Saturday, January 26, 2013

My Guest: Fleur Ferris

So far in these Guest Posts my invited participants have been writers from around the globe who have gone the Indie route. Whilst this area of the new publishing paradigm is growing, traditional publishing is still strong and many writers choose this as their way to success. This time I bring you a writer from Australia who offers all of us some very useful and interesting advice. Ladies and Gentlemen,

Fleur Ferris


Don't waste opportunities - be prepared to take your manuscript all the way


I wish I was sharing my “road to traditional publication” story, but I can’t. I haven’t completed that journey. But at the end of 2012 I met a major milestone. I signed with Literary Agent Tara Wynne of Curtis Brown Australia.

The list of milestones, opportunities and people who helped me reach this stage is too long for this post. But I thought I would share a few things I did that helped me reach this stage.  

1.       Goal setting – Decide what you want.

Two years ago I decided I wanted to write novels and publish them through traditional channels. I also decided I wanted an agent. I made this goal my number one focus, outside of family. I had already written three novels but had never actually sought publication or set publication goals.

2.       Mindset – Change your mindset and start doing what it takes to reach your goal.

Author, Rebecca Sparrow, gave some great advice one day in a brief comment after a blog post on mamamia.com.au. She said, change your mindset from, “I want to be a writer” to “I am a writer” – you have to believe it before anyone else will. The next day I started a blog and put my writing out for public scrutiny. My blog was never that great, but it changed my mindset and gave me confidence to show people my work.

3.      Improving your craft – writing and gaining feedback improves your craft and boosts your confidence as a writer. 

The confidence I gained from blogging lead to me wanting feedback on my novels. I joined a website called youwriteon.com. It’s a site where authors can exchange reviews on their opening chapters. Your work is rated and placed in a chart so you can see where you fit in the YWO talent pool. Failure to achieve Top Ten on this website does not indicate failure outside of this website. I had completed my fourth novel by this stage and had started my fifth. I uploaded the opening chapters of both. Novel #4 came in at number 17, and Novel #5 catapulted into the Top Ten. Novel # 5 ended up being a winner of the The Next Big Author Competition (run on the You Write On website).

4.       Opportunities – Look for and do things to create opportunities.

There’s a writer’s festival in Australia called Write Around the Murray. This festival hosts something called “Moment with a mentor”.  In 2012 one of the “mentors” was Literary Agent Tara Wynne from Curtis Brown Australia. I applied with an extract of my fifth novel, a synopsis and a pitch letter. I was one of five writers to gain a 30 minute interview. I was told later by the selection panel that I was chosen because of my success on You Write On and because I had written five novels.

5.       Don’t waste opportunities – Be prepared and take your manuscript all the way.

Researching Tara’s client list did not put my mind as ease. It terrified me, and at no stage did I think I could ever be on it. I needed help. And fast. Many people helped at this stage, but I have to keep it brief so can only name one. Professional editor and author, Heather Webb (Twitter: @msheatherwebb blog/website: www.heatherwebb.net/blog), edited my full manuscript and refined my verbal pitch lines. She did a superb job and I felt prepared as I headed off for my 30 minute meeting with Tara. Tara asked to read my full manuscript. Her next email went something like this: I’m gripped. I’ll call you tomorrow.  Huzzah!

I now have everything crossed for Novel #5, which will be pitched to publishers soon, and I’m writing Novel #6.  

Bio:

Fleur spent the first seventeen years of her life growing up on a wheat farm in Patchewollock, Australia. She then moved twenty times in twenty years. During this time, Fleur sometimes saw the darker side to life whilst working for Police and Ambulance Services. She now lives a more settled lifestyle on a rice farm in Southern New South Wales, with her husband and three young children.

Fleur’s varied life experiences, combined with formal studies in applied science and professional writing has given Fleur a unique insight into modern day Australia. When she isn’t weaving this through young adult fiction, reading or spending time with her family, you will find her with friends, talking art, books and travel.

Fleur may be contacted at:
Twitter: @FleurFerris
Blog: flossygettingpublished.blogspot.com


We wish Fleur the greatest success with her novels. Remember the name; you will be seeing it on your local store's bookshelves soon.


Eric @ www.ericjgates.com
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