The Copyright Minefield – why you as a new writer probably need an agent.

At the 2013 Natcon Convention (Natcon 52), I went to a panel on copyright.

Yes, I’m sure there were other ‘funner’ panels on at the time, but I went because, having decided to be a professional writer, I knew I needed to take up any opportunities I could in order to learn more about the business side of the trade I was entering. I also went because the talk was delivered by agent, Alex Adsett, and, having encountered her bright, smiling face previously, I thought, “If anyone can make copyright interesting she can.” And she did.

In the process, she also showed me how much you need an agent if you, as a newbie, are going to negotiate the twisty minefield that is copyright and the legal ownership and transference of intellectual property rights.

Alex’s talk started off gently (she didn’t want to scare us all away to some panel on Star Wars episode 7) – with definitions.

I like definitions.

So what is copyright? Copyright is a “bundle of rights” including the right to publish and reproduce, perform (e.g. film and stage), adapt and otherwise communicate (e.g. e-books, audio books) a work.

On top of that, copyright is automatic and free with any original, material-form work (it has to be recorded or written down – it cannot just be an idea) and the owner of the copyright is the creator of the work, unless there is some predetermined contract specifying otherwise. For example, I write policies for my work, but I do not own the copyright of those policies because my contract says they belong to the business I work for.

Easy.

Alex then pointed out that there are some exceptions to copyright and that specific allowances have been made in the law for copyrighted material to appear in the news and to be used for purposes of research/study as well as critiquing and parody/satire. She also said that, while so-called ‘insubstantial parts’ of works (a few lines here and there) may be considered acceptable use under copyright law, this is a very sketchy area of copyright law which depends much on how essential and distinctive the section taken is (i.e. the quality over the quantity) and how aggressive the owner of the copyright is at enforcing it (e.g. the ‘Kookaburra’ riff which resulted in that court case against Men at Work). Song lyrics and lines of poems are particularly troublesome in this regard, apparently, as are recipes.

Okay. Got it.

By this point I was thinking, ‘I don’t need an agent. I know what copyright is. Where do I sign?’

But then Alex got quite legal and clever and started discussing things I had either never heard of or never thought to consider. And it was then I realised I really do need an agent if I ever get a publishing contract because there are loads of tricky things to consider …

1) ‘Moral rights’

I had never even heard of these. According to Alex, they are to do with the “right to be attributed for a work you did and to not be falsely attributed for a work you didn’t do and the right for the artwork’s integrity not to be denigrated”. Or something like that. The long and the short of it is that, according to Alex, they are hard to enforce and most contracts make you waive them as a standard thing.

2) ‘Territories’

Do you want to sell world rights to one publisher or individual country and/or region rights to a number of publishers? Perhaps you want to sell UK rights, EU rights, North American rights and Commonwealth rights all separately.

You can, so long as you don’t double-up. You don’t want to sell North American rights to one publisher and Commonwealth rights to another and have them fight over who gets the rights for Canada!

Do you even know what rights would be best for ‘your book’? A good agent can help decide this. It is all very well for a house to demand “world rights” (they often do, apparently), but if they just hang onto these rights and never use them, your book could be denied a massive audience. A good agent will make sure the contract contains fail-safes to ensure full use is made of your rights (e.g. perhaps an exit-clause so that the overseas rights return to you if the publishing house does not use them within a certain timespan).

The agent will also help you with language rights.

3) ‘The duration of the contract’

Will the contract between you, the author, and the publisher last for the ‘Life of copyright’ or for a fixed span of time (e.g. 5-15 years).

Your agent can help you decide which is best for you.

‘Life of copyright’ (i.e. until 70 years after your death) is not necessarily a bad thing if the agent makes sure there is a good reversion clause in place (i.e. a way to get your rights back if things are not happening as they are supposed to for your book).

4) ‘Formats’

You are not just selling the rights to a book, but to a range of other reproduction modalities – audio books, e-books, even whether the book appears in hardcover or paperback.

Be aware that e-book publishers may attempt to buy print rights with no intention of printing the book, therefore costing you an opportunity. A good agent will be on the look-out for this.

5) Will the copyright of the work be ‘licensed’ to the publisher or ‘assigned’ outright?

Licensing is like ‘renting’ out the exclusive rights to the publisher, but you get your rights back once you part ways. If you assign (‘sell’) your rights, the publisher owns them until the terms of the contract say otherwise.

