2013 writing roundup

29 December 2013 / 2 comments
So this year, I’ve moved up a gear with my writing, stealing time wherever I can to write, revise or research. I wake at 5am every morning and get a good two hours in before the kids wake up. I’ve also negotiated a couple of hours in the evenings some nights. I’m getting at least 15 hours a week to write, which is almost two working days, and two hour spurts at a time is about as much as I can work productively, in any case, before my mind starts drifting …

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Children’s publishers accepting unsolicited manuscripts

4 November 2013 / 2 comments
I promised a while back to put together a list of children's publishers currently accepting unsolicited manuscripts. Here it is ... and I'll be adding to it over time ...

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Bookkus Publishing update

27 October 2013 / Leave a Comment
Last year Bookkus Publishing launched with a unique publishing model where a community of readers select the books that Bookkus will publish. I caught up with the founder William Yatscoff to find out how it was all going ...

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Actually, I can book launch

8 August 2013 / Leave a Comment

Last Saturday it was lovely to go along to the launch of Actually, I can, the third book by Nicky Johnston that aims to help children who are experiencing anxiety. The launch was held at Frankston Library and attracted a large crowd. Current CEO of World Vision Australia, Tim Costello gave a heartfelt speech about how reading books with children or grandchildren is all about relationships and showing them that you care.

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Indie book a month - Actually, I can

29 July 2013 / 2 comments

Actually, I can is Nicky Johnston’s third book that helps children deal with anxiety, following on from Go Away, Mr Worrythoughts! and Happythoughts are everywhere ….  Nicky is the author and illustrator and self-published the first two books, but this new picture book Actually, I can has been published by Melbourne small press Rough Draft.

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Writing update ...

17 June 2013 / 4 comments
I've been absent from the blogosphere for a number of weeks now, haven't so much as checked a blog stat or tweeted. And I must confess that I haven't read an indie book this month ... but I plan to catch up again. I've been in shut down mode, trying to bang out a first draft of a new manuscript, currently titled 'The war artist and the half-dead beauty'. After a number of early mornings, an hour or two here or there, I've managed a rather sketchy first draft in 6 or 7 weeks and am feeling good about it (about 30,000 words). But it's time to put it on ice and get back to all the things that I've neglected recently.

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Carina UK

27 May 2013 / 3 comments

Harlequin UK, of Mills & Boon fame, have launched a brand new digital imprint Carina. According to their website, ‘Carina will consider ALL genres of writing. What matters to us is that you tell a great story! No matter the genre, the style, the format – if it’s a novel, novella, serial or series – we want to hear from fresh voices across the storytelling world. In addition, due to rapidly expanding digital markets in the UK, South Africa and India, we’d especially love to hear from authors from those territories.’ I contacted Carina to find out more …

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Indie book a month - Fall on me

1 May 2013 / Leave a Comment
Fall on me Nigel Featherstone book review

Fall on me is a novella by Nigel Featherstone, published by Canberra-based Blemish Books. I was intrigued with the blurb ‘… when Luke, an intelligent, provocative teenager, decides to risk all by making his body the focus of an art installation, Lou is forced to revisit the dark secrets of his past, question what it means to be a good father, and discover that there's more love in his life than he could ever have imagined.’

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The Rejection Generator Project

29 April 2013 / 2 comments
Last year I came across The Stoneslide Corrective's Rejection Generator Project. It's a cleverly devised tool to help writers deal with rejection before an editor looks at a submission. The more rejections you receive, the more you increase your pain threshold. If you use the Rejection Generator Project often enough, you can build up RI, otherwise known as Rejection Immunity.

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26 April 2013 / Leave a Comment

Exciting news, in June 2013 Little, Brown Book Group will launch the first digital literary imprint from a major UK publisher. The Blackfriars website will feature a ‘reader recommends’ function where the general public can suggest their favourite unpublished writers. I contacted Blackfriars to find out more ...

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Manuscript assessments - Kirstie Innes-Will

15 April 2013 / 3 comments

If you are serious about your manuscript, I highly recommend commissioning a professional manuscript assessment. I have had two manuscript assessments done and each time I have received 5 or 6 pages of carefully considered notes that have made me think more deeply about my own work. Friends and family make fantastic readers, but once you get your manuscript to a certain point it is worth engaging a professional to help you take it to the next level. I asked manuscript assessor Kirstie Innes-Will more about commissioning a professional manuscript appraisal ...

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Publishers publishing novellas

29 March 2013 / 7 comments
So it's looking like my latest work in progress Unfit for motherhood is going to be a novella. Hovering at around 30,000 words, it's not quite as long as I would like it to be. But do I expand it for the sake of a word count? Or do I accept that the story dictates the form?

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Small press pop quiz - Blemish Books

26 March 2013 / 3 comments

What makes Blemish Books different to other publishers?
I think Blemish Books shares the same vision as many independent publishers in Australia - we want to publish writing that is innovative, new and exciting. We want to give new and emerging writers a chance, and also publish writers of genres and styles that are more frequently overlooked by mainstream, commercial publishers. For Blemish Books publishing books is about being involved in an ongoing and evolving conversation about literature in Australia. The most important aspect of that conversation is that the voices are varied and diverse.

