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Read, Write, Dance . Those three words could almost be my epitaph. Certainly (bearing and rearing children aside) they are the three activi...

About Me

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I am a writer, editor, reviewer and dance teacher based in Perth, Western Australia. I trained in piano and singing at the NSW Conservatorium of Music. I also trained in dance (Scully-Borovansky, WAAPA) and drama (NIDA). Since 1987 I have been writing reviews of performances in all genres for a variety of publications, including Music Maker, ArtsWest, Dance Australia, The Australian and others. Now semi-retired, I still write occasionally for the ArtsHub website, and I still teach dance at Trinity School for Seniors, an outreach program of the Uniting Church in Perth. You might enjoy my books - The Dagger of Dresnia, the first book of the Talismans Trilogy, is available at all good online book shops. Book two, The Cloak of Challiver, will be available again shortly. Book three, The Seer of Syland, is in preparation.

My books

The first novel of my trilogy, The Talismans, is available as an e-book from Smashwords, Amazon and other online sellers. I do have paperbacks of The Dagger of Dresnia at the low price of $AU25 including postage within Australia. I also have a short story, 'La Belle Dame', in print - see Mythic Resonance below. Book two of the trilogy, The Cloak of Challiver, will be available again shortly. The best way to contact me is via Facebook!

Buy The Talismans

The first two books of The Talismans trilogy were published by Satalyte Publications, which, sadly, has gone out of business. Book one, The Dagger of Dresnia, is up on the usual bookselling web sites as an e-book, and I have a few hard copies to sell to those who prefer Real Paper. Book Two, The Cloak of Challiver, will be available soon. The easiest way to contact me is via Facebook.

The Dagger of Dresnia

The Dagger of Dresnia
Want a copy? Contact me at satimafn(at)gmail.com

The Cloak of Challiver

The Cloak of Challiver
Available again as an ebook soon!

Mythic Resonance

Buy Mythic Resonance

Mythic Resonance is an excellent anthology that includes my short story 'La Belle Dame', together with great stories from Alan Baxter, Donna Maree Hanson, Sue Burstynski, Nike Sulway and nine more fantastic authors! Just $US3.99 from Amazon. Got a Kindle? Check out Mythic Resonance.

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Monday, 24 August 2009

Schlepping towards publication

As most of you know, for the last four years I have been writing a fantasy novel. This is my third – the first one took me seven years to write and it was pretty terrible, although I still love it and read it for fun sometimes! One day I might serialise it and put it up on the blog for you all to laugh at.

The second book was better: I started in it 2003 and at the end of 2005 I sent my “package” (synopsis and three chapters) to four literary agents. None of them was interested and after putting the manuscript away for three months I realised why – it had far too many characters and a confusing two-strand plot. George RR Martin might have got away with it: I certainly couldn’t. Funny how I couldn’t see that when I was writing it, but after a break from it the shortcomings were painfully obvious.

Well, the time has now come for the latest opus to start “doing the rounds”. The procedure has changed a little since I last looked for an agent or publisher. I am amazed at how many agents have shut up shop and how many more have closed their books in the last four years, so there are not as many places to try for representation. Also, fewer publishers are taking un-agented submissions and more want a professional assessment if you aren't agented. Heck, even some agents want a professional assessment before they will look at your work. Hard times breed hard policies, I guess, but it means the chances of getting published are lessening with every passing year. Bring in Parallel Importation (see last post) and we newbies will have no chance at all.

What’s more, reading the publishers’ guidelines, I can see that epic fantasy, which is what I write, is not wanted at present by many publishing houses. The American publisher Juno, for instance, used to publish a lot of it, but now they only want urban or near-future fantasy. Vampires still rule, and look like doing so for a while yet. I don’t do vampires, sorry. But even if I did, and wrote the world’s best vampire novel within six months, by the time I’d found a publisher the craze would certainly have passed, and there’s no predicting what the next Big Thing will be.

Every agent you submit to takes several weeks to respond. Every publisher takes several months. And “simultaneous subs” — sending your package to several agents or publishers at one time — is becoming increasing frowned upon. Furthermore, I have two or three friends who took several years to find agents, and those agents have still not sold their novels. What a slow process it is! Hey, I am 66 already. I could die before I get published!

I can see why people get sick of it and decide to self-publish, like my friend Fiona Leonard with her lovely Dancing with Zebras, which I blogged a few weeks back. But self-publishing and e-publishing have their own problems – no distribution network, no editorial help, fear of plagiarism or outright theft if you put the book on line…

I'll give it a year of trying the conventional agents and publishers before considering other channels but I’ll be honest. I am not hopeful. But nevertheless, I will be getting on with book two of the trilogy!

8 comments:

Jo said...

Well I'll wish you all the best for finding an agent and publisher although as you say, it is very hard. There must be a lot of good books which never see the light of day which is a tragedy. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.

CaroleMcDonnell said...

Good luck with the submitting. Don't get discouraged. Just make sure the story is perfect and it'll find a home. -C

Satima Flavell said...

Thanks for the encouragement, Carole. Tim Powers said something very similar at a con a few years back - I'm paraphrasing, but it was something like, "If you have a good, well-written story, someone, sooner or later, will publish it."

But it's finding that one publisher who will love the book that's the hard part, so you're right, Jo: a lot of books that don't get published are worthy of publication, but they don't make it because they never hit the right desk at the right time.

Glenda Larke said...

Don't forget to try the UK. Get hold of the latest Artists' and Writers' Yearbook...

Last I heard UK agents were still doing things differently - cover letter and first 3 chaps. None of this query letter thing first. Of course, you need to look at websites to check. If they have them.

Satima Flavell said...

Thanks, Glenda. I'm gradually working my way northwards and I think the UK comes before Alaska:-)

I'll see if the W&A yearboook is in the library system. I've never seen it for sale here.

Glenda Larke said...

Maybe they have it online now??

Satima Flavell said...

Aha - good thinking! I've found I can order it in from A&R, so I'll see if they can get it for me as soon as I get back to Perth!

bao bao said...
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