Tuesday, April 3, 2012

My Writing Week: Issue 14, Year 5

Article on Climate Change Submitted to Divine

Last week began well when I submitted my eighteenth article to Divine magazine. The article was about the health effects of climate change. I did a fair bit of research for the article reading large chucks of IPCC and Australian Climate Commission reports.
I had a bit of serendipity while writing the article. A program on ABC radio told me about a disease that increased four–fold in the Darling Downs after the recent floods in Queensland. I then read the disease is on the rise due to climate change, in an IPCC report.

According to the reports, climate change will increase not only deaths due to heat and more frequent extreme weather events, but also increase infections, allergens, diseases and mental illness. And the worst affected state, by a long way, looks to be Queensland.

Hopefully the article will be up on the Divine site soon.

Bookshops Versus Online Buying.

Last week I suddenly realised my mother’s birthday was coming up. I knew she very much enjoyed reading PD James books, so I decided to pop down to my local Collins bookstore and buy a couple. I walked into the store and after searching for a while found only one PD James novel, her most recent release, which I had already given to my mother for Christmas. 

I then went next door to a newsagent that sells a few books, no PD James. I searched a few of the chain stores, one had the most recent release, the other none. Unbelievable.  I was left with no alternative but to buy online.

I knew the Book Depository would deliver within ten working days, so I went to their site. I bought two PD James paperbacks and CD, for $39. If my Collins bookstore had of have the good sense to stock some of the backlist of a major author, the same books and CD would have cost $80-$100.  I wonder if my local bookstore will survive much longer.

Publishers Accepting Manuscripts.

I am way behind in my newspaper reading, the stack is nearly six weeks high, so this might be old news to many. Jane Sullivan in her Turning Pages column on the 25th of February in The AGE mentions a number of publishers are now accepting unsolicited manuscripts. Pan McMillian has a Manuscript Monday, Allen & Unwin a Friday Pitch and now Penguin has a Monthly Catch where manuscripts can be emailed to them during the first week of each month. Penguin promise to read all the manuscripts they receive too. 

Why the change of heart? Are less manuscripts being sent to traditional publishers? Are Australian writers not even bothering with local publishers and submitting them to overseas publishers first? Or are Australian publishers worried that the next JK Rowling will give up after the first three rejections and self-publish an ebook? Ben Ball from Penguin said “the digital world is bringing us closer than ever to readers and, therefore, writers…we want to be an even more active part of the community.” 

Whatever the reason, it is good news for those who have a manuscript to submit. I am still a long way away from that stage. The novel I am barely working on is a long way from finished. Currently I am 82,000 words in, with an estimated 30-40,000 words to go.


Karen Tyrrell said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences and news.
Interesting ... your search for a back list book and your only choice to buy online.

I've submitted to those Publishers accepting unsolicited mss... still waiting to hear MORE.

Tracie said...

And the bricks-and-mortar bookstore owners scratch their heads and wonder why customers are leaving them in droves...
I do feel a tiny twinge of guilt every time I buy a book online. But such is the nature of commerce - businesses that cannot cater to the needs of their customers will fail.

Anthony J. Langford said...

Like Karen I've also submitted manuscripts to all three... and also like Karen, never heard a thing back. Americans are much better at the submission process, and have an automatic system that lets you know that you manuscript was received and sends a form email when rejected. Something the Australian publishers (including many literary publications) are yet to embrace. They've dropped the ball. . . if they ever had it.

Anthony J. Langford said...

ps it's unprofessional and rude so God knows why they've 'opened the doors' coz I don't see no welcome mat.

Graham Clements said...

Karen and Tracie,

I really resisted buying online, I want to support the local bookstore that sells books by local authors, and I want to support the Australian publishing industry, but the more I buy online, the cheaper and easier I find it...

Graham Clements said...

Anthony and Karen,

It is really disappointing that Penguin in particular have not replied. Maybe they were inundated. But by not replying they obviously then will be inundated with people asking, what's happening?

Perhaps an editor is championing your work, trying to convince others to publish it, and that's why they are taking so long to reply.

Ninja said...

I have a friend who buys locally rather than online, and one of the reasons she claims is because she wants it right now.
So she goes to buy a book, they don't have it in stock, she waits for about a month for them to get it.
Sheesh, you buy it from the book depository in the UK and it's about a week.

Graham Clements said...


That's the problem with the Collins bookstore in Wang, I have ordered a number of books from them and they take a lot longer than the Book Depository to deliver.