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Caribbean Writers Discuss Publishing – Lessons, Breakthroughs, and Rights – Extras

Recently, I (Joanne C. Hillhouse of Antigua and Barbuda) reached out to three female Caribbean writers (Diana McCaulay of Jamaica, Lisa Allen-Agostini of Trinidad and Tobago, and Shakirah Bourne of Barbados) with whom I have in common the distinction of being a finalist for the Burt Award for Teen/Young Adult Caribbean Literature (Diana with Daylight Come in 2019 and Gone to Drift in 2015; Shakirah with My Fishy Stepmom in 2018; and Lisa with Home Home in 2017; my own Musical Youth was a 2014 finalist).

daylight comeGone to DriftMy-Fishy-StepmomHome HomeMusical Youth

The three writers interviewed for this series have further distinguished themselves by selling rights to U.S. editions of their Burt books (McCaulay’s Gone to Drift released in the US market with Harper Collins in 2016; Lisa’s Home Home’s US edition landing in 2020 with Delacorte Press; and Shakirah’s book forthcoming in 2021 with Scholastic). I want to thank them for making the time because I believe their experiences, different though they are, are an education on publishing, especially if you’re a Caribbean Writer. The conversation was serialized due to length (so click here for the start of the series– there are 5 questions. 

EXTRAS

 

It was suggested by one of the participating authors and I’ve been asked since posting the first of the interview links online to share my responses to the questions posed to the writers in this series. So, okay. This EXTRAS was originally appended to the CREATIVE SPACE post at my Jhohadli blog but I decided there was some value in copying over here and linking to the main series.

Q. 1. You’re all Burt authors – the process involves the opportunity to select from a number of Caribbean publishers, tell me about your decision making process – why was your publisher right for your book, and do you have any thoughts on the Burt Award experience generally?

Joanne: It was my first experience of having choices on this scale – a wildly disorienting and at the same time exhilarating feeling. There were like six bids. I looked most closely at CaribbeanReads, which I ultimately went with, and a publisher in Jamaica. I researched and even communicated with some of the bidding publishers. That CaribbeanReads was, I believe, the only one from a small island in the Eastern Caribbean, like mine, appealed to me. But I tried to be scientific about it, weighing the pros and the cons of the offered deals. I’d signed a few contracts by that point and I thought it was a good deal – better than normal, in great part due to the fact that the Burt prize included an upfront buy and distribution of a couple thousand copies which is rare and allowed for a decent advance and royalty share, which plus the prize money made it one of my bigger paydays off of one book…to date. I also considered the chemistry, would I feel a valued partner in the process.   I remember discussing the offer with my agent though she wasn’t directly involved in the negotiation.

The relationship with Caribbean Reads has been positive; so much so, I’ve since published Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, which now has an audio and Spanish language version, in addition to being available in hard cover, soft cover, and ebook, with them. I re-upped with them for a second edition of Musical Youth when the original print run sold out. Musical Youth hasn’t been a runaway bestseller, but it’s on a couple of school reading lists, it opened some doors in terms of festival invites, and was distributed across the Caribbean and has found its way in to other markets, and Caribbean Reads has been one of my better publishing relationships because they communicate and they collaborate – which isn’t always the case.

Winning this prize was definitely an adrenaline shot to my writing career and Musical Youth has been a spike in my uneven publishing record. That’s all due to Burt whose impact I’ve written about because I believe it has been a boon not just to the teen/young adult market but to independent publishing in the region.

after the panel with from left Ian Maloney Matthew McGevna and Tanwi Nandi Islam

A 2015 panel at the Brooklyn Book fest at which I discussed Musical Youth.

Q. 2. Why do rights matter?  – US rights, Caribbean rights, UK rights, world rights, foreign language rights etc. what does it mean and is it something you pursued (yes this requires some repetition given what you said in your initial response but expound if you can – as much as you can share what the process has been like and explain what is meant by selling regional rights and why it matters? If it does)

Joanne: I actually come at the issue of rights from my experiences as a freelancer – all the research I did when I started freelancing about freelance writing contracts, all the ways I’ve tried to understand it and include it in my contracts, the fact that rights can slow down a negotiation more than the actual money sometimes and some treat it like a foreign concept. This is one of the reasons why I try to share what I learn through the Wadadli Pen platform and especially the Resources page, and why I try to do interviews like the one I did with these three writers. It matters because it’s how a writer profits from his or her labour; it’s about ownership and future earnings. It’s the reason, for instance, why my agent prompted me to rephrase the rights clause, when I asked her opinion on a contract offered for use of my story in an anthology, to make sure that any rights not specific to its non-exclusive publication remained exclusively mine – and this was just about a story in an anthology. But, as she said, Brokeback Mountain was based on a magazine article so you might want to hold on to those film and dramatic rights. It may sound ridiculous but you never know what future rights you can sell. I did a lot of listening to the other authors in this section because I’m still learning and they were talking about a particular experience I didn’t have – licensing regional rights for a book.  Of course, what I learned is that often the publisher is the one actively working to sub-license regional rights. I do see value in having publishers and publisher networks in different regional markets – one US publisher I worked with bluntly told me they didn’t mail review copies out of the US when I asked for a review copy to be sent to a Caribbean reviewer. But I’ve always been conscious that rights matter – including duration and how to reclaim those rights when it comes to that (something I’ve had to do). I find contract negotiations anxiety inducing but I try to seek advice where I can (lawyer, agent, other writer, sensible friend), educate and advocate for myself, imperfectly, when I need to – obviously, it’s easier when you have someone to negotiate for you or someone whom you can ask questions when you have to negotiate for yourself. I remain a work in progress re all of the above.

Q. 3. What have you learnt through this journey about the business of publishing? – What tips do you have for navigating the publisher and/or agent relationship; Biggest mistakes to Best decisions. Think of this question in light of what you would say if you were mentoring your younger, yet unpublished, self.

Joanne: Actually, I’m still learning this, stop being so anxious for the opportunity that you’re afraid to ask the things you need to ask or say the things you need to say. Like Shakirah says at some point, everything is negotiable. I feel like I’m stronger on this in my freelancing side than my creative writing side whether its short stories or books, because I want it so much. I mean, anxiety doesn’t necessarily stop me from speaking up, but it’s such a pick me, pick me dynamic and you work so many years writing and writing and clawing to get on, even after you get on. You’re so anxious to sign before whatever gets snatched away – especially at those points in your writing journey when you’re hungry (whether financially or creatively or just hungry for it to be real), never a good time for snap decisions or signing under some self-induced duress; slow it down, breathe, seek advice, listen to that advice, advocate for yourself (oh and get help if you can), know that you have a right to advocate for yourself. And I think that would apply to any of the relationships in the publishing ecosystem – agent to editor to publicist. You want to come at it feeling you’ve earned your seat at the table and have a right to take up space (shout out to Amina from the Women of Wadadli Awards who made us say that we have the right to take up space out loud; wild that that’s something we need to reaffirm). That would be my tip, that and have a beer – or some wine, whatever your celebratory beverage of choice is because you’ve earned this and you are worthy.  Don’t wait for the moment when you’ve made it, in fact re-define what making it means, you may find yourself hopping the bus to your own book launch because your borrowed car broke down en route, true story, because it ebbs and flows; take a minute to soak in those little moments – it’s okay.

on the road

In 2017, having fun, playing mas as the mango tree faerie from my book With Grace.

