We already knew that AWC presenter Pamela Freeman was amazing but now we think she's stratospheric! She currently has not one, not two, not five, but NINE books under contract!
We were so impressed by this feat that we had to ask Pamela just what it means to have a book under contract, what’s involved, when readers can expect to be able to read the books and, most importantly, whether this writing superstar still has time for the Australian Writers’ Centre!
What does it mean to have a book under contract?
It literally means that you’ve signed a contract with a publisher and they have agreed to publish your book. That contract will specify things like how much money you’ll get in an advance, your royalties, what rights you are giving to your publisher, and so on.
What does it mean to have NINE books under contract?!
Well, it’s a bit scary, to tell you the truth – but of course also wonderful! I do occasionally feel I’m being greedy.
But I think it’s important for aspiring writers out there to know that four of the books (the first two books of two different series) have been looking for a home for a while, and getting rejected literally all over the world – and then, almost magically (and thanks to Alex Adsett, who is representing the mystery series), they’ve all been accepted at once! So this has come together in an unexpected way.
Just because a book has been rejected doesn’t mean that it’s unpublishable. You may need to look at different types of publishers, or you may need to wait a little while until the market shifts in your favour. For example, the Songstress series, which is urban fantasy, will be published by Shooting Star Press, a small press which is really gaining a reputation for quality work. I’ve never been with a small press before, but the Big 5 are publishing very little urban fantasy, so I looked elsewhere. And I’m so glad I did! The big publishers are locked into the one-book-a-year cycle, but Shooting Star will be bringing out the Songstress books one-every-six-months, which is much better for the fans – and for me. Also, the small presses often give authors a better deal in terms of royalties and reversion rights.
Are the books part of a series? Are they all similar genres? Or different?
Very very different! There are two series. One is a mystery series, the other a five-book urban fantasy series, and the two stand-alones are a kids’ non-fiction picture book and one of my Pamela Hart historicals.
As you know, I write as both Pamela Freeman (kids and fantasy) and Pamela Hart (historical and mystery). This is the breakdown in terms of what they are, what name they’ll be published under, and the order in which they’ll come out.
Songstress – Book One of the Songstress series. (Pamela Freeman) For adults. Urban fantasy set in an alternate present where magic came back into the world in the 1990s. Fast-paced and fun.
Dry to Dry: the Seasons of Kakadu. (Freeman) Children’s non-fiction picture book about the Wet and the Dry in Kakadu. Illustrated by the absolute genius Liz Anelli. A companion book to Desert Lake.
The Charleston Scandal. (Pamela Hart) Adult historical fiction with a love story. Set in 1923 in the world of London theatre. Fred Astaire, Noel Coward, and the Prince of Wales are all in there! If you like Downton Abbey…
Huntress – Book Two of the Songstress series. (Freeman) The magic gets bigger and the threats do too!
Digging up Dirt. (Hart) First in a contemporary mystery series, the Sarah McGowan Mysteries. Lighthearted but hopefully puzzling! For readers of Janet Evanovich and Agatha Christie. A bit like the Miss Fisher books brought up to date…
Enchantress – Book Three of the Songstress series (Freeman)
Dirty Money. Book Two of the Sarah McGowan Mysteries (Hart).
Temptress: Book Four of the Songstress series. (Freeman)
Sorceress: Book Five of the Songstress Series. (Hart)
Somewhere in there Liz Anelli and I will also be doing another non-fiction picture book, about the Daintree rainforest. The proposal for that has been accepted, but not contracted yet. And, naturally, I’m hoping that the mystery series will sell so well that I’ll be asked to do more than two books!
I’m particularly excited about the mystery series, since I’ve been an avid mystery reader since I was a tiny person. I quite like the idea of myself as a mystery novelist!
Have you written them yet? Or what status are they at?
I’ve finished Dry to Dry and it’s been illustrated – gosh, it looks fabulous! Kids are going to love it.
I’ve written the first drafts of the first two books in both series.
And I’ve just submitted the first draft of The Charleston Scandal – at last!
So it’s not as scary as it might look in terms of deliverables.
When can readers expect to be able to read this amazing haul of books?
Dry to Dry has gone off to the printers, I believe, and will be in stores in August 2020.
Songstress will be out June/July 2020 and Digging up Dirt in January 2021.
After that, there’ll be a Songstress book every six months, and a Sarah McGowan book every year, I hope!
The Charleston Scandal will be out in 2020 as well, but the exact date hasn’t been tied down yet.
If your readers want to find out about release dates, they can sign up for my newsletter at www.pamela-hart.com/newsletter – they get a free historical short story, too!
Does this mean the next few years are nothing but writing, writing, writing?
Oh, yes – and editing, editing, editing! I have three more Songstress books to write, but the others I have done the first draft of, so I’ll be in editing mode most of next year. As my students know, I’m a big believer in doing as many drafts as you can to make your books the very best they can be.
And lastly, of course you'll still be presenting for the AWC, right?
Of course! Wouldn’t miss it for quids! I love teaching at the AWC. It's so rewarding seeing a student develop and create their own work to the very highest standard -– and then see them published, as we have so often. I think it’s a real privilege to be part of that process and to lend my expertise where needed. (And it’s fun!) Also, it gets me out of the house and talking to actual human beings, which is very good for me!