Snapshots! Part Four

Day two and we’re off again!!


Simon Haynes

In a nutshell, I believe that traditional publishing is no longer the best option for an ongoing series. By the time later books are released, the first have vanished from bookstore shelves, and it’s rare for any reader to start a series on book four, five or six. Sure, there are incredibly rare occasions when a series really catches on, and all the books are released, re-released and re-re-released in every format under the sun, but you can’t possibly anticipate or plan for that kind of success.

This is the reason I pulled my Hal Junior submissions and decided to set up my own imprint and employ professionals (editor, cover artist, proofreaders) to publish the first novel last year.

As for the journey, I’m working to a long-term plan. If I write and publish four or five Hal Junior books and they fail to take off, fine. Every book I write improves my skill (hopefully!) and teaches me something new. Maybe one day I’ll write the kind of book publishers will fight over, but since writing is primarily a hobby for me I’ll always write what I want to read first, and worry about the potential market afterwards.


David McDonald

Well, there is a selfish aspect to it in that the people doing guest posts are people I like and whose opinions I respect. So, Wednesday Writers gives me a chance to get them to talk about things that they have a passion for – and that I want to learn more about!

But, the main idea behind it was that since I have been on the scene people have been incredibly generous about sharing their knowledge with me – there’s no sense of a hoarding of knowledge as if there is only so much to go around. That’s inspired me to try and do my part to help “pass it forward” so that others can experience the same benefits I have. When I look at the guest posts I think there has been some advice there that writers of any level could really take something from, and that is exciting.


Joanne Anderton

And last, but definitely not least, these books were inspired by real life. I know that sounds kinda strange, but when Tanyana loses her powers she loses her job — not only her income, but a big part of her identity too. My husband went through a lot of that when the business he was working for suddenly went under, and this was definitely an inspiration for Tanyana’s experience. I also liked the idea of a fantasy hero who has to pay her rent!


Dirk Flinthart

I remain proudest of my role in editing Canterbury 2100. Misunderstood, a small print run – but not only were there some very fine stories in there, but the integration of those stories into a coherent narrative which suggests a future-folk-history kind of thing was a remarkably difficult task that I think I pulled off… credibly, at least. Dig up a copy. Enjoy.

Two years after AussieCon… yeah. Look, the changes in Aus Spec Fic are, by and large, the changes we’re seeing everywhere. The woolly mammoth in the room (no mere elephants for spec fiction!) is the rise of the e-book, and the increasing willingness of both writers and readers to thumb their noses at the strictures of mainstream publishers.

At the same time, the increasing stranglehold of the Amazon/Kindle ogre is a real worry. Their pricing policies are… dubious at best. Then there’s the issue of outright plagiarism amongst self-published stuff in the Kindle morass. There’s more, but those two issues alone are enough to make me extremely fearful of Kindle’s rising influence.

Lara Morgan

I think having the world convention here at that time has helped boost the profile of Australian writers and writing more here and overseas. Though it’s a very tough market at the moment to get anything published speculative fiction still does appear to be thriving and growing. A lot of it is driven by the increasing popularity – and sales margins – of the YA market. It’s one of the biggest right now and I’ve noticed an increase in previously purely contemporary fiction writers publishing speculative fiction YA. For example, Tara Moss who was  known for her adult crime fiction put out her Pandora English series, which is YA gothic and she’s only one of many crossing over here and internationally. I think here in Australia, just like the rest of the world, speculative fiction as a whole is becoming more mainstream driven by the success of Twilight and its movies, The Hunger Games, and the successful adaptation to TV of series such as Game of Thrones. We can only hope that an Australian writer’s series is the next big thing in movies or TV!


Nick Tchan

I’ve been concentrating on speculative short fiction for about five years now (see below) and I determined pretty early not to submit anywhere that wasn’t Pro-level pay rates with certain exceptions (i.e. non-pro venues that still attract awards/reputable reviews or non-pro venues where I know the editor and know they’ll take good care of the story).

Everyone has a different approach and reasons where and how they submit (or even if they submit at all, with the emergence of e-publishing as a viable alternative). For me, the decision to largely submit to pro-markets required a great deal of mental fortitude. There are more pro-markets out there than in the recent past, but you’re still not going to see anything but rejection slips for a very long time. It took me five years and no matter how prepared you think you are for five years of rejections, it does take its toll.

On one level writers of the future was vindication. It’s only one step; I might never sell anything at the pro-level again. But it still feels good and that vindication is a tremendous confidence boost.


Jason Fischer

My three favourite moments are as follows: Jack Dann leading a crowd into a sing-a-long of “Undead Camels Ate Their Flesh”; accepting my award at Writers of the Future; but above all my favourite moment was when I heard about the sale of my first story (flash fiction) to Antipodean SF. I hope to never forget that feeling, and no matter what my successes have been since then, that was the beginning of this whole crazy journey.

If there is a local renaissance, it seems to be different in flavour to the fallout from the last Aussiecon. There aren’t a million small presses sprouting underfoot, and the handful of small-presses that are still around seem to be lifting their sights somewhat.

We’re no longer an antipodean silo of writing and publishing, given the wonders of e-books, and the boutique genre press has arrived in force. Instead of trying to do lots of books, they seem to produce small print runs of beautiful books.

The Aussies are still rating well in overseas awards and short-lists, and many of the authors who were prolific in small-press a few years ago are now selling novels to the big publishers. It certainly bodes well.

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