your market: tell the publisher who will read your book.
3. Don’t burn your bridges

A while back I put the petrol and incendiary devices in the back shed, but I haven’t locked it yet.

Editors from Going Down Swinging, Stop Drop and Roll, Framelines, Meanjin and Tresspass also spoke.

I was disappointed with this session because the speakers seemed to be more concerned with pitching their magazine to the audience, rather than giving me some insight into how to get them to read my submission. For the first time that day I noticed members of the audience leaving, but perhaps it was getting close to their dinner times.

Overall, the first day was a very good informational and motivating experience. I came away feeling energised about writing and determined to brake through.

On Sunday I went to four more sessions, the first of which, Crashing and bashing and smashing through, will be commented on in my next post.

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