"Busybird Publishing"

We are a boutique micropublisher who releases a handful of titles yearly. We also have a self-publishing arm which can help you get your book out into the world!

World-Building

Posted by on Jul 28, 2016 in Busybird | 0 comments

worldsThe idea for a novel bursts into your head.

How long do you wait before you start writing? Do you jump right in front of the computer? That would seem the best idea. Get into it. Write. Write. Write. The only problem is how far will inspiration take you?

Unless you’ve had some miraculous inspiration that’s envisioned

  • story
  • plot
  • subplots
  • characters
  • locations

you’re going to reach a point in your story where you don’t know what comes next. It happens to the best of us.

Do not trust inspiration – not wholly. It’s the spark. That’s it. It’s not the fire.

The moment you’re inspired, start planning your story. Work out as much as you can of the world your story takes place in. And take this as far as necessary.

If your story is about a family coming to terms with a loved one’s death, you’ll have to map out the family – who’s in it? Who are their partners? Who are their parents and grandparents? Who are the friends of your protagonists? Do they own a dog? A cat? Where does everybody live? What do they do for work? Do they study? Is there anything particular about the characters – e.g. goals (the family might be big in law enforcement but one character wants to go into the arts), conditions (they might suffer depression, or be diabetic)? Where does each character begin and where do they end?

Or you might have a story about a disgraced police detective whose partner is killed, and the detective works the case to find the murder. Why was the partner killed? What was the motive? Who’s in the story? Who are the suspects? What do they do? In what locations will they be found? For example, one suspect might be a bartender. Do they work in a pub, an exclusive bar, or some dive? What areas are covered? What’s the timeline?

You don’t need to know the entire story from beginning to end. Many writers begin with a basic premise that can be summed-up in a single sentence, e.g. Following a death in the family, each family member struggles with their relationships and their place, and must reconcile where they go from here, or To clear their name, a disgraced detective must investigate the murder of their partner. And all you might have outside of that are flashes of what else happens, things that’ll eventually link up.

But work out the rest of it as much as you can. And push yourself. Don’t just leave it at a handful of people and a handful of locations. You’re better off having characters you never use and places that you never visit, rather than coming to an empty hole as to where you go next, and trying to work out what’s needed.

Because that’s what’ll happen if you don’t world-build. Once inspiration burns out and leaves you stranded, the option is to be left in a world you don’t know very much about (outside of your immediate locale), or it can be in a world that you’ve mapped and know intimately, one which presents as many possibilities as things to do and places to go as any tourist location.

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Role of an Agent

Posted by on Jul 21, 2016 in Busybird | 0 comments

manuscriptMost authors want a traditional publishing deal. There’s a validation that comes with that: the gratification and branding of being accepted. But, collectively, traditional publishers accept only a handful of unsolicited manuscripts yearly. Some refuse to look at unsolicited manuscripts entirely. A few have specific windows when you can submit. So how do you get published?

Something that can help is having an agent.

What does an agent do?
An agent submits your manuscript to a publisher – usually directly to an editor, as opposed to a slush pile reader. Having an agent in itself carries its own form of branding, that the author’s work merited an agent’s attention.

How do you get an agent?
Trying to get an agent is the same as trying to get a publisher: read their guidelines, submit your work (usually just a sample), wait, wait, wait. If they’re interested, they’ll ask to see the rest of it. Then wait some more. Some more. Some more. If they’re not interested, they’ll decline you and you move on. Their response times vary.

Sidenotes  
—    Most agents will want a fresh manuscript, and not one you’ve already submitted to every publisher there is.
—    Most agents will also prefer that you’re not submitting simultaneously to other agents.
Important:   Don’t think you can fib an agent about either of these things. Most agents have, at some point, worked in publishing. They know everybody there is to know, so if you’re lying about something, there’s a great chance they’ll find out.
 

Do agents charge?
Not directly. If an agent is charging you to take you on, there’s something shifty going on. An agent earns money – a percentage – from making a deal for you. Obviously, the better the deal they get you, the more money they’ll earn.

Does having an agent guarantee you’ll get published?
Nope. It’s still a submission process.

What else will an agent do for you?
They’ll read your manuscript and offer your feedback. Remember, your manuscript is a representation of their taste, and their agency. They want to be submitting the best possible manuscript. If they have feedback – and, again, remember, they have experience in this industry – the feedback is worth considering.

Will I be obligated to the agent in any way?
You will sign some sort of agreement – usually one that involves exclusivity. But you’re not signing away your soul. You will be able to get out of it if it’s not working out for you.

Are there different sorts of agents?
Yes. They’ll have different specialties (in regards to genre and mediums), so it’s worth finding one who’ll fit your needs.

So what’s the benefit of having an agent?
They’ll be able to submit to places you can’t. If you get a contract, they’ll negotiate it for you, whereas you might be clueless. Big agencies with international offices might try to sell your book internationally, independent of your local contract, i.e. they might sell your book to a publisher here, to another publisher in the UK, and another publisher in Germany, etc.

Do I really need an agent?
No. You can still get your own publishing contract through unsolicited submission, and retain a legal professional or the Australian Society of Authors to evaluate the contract you’ve been offered.

Where can I find an agent?
You can try the Australian Writers’ Marketplace, and there’s a list on the Australian Literary Agents’ Associations website ( under Members).

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