Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ebooks and authors’ rewards

New guidance on ebooks published in the latest issue of The Author

Ebooks and authors’ rewards

Members will be aware that sales of ebooks in the UK are said to be increasing rapidly, although they still account for only a small proportion of publishers’ turnover. The launch of Amazon’s Kindle, already the dominant ebook reader in the USA, is expected to expand the market considerably. Experts predict that sales of digital products are going to rise fast, but forecasts of where the market will be in a year’s time, let alone 10, vary hugely.

The major publishers have invested heavily in establishing their digital infrastructure and ebook lists. Conscious of their large write-offs, they have been negotiating very firmly with authors and their agents over ebook royalties. At present trade publishers tend to insist on royalties between 15 and 25% of their receipts (not the retail price). Authors writing for academic, educational and specialist non-fiction publishers will find that they are frequently stuck with even less.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Next Meeting: January 14 at 7pm

Meeting: January 14, 7pm

Owl's Nest Books, 815A 49 Ave SW, Calgary
Drop-in fee $5.

Presentation begins: about 7:20.

The speaker will be:

Cpl. Lloyd SCHOEPP
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Commercial Crime Section
International Anti-Corruption Unit

He will talk to us about white collar crime, including his work in the International Anti-Corruption Unit and criminal activity in the business and securities communities. The RCMP investigates major fraud; scams; counterfeiting; identity theft; and other commercial crimes.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Postcard Perps 2010: Fatal Family Reunion

Postcard Perps 2010: Fatal Family Reunion

A Members-Only Short Mystery Fiction Contest

Old Ebenezer is making his will at last, and he wants one more look at all his descendents before picking his main beneficiary. Eccentric uncles, outrageous aunts, cussing cousins and a few obnoxious in-laws are gathered at a guest ranch for the first family reunion in forty years. Mix a bit of brotherly loathing and some seething sisters-in-law with plenty of plain old greed, and one or more of them will not survive the weekend. Your narrator might be a family member or an outsider, a do-gooding sleuth or a villain in mild-mannered disguise. Surprise us. Who dies, how, and why?

The Rules:

1. The annual Postcard Perps contest is open only to members of Mystery Writers Ink.

2. All submissions start with the above scenario. Don’t waste words repeating it; it only exists to set the scene for you.

3. Submissions may be written in any tense and from any point of view.

4. All submissions must be between 600 and 800 words. Every word counts.

5. All submissions must be typed in Courier or Times New Roman 12-point font, double-spaced, on one side of the page only, with indents beginning a new paragraph. Do not leave an extra line between paragraphs.

6. Include a separate cover sheet with the entry’s title, word count and author’s contact information. Only the title and page number can appear in the header. The author’s name must not appear anywhere else on the manuscript.

7. All submissions must be received by 10 pm February 11, 2009 (the February Ink meeting) either by hand to Pamela McDowell or Jayne Barnard or by e-mail to (please put “Ink Postcard Perps” in the subject line).

The Judging:
Entries will be judged by a panel of previous contest winners and coordinators.

The Prizes:

First prize $40, second prize MWI logo merchandise. Authors of any entries selected for publication in the newsletter will receive a one-time publication fee of $10.

8 weeks to the Debut Dagger Deadline

For complete contest details, see

Are you entering your first chapter and synopsis? Wondering how it will stand up to the competitors?

Some quotes to help & inspire you, from Debut Dagger Bulletin No. 8:

Canadian thriller author Rick Mofina:

"Tension stripped bare is mental strain or excitement while suspense is anxiety over uncertainty of what’s to come....Who wants what from whom? What happens if they don't get it? Why now?"

British author Ariana Franklin, whose first book, Mistress of the Art of Death, won the CWA Ellis Peters Award 2007 and the Macavity Historical Award 2008:

"We need to grab our readers by the whatsits at the beginning, tempting them on with a literary version of a ghastly finger beckoning them from the traditional creaking door."

"Once you’re an established author and your readers trust that you’re eventually going to frighten the life out of them, you can get away with dallying -- but not when you’re making your debut."

Monday, December 7, 2009



The WGA is now accepting submissions for the 2010 Alberta Literary Competitions. New for 2010, the WGA is proud to introduce the James H. Gray Award for Short Nonfiction, and to increase the essay and short story prizes to $700!

The Alberta Literary Awards were created by the Writers Guild of Alberta in 1982 to recognize excellence in writing by Alberta authors. Entries are judged by an independent jury recruited by the WGA. Submissions are evaluated on originality, creativity, and quality of writing, as well as appropriate fit within a category.

Prizes of $1500 are awarded in the following categories:
•R. Ross Annett Award for Children's Literature (chapter books)
•Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction
•Wilfred Eggleston Award for Non-Fiction
•Gwen Pharis Ringwood Award for Drama
•Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry

Prizes of $700 are awarded in the following categories:
•Amber Bowerman Memorial Travel Writing Award (non-published)
•Howard O'Hagan Award for Short Story (published)
•*NEW* James H. Gray Award for Short Nonfiction (published and non-published)
•Jon Whyte Memorial Essay Prize (published and non-published)

The WGA is also administering the following awards for 2010:
•The City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize ($5000 prize)
•The City of Edmonton Book Prize ($2000 prize)

For the 2010 submission guidelines for all the awards, please visit

The postmark deadline for all awards is December 31, 2009.