A simple concept, and a straightforward process. You're a writer with a polished MS, they're a publisher with a list to fill. You send them your MS, they read it then let you know.
It seems a long time ago now, but when the scheme launched in 2005 it prompted Hari Kunzru, author of The Impressionist, to describe the scheme as the Ryanair of publishing.
To read WriteWords's interview with Macmillan New Writing's editor, Will Atkins, go here.
And, if you're really interested you could seek out Mike Barnard's book on the scheme.
And writer Faye L. Booth gives an illuminating account of her experience with Macmillan New Writing on the Hags, Harlots, Heroines website.
I am surprised and not surprised more publishers have not explored this route. Surprised because it seems an all-round win-win scenario:
- Writers - reduced decision time
- Editors - direct access to writers and a much wider range of material
From the outside looking in one of the attractive features of the scheme is that it seems to have fostered a camaraderie among its writers and, if interested, you may want to visit the group blog before submitting your work.
If you live in the US, then you might not think that Macmillan New Writing would be interested in you. But you'd be wrong. Go check out Tomorrowville.
In 2006 I submitted an earlier version of my novel. About four weeks later I received an e-mail telling me I had sent a zipped or compressed file which couldn't be opened. Odd, I didn't then know how to create a compressed file. I think the problem arose because I'd created the file in an early version of OpenOffice and Macmillan could only accept .docs. I converted the text to Word, using OpenOffice's onboard file converter, intending to re-send, but the resulting text was a right old mish-mash, way beyond re-formatting. (The most recent version of OpenOffice Write features a much more reliable converter). I haven't yet re-sent.
It's encouraging to see a UK publisher embrace e-working but disappointing to find they only embrace the Microsoft version of e-working.
Now the novelty has worn off, and things have calmed down, I think Macmillan New Writing has proved itself a useful ally to debut writers.
Have you checked it out yet?