Posts Tagged ‘HarperCollins’

Seeking a Publisher.

February 2, 2016
Grapes, strawberries and figs.

Grapes, strawberries and figs.

In the early nineties I had a friend who was married to the chief Editor for the Australian division of HarperCollins Australian publishers. At that time, all I wrote were Christmas Cards or fill in Taxation claims.  I never thought I would or even could write. I am now going to submit a few thousand words of my book to them tomorrow.

I looked up if they were  open for submissions and surprisingly,  they still are.  But only on Wednesdays. They don’t accept; “plays, poetry, short stories, essays, mind body spirit, religious titles, health and fitness, children’s books and educational texts.” But will take for consideration; ” Adult fiction, particularly commercial women’s fiction, erotica, romance and young adult fiction. Non Fiction including memoirs, biographies, narrative histories and illustrated non-fiction.”

Most publishers seem to also take submissions more serious through an agent. It will get complicated. Fortunately, most of the information on publishing is available on the Internet, but ‘be aware’. Like sharks circling the carcases of those that have failed through  being overly gullible to the lure of fame,  remember, money is much easier to part with than to earn. Even in publishing, money raises its ugly head. I mean I am hoping that ‘Almost There,’ with musings of a philosophical nature included, gets a soft  and gentle landing not a rip-off.

It is the same with medicine or seeking advice on ailments. No sooner does one type ” erectile dysfunction” or “tooth ache”  in Google, and one gets beseeched by eager moneyed eyed Russian Ladies swooningly seeking love or Indian offers for Dental Implants.( on same day.)

I am taking on the advice that under no circumstance do you start a letter in sending a synopsis of your work by Dear Sir or Dear Madam. The Sir is most likely not knighted nor is  the Madam running a brothel. Do not fawn, rattle on, or feign a special fondness for books, reading and literature. Most people in the publishing industry chuck letters of submission in the bin within the first few vowels and consonants.  You have to achieve a rapport with the first paragraph or so. My back-up is to self-publish but I thought to try and submit first to publishers. It seems very tough to try and woe publishers. Don’t people get despondent? And then what? Eat a good bake or a spoonful of Syrup?

This what I got by sniffing around in the area of publishing and the first step to take. Check it out.!

“Your Address

Phone Number




Name of Literary Agent / Publisher

Address of Literary Agent / Publisher

Dear…the actual name of the literary agent or publisher.

First Paragraph

The eyes of a literary agent or a publisher are trained to scan. They have little interest in small talk introductions. They will always scan straight to the story being pitched. So never ever start with why you are approaching them, or why you love to write. They are so inundated with query letters that those opening sentences are monotonous irrelevancies to their eyes. Cut straight to the chase: the book in question.

They want five key details about your book in this opening paragraph:

  1. Title
  2. Word count (not page length)
  3. Logline*
  4. Genre
  5. The blurb**

*A one sentence pitch of your book

**Write a blurb for your book, similar to the ones you see on the back of every book. What the story is about, the main protagonists, and entice them with the ending.


Second Paragraph

This is your CV / Resume in a single paragraph. Pick out the more impressive aspects of your writing history and include them. Do not list them. Use prose to make them readable. If you do not have any writing credentials worth mentioning, then use this paragraph to explain why you alone are best suited to tell the story of your book. Show that you are an authority on the subject in question. This could either be that you did a similar job to the protagonist, or the lengths you went to in your research. This is also the section for you to mention why you are approaching them in particular. When you do so, do not under any circumstance mention another book you are writing, or planning to. Put all the focus on the one book you are pitching in the letter.


Third / Final Paragraph

End the letter with three points.

  1. Thank the literary agent / publisher for their time and consideration
  2. If it is a printed query mention that you have included an SAE / SASE for reply
  3. Emphasise that your manuscript is complete*

*Never send a query letter about a novel that you have not finished. Only Non-Fiction books are allowed to be pitched before completion.”


The End is nigh!

June 18, 2013

The End is nigh, the Clock is ticking.
I won’t go as far as carrying a sandwich board around Australian capitals decrying that the end is getting closer. I am more about a much closer and more intimate closure of being near ‘nigh’. In fact, as I am writing my right eye is closed already.
This has been happening over the last couple of months or so. Perhaps my left eye will follow soon. In any case I am getting the eye operated on by an expert Eye surgeon; the op is called ‘epiretinal macula membrane removal’. I was gob smacked watching the procedure and can’t wait.

Oh, for the music of Carl Orff. Heavenly!

My legs are alright and I can lift my arms upwards as well as sideways and around and around as well. I was practicing rotating my arms near the letterbox but stopped when I noticed a lady opposite our street staring at me.

When you think about Richard Branson’s ultimate dream to be shot into space, how modest most of us remain. Personally I would not mind just a continuation getting readers logging onto my blog. I can’t get too excited by space journeys. I experienced them more than sixty years ago reading Jules Verne. I read many of Jules V. underneath the blankets with rigged up torch and battery.

When I get a push on the ‘like’ of my blog button, my ambitions are fulfilled.

Just last night I watched a biographical movie on Paul Cox, a Dutch born Australian filmmaker to my heart. He resides in making movies his own way and blithely ignores critique, either good or bad. He never wavered.

Now, personally (again) I would have liked someone to have picked my little blog of “Oosterman Treats” word-order, resulting in receiving a nice little buff coloured A4 note (with matching envelope) from HarperCollins or Hachette Livre, or indeed Random House with:

Dear Gerard,
We really are taken in with your work. Would you like us to edit the best of your Oosterman snippets and pick perhaps the best of those you have written so far and produce a small edition of perhaps…let us say… about 100.000 copies?
The reason we are offering running this print is a result of a couple of our editors and manuscript scouts having read your blog and bringing it to our attention.
We are intending to also offer the book on-line as well. Depending on your acceptance we will send you our contract and will forward you an upfront payment for $5000. –after your signature and contract arrives back to us.
Kind regards, (let’s have a cup of tea over this)
Tim Hely Hutchinson
CEO-Hachette UK.

This is just a pipe-dream. Even so, since my foray into writing words in a certain order I am surprised to have written so many of them. It is not easy but the only way out of escaping from the cursed leaden blanket weighing me down. After many years trying to make it into a spineless feather dooner, mostly in vain, the getting out of words is the perfect answer. I wished I would have discovered this sooner. Even so, ‘better late than never’ my Aunty Agnes used to say.

Aunt Agnes was my mother’s sister. She remained a spinster and never ever thought she missed out on marital bliss (or conjugals.) She really was our second mother and spoiled us with Ice creams from Benjamin shops. Benjamin’s in Holland was the equivalent of Darryl Lea in Australia, a paradise for kids with Aunts who wanted to spoil kids. It wasn’t so much a visit from our Aunt, more what she would take out of her bag or out of her wallet that we kids looked forward to. Not unlike our Jack Russell “Milo”, who looks for goodies coming from our hands or out of the fridge rather than a look at his owner. Kids can be so cruel.

The leaden blanket came much later for no reason at all, at least not one that I can explain. It was just there! Why I hadn’t discovered the magical remedy of putting words down earlier is rather a useless form of introspection, a bit like regretting it rained last Saturday.

As my Aunt previously said, “better late than never.”
Putting words down remains always a happy event and hobby. Still, I would not mind a modest print run of a 100.000 books. An interview on TV with, “we welcome today a newly discovered writer Gerard”; “where do you normally find the inspiration for the words Gerard?” “I dunno”, I just start with a single word such as ‘The’ followed by ‘end’ or ‘is’ and take it from there. Perhaps a hesitant ‘nigh’! Who knows?

Here are another 800 words.