If I could offer any emerging author one piece of advice – if you can, get a mentor!
I wouldn’t have been published at all (I say humbly) if it wasn’t for the Australian Horror Writers Association’s mentor program in 2009. My mentor Brett McBean, a well-known horror author from Melbourne put up with me and my writing for several months, but it was his tireless efforts and advice which helped me find publication with Torment and The Noctuary in 2011.
I recently found my application submission letter to the mentor program. Here it is here:
Ever since I was a teenager I have told stories. From writing and drawing my own comic books to self-publishing little A5-sized photocopied novellas, I have always had a passion for creating my own worlds and characters and sharing them with people.
I haven’t had the grand success that I am after yet, but I am chasing that dream – the dream of seeing my name on the front cover of a thick tome, filled with the words and sentences I wrote.
I hope that the AHWA’s Mentor Program can help me achieve that dream. I know that I am not quite publishable yet, but I know that I want to hone my storytelling into written word of publishable standard. To have someone, who has already achieved that dream to guide me, would be invaluable.
I have many stories that I want to share with the world and if a mentor can help me, even with some simple editorial advice, then I would be indebted to them.
Editorial guidance is something that is lacking in the publishing industry and frankly it has always hindered me in my efforts to be a professional writer. So I was very happy when I read that the AHWA has a mentor program.
If I am not accepted I am not going to let it get me down, instead I’ll just get back to that keyboard and telling stories, even if I am the only one who reads them.
I don’t want to waffle on, so I’ll let my writing speak for me.
Thank you for considering my application.
I’m not saying it helped me get my foot in the door, but I think what I have accomplished since, provides proof of the value and success of the mentor program.
Now, once more the very good people at the AHWA are hosting the program and there are some terrific mentors that new authors could have the opportunity to work with:
David Conyers is an Australian science fiction and occasional horror author residing in Adelaide. With John Sunseri he is the co-author of the Lovecraftian spy thriller collection The Spiraling Worm and the author of the sequel novella The Eye of Infinity. He is the editor of the anthology Cthulhu’s Dark Cults, with Brian M. Sammons the editor of Cthulhu Unbound 3, with David Kernot and Jason Fischer the editor ofMidnight Echo 6: The Science Fiction Horror Special, and a contributing editor for Albedo One, Ireland’s longest running magazine of speculative fiction.
David’s short fiction has appeared in various magazines including Jupiter, Book of Dark Wisdom, Midnight Echo, Innsmouth Free Press and Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. He has also appeared in over a dozen anthologies including Monstrous,Through the Wormhole, Cthulhu Unbound 2, Best New Tales of the Apocalypse, Horrors Beyond, Award Winning Australian Writing 2008, Scenes from the Second Storey, Macabre,and The Black Book of Horror.
He has been nominated for several awards including the Aeon, Aurealis, Ditmar and Australian Shadows, recently made the preliminary ballot in the Bram Stoker Awards, and has won both the Australian Horror Writers Association’s Flash Fiction and Short Story Awards.
Kaaron Warren sold her first story at 28, and has sold close to a hundred stories since then. Her first short story collection, The Grinding House won two Ditmar Awards and the ACT Writers and Publishers Award. Her second collection, Dead Sea Fruit, also won that award. Her third collection, Through Splintered Walls, was published this year.
She has three award-winning and nominated novels in print through Angry Robot.
She will be special guest at Natcon in 2013, based in Canberra.
Jason Fischer lives near Adelaide, South Australia, with his wife and son. His fiction has been described by reviewers as “strikingly original” and “weirdly imaginative”, while noted for containing “greasier genre elements”. Jason has a passion for godawful puns, and is known to sing karaoke until the small hours.
Jason attended the Clarion South writers workshop in 2007, and has been shortlisted in the Aurealis Awards, the Ditmar Awards, and the Australian Shadows Awards. He won the 2009 AHWA Short Story and the 2010 AHWA Flash Fiction Competitions, and is a winner of the Writers of the Future contest.
He is the author of over thirty short stories, with his first collection appearing soon from Ticonderoga Publications. His “After The World” series of zombie-apocalypse novellas are available from Black House Comics.
Cameron has been working in the film and television industry for over ten years, with a background in professional writing and editing focusing on screenwriting.
Over the last four years Cameron has worked with Greg Mclean (Wolf Creek) as an in house directors assistant in a developmental and analysis role, giving him access to some of the best horror scripts in Hollywood.
He was also directors assistant to SFX Makeup specialist, Justin Dix on his debut Sci-Fi Horror feature, ‘Crawlspace’ (currently screening at the Cannes Film Festival) and has script-edited and written for a number of other projects across various mediums.
Winner of the British Fantasy Award for Best Newcomer, D’Lacey is best known for his shocking eco-horror novel MEAT. The book has been widely translated and prompted Stephen King to say “Joseph D’Lacey rocks!” Other titles include Garbage Man, The Kill Crew, Snake Eyes, The Failing Flesh and, forthcoming, Blood Fugue.
Gregory Lamberson is an award winning filmmaker and author who specializes in the horror genre. He is best known for his films ‘Slime City’ (1988) and its sequel, ‘Slime City Massacre (2010)’, as well as his ongoing occult detectives series of novels The Jake Helman Files, which so far includes ‘Personal Demons’ (2009), ‘Desperate Souls’ (2010), ‘Cosmic Forces’ (2011), and ‘Tortured Spirits’. He is also the author of the werewolf series The Frenzy Cycle, which includes ‘The Frenzy Way’ (2010) and ‘The Frenzy War’ (2012). His other books include the novel Johnny Gruesome (2008) and novella Carnage Road (2012), as well as the instructional film making book Cheap Scares: Low Budget Horror Filmmakers Share Their Secrets. In 2012, Snow Shark: Ancient Snow Beast, which he produced, will be released on DVD, and Model Hunger, which he is producing and Debbie Rochon is directing, will go before the camera. His previous films ‘Undying Love’ (1992) and ‘Naked Fear’ (1999) are included in the 2-disc DVD “’Greg Lamberson’s Slime City Grindhouse Collection’.
If you aspire to be an author, be willing to admit that you might not be quite ready for publication and put your application in to the program. It might just be the very thing you need to make that aspiration a reality.