It’s hard to believe YA Day is just three weeks away! How exciting! We can’t wait to hear from 15 incredible Aussie authors who’ll be appearing on five epic panels. It’s a full day of bookish goodness, created in partnership with Writers Victoria! Click here to grab your tickets if you haven’t purchased them already.
Today we’re sharing a mini Q&A with literary agent, editor of Begin, End, Begin: a #LoveOzYA Anthology, and all-round amazing human being, Danielle Binks. Danielle will be appearing on the “It’s Alive!: How to Get Published” panel with Ellie Marney and Nina Kenwood on the day, and we can’t wait to hear all of them chat about their own writing and offer up tips and tricks on how to get published.
If you’re a writer and you’re looking to get published one day, this panel is sure to give you the insider knowledge you need to better equip yourself for this journey – so make sure you bring a pen and paper!
What are some common mistakes writers make when submitting a manuscript?
Lack of research, very generally. Which could be not realising what areas I specialise in as a literary agent (true-crime is really not my bag, FYI!) or not knowing enough about the readership they’re writing for (sending me a 15K-manuscript and calling it “middle grade” when I clearly state on our submissions page that I need MG submissions to come in at minimum, 40K-words) … People who fundamentally don’t understand the genre or readership they’re writing for, I also put down to lack of research which manifests as – you don’t actually read these books (or – the last time you did read them, you were the intended age for those books. Same thing.) So that’s the remedy. Keep reading! Read everything! Reading is research if you want to be a writer – *active* reading to figure out how stories work, where the bar is set, what the goal-posts are.
Do you have any advice for emerging writers when they are looking for someone to give them feedback on their writing before they submit it?
Think carefully about whose opinion you’re taking into account – I myself have been in writer’s groups with people who throw their hands up when they’re given YA to read, and say “I don’t like young adult books” – so consider that their opinions may not be *overly* helpful, if they’re putting road-blocks up from the start. It’s always ideal to have readers who are the intended age for the manuscript – so, kids and teens (and not just ones who are related to you). Our industry also has a lot of very fine ‘authenticity readers’ and freelance editors if you’re willing to pay. Writer’s Centres generally also have fabulous services for beta-reading (again – if you’re willing to pay, though the amount is somewhat smaller if you’re a member).
What’s your advice for a writer who’s facing rejection?
This too shall pass. It’s also part of being a writer in this industry – not everyone will (or has to) love what you do. Timing can also be off. It’s a small miracle when *any* book gets published, so don’t think that the only possible reason that yours hasn’t been yet is because you’re a bad writer – that’s waaaaaay down the rung of reasons, honestly. And especially in Australia, and especially in youth literature – poor sales lead to less acquisitions (especially of debut authors), the whole system is connected so one butterfly effect of us buying more US authors over Australian ones is fewer new Australian authors will be published in future if our publishing industry (which is a business – ultimately) can’t see reason to justify taking chances when they won’t result in sales. That’s a bottom-line truth. We also have a very robust indie and self-publishing community now; so there are ways and means of getting your story out there, at the end of the day. Don’t despair completely.
Have you got your ticket to YA Day yet? Book yours here!