There is even a difference between a licence that is “exclusive” (most standard publishing deals have this) and “non-exclusive” (sometimes seen with short-stories where, for example, the work can appear in other “Best of” anthologies).

6) Payment – the royalties minefield.

This is really where you need an agent. There are loads of ways to be paid and you want the way that is most beneficial for you.

“Flat fee” – a one-off payment for a work without royalties. This can be either good or bad depending how the book does.

According to a masterclass I attended with Colleen Doran, when Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman” was created, the artists were offered either: higher one-off flat fees or lower advances with ongoing royalties. Those that took the royalties are still being paid today as the series turned out to be a mega-hit, whereas the ones who took the initially-larger upfront payments missed out hugely.

“Advance” – an upfront (advance) payment which then needs to be recouped by the publisher through the withholding of author royalties. Once enough royalties have been made to pay back the advance, all further royalties go to the writer/artist.

The royalties idea seems pretty straight-forward until you realise there are loads of ways of calculating it. Royalties can be calculated as a % of RRP (recommended retail price) or as a % of NR (net receipts).

This is where you need that agent. Some publishers try to convince you to take a % of NR that seems, on the face of it, to be higher than the offered % of RRP, when, in reality, the returns on, say, 15% of NR could be less than the returns on 10% of RRP (but to a newbie, 15% sounds like a better number than 10%).

Also, some publishers will try to offer lower royalty returns on subsequent editions of books. This can be okay if the print run is paperback edition five after four runs of paperbacks. It is not, however, okay on a paperback print-run (technically edition 2) done after a first edition hard-back run because buyers often wait to buy the first paperback edition for financial reasons and you don’t want to be undercut here as the author.

Another thing to be aware of is the ‘discount clause’, which is where an author’s royalties drop if a bookshop discounts them (puts them on sale). A good agent will be on the look-out for this. Alex advises that there should not be a reduction in author RRP royalties until such discounting has reached more than 55% (this is because lower-level discounting is standard and common in many bookstores). As a newbie, however, I would never have thought to consider this and this is why I need an agent.

7) ‘Reversion clauses’

Before e-books and print on demand (POD), publishers would often allow rights to revert back to authors once books went ‘out of print’. The trouble with e-books and the internet is that, technically, books are never out of print anymore.

A good agent will make sure to address this in the contract with something saying that the rights will revert back to the author once the book is no longer selling in any format.

8) ‘Subsidiary rights’

Sometimes when you sell rights to a publishing house, they will want to on-sell some aspects of these rights to other publishers and companies. These sold parts are called subsidiary rights and they can include such things as: translation rights, audio rights, statutory licencing, film rights, merchandising rights. For example, they might want to sell French language rights to a publisher in France that wants to do the translation and sell the ‘French’ version.

If possible, an author should attempt to keep as many of these subsidiary rights as possible and an agent can help with this. There can be big money in selling the film rights after the book has been successful.

A good agent can help navigate the path of subsidiary rights so you can get paid properly for them.

9) E-book only and digital first – you definitely need an agent to navigate this new minefield.

There is a new trend towards e-first and e-book-only publishing with some of the large houses opening e-only and digital-first imprints.

These tend to have no advance, but higher royalties at the back end (which sounds good, provided your book actually manages to get noticed in the millions of other e-books out there).

This is new territory for publishing as a whole, but it is also ‘shark territory’ since it can come jam-packed with all manner of potential nasties like: minimal editorial support, minimal marketing support and the inclusion of various risk-sharing clauses (e.g. the author splits the costs of book-production and marketing with the publishing house – such deals can be risky for the author if the ‘costs’ are not well-defined up-front).

There are also outright scams online. Be very careful the minute anyone asks you for money.

It is advisable to get an agent who can pick through all the contractual ins and outs.

Conclusion:

In closing, the points listed were just some of the copyright and legal stuff discussed by Alex within the constraints of an hour and I have absolutely no doubt there were hundreds of other things Alex could have warned the writerly audience to be on the look-out for when dealing with publishing contracts.

As a newbie, the basic take-home message I got from the presentation was, even if you don’t have an agent when you approach a publishing house, you should certainly look at getting one to read through any contracts on offer should one of the publishers seek to take you on.

If, as a newer writer, you ever go to a convention, I certainly advise going to talks like the one so generously offered by Alex Adsett in order to better understand the business side of the industry you are entering. As writers, it is tempting to just curl up and write and let the rest take care of itself, but in order to optimize the chances of making a living out of this industry, it pays to get the business side right.