Q. 4. What opportunities have opened up for you as a direct result of being published in different markets? Do you have other editions by region of the Burt or any other books pending?

Joanne: This question was put to the chosen respondents given that each had inked a deal for a US edition of their winning Burt Award title, initially published in the Caribbean. That has not been my story so I can’t answer it from that perspective. But I can say that my Burt title is my first time publishing a book with a Caribbean-based publisher. The Boy from Willow Bend and Dancing Nude in the Moonlight were first issued by Macmillan (UK) and subsequently by Hansib (UK) and Insomniac (Canada), respectively, though the rights were not limited geographically. My novel Oh Gad! was my first sale to a US publisher (Strebor/Atria/Simon & Schuster). That opened up my audience, I think, gave me some penetration in the US market. Since then between Caribbean Reads and Little Bell which published With Grace, I’ve been publishing with independent Caribbean presses (with US-bases). It’s a pretty patchworked publishing history and my next book, a picture book is with an international publisher working on a Caribbean series.

Oh Gad! was recommended on NPR in 2014, that was due to Caribbean-American writer Elizabeth Nunez deciding to recommend it by whatever instincts moved her to do so and possible only because the mass market edition of that book came out that summer.  Publication in the cross-Atlantic anthology Pepperpot: Best New Stories from the Caribbean landed me at Aye Write! in Scotland and the PEN World Voices Festival in New York (and my presence at the latter landed me in a photography book of some of the world’s well known authors, and me, Author by Beowulf Sheehan who was the official festival photographer); while being published in global anthology New Daughters of Africa landed me at the Sharjah International Book Fair. With Musical Youth I went to Trinidad, St. Martin, and USVI book festivals – panels and school tours. I was able to attract an invitation to the Miami Book Fair thanks to Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure. And each of those, and other opportunities to travel and make appearances, or to be interviewed or featured came in different ways – some I had to be proactive, some because the work went ahead of me through some advocate. None of it just happened because the book is out there and often it’s an accumulation of things rather than a single thing. It’s why, despite getting discouraged (and I do), it’s important to keep doing the work and keep scouting for opportunities.

PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature photograph copyrighted to Beowulf Sheehan and PEN American Centre2

At the PEN World Voices festival where I was photographed by Beowulf Sheehan who later sought permission to use my image in his book Author.

Q. 5. I also want to touch a bit on the value of an author as a brand. How do you feel valued as a Caribbean author, how do you feel not valued? – re speaking fees, copyright etc. but, also, generally.

Joanne: How do I feel valued/not valued? Who wrote these questions? Okay, first before I started publishing I was a writer and if I never publish again I am still a writer, as long as my characters give me the time of day. That said, there’ve been moments – various write-ups and endorsements, various event invites. But mostly it’s the readers who when they read the work and like it, lift me up. But I’m not making bank whether with royalties or speaking fees, which I have gotten but not on the regular; so, I have to try to make my other work, work. I’ve had to and still have to knock and then wedge my foot in the door, sometimes it’s squeezed shut and sometimes it’s garped and I squeeze in. If there is a level where the door swings open, I’m not there. I still have to hustle and self-promote; and I do because I know what it’s like to have your books be critically ignored, underperform commercially, and go out of print. I know what it’s like to not know if that’s it and to fight your way out of feeling like you’ll never write again, never publish again, to resolve to not stand in your own way if you get another chance. And there are levels to this, feeling ignored v. feeling like you’re making some headway – locally, and, once you start to move in those spaces, regionally and internationally. I am a #gyalfromOttosAntigua and a writer from a small place who works hard to get my work out and be seen. Fun fact, I have my own Wikipedia page now – and I had nothing to do with it. But getting a wiki is among the things I have researched over the years of researching ways to push my books, because I don’t have the luxury of just sitting back and letting it happen nor the money to have somebody else take care of it. But then, as evidenced by my wiki, sometimes it does happen, if you’ve created enough work or, per luck, work enough seen by the right person. So, sometimes I feel like I’m begging for scraps, other times I do have moments of feeling valued. It’s a see-saw.

 

(Pictured immediately above: Valuable moments of 2020 – pre-COVID – an invitation to revisit my alma mater and read from Musical Youth and how enthusiastically the students got involved in the reading…er, dancing; and, right, an award for contribution to literature from Gender Affairs in Antigua and Barbuda at their first Women of Wadadli Awards. The latter award involves nominations made online by the public and decided by a committee and recognized 25 women in different categories from about 100 nominees)

Series Links:
Caribbean Writers Discuss Publishing – Lessons, Breakthroughs, and Rights 1/5
Caribbean Writers Discuss Publishing – Lessons, Breakthroughs, and Rights 1.2/5
Caribbean Writers Discuss Publishing – Lessons, Breakthroughs, and Rights 2/5
Caribbean Writers Discuss Publishing – Lessons, Breakthroughs, and Rights 3/5
Caribbean Writers Discuss Publishing – Lessons, Breakthroughs, and Rights 4/5
Caribbean Writers Discuss Publishing – Lessons, Breakthroughs, and Rights 5/5

 

 

 

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Caribbean Writers Discuss Publishing – Lessons, Breakthroughs, and Rights 5/5

Recently, I (Joanne C. Hillhouse of Antigua and Barbuda) reached out to three female Caribbean writers (Diana McCaulay of Jamaica, Lisa Allen-Agostini of Trinidad and Tobago, and Shakirah Bourne of Barbados) with whom I have in common the distinction of being a finalist for the Burt Award for Teen/Young Adult Caribbean Literature (Diana with Daylight Come in 2019 and Gone to Drift in 2015; Shakirah with My Fishy Stepmom in 2018; and Lisa with Home Home in 2017; my own Musical Youth was a 2014 finalist).

daylight comeGone to DriftMy-Fishy-StepmomHome HomeMusical Youth

The three writers interviewed for this series have further distinguished themselves by selling rights to U.S. editions of their Burt books (McCaulay’s Gone to Drift released in the US market with Harper Collins in 2016; Lisa’s Home Home’s US edition landing in 2020 with Delacorte Press; and Shakirah’s book forthcoming in 2021 with Scholastic). I want to thank them for making the time because I believe their experiences, different though they are, are an education on publishing, especially if you’re a Caribbean Writer. The conversation is serialized due to length (so click here for the start of the series) – there are 5 questions.

