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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

New Zealand Author December 2011

The latest issue is a cracker

I arrived back from a rather damp trip up the Kapiti Coast to find the latest issue of New Zealand Author, which I devoured at once.

This new, swish version of the old newsletter goes from strength to strength under the able editorship of Adrian Blackburn, overseen by Maggie Tarver, CEO of the NZ Society of Authors (our version of PEN).

There is much that is of interest to American readers.  First, there is a report of the annual gathering of International PEN, written by our representative, Nelson Wattie.  He has intriguing comments on participation from mainland China, who, it seems, sat uncomfortably in the same room as representatives from Taiwan, Tibet, and the Uyghur region.  "Asked about the imprisoned Nobel laureate Liu Xiabo they asked disdainfully, 'Who is that?'"  But at least they were there, as Wattie observes.

Particularly useful for authors who retain foreign rights to their books is "Frankfurt Dreaming" by Richard Webster, who has successfully promoted and sold language rights at the Frankfurt Bookfair since 1968.  He has sold over 500 foreign language rights to his own books, seeing them translated into 29 languages -- and he gives invaluable tips about how to do it yourself.  He tells you how to get there, where to look for lodging, what you will find at the Fair, and how to approach publishers.  He even tells you how to prepare your "elevator speech," the quickfire blurb that makes the most of the very short time you have a publisher's attention.  And it tells you what to do after the Fair is over. A must-read for anyone going to the Fair, I imagine -- and that includes agents and publishers' representatives.

A story discussing eBooks vs. traditional publishing was of course of interest to me.  I find the topic eternally intriguing.  This is a conversation between the editor and Martin Taylor of Digital Strategies.

Columnist David Hill describes a charming incident from his residency at the University of Iowa, involving Kim Sa-In of South Korea.  "Sa-In was poet, critic, academic, and one of the world's Top Ten Delightful Guys."

Former Penguin publishing head Geoff Walker has invaluable tips on selling non-fiction, with some fascinating observations from inside the publisher's office.  While he talks from the New Zealand perspective, his hints would be useful to any non-fiction writer, anywhere.

To ask about subscribing to this very useful journal ($45NZ for six issues per year), contact

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