Thanks for reading – Shauna O’Meara.

If you found my stuff useful and would like to leave a token donation for the time I took to write it, you can do so through the Paypal link opposite. All tips are most appreciated.

Disclaimer – I am not an literary agent or a lawyer. I am therefore not qualified or capable of giving advice on publishing contracts. The information contained in this blog includes generalised tips and take-home messages I got from attending a convention presentation about copyright and does not constitute legal advice on any matter of copyright law. The points made in the blog were made in the service of showing how vast this field is and how many considerations need to be taken into account and for the purposes of reiterating my personal opinion that seeking agent advice is highly advisable when signing a new contract with a publishing house.

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Self-publishing – Notes from a Panel:

When it comes to the ins and outs of the publishing world, I am more or less a newbie (which is why I go to lots of conventions and attend panels to learn more about the trade). Sure, I have had a couple short stories published, but this is not quite the same as ascending the dizzying heights of having a novel come out.

Now, when I say, ‘having a novel come out’ I always thought that meant having it published by one of the big houses as an actual, physical book. I never even considered self-publishing online.

In the last ten or so years, however, self-publishing has really come into its own. While it used to be looked down on by the publishing fraternity as just another version of the vanity press, some very well-received writers have made their careers in the self-publishing world.

Self-publishing can also be a good way of getting edgy or different works out that the big publishing houses and bookshops do not know how to market or position (e.g. slipstream stuff, cross-genre stuff, stories with LGBT flavouring).

But just because you ‘can’ get your work out this way does not mean you necessarily should or that you are ready to go it alone. Self-publishing is not a license to bring ‘less skill’ or ‘less editing’ to bear and nor is it an ‘easy’ road. You have to put in just as much (if not more) work to get your stories noticed online because you will be making all of the marketing decisions on your own without a publishing house and because the online market is so crowded with ‘stuff’ already.

In April 2013, I attended a panel on “Self-Publishing” at the 52nd Natcon Convention in Canberra. The following contains some of the tips I gleaned and thought relevant to share.

1) Self-publishing is not the place to dump your ‘first draft’. Your work still has to be good.

– Have your work Beta-read by people with writing experience (i.e. other authors who are selling well and getting good reviews) whose opinions will be of value to you in the revision process (i.e. not your mum).
– If need be, pay for someone to edit your work (bad grammar and spelling will put off online readers just as much as slush readers).
– It does not hurt to get a manuscript assessment done.

2) ‘Make good art’ as Neil Gaiman would say. Work hard and gain skills as a writer before putting your stuff up. Your opening needs to be good, your characters need to be well-crafted and your plot needs to have loads of stuff happening and move at a good pace to entice the reader along to the end. If you can’t do this yet, don’t self-publish.

One recommendation from the panel was to make sure you have achieved: at least the three professional publications required to qualify as a member of SFWA and that you are at least getting ‘good rejections’ (“I love this, but … the work doesn’t fit our stable, we are over our budget for the year” and so on) from the publishing houses and/or genuine expressions of interest from agents and that you have done extra training like Clarion Workshops and courses and mentorships before considering yourself ‘ready’ to go it alone. Getting into SFWA at the very least provides some independent indication that you ‘can write’ for the market.

3) Make sure your product looks good and will catch the market’s eye.

– COVERS ARE VITAL, especially in the teen market.
– Covers must be professional and eye-catching and stand out in thumb-nail format.
– Covers must indicate the genre.
– E-covers tend to have bigger title fonts so they can be read even at thumbnail size.
– If you have a popular blog, a good tip might be to put up a couple of cover options for your online community and let them give you feedback on which cover they prefer.
– Make sure you format the book properly or get it formatted for ebook reading.
– The blurb must be enticing.

4) Get your work out there – let the market know you exist.

– Have an active blog. Be there. Be accessible. Be genuine.
– Have a website (often the website and blog are one – e.g. my WordPress site which you are now reading).
– Be contactable on Facebook.
– Consider Twitter.
– But if you use these so-called ‘marketing tools’ be a social contributor and a real person – don’t just use your accounts to sell at people. Don’t spam.
– Get your books onto other writer’s sites. If you can get your book onto E-reader News Today or Pixel of Ink or another such site with massive following, you can really increase your readership.
– Have deals (e.g. free offers) going on your blog from time to time.

