Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Newsletters You Pay For

Most countries have their own networks of newsletters and bulletin boards, simply because that's what is most relevant. I often have writers from the US, UK or other countries ask me if they should (or could) send their manuscripts to Australian publishers. My answer is: you can, but I'm not sure it's worth it. If you're not a 'native Australasian', you will have the same problem we do when we send manuscripts to the US. Yes, we all speak English, but the subtleties and differences can be enormous. That's not to say a great story and great writing won't overcome the barrier, but ... with the exchange rates and lower sales, why would you want to sell a picture book or novel to an Australian publisher if you could get it accepted in the US or UK?

A $3000 advance here would only be worth around US$2200 or 1200 pounds, approximately. Average print runs here are 4000. If your book sold through to a US publisher, you'd get a whole lot less than if it was published in the US right off. But I'm digressing. One of the main reasons writers sign up for newsletters and writers' magazines is for the market information, so if that info is not relevant to you, you won't want to pay for it. So here is a short list of newsletters I have come across - some I have paid for, some I received as samples.

Pass It On - an Australian weekly newsletter for children's writers. Some market info, but it's more about networking and sharing experiences. Currently it's AU$28 a year and more information is on Jackie Hosking's website - Jackie is the compiler.

BuzzWords - originally started by Di Bates, this fortnightly newsletter is AU$44 per year. It has lots of market and publishing info, as well as book reviews, news items and articles. More info on the website.

Childrens' Book Insider - a monthly magazine produced by Write4Kids people. It has articles and plenty of market info, and being a subscriber now entitles you to enter the CBI Clubhouse and gain extra resources.
You can pay $4.25 a month instead if you want to, or US$42.95 a year. I subscribed to this for a year, and eventually decided the cost was a little high as a lot of the info was too US-based for me. But if you live in the US, it might suit you perfectly.

Children's Writer - a monthly newsletter produced by the Institute of Children's Literature (who run a lot of writing courses too). If you go to their site, you can receive a free sample copy. Special first-time rate is US$19 for a year. As far as I can tell, this newsletter is still only available as hard copy, not via email. My sample looked good, and had plenty of useful info in it. Again, I didn't subscribe but this time it was because by the time it arrived by snail mail, I felt the market info was a bit out of date (blame Australia Post!). US writers would like this one.

SCBWI members receive their newsletters now by email if they want to. If you're a member, you have full access to all the resources on their website, including market guides and bulletin board.
As mentioned before, most writers' organisations have their own newsletter which comes as part of your membership fee. Sisters in Crime is a good example of a more specialised writers' organisation that does this.

Writing 4 Success - for a long time Marg Mcalister offered a lot of great articles via a newsletter and website. Now she's gone off on a different (but increasingly familiar) tangent and has created an online writers' "club". To have full access to the club site, including articles, forums and resources, it'll cost you AU$87 a year (there are specials on sometimes). Alternately you can sign up for a free monthly tip sheet. If you go to the site, you'll see all the options and what it's all about. Marg's articles are good value - she has given me permission to use some of them with my students. They are about all kinds of writing, not just for children.

These are just a few that are available. If you see anything on the net that looks useful, try to get hold of a sample copy or back issue first before you pay your money. Or ask friends for recommendations.
And, by the way, I forgot to mention the TextConnection free newsletter that my colleague, Susanna Bryceson, and I produce. Only once a quarter, but it is free! We cover fiction and nonfiction writing with short articles and news updates. Some back issues available here.
If you have a great newsletter you'd like to recommend, let us know!

No comments: