Monday, 1 January 2007

Ask a Macmillan New Writer

Got a question to ask? Just post it as a comment below and one of the Macmillan New Writer's will answer it...

To contact the blog owner please e-mail: and put "MNW blog" in the subject.


Doug Worgul said...

A question for anyone, really, but probably more for the US-based writers:

I've heard great things about MNW's rights department. And Will tells me that the MNW rights manager thinks highly of my book. So I'm encouraged. But I'm also curious. How many of you have had the US rights to your book(s) purchased? And what does that process look like?


Doug Worgul
Thin Blue Smoke
February 2009 Web Admin said...

Hi Doug

Well, I can't talk about the US rights, but the German rights for The Secret War were negotiated just before the Frankfurt bookfair in 2006 (before it was published in the UK) and were negotiated as a lump sum payment, rather than royalties-based.
In my experience, if a publisher takes the language/country rights to the book they'll pay the publisher in two installments: one on completion of deal, the second on publication. As Mac New Writers, we get a percentage of the rights deal paid into our twice yearly royalties statement. The German rights sale for The Secret War to Random House was quite substantial at the time (it dwarfed the income from domestic sales of the book), so I haven't a bad word to say about them. I reckon the rights department are pretty handy to have!



Doug Worgul said...

Thanks, Matt. Though the financial aspects of the rights question are obviously of interest to me, I'm even more interested in the timing of these things. I know we Americans like reading stories set in the UK (and other exotic locales), and I'm assuming the reverse is also true. But my book is perhaps more rooted in American recent history & culture than other MNW books written by US authors, so the sooner the book s made widely available, the better.

I have to that my experience with MNW has been every bit as remarkably positive as everyone of you said it would be. Really quite wonderful.

Anonymous said...

Hi Doug

the rights to both Borderlands and Gallows Lane have been bough by Thomas Dunne books. The process had nothing to do with me, though I was told about it fairly close to completion. Pete Wolverton, the US editor, has been in touch a few times and Borderlands is out there at the start of September. This deal was for a decent enough advance and royalties (as any 'normal' publishing deal). The German deal for the two books was a much higher single payment but no royalties, like Matt's. It really depends on which type of deal is negotiated. I'm guessing from a US point of view, royalties is better for the author. I agree with Matt that the rights dept. are excellent.
Best wishes
Brian McGilloway

Doug Worgul said...


Thanks for the insights. And congrats.

My primary objective/concern is that the book be readily available in the States as widely and as early as possible. Though, of course, the financial rewards will be welcomed, the ego gratification is really what I'm after.


Len Tyler said...

As I said in an earlier post, Herring Seller is to be published by New York crime specialists Felony and Mayhem in late 2008 or early 2009. I don't know that much about the deal yet - the advance is reasonable, and I understand they are planning to promote the book across the US. Ask me again early next year!

Anonymous said...

Simple question. How does one go about becoming a member of the MNW blog community? Web Admin said...

Hi, Sion

Could you send me your e-mail address (to and I'll add you to the permissions list.



Ann Weisgarber said...

Doug, I've just now found your query about US rights.

I'm an American MNWer and my book was just published in June. So far nothing has happened with selling it to an American publisher, but I haven't given up. The book was sold to Editions Belfond in France about three months before the release date so your book might be a bit early yet to be out and about to foreign publishers.

My book also was sold to a house that handles large print and to another than does audio tapes. That all happened in June so again, it might be a bit early for you at this point.

My biggest frustration has been It list the book but it seems it has no intention of carrying it since the novel is UK published. That's not just Macmillan New Writing; I have a friend whose book was published by HarperCollins India, and it's the same for her. It's listed on but never has any stock.

I'd be happy to talk more about all of this if you want.

Anonymous said...

Can I ask when did MNW contact you after submitting to give you the good news? I'm at 11 weeks today, one week to go!

Faye L. Booth said...

Hi James,

For me it was about three months, if I recall correctly. Best of luck!


Administrator said...

I'm interested as to what stage of your submissions you tried MNW. Did you try hard to get an agent first, and failing that consider publishers direct? Or was MNW one of your first options?


Margaret Skea said...

Hi,I would just like to echo an earlier question (that I couldn't find an answer to)- for any MNW writers.
I'm interested as to what stage of your submissions you tried MNW. Was MNW one of your first options or
did you try hard to get an agent publisher first?
I recently reached the top 5 on Authonomy (the Harper Collins site) and won an encouraging review from an HC editor which also highlighted their opinion re areas for improvement. I am currently revising my novel on the basis of the advice given and hope to have new draft ready by June.
So am looking at what my next stage should be and wondering if MNW should be right up there as a first line approach. Web Admin said...

Hi Samantha, Hi Margaret

Firstly to Margaret: congratulations on getting so far on Authonomy - it's quite an accomplishment, especially winning the review of a Harper C editor. As for the next steps, well that depends on what you are looking for...

Macmillan New Writing usually offer just a one book deal (with first refusal on the second), with no advance, 20% net royalties and 50% on world rights on the book. But that's the just the contract - you also get to be part of the community which is priceless. The MNW community are pretty supportive of each new writer taken on by the imprint as you can see in this blog, while being published by another house might feel like a solitary thing.

