Loading Events

Publishing Bootcamp with Sophie Masson

Historical novels, both for adults and children, have become an increasingly popular genre with readers. And writers are responding, with many historical novels being written in Australia, as the volume of entries for the Historical Novel Prize attests. But what does the market for historical novels look like in this country? What are publishers looking for? How do they make their decisions? How can you best attract the attention of a publisher with your historical novel? And what pitfalls do you need to avoid throughout the process?

This all-day bootcamp features overview presentations, practical information and hands-on exercises to give you a strong understanding how and why historical novels are published, what you can do to help increase your chance of getting a publisher interested in your work, and how to work with the publishing team after your book is accepted. From synopses and queries to pitching and submitting, from assessing manuscripts to commissioning and editing books and taking part in book production, multi-award winning author and acclaimed small-press publisher Sophie Masson has seen it all from both sides of the table: the writer’s and the publisher’s, and in this workshop participants will gain invaluable insights into how it all works.

Class Outline

9.00am-9.15am: Introductions/ general remarks

9.15am—10.30am: Overview presentation, with Q and A segment, about the historical novel market in Australia, both for adults and children: what does it look like, how has it diversified over the last ten years, what are the successes and constraints of the genre (and sub-genres within it, such as historical crime, historical fantasy, historical romance, etc).

10.30am —11am: Before publication, part 1: What are Australian publishers looking for in historical novels, both for adults and children? (short presentation with Q and A segment)

11.00am —11.15am: Tea/coffee break

11.15am—12.30pm: Before publication, part 2: Synopses, query letters, submissions and pitches: how to attract publishers’ attention: presentation plus hands on exercise creating a sample pitch/submission for an imaginary novel.

12.30pm—1.00pm: Sharing of sample work and discussion

1.00pm—1.45pm: Lunch

1.45pm—2.30pm: Presentation plus Q and A: How publishers work: Gain an insight into how a novel is acquired by a publisher; find out what happens at acquisition meetings; learn about the work that goes on behind the scenes

2.30pm—3.30pm: Hands-on activity, following on from the morning’s hands-on activity, putting participants in the publisher’s shoes, to discuss the creation and production of an imaginary novel, from acquisition to it landing in the shops. There will be a handout (commissioning document) for this activity.

3.30pm—3.45pm: Tea/coffee break

3.45pm—4.15pm: Authors and publishers in it together: how to work effectively with the publishing team producing your novel (presentation and Q and A)

4.15pm—4.30pm: Final remarks and questions

About Sophie Masson

Born in Indonesia of French parents Sophie Masson AM is the award-winning author of over 70 books, for children, young adults and adults, many of which are in the historical novel genre. These include the bestselling award-winner The Hunt for Ned Kelly (Scholastic Australia, children’s) and the genre-bending Forest of Dreams(Penguin/Random House, adult). Forthcoming in 2022 is Sydney under Attack(Scholastic Australia, children’s) Sophie is also a founding partner and publishing director of award-winning small publisher, Christmas Press, a children’s/YA specialist, which has published historical novels for children, by established and emerging authors, under its Eagle Books imprint. For more information:




Latest news & interviews


Join the HNSA Community

Our foundation partner

Our partner

Historical Novel Society

Our Sponsors

HNSA Newsletter Updates

Subscribe to our newsletter for interviews, reviews, news and more!