October 14 – The Writers Symposium: Part 3 of 3
Convocation Room, University of Hong Kong
This particular symposium was divided into 2 sessions. The first was The Writer’s Desk: Vision, Revision, and Circulation, which focused on revising and editing a work before sending it in. Panelists were Paige Richards, Michelle Sterling, Jennifer Wong, and Paul French, who read before and after excerpts from their work. Again, can’t say I heard anything I’d never heard before. I’m really of the opinion that when it comes to the writing process, there are so many ways of doing it right that if you’ve been doing it for a while, someone endorsing a particular way of doing it wouldn’t necessarily stick in your head.
The second session was The Writer in Hong Kong – Getting Published. Now this is the sort of thing that does tend to stick – brass tacks of the business. It was chaired by Christopher Munn from Hong Kong University Press, who was joined by Kelly Falconer from the Asia Literary Review, copyright lawyer Andrew Cobden, and Martin Merz, a translator. I’ll list here the salient points:
- Don’t cold call editors.
- You don’t necessarily need an agent for your novel but you should get one anyway if you can. Agent’s fee is usually at 15%.
- There’s no such thing as a standard contract. Or a standard print run. Everything is always negotiable.
- Do simultaneous submissions.
- Don’t turn up your nose at small publishing houses. Don’t limit yourself or second-guess your demographic. A publication is a publication is a publication.
- Copyright is assigned. An author’s moral rights over a publication are waived or not waived. Most of the time, publishers will try to get you to waive your moral rights.
After the session, I talked a bit with Kelly Falconer and Martin Merz and his wife Jane. And was enjoying myself so much that I found myself sharing a cab with them all the way to…
October 14: Closing Party: The Last Course
Mariners’ Rest, Hullett House
…where I Guinnessed up and took in the scene of the festival panelists all in one room. (Small room though.) Chatted with Sudhir Vadaketh, from The Economist, and his wife, as well as Gioia Guerzoni, a translator from Italy who was here on the way to a translator’s conference in Bangkok. Had a good time with Martin, Jane, and Gioia, and eventually we left Hullett and crossed the harbor to the Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Central, which Martin is a member of (and apparently of the board as well that gets to decide what gets to be in the menu). Food was great and we also met Alberto, Gioia’s friend, who works as an architect here.
I had to leave early because I had class the next day but that was a great Sunday spent. Love all the business cards you get at the end of these things.