A writer has brought this to my attention: a recruitment notice on the job site Seek for writers of children’s books. While it certainly seems to be an exciting opportunity, this approach raises a few questions: how does a publisher responsibly handle the potentially high number of submissions resulting from such a wide call out? How does a writer investigate the suitablity and credibility of the publisher involved, when so little information is supplied? And note, the burden of proof here is on the aspiring author, who must provide a CV and a sample, while the publisher provides only an email address. I’m interested to know, would you respond to this type of call out for manuscripts?

Over at Publishers Weekly there’s an amazing example of how digital publishing is both challenging and complementing traditional publishing: Kemble Scott released an e-reader edition of his second The Sower through scridbd.com, and quickly gained interest from a range of publishers. Since it was available as print-on-demand, The Sower did not have to wait the standard year or more to work it’s way through the traditional publishing process, which kept its contemporary cultural references fresh. Scott clearly understands marketing very well, and has great relationships with independent booksellers in the Bay Area. Now published in a limited hardcover edition, The Sower has reached the San Francisco Chronicle bestseller list. Says Scott, "This book was completely done outside all of the traditional gatekeepers of publishing… [P]eople can read the book for its merits and its content and not for the way it was published.”

Lastly folks, TINA is nearly upon us! This Is Not Art: Independent, Emerging and Experimental Arts Festival includes the National Young Writers Festival, as well as the Crack Theatre Festival, Sound Summit, Electrofringe and Critical Animals. So if you like writing, poetry, spoken word, zines or comics, get involved! TINA runs from 1-5 October in Newcastle Australia, so go for the festivals, and check out the beaches while you’re there…

Write on!



6 Responses to “Friday fry-up …”

  1. michael,

    This looks like an interesting way to get noticed by publishers, difficult at the best of times.

    I donder how effective it would be for non-fiction books?

  2. catbrain,

    Re the recruitment notice story:

    I saw this a few days ago and sent it around. Someone has asked me whether the publisher listed in this job ad, Shooting Star Stories (SSS), is a legitimate one, as their website was looking a bit dodgy. I know only too well how vanity publishers can quickly get under people’s radar (they nearly got money out of me once through a ‘competition’ but as a result I wrote an article warning others of the practice and it appeared in the an interstate Writers’ Centre newsletter). I mainly sent this job ad around as it was so unusual to see something advertised on Seek (maybe that should have set off warning bells ???).

    So, to investigate I rang Alpha Recruitment (who are a real recruitment firm).
    A summary of the conversation:
    * SSS are a web-only based publisher
    * as of yesterday SSS were having trouble with their website and are working to fix it
    * feel free to email any q’s through to the given email address and they’ll get back to you
    * SSS are aware that writers are wary about giving out too much writing as an example, so a few lines will be sufficient to help them
    * Alpha are working as an intermediary to help SSS with their advertising at this stage

    I hope this helps with any other q’s about it.

  3. Simon Groth,

    I saw the original advertisement, though I’m not a children’s writer. I thought it was a strange place to go looking for talent and I wondered if they would get anything worthwhile from it. My guess is they won’t. The other thing that bothered me was that I couldn’t tell who placed the advertisement. Was it the publisher or a recruitment agency? These kind of things matter when you’re submitting something as valuable as a manuscript.

  4. Australian Online Bookshop,

    How utterly strange for a publisher to be calling for authors in this way. I really do hope they have some established ethical standards as aspiring authors are ripe for the picking when it comes to exploitation.

  5. parlance,

    I once responded to a similar ad by a local educational publisher. Hearing nothing for months, I felt rather cynical, until they eventually sent me a polite and friendly response explaining that they had so many replies that it took them ages to get through them.
    (I didn’t get to write for them.)

  6. Meg,

    A big thank you to everyone for all your comments & info! I’ve had inquiries from writers about this issue, & it’s great to be able to refer them here for your smart, balanced discussion.


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