Q. 5. I also want to touch a bit on the value of an author as a brand. How do you feel valued as a Caribbean author, how do you feel not valued? – re speaking fees, copyright etc. but, also, generally.

Lisa: I have always taken my branding seriously. I got married at 19 and took my husband’s last name primarily because there were other Lisa Allens out there writing and I needed a unique brand. Lisa Allen-Agostini is a hellishly long name but it’s one-of-a-kind. I built my brand as a creative writer alongside my brand as an arts journalist and critic. Since 2009 when I joined Facebook I began using that platform to post about my events and publications. I also post about literary events I attend and regional literary news. I got an Instagram account a few years ago and those work in tandem. I also have a blog which isn’t active at the moment. I’m not one of those shy writers who pretends their work hasn’t been published. I post everything, and I accept nearly every invitation to speak or read. I have intellectual capital from this brand-building, and I sometimes get asked to judge competitions, give speeches or sit on panels to discuss the creative arts. I participate in the Bocas Lit Fest annually, doing every reading or panel discussion I’m invited to do.

  • Gone to Drift on the shelf at Powell's, Portland, Oregon

    Gone to Drift on the shelf at Powell’s, Portland, Oregon. Having a US edition for Diana meant seeing her book on shelves in the US, one of the biggest global markets, for the first time.

Diana: I don’t think of being an author as a ‘brand’ at all. I really distrust that characterization – plus I occupy a, let us say, somewhat uncomfortable position as a light skinned Caribbean writer of privilege. So the entire process of promoting myself and my work is very, very difficult for me – I wish I did not have to do it at all. I don’t think I’m particularly effective in front of an audience, and I hate saying to anyone – buy my book. Or: Laad, post a review, nuh!?

Lisa: I do get paid commissions to write pieces. I don’t usually get paid for speaking or reading (the Burt tour was an exception), though I might get a commemorative gift from the people who invite me. A lot of unpaid labour goes into being a writer. I can spend five to ten hours a week managing my social media–more if I have an event. The week of the Bocas Lit Fest I’d be gone all day, every day, attending readings and panels and photographing them, and lurking in the lounge to meet and network with publishers and other writers.

Calabash 2016 @Cookie Kinkead

Diana presenting at the Calabash literary festival in Jamaica in 2016. by Cookie Kinkead.

Diana: Huge amount of unpaid work. Huge. I do get paid to write sometimes, I seek out those opportunities, but I would say it’s underpaid. I’ve never been paid for speaking as a writer, occasionally I’ve been paid as a competition judge or reader.

Lisa: I do feel valued, even cherished, as a writer. However, I wish we had a system of patronage so that writers could survive without having to hustle doing the kind of work that pays bills. People advocate the hustle. I don’t, but with no arts council funding in the region it’s impossible to avoid.

Diana: Do I feel valued as a writer? Hmm. Sometimes. Not often. But I’m also aware that writers tend to have huge amounts of insecurity about their writing, so it’s possible that my feelings of lack of value are more to do with my own weaknesses than an objective situation. But yeah, there’s no arts council support here and I think it’s true everywhere that only the mega stars can afford not to work at other jobs. I remember hearing Olive Senior once say that she wished she had more time to think, to dream, to create, and I do wish that too.

57487901_434162707130198_647214

Diana with the last of the Burt Award finalists in 2019.

I also want to say that more recently, I feel optimistic about the success of Caribbean writers on the world stage, I started to list names, but then realized what a long list it is. I’m proud to be an editor for PREE, a new online magazine celebrating contemporary Caribbean writing. I’m glad we have our own festivals – a growing number too. So I’m happy to be a part of the Caribbean writing community.

Shakirah:  Joanne, in an article you once described me as “never doing one thing at a time, it seems, on the page or in life” and that is such an apt description. I started off in adult short fiction, but then became known for my comedy films, and now I’m venturing into children’s fantasy books; I am a marketer’s nightmare. However my brand has always been “authentic Barbadian stories” and I hope that readers, viewers, attendees, whoever, expect to be entertained and enlightened in some way when they consume my work.

The market is flooded with books and other content from Western media, so I’ve found that local consumers really value my Bajan stories, and international readers are excited to experience a different point of view. So whether it is an elderly Bajan woman laughing at the local cinema, or an email from a reader in the UK who is grateful for the little taste of home or an acceptance from an international publisher, I have always felt valued as a Caribbean writer.

I expect to be compensated for my time, especially for paid events, and I don’t depend on other persons to assign a value to it. It took a while, but I’ve become very comfortable in asking “do you have a budget?” Fortunately I’ve not interacted with many people who are surprised by the question. I appreciate when people are upfront about not having a budget and if I’m still interested, we discuss avenues for funding, or compensation in kind. When I’m invited to events, they usually cover all expenses and at least offer a per diem if they can’t afford speaking fees.

Still, there are few avenues for literary funding and for authors to make money from public speaking. For instance, in the US, earnings from school appearances can be significant; I was shocked at the average fees for a school author visit. Not many public schools here could afford a fraction of that price, but they do have supportive teachers who are happy to buy a certain amount of books. It may be a while before it is commonplace for an author to charge so much for a school visit, but in the meantime I try to partner with local cultural organisations to facilitate these sessions.

*’

That’s it that’s the series – here are links to parts 1, 1.2, 2, 3, 4, and interviewer Joanne C. Hillhouse’s take, after some prompting, on her own questions. I’ve since made my answers in to an addendum to the series here on the Wadadli Pen blog – an unofficial part 6. Alternatively, you can use the search feature to the right to find earlier installments of these women breaking down their experiences in publishing. It’s worth noting that their published books are only one part of their CVs. Lisa is a comedian and freelance writer, Diana is an environmental activist; and Shakirah is a filmmaker and consultant; and

I am a freelance writer and editor, writing coach and course/workshop facilitator; Me before the reading and that’s only a part of it.

 

All images are courtesy of the authors and interview was conducted and published by Joanne C. Hillhouse. You can excerpt and share with link-back/credit but do not republish without permission.