5) E-publishing is really useful for books in a series. If you have a series, you can put out the first book (e.g. offer it on your blog) for free in order to gain sales for the second and third books.

6) Be aware that Amazon has a program called “KDP Select” where they reward you for giving Amazon exclusivity (higher % of the sales go to you). Here you can do ‘free book’ offers. This can be useful because the rush of downloads you get in that period help to get your book ‘ratings’ and also get you listed on the “people who bought this also bought …” which can last for many months after the free book deal, improving your sales down the track.

7) Learn from the online, self-publishing community. Kindleboards is an open forum about everything to do with self-publishing.

8) Amazon is not the only online market for e-books. Make sure your book goes up on all the online sellers who do not charge you a fee for the pleasure – e.g. Smashwords, Kobo, Barnes and Noble (note – Smashwords apparently gets you into Barnes and Noble), Apple (ibookstore), Kindlebooks.

– “Create-space” is part of Amazon. It offers paperbacks as well as ebooks. It apparently also sells to Book Depository.
– Be aware that Amazon has a program called “KDP Select” where they reward you for giving Amazon exclusivity (higher % of the sales go to you). Here you can do ‘free book’ offers. This can be useful because the rush of downloads you get in that period help get your book ‘ratings’ and also get you listed on the “people who bought this also bought …” which can last for many months after the free book deal, improving your sales down the track.

9) Never forget that you are ‘running a business’.

– Make sure you budget. If it’s going to cost you $1000 for a manuscript assessment and then another $300 for a cover, you need to question whether your final product and your marketing plan will make you at least that much back (if not in direct revenue, but at least in readership and sales for the ‘next volume’ of the book).
– Be aware of your tax obligations. Once your work is on Amazon, you are dealing with the US tax department and you need to know how much and who you are supposed to be paying. Amazon withholds tax that you have to get back if you are not a US citizen.
– Note: Kobo just deposits your money into your account which makes the tax stuff simpler.
– Find out if you need a business number (e.g. an ABN in Australia).
– If you have an ABN, you can claim a business EIN which makes the US tax stuff a lot more straight-forward (easier, apparently, than getting a US tax number).

10) Do not take advice from anyone. This is sort of a disclaimer, but it is also correct. E-publishing is in a state of flux and what is current now may not be in a mere 6 months. Keep researching your market and keep up to date with online trends to stay ahead of the curve.

11) Be aware that while online successes can translate into official publishing deals ala ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’, the opposite can be true of short stories. Self-publishing is considered ‘publishing’ and most of the short story markets will not take work that has already appeared online. Be aware of this before just putting your new story up ‘on your blog’.

12) Also be aware of some of the e-publishing, “digital first” deals the big houses are offering. Some of these houses want the rights for as ‘long as a book is in print’, which in e-publishing could mean that the book is technically never out of print and that, even if the book is doing badly, you never get your rights returned to you. Make sure there is an expiry date on such international rights if you are going with a digital first imprint. Make sure you have a legal person (e.g. an agent if you have one) look over any deals when it comes to the publishing houses, large or small.

Thanks for reading – Shauna O’Meara.

If you found my stuff useful and would like to leave a token donation for the time I took to write it, you can do so through the Paypal link opposite. All tips are most appreciated.

Writing to Sell – Notes from a Workshop

In April 2013, I attended a “Writing to Sell” workshop at the 52nd Natcon Convention in Canberra. This workshop focused on factors to think about when writing short-form fiction for the professional speculative fiction market. The following contains some of the tips I gleaned and, while most of them are familiar and self-explanatory (writer 101 stuff), there were a couple of pointers I hadn’t thought of so I thought I’d share.

Obviously, the usual rules apply. There is no one way to get published and no ‘formula’ per se to writing fiction (after all, if there was, everyone would be doing it). There is also hard work involved. Like any of the arts, writing is a skill that takes time and practice to master.

1) Your work should come across as professional (fail to do this and you won’t get a look in)

– Make sure your grammar and spelling are correct. This is basic.

– Make sure you format your manuscript correctly (e.g. double-spaced, 1-inch margins, page numbers with your story title and name, if required, and so on).

– Make sure you send the right file type. Most magazines tell you if they want .rtf or .doc or .docx and so on. If they can’t open your file, how are they going to accept your work?