My personal experience of MNW was a little different to my fellow stable-mates as I was one of the first writers signed up to the imprint - I was spotted during a Channel 4 writing competition. (I originally submitted the book to agencies first, but got nowhere as my books weren't deemed commercial enough.)
Since my first novel was published, I've been embraced by the publisher, and I'm now being published by the imprint Tor. Macmillan are a massive publishing house, with huge resources at their disposal. They have a fantastic rights department that have brokered some impressive foreign sales (including my books) and the imprint is growing with the author list, attracting award nominations from the Orange Prize to the Crime Dagger Awards for New Crime Fiction.

What I am saying, is that if you want to go with an imprint that has a history of working with and nurturing new writers, that has a large community of really friendly and supportive authors to ensure you grow from a new writer to an established author, then Macmillan New Writing should be your first call. It also means you don't need an agent that will take 15% of your earnings - you can send the book to the editor direct.

So yeah, my advice would be to submit to MNW...

Margaret Skea said...

Thank you so much for such a prompt response. Serious food for thought. One more question - presumably any submission to MNW would need to give them an exclusive read?
Margaret Web Admin said...

Well, you would be sending MNW the entire manuscript, so in effect it would be exclusive if you submitted it to them.
If you sent the opening chapters and synopsis to an agent as well (as per usual agency submission guidelines), you would wait about two months for a decision on whether or not they would represent you, and then anywhere from a couple of months to a couple of years before a publisher took your book.
However, if MNW like what you've written you'll have a decision in 12 weeks or so.
If you have an agent by then, you may well pay 15% of your royalties to the agent even though the agent has done nothing to get you the deal with MNW.

I would also add that MNW is growing in popularity with new authors, and if Ann Weisgarber wins the Orange Prize, it will be more so. They get around 3,000 or so submissions a year and only 12 books or less are published in that year, with a number of those being second novels from the writers already published by MNW - so it's a hard nut to crack. But the rewards for that lucky break are well worth it!

Margaret Skea said...

Hi Matt,
Thank you so much for that - obviously a very long shot, but a lot better than a slush pile - at least I'd be guaranteed a look.

Ann Weisgarber said...

I'm jumping late into this discussion but for any writers out there considering MNW, do send your submissions. The imprint is selective, but you have a fair shot. Here, we all start off in the "slush pile."

The imprint might not offer advances, but if you're looking for an editor who cares about his writers, MNW is the right place. If you're looking for a team that will work hard on your behalf, you can't beat MNW and the Pan Macmillan group. And if you want to be part of a community of writers, this is the imprint for you. There's no downside in this deal. It's all positive.

Administrator said...

Thanks very much, Matt and Ann, you've raised some points that i hadn't thought about before.

MNW had come a long way since the furore created when it first came out, all the doubts and cynicism - it's good to see you all finding such success and the imprint taking off.

I do like the idea of it being a community and, if successful, being under the MacMillan umbrella.

Thanks again.

Akhenaten said...

Hi everyone,
A question for anyone who has information.
I've just submitted a novel to MNW from Egypt (where I live). While it's certainly not the best out there (it's my first full length novel), I think it's quite different and worth a look.
I'm just wondering, do the people at MNW actually look at EVERY submission they receive? And are there any MNW writers that happen to be from the Middle East? Plus, how long does it usually take them to answer if they decide to accept (I know after 3 months I should lose hope, but in the rare event that they like it, how long before they answer?)

Thanks a lot, I greatly appreciate it.

Baher Ibrahim Web Admin said...

Hi Baher

As far as I know there are no other middle eastern writers on MNW's books (though someone can correct me if I'm wrong!).

All the books that are submitted are read by group of the publisher's readers. As I understand it, there are no exceptions and all submissions are looked at - which is about 3000 to 4000 submissions a year!

As a rule three months is the average period of time the writer needs to wait. If you haven't heard anything back by then, I suppose it's like the Apollo mission landings, you'll know the outcome...

Good luck with the submission

Best wishes

Matt F W Curran

Akhenaten said...

Thanks a lot for your reply Matt. This is really just my first attempt at a full length novel, so I don't have any high hopes. Would be quite unfair to those who spent years writing before they had their big break with MNW if mine got accepted. But the fact that something like MNW exists is itself incredible, and I've got nothing to lose!

Thanks again, Matt

Akhenaten said...

Hey guys,

For those familiar with the web site launched by HarperCollins which claims to spot new talent, any idea of any advantages (or lack of) it has when compared to MNW?


Unknown said...

Hi Baher,

I'm not sure, but isn't Authonomy about peers voting for work? The submitted piece with the most votes from other members of the site get seen by an editor. I would imagine that lends itself to a popularity contest. I don't know the site personally, however, and I know how gossip multiplies, so it might be worth checking out directly with someone who has used the site!


Bev Morley said...

Hello everyone.

I have a question which I am guessing could be answered differently by every other writer, but could really do with hearing what has to be said on the subject...

The question is on the subject of time. Time, that is, for writing.

It is only in recent months that I have taken the plunge into "full time" writing - with some minor successes - and a lot of frustrations!

I consider my available time for writing to be Tuesdays to Fridays, from 9am to 3pm (the only time the house is quiet enough for me to write). The world and the laundry basket, however, seem desperate to conspire against me! My family see no difference in my "routine" as I am still at home, therefore lists of things I can do to fill my day still find their way onto the fridge door - a hazard, I suppose, of being a home based writer.

I would love to know how other writers manage their time, especially with the demands of family life still very much in the fore.