 

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Caribbean Writers Discuss Publishing – Lessons, Breakthroughs, and Rights 1.2/5

Recently, I (Joanne C. Hillhouse of Antigua and Barbuda) reached out to three female Caribbean writers (Diana McCaulay of Jamaica, Lisa Allen-Agostini of Trinidad and Tobago, and Shakirah Bourne of Barbados) with whom I have in common the distinction of being a finalist for the Burt Award for Teen/Young Adult Caribbean Literature (Diana with Daylight Come in 2019 and Gone to Drift in 2015; Shakirah with My Fishy Stepmom in 2018; and Lisa with Home Home in 2017; my own Musical Youth was a 2014 finalist).

daylight comeGone to DriftMy-Fishy-StepmomHome HomeMusical Youth

The three writers interviewed for this series have further distinguished themselves by selling rights to U.S. editions of their Burt books (McCaulay’s Gone to Drift released in the US market with Harper Collins in 2016; Lisa’s Home Home’s US edition landing in 2020 with Delacorte Press; and Shakirah’s book forthcoming in 2021 with Scholastic). I want to thank them for making the time because I believe their experiences, different though they are, are an education on publishing, especially if you’re a Caribbean Writer. The conversation is serialized due to length (so click here for the start of the series) – there are 5 questions.

Q. 1.2. You’re all Burt authors – the process involves the opportunity to select from a number of Caribbean publishers, tell me about your decision making process – why was your publisher right for your book, and do you have any thoughts on the Burt Award experience generally?

Shakirah_Bourne pic
Shakirah: When I first decided to submit to Burt, I did research on the previous winning titles and several were published by Tanya Batson-Savage of Blue Banyan Books. I really admired the gorgeous cover designs and high quality of the books, and then truly enjoyed reading the stories. In making my final decision about a publisher, I spoke to previous Burt Award winners, and everyone spoke highly about Tanya’s editorial skills. Still, it was a tough decision because I was also impressed by another publisher who had great reviews and was passionate about my story.

After I had submitted the manuscript to Burt, I decided to try to find an agent in case the book wasn’t shortlisted and so I dived into the US publishing industry. Actually, it was more of a belly flop than a dive but luckily I managed to snag the interest of a top US agent at the same time I was informed that the manuscript was shortlisted for Burt. I thought I had to choose between the two opportunities, but a seasoned local author gave me a lesson in literary rights and I realized that I could negotiate with all parties. I’ve written about the full experience of finding an agent on my blog. In the end, I went with the publisher who had no issues in having only Caribbean rights to the book.

Lisa:  The best part of the Burt Award for me was the guaranteed publication and distribution to regional libraries and youth literacy programmes. Not only would I have a book, it would be sold and it would be in libararies and in young people’s hands. I was ecstatic about that. I self-published when I was 18 and I still have copies of the book at age 46 so I know publication without marketing and distribution is a bust. With Bocas Lit Fest, Burt also organised a schools reading tour which took me to meet hundreds of young readers and got mainstream media and online spotlights for the book.

Diana: Lisa was able to do the book tour, I see. I am glad Gone to Drift is in libraries throughout the Caribbean, but I’m also aware that this has to be supported by some programme, or it just remains on the shelf. I’ve tried to get Gone to Drift as a set book for regional exams, and I think now it is on an optional reading list, but not as required reading.

Shakirah: I loved knowing that the Caribbean edition was available in libraries and schools all around the region. As a previous self-published author, I never had the resources to get that far a reach. NALIS in Trinidad selected My Fishy Stepmom for their “One Book, Many Schools” programme, where students read the book and did displays, art competitions, craft activities etc inspired by the book. With the support of BocasLitFest, I created a My Fishy Stepmom Educational Package that included discussions, quizzes (Fishy Feud!) and even science experiments for young readers and is available free online. I had the absolute pleasure of librarians engaging with me on social media, and sending photos of classes reading the text and playing the games.

Barrackpore West Secondary School (Photo by BWSS Library Media Centre

Barrackpore West Secondary School (Photo by BWSS Library Media Centre)

Edinburgh Collage

Shakirah at Edinburgh International Book Festival.

One of the most rewarding opportunities was being able to attend the Edinburgh International Book Festival in 2019. Janet Smyth, who was the Head Judge for Burt and also the Children & Education Porgramme Director extended an invitation to all the Burt winners and we were all part of the Schools’ programme. I also was asked to conduct two workshops during the festival. I met so many of my favourite authors and was fangirling throughout the entire event.

*

Q.2. and the author responses will follow in the next installment of the series.

All images are courtesy of the authors and interview was conducted and published by Joanne C. Hillhouse. You can excerpt and share with link-back/credit but do not republish without permission.

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Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Caribbean Plus Lit News, Links We Love, Literary Gallery, The Business

Caribbean Writers Discuss Publishing – Lessons, Breakthroughs, and Rights 1/5

Recently, I (Joanne C. Hillhouse of Antigua and Barbuda) reached out to three female Caribbean writers (Diana McCaulay of Jamaica, Lisa Allen-Agostini of Trinidad and Tobago, and Shakirah Bourne of Barbados) with whom I have in common the distinction of being a finalist for the Burt Award for Teen/Young Adult Caribbean Literature (Diana with Daylight Come in 2019 and Gone to Drift in 2015; Shakirah with My Fishy Stepmom in 2018; and Lisa with Home Home in 2017; my own Musical Youth was a 2014 finalist).

daylight comeGone to DriftMy-Fishy-StepmomHome HomeMusical Youth

The three writers interviewed for this series have further distinguished themselves by selling rights to U.S. editions of their Burt books (McCaulay’s Gone to Drift released in the US market with Harper Collins in 2016; Lisa’s Home Home’s US edition landing in 2020 with Delacorte Press; and Shakirah’s book, renamed Me Against the Sea, forthcoming in 2021 with Scholastic). I want to thank them for making the time because I believe their experiences, different though they are, are an education on publishing, especially if you’re a Caribbean Writer. The conversation is serialized due to length (each installment linked at the bottom of the one before it) – there are 5 questions.

Q. 1. You’re all Burt authors – the process involves the opportunity to select from a number of Caribbean publishers, tell me about your decision making process – why was your publisher right for your book, and do you have any thoughts on the Burt Award experience generally?

 

Lisa Allen-Agostini by Wayne Lee-Sing

Lisa, 2020 by Wayne Lee-Sing

Lisa: The Burt Award was a huge deal for me. Financially, it was a gift, as I live as a writer and the prize was significant even for the third place winner. (I was doing freelance journalism at the time and now I’m doing stand-up comedy. Yeah apparently I like being hungry.) The promise of publication was extraordinary because the lit market is tough; even though I had already had a novel published [The Chalice Project, Macmillan Caribbean, 2008] I still have no agent. When I got the publisher options from the award I researched them online. I chose Papillote Press even though it wasn’t offering the biggest royalties.

 

Diana McCaulay 2020 Credit Michael Vicens 3+MB

Diana, 2020 by Michael Vicens

Diana: The Burt Award is, well was, a wonderful prize to get. It was lucrative, it included a guarantee to a prospective publisher that a certain number of books would be bought by the prize and distributed to libraries in the Caribbean. So for the first time, I had publishers seeking me out, instead of the other way around. I had published two novels before Gone to Drift with Peepal Tree Press, but they as publishers were not eligible as they were not located in the Caribbean. I had no agent then, and still have no agent. As Lisa said, I considered the publisher options and also decided to go with Papillote Press, partly because I had read Polly Patullo’s work previously, due to my other life as an environmental activist. My only disappointment with Burt was there was a promise of a local book tour and that never materialized, I am not sure why.