– Write to the word count specified by the magazine. Magazines impose word counts because the size of each story affects how many stories can be included in a magazine in total and because there are budget ramifications for overlong stories. Mags that pay per word have to pay more for longer stories and, the more words a magazine has, the heavier it is and the more expensive it is to print. Also, some magazines have identified that, in this busy world, their readers prefer shorter tales and thus they may preference shorter works.

2) Pay attention to the magazine/market you are submitting to. Don’t send them stuff they don’t publish.

– Basically, you should read the magazine and the submission guidelines to get a feel for the type of stuff each mag is after. There is no point sending a high fantasy to a market which only publishes hard science fiction.

– Story sales are subject to fashion so it pays to be aware of, though not totally beholden to, current trends.

3) Your story should have something to say. It should resonate with the times.

– Stories should be ‘about’ something. I know this sounds very twee and ill-defined – a story has to have a beginning, a middle and an end, right? Well, technically, yes. But the good stories, the ones that are remembered for days or even years later, have a deeper meaning or underlying theme and something to say about the human condition. They shouldn’t, on the other hand, be too obvious and beat the reader over the head with ‘a message’. It’s a fine balance.

– Stories should also be somewhat relevant to the times. Yes, you can put rampant sexism and racism and violence and all manner of unsavoury or outmoded things in a story, but if these things are not presented through the filter of a modern sensibility (i.e. what is considered acceptable in modern society), you may have a tough sell.

– The story should ideally speak to a modern audience. It can be set in whatever time you like, but the best stories are those that present truths which resonate with modern readers.

4) Make your opening sing.

– The beginning should capture the reader. Remember, short story slush readers go through dozens of stories a week. If the beginning doesn’t capture them, they won’t read on to ‘get to the good parts’. They haven’t got the time and will often reject a story after only a sentence or two.

– It’s really important to start the story at the right moment. Avoid boring, domestic opening scenes. People don’t want to read about someone eating their breakfast (unless they are engaged in some ripping dialogue). They want to start with where it gets interesting.

– You also don’t want a story to start too late. You don’t want to have to rely on dialogue or a ‘flashback’ to ‘explain’ a scene or event that has already happened because then you are falling into the trap of relaying interesting info as dialogue or exposition. This is ‘telling’ and not ‘showing’ and your reader probably wants to experience the event at the same time as the characters do.

– You do not need to blow stuff up to make for an interesting opening. Just sayin’.

– You want ‘the inciting incident’ to occur very early on in a short story. You don’t have the same lead-in, introducing the characters time you might have for a novel (though it could be argued modern novels don’t really have this luxury anymore either).

– It’s useful to put your science fiction or fantasy element on the first page. People won’t usually want to read a load of very pedestrian stuff to get to the spaceships or angels or mystery or missing person or spies or whatever the cool thing in your story is.

– You want the reader to have sympathy and empathy for your character from the start. A good way to do this is to give the character an emotion or a problem. Boredom, anger and grief are bad emotions to open with because you usually need to understand the character somewhat to empathise with these and, given it is the start of the story, the reader doesn’t know the character yet. In the same way, there is no point starting off a story with the character undergoing violence or assault because you need to know a bit about them or at the very least the context or circumstances behind the violence in order to care about the character’s fate. It can be better to start off with emotions like fear or embarrassment or shame – things readers immediately engage with and understand from their own experiences.

5) The story should have decent pacing and be interesting the whole way through. It must be engaging enough to hold the reader’s attention. You want the reader to keep asking ‘what happens next?’

– Conflict is character. Stuff should happen to your character.

6) Your conclusion/ending should be strong and satisfactory.

– Stories need a satisfactory conclusion. That snappy opening and riveting plotline needs to go somewhere. It is sometimes useful to think about the ending early on so you can direct your plot in that direction.

– Do not try to be too clever or have a ‘twist’ at the end, unless the twist flows on organically from what you’ve already written.

7) Make your world unique and original with well-defined rules and limitations (even if it is a magical world, there will be rules and limits to the magic system being used). Don’t just rehash the old.

– Put the story in an interesting setting. Good world-building is crucial, even in short stories. Make the setting unique, even if it is a new spin on an old or familiar setting.

– Doing some research can add great depth and uniqueness to a story. For example: you should brush up on your physics if writing about a planet of a certain size. What things are possible about its atmosphere? Can you really fly a big ship that close to that type of planet and so on? Not only does research improve world-building and believability for the reader, it can also gift the writer with issues and conundrums for the characters to solve or work around. These problems create drama, which in turn creates conflict (interior or exterior) and thus character and something for the reader to invest in.

