Friday, June 11, 2010

Countries of choice

I’m Australian (Sydney), but living in an undeveloped part of the world which is geographically much closer to the UK and the USA, respectively. I’ll spend my life between here and Australia (my husband and our work is here). I’ll probably be in Australia when my manuscript is complete, but back here for the long term.

I have completed two travel memoirs about travel/life abroad. (Now in the drawer for fresh eyes in a few months.) Meanwhile, I’ve begun working on a YA (12-18) novel. It’s not set in Australia and it has no Australian characters. (Australia has become a rogue state.) Real world setting, a few years in the future, slightly dystopian, earth is on the brink of irreversibly warming. No magic (other than youthful creativity), no fantasy (other than inside minds) and no vampires (other than the duplicitous corporations). Think mystery—four young teen characters from four continents (with entwined destinies that they discover in the course of their quest)—and global consequences if they fail.

Which location should I submit to? Would Australia be advisable—location-wise and subject-wise? (I feel slightly caught in no-man’s land on where to query.) Or would I be better to try elsewhere? Is querying an unfinished manuscript at first draft (as I am now) acceptable or should I just finish and then query an agent?

Well clearly you haven't read many of the older posts on this blog ... if you had, you'd know that I regularly say NO FIRST DRAFTS!!! UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES!!! And an unfinished first draft is an even bigger sin. How can you know if you have something ready to submit until you (a) finish it and (b) read it over again to see what needs to be changed? Clearly you know about putting things aside, because your memoirs are marinating in a drawer somewhere ... So I'll overlook this little slip in regards to the YA manuscript and, thus, shall answer the rest of your question.

If your memoirs feature Australian settings, submit them in Australia (for the reasons discussed in the previous post). But the YA novel can be submitted anywhere. Of course, if you end up with an Australian agent and/or publisher for your memoirs then you'll no doubt want them to look at your YA too. You could always submit the YA first, overseas - I suggest to the US rather than the UK - and see how that goes. Just finish it first, and then revise it, and don't submit it until it's cooked.

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