 

Shakirah_Bourne pic

Shakirah

Shakirah: I was not interested in writing books for children, even though several peers suggested I give it a try because of my penchant for writing short fiction from a child’s perspective. But the Burt Award was such a rare opportunity for any author, especially from the Caribbean, to win a publishing contract, a cash prize and guaranteed sales & distribution of books; I could not resist. I edited an old manuscript (taking out all the R-rated content lol) but unfortunately it wasn’t selected for a prize. When I saw the call for submissions the following year, a project had just been cancelled and suddenly my schedule was clear for three weeks. I was inspired by Joanne’s blog post where she revealed that she wrote her winning Burt book in two weeks and I challenged myself to write a new story to submit to the competition. In writing My Fishy Stepmom, I realized that I had been so focused on creating stories to highlight a particular social issue or as commissioned work (freelance) or with a budget in mind (for film) that I truly forgot the joy of writing for fun. The Burt Award helped me to re-discover my calling and unearthed a love for writing fantasy; it changed my life.

Diana: I want to say that in my experience, there are only a few things that make a difference to the sales of your book – a champion who is well connected in one or more major literary markets, reviews and prizes. So any prize opens doors – without a prize, you probably won’t get invited to festivals, you might not get reviews, your book just won’t get much attention. A prize is something to hang publicity on, a focus for social media posts etc. The Burt Prize was unusual because of the guarantee of sales for a publisher.

Lisa: Papillote’s publisher is Polly Patullo. Her books are gorgeous. I’d reviewed her Lawrence Scott collection and the book was a beautiful object, not to mention a good collection. She also had Diana McCaulay on her list with a previous Burt book. I wanted to be able to offer Papillote my other unpublished work, which includes a collection of short fiction and an adult novel-length manuscript. She hasn’t picked up either but she was a sensitive and thoughtful editor; as a publisher she was thorough and painstaking and prompt in her payments (very very important!). And her edition of Home Home is indeed a beautiful book.

 

 

(Above, Caribbean editions to the left, US editions to the right)

Diana: I agree that Polly’s books are beautiful – in fact, I prefer the cover done for Gone to Drift by Papillote than the one later done by Harper Collins, after the US rights were sold. I also enjoyed working with her as an editor – she was thorough, respectful and pushed me in essential ways. The Harper Collins edition got Gone to Drift a Kirkus review and star – that had never happened for any of my work before. I don’t really keep a good track of reviews, so I’m not sure if there were others, but I do remember that one.

*

The responses to Q.1 are running long and so they have been split in to two. I’m calling part 2 Q. 1.2.

All images are courtesy of the authors and interview was conducted and published by Joanne C. Hillhouse. You can excerpt and share with link-back/credit but do not republish without permission.

 

 

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Finding Readers, Finding Books

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(a book lover’s social media share)

An interesting social media post recently asked book lovers how they found new books, new authors – a question always of interest to authors like me always trying to land our promotion and marketing efforts where it can have the most impact.

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(Another book lover’s social media share)

Here are some of the other responses:

-friends’ recommendations (on social media… and, I would add, other places since more often than not these last few years of trying not to acquire new books until I can lighten my books-unread shelf, ‘new’ books have been thrust upon me by well meaning friends; and I can’t complain. As for how this affects my own promotional efforts, reader reviews are encouraged and used like those movie tag lines. They have proven especially useful being from a small place with my books receiving scant critical attention comparatively speaking, and, though that’s gotten better, I still welcome readers helping me create buzz by recc’ing a book of mine to readers in their network)

bookempt.gyal4(Yet another book lover’s social media share. credit: bookempt.gyal on instagram)

-reading  the book cover blurb and the first pages (online retail sites have made this easier, useful to me both as a reader and as a researcher building and sharing knowledge here on the site and in other places, but I remember I used to – and still – do this when shopping for or considering physical books. I even know people who, while browsing,  read the end and the middle to get a feel for the book – something the online retail sites have also made easier. I don’t get that part because, hello, spoilers. But I do try to accommodate readers’ need to know how it starts by publishing first pages on my Jhohadli blog)

-book related groups + review requests (this is the interaction part of social media, participating not just plugging, recommending other writers, not just pushing your own product; it’s time consuming but part of building community)

-freebies (as a writer and reviewer, with a blogger on books series, I get a number of requests to read books; and promotional giveaways have only gotten more plentiful in this age of internets.  It’s a bit more challenging to take on these reading assignments for the blog due to that time not being covered, plus it can be stressful, especially as I’ve been on the other side of this freebies for reviews relationship and know how it can feel when the person who copped the freebie doesn’t say word one about your book)

-recommendations on (person mentioned a specific literary platform but really all of them – not to mention #bookstagram #booktube the book blogging community and its many memes, and the myriad goodreads lists not to mention groups on facebook and specialized lists on twitter etc; it’s a lot to keep up with but I try to be in those spaces and try to connect my books with people in those spaces…of course, you have to give to get and that means making recommendations of your own)

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(Yet yet another book lover’s social media share. credit: baby making machine blog)

-Always ask my daughter (lol) – I like this one but this speaks to your real life reading partners and book clubs and the like, the book store employee who recs books he thinks you’ll like based on your reading history …those personal connections… book clubs and bookstores are among my mailing lists but beyond the lists are the relationships. Remember when you were in school and no two of you had a single penny to knock together but someone might have a book and that booked got passed around like mix tapes? How about that relationship with that friend you really see except for when it’s time for another book exchange every time a favourite author drops a new book? book conversations? book groups where there’s as much wine and idle chatter as book deep dives? you know what I mean) … it’s a beautiful thing.

oh gad in walmart posted by hadassa 2012
(book lover’s social media share)

How about you, where do you find your books?… authors, where do you find your readers?

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Wadadli Pen founder, coordinator, and blogger Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and With Grace). All Rights Reserved.

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Welcome to 2019

We made it, y’all. We each hit different speeds and temperatures this year and because our online lives are so curated we can think it’s all smooth sailing and temperate climates with every body but us. Not so. Don’t let any of us fool you. We live, that’s all, through the Antigua-sized potholes and the rough weather, we live and though flipping the calendar from 2018 to 2019 isn’t some magic door to everything-better, it is, if nothing else, an indicator that we’re still here. Another day, another opportunity to be, to dream, to work, to hope, to laugh, to cry, to do, to journey…imperfect as this journey is. Okay? And as someone once close to me used to say often, ” be good to you”.

