Okay, class. I'm sure we all recall, from previous lessons, that the purpose of the Macmillan New Writing imprint was to find new talent. You can't submit to Pan Macmillan, the parent, without benefit of an agent; but MNW would find new, most likely unagented talent, and in the longer term funnel these talents into the Pan Macmillan fold. Perhaps they would remain unagented; perhaps they would acquire an agent; but the presumption was that they would pass on to Pan Macmillan at some point.
Initially the theory was that the first book would be with MNW, and then the second would move to Pan Mac, but this was amended early on to read that the first two would be with MNW.
The bit that's a little unclear is: What happens after that second book?
Okay, there's Brian McGilloway. who signed for three more books in his series with Pan Macmillan (and a canny move on Pan Mac's part, I would say); but that's a series. What about those who've completed their two MNW books (or even one MNW book and a refusal under right of first refusal)? Do they get a "Legal to Submit to Pan Macmillan Without an Agent" card? And, if so, do they get a chart of who the editors inside Pan Mac are?
Or is it expected that at this point they probably get agents? (Ssome--Roger and Aliya, offhand--already have them, and some of us have already had and divorced one or two.)
In the days of legend (that is, all of a few decades ago), writers tended to stay with their publisher (one reason agents had less clout). And, if I understand the scheme as envisioned by Mike Barnard, one of the goals of the MNW scheme was to take a step back into the past, where writers were discovered by the publisher, and effectively formed a long-term alliance with the publisher. But how does this work? Can writers, once published by MNW, submit their own manuscripts to Pan Macmillan? And if so, to whom? If instead we all have agents hawking our next manuscript, how does Pan Mac get any kind of preference? There seems to be a missing piece here.
Can someone--perhaps someone with two books at MNW (other than Brian, who signed a five book deal after one book, and thereby leapfrogged the process) enlighten me? Do you get an unlisted mailing address, or a secret decoder ring, or what?
(Lessee, two books...that would be Edward Charles, Michael Stephen Fuchs, and Aliya Whitely, I believe.)