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Industry Advice: Richard Harland

by Richard Harland
Winner Aurealis Awards best Horror novel 2004
Winner Golden Aurealis Awards best novel 2004

Initially, The Vicar of Morbing Vyle accumulated a heap of rejections, and so did the first version of Ferren and the Angel.

In the end, The Vicar came out from an ultra-small, communal Australian press and hit lucky with a wonderful review from Van Ikin in the Sydney Morning Herald. When I wrote to say thanks, Van said he'd be interested to see anything else I wrote; when I sent him the MS of The Dark Edge, he recommended it to Pan Macmillan, who immediately snapped it up.

That's my good luck story - at odds of about ten million to one!

Most of the time, there's just persistence, persistence, persistence …

Richard's Tips:

  1. My favourite market-place guide for short story selling is Ralan. Comprehensive, constantly updated and gives snippets of very helpful information.
  2. If you're writing a first novel, don't try to put everything into it. Good ideas will always find a home for themselves somewhere further down the track.

Did I ever feel like giving up?

I guess the answer to that is that I had twenty five years of writer's block when I could never manage to finish writing a novel (and abandoned more short stories than I completed). I guess I could have given up hope any time during those years - but I didn't. Compared to that, I was never going to despair over a few (hundred) rejection slips! It felt so good just to be able to produce a complete story!