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In spite of the challenges – and they were many – 2018 was good to me in a few ways. One of those ways was the release of the Spanish language edition of Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure. I was about to say that it’s my first foreign language translation but technically it’s not even my first Spanish language translation – my poem She Works (which won a prize and then didn’t did manage to get translated before things fizzled). Which was cool to see. But this is the first book translation…except maybe not something something a university student in Italy, The Boy from Willow Bend. But it is the first commercial book translation. And it’s Caribbean Reads, one of the newer (if not the newest), smaller independent presses I’ve had the opportunity to work with that did it.

They share that and other developments re books by all their authors in their year end round up. Two other developments specific to this #gyalfromOttosAntigua are the addition of my other Caribbean Reads book, Musical Youth, a Burt award winning title, to the secondary schools reading list in Antigua and Barbuda (it had also previously been added to a schools reading list in Trinidad); also my participation in the Miami Book Fair.

Real talk while these developments were developing, other parts of my life weren’t going so well (so even as a part of me was promoting these developments, the inner me was struggling to stay upbeat). But it’s nice to look back and realize yeah, I did that. The literary achievements, yes, I am beyond thankful, but also survived 2018. Here to live another day.

And guess what, you did to. Celebrate yourself.

Okay, if you want to  read the entire Caribbean Reads round up, go here.

And again Happy New Year, let’s make it great.

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Wadadli Pen founder, coordinator, and blogger Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and With Grace). All Rights Reserved.

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Congrats, Kim

Happy Pub Week! to Antiguan and Barbudan author and friend to the page Kimolisa Mings whose latest book hit Amazon as an ebook this past week and will hit bookshelves (and print format), per her social media posts, in October 2018. Kim who publishes independently has become one of Antigua and Barbuda’s most prolific – by our count this is her 16th book – and her first, Martine, was published in 2012. This ambitious publishing entrepreneur, who guest posted about e-publishing here on Wadadli Pen in 2014, and ran a self-publishing workshop at the Antigua and Barbuda Public Library earlier in 2018,  indicated, also on social media, that she sees a micro-press to assist others in realizing their publishing dreams in her future.

There are several paths to publishing. Choose the one that works for you. Kim has.

ABOUT THE BOOK: Audra Kellman is found dead in a place that is said to be where demons cross over to the human world. Now Three People Want To Find The Killer. The head of an underground narcotic distribution ring. The CEO of an influential group of companies. And a reluctant private investigator who is more interested in finding out the true identity of the person who hired him than finding out who killed the innocent woman execution style. As D’Angelo Marshall, a private investigator who walks on the razor edge of the law, investigates the case he finds himself caught up in a web of secrets. And the case takes him in a new direction that would change his life forever. Now caught in the Black Widow’s Web, will D’Angelo fight his way free… will he want to? A private investigator murder mystery set 50 years in the future on the small Caribbean island of Redonda.

For more publishing and related resources remember to check our Resources page.

See our Fiction page and the parent page of Antiguan and Barbudan Writing for listing of Kim’s new book and other additions, and while you’re here also check out updates to our Playwriting and Screenwriting page as well as our Non-Fiction page. Oh, hop over to my other blog, if you have the time, for my review of another new-ish book by someone from Antigua, Clarice C. Clarke’s Hidden Secrets of St. Croix.

As with all content (words, images, other) on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings,  Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about WadadliPen and my books. You can also subscribe to and/or follow the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks. And remember while linking and sharing the links, referencing and excerpting, with credit, are okay, lifting whole content (articles,  images, other) from the site without asking is not cool. Respect copyright.

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Writers: Are You Ready To Sign With An Independent Publisher? Read This First #AmWriting — Rosie Amber

Honestly, I’ve had good and bad experiences with both traditional and small/independent publishers, and with self-publishing. Bottom line, like the post says, do your research…and even then, leave room for disappointment and/or pleasant surprise.

Please welcome review team member Terry Tyler, with some important thoughts on Independent Publishers Please note: I am aware that there are plenty of good independent publishers around, who work hard for their authors and maintain good standards. The purpose of this article is to warn writers to do their research, and find them. It’s […]

via Writers: Are You Ready To Sign With An Independent Publisher? Read This First #AmWriting — Rosie Amber

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Wadadli Pen Challenge 2017 – the Long List

drumroll
PLEASE NOTE: There have been some updates made to this post.

The judges have finished all rounds of judging and have culled the submissions to 11 – all set to receive category prizes with three claiming the top three slots. As we do, the stories/poems were returned to the initial long list of writers for editing before the second round of judging to determine the top three. We return the top entries to the writers with edit notes from the judges so that said entries go through at least one round of the kind of editing they would go through before publishing if submitted to a journal, anthology, or imprint for publishing. We do this because Wadadli Pen is developmental in intent, and we want the writers to focus not just on the prizes but on improving their craft. There was also a third round of judging which resulted in some adjustments to the initial long list.

As a reminder, the judges don’t  receive any names or other identifying information; they evaluate the entries blind, strictly on merit. And, of course, the judges’ decisions are final. If you’re not on the list, use the disappointment to fuel your motivation to come even better next year; if you are on the list, CONGRATULATIONS.

FINALLY, this is what you came here for…

From 93 96 eligible entries! (a single year record), here’s the revised long list (in alphabetical order):

The Schools which will receive the prize as the school prize with most submissions – Island Academy

Authors who are winners in their age category and still in the running for the main prize –

Emma Belizaire (St. Andrew’s Primary School, student) – entry ‘Cricket is my Life’

Ashley Francis (St. Andrew’s Primary School, student) – entry ‘Our Caribbean’

Fayola Jardine – entry ‘Mango Picking Interruption’

Andrecia Lewis (Antigua State College, student) – entry ‘Strange’

Lucia Murray (St. Anthony’s Secondary, student) – entry ‘Mr Duppy’

Ava C. Ralph (Antigua Girls High School, student) – entry ‘Non fiction?’

Kaeiron Saunders (St. Anthony’s Secondary School, lecturer) – entry ‘Not Another Island Story; as told by Aunty Gah’

Shadieal Simmons (Baptist Academy, student) – entry ‘Brave Eleven-year-old saved two months Baby’

Zion Ebony Williams (Baptist Academy, student) – entry ‘Who don’t hear, will feel’

Devon Wuilliez (Island Academy, student) – entry ‘The Great Big Dumz’

Francis Yankey (Antigua Grammar School, student) – entry ‘And She Sang Fire’

Once again, congrats to the finalists; and good luck!

thank-you-and-Follow-up

Some thanks:

To the teachers, principals, parents, and others who helped students/young writers get their entries in. Processing posed some challenges for us because, frankly, everyone did not follow the submission guidelines (and that’s an understatement) but, though this has delayed final processing, we do appreciate the effort; and will work to make submitting more user-friendly.

To the team – including past winner Devra Thomas who’s helping deal with communication with patrons so that we can properly reward these writers; past finalist and our first ever intern Michaela Harris who has assisted with media and administrative tasks; returning chief judge and author (Pink Teacups and Blue Dresses, Through the Window) Floree Whyte and her team for doing the Difficult; and past winner Margaret Irish who did not know what she was walking in to when she offered to take processing of entries and communicating with entrants off of my hands (but I appreciate it).

You may have noticed, if you’ve followed our pattern over these 13 years of Wadadli Pen, that we are behind schedule-wise. Some of you have already started querying (what gives?). Well, what gives is that we have decided to open up the schedule and announce the winners during the May 13th Wadadli Stories Book Fair; call it circumstance, call it fortune but we think it’s a good blend of brands. Plus another team member Barbara Arrindell is involved with both projects – as is patron the Best of Books – so it just made sense. Though it means a longer wait for the final results. Be patient with us; we will do our best to make it worth your while.

Wadadli Stories logo

For more on the project, check:
About Wadadli Pen
Wadadli Pen 2017
Wadadli Pen 2017 Challenge Patrons

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is written by Antiguan and Barbudan writer Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Fish Outta Water, Musical Youth, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, and With Grace; also a freelance writer, editor, writing coach and workshop facilitator). Excerpting, reblogging, linking etc. is fine, but PLEASE do not lift ANY content (images or text) wholesale from this site without asking first and crediting the creator of that work and/or copyright holder. All Rights Reserved. If you like the content here follow or recommend the blog, also, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. Thank you.

 

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RESOURCES

Over time, Wadadli Pen has added a fair amount of writing and publishing information – from interviews with authors and publishers, to the reading rooms, to the opportunities pages (technically posts not pages). This post-not-page is something slightly different, though there’ll probably be a bit of overlap. Like the reading room, and opportunities and opportunities too page/post with pending deadlines (which you can use the search box to find if the links don’t work), it will be updated from time to time; its purpose is to gather and share information related to publishing that writers need to know – information that too many of us have to learn the hard way. Hope you find it useful on your writing and publishing journey.  Also visit the Writer’s Toolbox. Disclaimer: We don’t take responsibility for the information provided on any of the linked sites. Remember, do your own due diligence and seek the advice of an agent and/or lawyer if you can.

Authors – Getting Paid

11 Frequently Asked Questions about Book Royalties, Advances and Money

The ABCs of School Visits with an Independent Bookstore Some good tips here but worth remembering that we live in the Caribbean where the gumption of an author asking to be paid for school visits (in any form) is often met by a … huh? (and likely some behind-the-back grumbling about the author lacking community spirit). These posts are however a reminder to value what you do (give what time you can and/or choose to, of course, but don’t let anyone shame you for valuing what you do or for not giving what you cannot or can no longer afford to give). Shift the paradigm.

Festival Appearances – Guidance for Authors (UK specific but the principles, especially the breakdown re why authors should be paid, applies to authors everywhere)

How to Set Your Speaking Fees

Rate Guide for Authors

School and Library visits – a Guide

Copyright

10 common—and crucial—copyright questions for communicators

Antigua and Barbuda Intellectual Property and Commerce Office

Basic Copyright Concepts for Writers

Carib Export webinar
“Don’t assume, ever…definitely register your copyright, definitely sign a split sheet if you’re collaborating with anyone.”

Copyright Information for Writers

Following Copyright Law while Blogging 

The Fuss about Fair Use

Permission Guidelines for Using Copyrighted Material

Two Easy Steps for Using the DMCA Takedown Notice to Battle Copyright Infringement

A Writer’s Guide to Permissions and Fair Use

On the Hustle – Tips for Freelance Writers

“One thing to keep in mind: Once you’ve been published …, it is almost always worth sending them more ideas, even if they don’t ask for them. You’ve already started the relationship with them, and they know you as a writer, so they are more likely to give your queries consideration.” – How to Write and Get Paid: 11 Cases of Freelance Writing Success edited by Jacob Jans (don’t have a link but worth sharing)

7 Contract Stipulations All Freelancers Should Know About

7 Nudges to work in to your query letters

7 Things You Must Do To Survive A Recession As A Freelancer including
1. Prioritize adding income over cutting expenses
Your first reaction to a big drop in income may be to cut back your expenses. That’s not wrong, but it’s more important to focus on bringing in more work. If you already live frugally, as many freelancers do, there’s only so much you can eliminate from your budget. Earn more and you won’t have to cut as much. When you have a good month—and you will, even in a downturn—save as much as you can to improve your cash flow for the next month. We could devote an entire article to getting more work. But a few ways to expand your roster of clients is to ask your current editors to connect you with their colleagues, update your online portfolios and social media pages, scour freelance job boards, and keep an eye on social media for calls for pitches.

7 Ways to get paid on time as a Freelancer

5 Red Flags to look for in a Contract

5 Tips for Aspiring Features Writers

31 Ways to Freelance Yourself to Financial Freedom

Buying Yourself Time

“The time you spend working for clients who underpay or don’t appreciate you is better spent seeking great clients who love you, understand your value, and pay appropriately.” – Carol Tice

Case Study: How I Get Paid $100 a Week to Write Rants About Video Games

Case Study: Collecting overdue payments and holding clients accountable

Content Syndication

Editing Tests (I’m not a fan of these but they can be part of the hustle – this article debates the value and cost of editing tests)

“Find your minimum…and charge no less than that. If someone comes to you and says ‘…can you go lower?’ just say no… If you’re getting a lot of low paying work, you just need to learn to say ‘no’ more…You are worth a certain rate as a writer and when you go below that you are undervaluing yourself and as a result that paints the wrong picture of you to your clients.” Very good webinar on navigating the freelancing life.

“As a writer, you set the bar for acceptable pay. Don’t settle for less than you deserve and look for opportunities to upsell your services.” – Five Ways to Upsell Your Writing Services

Freelance Fees (insights to how freelancers charge)

How much should book editors charge (or, if you’re looking to hire a book editor, how much should you expect to pay)

How much should I charge for freelance writing services

How much should I charge for freelance writing services

How not to Pitch Editors

How to become a Professional Ghost Writer

How to deal with a Bad Payer without giving in to Anger

How to Market Yourself without selling Your Soul

‘While coaching me and my almost exclusively female classmates, Brodesser-Akner declared the following: “Always ask for more money!” It was a habit she’d developed after noticing that men did it all the time, without thinking twice about it. People respect you more for knowing what you’re worth, she told us.’ – How to negotiate your rate like a pro

If the client doesn’t budge, it might be time to walk. Being forced to find new clients is often a blessing in disguise—especially if you take it as an opportunity to level up.”