8) You need good point of view (POV) control and the right POV. Which character/s are we following?

– The omniscient POV is making a comeback and is good for certain types of fiction, like fairy-tales, but you are often best going with a close third person POV (following one character at a time and knowing their experiences and thoughts intimately) or first person POV (though you need to know them and their voice and thoughts intimately to do this well). What it comes down to is the fact readers (including slush readers) want to be intimate with a character and know who they are following, whose story this is.

– Voice belongs to the character not the writer, even in close third person POV. What a scientist character might notice is different from what a tradesman character would and what a fashion designer character would. They notice different things. They speak differently. Describe differently. Focus on different things.

9) Describe perfectly, specifically and sparingly.

– When describing something, look for the perfect word. For example, if you want to know what ‘that thing on a staircase’ is, look up the right word for it and use it.

– Don’t use descriptions that are non-specific. Focus on the things you need to describe to get the feel you are after – you need the right specifics to convey the right images. A 1950s room might have smoke-stained curtains and frayed shagpile carpet – that’s a much more specific description than simply saying the room was dirty and had carpet.

– Don’t strive to be fancy. You can achieve the right feel using perfectly ordinary words. You do not need to rampage through the Thesaurus to find every variation for the word ‘angry’ or ‘said’.

– Don’t overdo metaphors, similes or adjectives. Keep them minimal.

– Don’t repeat or overuse any one word or description too much.

– Don’t over-describe where it is not needed. Too many pretty words can bog down the pace of a story. You need to particularly be aware of this in action scenes. People notice less when they are fleeing so this is not the time to write flowery descriptions of the portraits hanging on the hallway they are running down.

– Also be aware of what your character can actually see or sense. If it is pitch-black, you can’t accidentally write that the character is sitting on a blue chair. In situations like this, description will be more limited to what the character can hear and smell and touch. Rather than the blue chair, you could describe that the chair is light to pick up, or bolted to the floor or that it feels like wood or metal.

– Don’t forget to tell your story in your natural voice. Writer’s groups often teach you that you shouldn’t use words like ‘that’ and ‘was’ and, yes, you should certainly not overuse them, but don’t totally strip them out either while groping for ‘interesting verbs’ because this can make the work seem over-wrought and clunky.

10) Dialogue should reveal things about the character and advance the plot.

– Dialogue should seem naturalistic, but not redundant. For example: how would your character really react if told off or criticised by another character and so on? Would he be non-combative, defensive, dismissive?

– Whinging is, apparently, one of the worst offenses a character can commit in fiction. People hate whinging.

11) Info dumping – yes you can (very carefully).

– You are allowed to info-dump. It’s kind of expected in hard sci-fi (the readers want to know how the science works and so on) and at certain points in fantasy (e.g. when systems of magic and rules of magic are being explained). The main thing to remember is: make your info-dumps as short as possible (only insert them where your reader needs to know the info to understand the story) and only place them at the right moments (where the info works in with the natural flow of the story). Don’t do a big info-dump in the midst of a high-action scene, for example, because this will bog the action down in words and lose the tension. Also, don’t info-dump at the start of the story when you are trying to get the reader hooked with all the ‘awesome stuff that should be happening’.

At the end of the day, stories submitted for market often go through a number of slush readers and several editors as well before they are sold. A lot of eyes may read your words before a decision is made to publish your story. Rejection can be a matter of the individual taste of one or a number of those readers or because the magazine already has enough of ‘your kind of story’ in their mag and wants specific balance or because the story simply doesn’t suit ‘the feel’ of the mag.

Keep practicing and don’t give up.

Thanks for reading – Shauna O’Meara.

If you found my stuff useful and would like to leave a token donation for the time I took to write it, you can do so through the Paypal link opposite. All tips are most appreciated.

This blog post was written from notes taken down at a workshop run by Patty Jansen called “Writing to Sell” and also incorporates things I’ve learned from other workshops and discussions and my own writing experiences. Patty kindly let me blog about her workshop. Patty Jansen is a previous winner in the Writers of the Future contest and former CSIRO scientist who has sold short fiction to a number of SFWA-approved markets (e.g. Analog, Asimov’s and Redstone SF) and who also self-publishes her own novels and slush-reads for ASIM (Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine).