Sunday, April 6, 2008

Writers Find New Route to Publishing via Creative Byline

Writers have a new way to get book manuscripts in front of interested editors after the December 2007 launch of Creative Byline, Inc., a new web-based service. Specially developed software helps writers target editors and track responses. The same software lets editors communicate what kinds of manuscripts they're looking for.

"It's not uncommon for writers to wait for months to hear a response after they send a manuscript off to an editor," says Creative Byline founder Brad MacLean. "And then what they often hear from that busy editor is just 'no thanks.' I had to believe that with technology and the internet, there could be a more satisfying experience."

The first response a writer receives from Creative Byline is from one of the company's own readers, who review submissions to make sure they're ready to be reviewed by an editor. While not a complete and detailed critique of manuscripts, the review gives the writer enough information to complete or polish his or her work. "Writers have heard back from our readers in two or three days," MacLean says.

The writer can search the Creative Byline site for editors with specific interest in their genre. Once a manuscript, approved by Creative Byline's first reader, is submitted to an editor, Creative Byline guarantees that editor will review the manuscript within three weeks--or the writer can select another editor. The Creative Byline review and submission to an editor costs $19 for full-length manuscripts and $9 for children's picture books.

The Creative Byline website also contains helpful instructions for writers putting together a submission package, as well as links to resources that will help them develop their writing craft--or plan their next writing project.

Three well-known publishers have already signed on to Creative Byline: Dutton Children's Books, St. Martin's Press, and Tor/Forge. "They clearly see benefits for their editors," MacLean says, "that make it worthwhile to subscribe as publishing houses." Among the benefits are Creative Byline's assurance that projects are truly ready for an editor's review and the ability for editors to explore writers in new genres as the market's appetites change. The company is actively working to engage additional publishing clients.

MacLean was introduced to the publishing industry by his wife, Christine Kole MacLean. Having published half a dozen books for children and young adults, she provided an ongoing case study in the frustrations of the traditional process and communication methods. With the problem clear, MacLean made use of his background as an executive with over 20 years of experience working for a Fortune 500 company.

Before launching, MacLean spent two years researching the industry, interviewing editors, heads of publishing conglomerates, and writers. "I was sure it could be done better and faster," he says.


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