Landing Clients

“If you’re still a little unsure of your abilities, keep telling yourself that you have skills and experience that people are prepared to pay for. You’ve been invited to a meeting for a reason. You’ve won their approval thus far; you now just need to bring home the business by impressing them face-to-face.” – Learning how to sell yourself: how to win over a new client during a pitch by Katy Cowan

Negotiating tips

Publication Rights for Freelance Article Writers

“Most freelancers spend about 30 percent of their time completing non-billable work like pitching, researching, interviewing, responding to emails, marketing, networking, and invoicing…That means an eight-hour workday only leaves you with about five billable hours. So when finding your own rate, be realistic with what you can charge and how many hours in the week you can work.” – Rates

Rates (a sample of some freelance publication rates)

“So be bold. Go after the writing you want, keep yourself at the forefront of editors’ minds, ask for fair compensation, and see what happens!” – Reminder to Be Bold when pitching

Should You write a Free Sample to get a Freelance Writing Gig?

A Smarter Way to Price Freelance Projects 

Spotting Writing Scams

Tapping in to local business

Troubleshooting not getting Paid as a Freelancer

The Ultimate Guide to Recurring Income for Freelancers

What to do about freelance writing when you update your resume

What to do at every stage of a late payment

What to do when asked to give away your work

When they don’t pay

When your publisher goes out of business

When your editor ghosts you

Why what you write matters more than where you publish

Writing for others – what to charge

Publishing – Books

The 10 Most Common Manuscript Submission Mistakes

An Author’s Guide to Praise and Endorsement Best Practices

“I highly recommend a professional editor such as Joanne Hillhouse (jhohadli.wordpress.com/writing-editing-coaching-services/) or Virginia Hampton (hampton.virginia19@gmail.com) who have provided excellent service to me and other writers in Belize and abroad.” – Belizean writer Ivory Kelly in an article providing publishing tips for authors in Belize which authors in the wider Caribbean and beyond may find a useful resource

The Best Advice I can offer- on getting published

The Best Advice I can offer – Fear of Being Edited

Caribbean Writers Discuss Publishing – Lessons, Breakthroughs, and Rights

Carly Watters – Literary Agent Blog – I’m sharing this here because I don’t really have an agents’ blog on this site but I find, just perusing her comments section that she’s quite responsive and has some insights about the industry that might be useful, whichever agent you pitch.

Don’t Fall Prey to Publishing Scams: 7 New Writer Mistakes to Avoid

Everything You ever wanted to know about Book Sales

GATE opens a window to the world of e-publishing

Guidelines for formatting your manuscript before submission and more guidelines BUT remember to check the publisher website for any guidelines specific to her.

How I got my literary agent – part 1, part 2, and part 3 by Barbadian author Shakirah Bourne,

How to get published

Negotiating an e-book contract

Nine Ways to a Faster Book Deal

The Pros and Cons of Book Awards

The Pros and Cons of Traditional Publishing

Publishing 101 with Eugenia O’Neal

Publishing an Ebook

Publishing Contracts 101 (Protect Your Work)

Publishing-related

Query letter – tips 

Self-Publishing Conference 2019 Materials

Ten Principles of Fair Contracts

Vetting an Independent Editor

What to do When Your Book goes Out of Print

Why You need an Author Platform – and How to get One

Why your blog is your best promotional source

Publishing – Journals, Anthologies

Formatting manuscripts for submission

The Legal Side of Writing for Anthologies

Submitting Something Somewhere: Things to Consider

Publishing – Promotion

10 Ways to blog Your Books to increase Sales without being Pushy or Annoying

The Art of Publicity: How Indie Publicists Work With Writers

The Best Advice I can offer – Increasing Exposure

Book Marketing Mistakes

Connecting with Readers

How to Tame the Social Media Beast (a primer for writers on the use of social media as a promotional tool)

“Consider the topic being more than about the book’s release, and instead more about the impact of the book, a strange intriguing fact about how the book came about, how the book meets an urgent need, how a famous/semi-famous person reviewed your book and what they thought. In other words, the book isn’t the news…something else amazing related to the book is.” – Press Releases: a Blast from the Past by Greta Burroughs

Reaching Readers – Blog Tour Magic

Social Media Playbook for Authors!

“Don’t make the mistake of just replicating your content across platforms.” – Tips for Better Social Media Marketing

What Facebook’s 2018 Change Means for Authors

You and Your Wiki – Caribbean Writers Edition

Writing

Bad Habits

It’s not about how fast you write but how well

On Writing Dialogue

Three Plot Structures

Classes, Services (Writing and Publishing) – short sample limited to people who have had some connection with Antigua and Barbuda and especially Wadadli Pen

Joanne C. Hillhouse

Marita Golden

Professional Writing/Writing-related Services (Antigua and Barbuda)

Xtras

10 Things Every Blogger Should Know About Working With Brands

Caribbean Literary Resources

Design Tips for Non Designers: 8 Dos and Donts

Dis ‘n Dat

Dominican writer Lisa Latouche talks about the road to the MFA programme in one, two parts (inspiration)

About your e-signature and how to utilize it as a marketing tool

Guidance Sheet re Recording and Sharing Author Archives – Guidance sheet recordkeeping and transferring archives – “Authors should take time to ensure that they make the right choice of archive service for donation or deposit, and this may require a period of negotiation and discussion. It is important that there is sympathy and synergy between the author’s collection and the archival institution which will be responsible for its care and promotion. Seeking to change archive service once the process is underway can be a difficult process.”

Grants and Artists-in-Residences are Awesome Opportunities

How to do a Live interview on YouTube (You Tube Live with 2+ People) + How to Livestream on You Tube (Complete Beginners’ Guide)– for other tech challenged authors. I linked those two links because of their comprehensive presentation of the options but I found Sara Nguyen’s videos particular helpful for novices though more narrowly focused on comparisons between two browser platforms and a slow walk through one of those. This article might also prove helpful.

How to Hire a Skilled Editor and What You’ll Pay (because some writers really do need to consider what’s involved before pushing back on the rates – negotiating is fine, disrespect and derision is not) – rates and reasons vary but this isn’t a bad guide

How to lose a third of a million dollars without really trying – a lot of this may feel like another world (every author isn’t getting advances of this size, for one) but posting just as a cautionary tale for any writer trying to navigate the publishing world (because it can be very confusing)

How YouTubers get paid

Joanne C. Hillhouse’s musings on Writing and Publishing

The Literary Diaspora

On merchandising fictional characters – a legal primer

Presentation tips from a puppet

This writer says, be professional and do your own research before asking (i.e. respect another writer or editor’s time – which is not to say, don’t ask, but do your leg work)

Writing and Writing-and-Publishing related services (including illustrations, editing, formatting, and more) in Antigua and Barbuda

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen, my books, and my freelance writing-editing-coaching-workshop services. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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