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New Frontier Publishing - Author submissions pack

14 March 2013 / 4 comments
Last year, I had a light bulb moment, where I thought imagine if a small press makes writers who want to submit their work to them somehow purchase one or two books from their list. This would do a couple of things, namely: make the writer more familiar with the books on their list, and the writing style of those authors already published and it would financially help to support the publisher's list.

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Small press pop quiz - Soho Press

13 March 2013 / 2 comments
What makes Soho Press different to other publishers?
Like most independent presses, Soho is able to publish edgy or out-of-the box fiction (under our eponymous literary imprint, Soho Press) that larger houses may not be inclined to take on. But our longest running imprint, Soho Crime, publishes international crime series. So we have an excellent blend of the commercial and literary taste in-house. We all love to read it all. Plus we just launched a young adult list, under the imprint Soho Teen. So while we’re independent, we’re certainly not small. We just analyzed our last few years and the numbers astounded: 96% growth in sales from 2010 to 2012.

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Indie book a month - The Rosie Project

12 March 2013 / 2 comments
The Rosie Project Graeme Simsion book review

There has been a lot of hype surrounding Graeme Simsion's debut The Rosie Project. Originally written as a screenplay, 5 years later Graeme rewrote it as a book. He went on to win the Victorian Premier's Award for an unpublished manuscript, was quickly snapped up by Text Publishing and has now had the book sold into more than 33 countries. But the real prize, I suspect for Graeme, is that people are now contacting him wanting to make The Rosie Project into a film. 

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A team of readers

3 March 2013 / 1 comment
I like systems. At work, when the designer presents her first design for the brochure, say, I know exactly who to show it to. I know whose eyes need to see it and what kind of feedback and corrections I am seeking.

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Small press pop quiz - Black Inc.

26 February 2013 / 2 comments

What makes Black Inc. different to other publishers?
I think being small and completely independent gives us the freedom and flexibility to publish really current and exciting titles. Titles that some bigger publishers may find too risky or not easily marketable.

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Small press pop quiz - Rough Draft

25 February 2013 / 1 comment

What kind of manuscripts are you looking for?
Good ones! I know that’s not much help, but we don’t really have a formula or genre. I can’t say we do romance or sci fi or crime. I try to find high-quality books and authors we can work with. I know what a Rough Draft book is when I see it. We’ve only done non-fiction so far, but we do accept fiction submissions as well and we’ll publish a novel when we find the right one. Another advantage of a small press is there’s no pressure to publish a certain number of books each year; when we find a book we like we publish it.

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Small press pop quiz - Dzanc Books

20 February 2013 / 2 comments

What makes Dzanc Books different to other publishers?  
We are concerned solely with the quality of the writing. If a book is great we want to publish it. We do not look at the bottom line of marketability first. We look solely at the book and how well it is written. Dzanc is not only a great print publisher but our ebook series - rEprint - has set the standard in the industry for publishing past works of great fiction and nonfiction in ebook form. We also have several imprints. We are very supportive of other independent presses and journals. We fund and publish The Collagist and Absinthe literary reviews. Finally, we are also very much devoted to community work and provide many programs for free to schools and community outreach facilities.

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Small press pop quiz - Pantera Press

19 February 2013 / 2 comments

What makes Pantera Press different to other publishers?
Uniquely our focus is on previously unpublished Australian authors (predominantly writing commercial fiction). We are actively seeking to find and develop the next generation of Australia's best-loved authors. We think that there is some great writing talent in Australia, and it is important that we find it, support it and share it!

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No more junk for the mind

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The other night I broke one of my accupuncturist's rules. 'People with your condition must get at least 8 hours sleep,' he is known to say to me. So I try my hardest to get my 8 hours of sleep a night, give or take an hour here and there when one child decides to wake up at an unfortunate time. But the other night, it was my fault, I sat on the couch, way past my bedtime, watching a double episode of a reality TV show. In the morning I felt guilty and gross, like I'd just eaten a cheeseburger and fries, and I wondered why I'd done that to my mind and body.

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First draft

29 January 2013 / 3 comments
So, just now I've completed a first draft of a new novel, and I'm feeling rather proud of myself. Of course, there is a lot of work to be done, and for me writing is far easier and enjoyable than the rewriting, but it's a fair start.

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Indie book a month - Things We Didn't See Coming

23 January 2013 / 2 comments
Things we didn't see coming Steven Amsterdam book review

Steven Amsterdam's Things We Didn't See Coming was published by Sleepers Publishing in Melbourne in 2009. Shortly afterwards, it was added to the VCE English reading list for senior high school students, securing a captive audience, and hopefully opening the eyes of a number of students who otherwise may never have read a book like this.

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Indie book a month - The Festival of Earthly Delights

9 January 2013 / 2 comments

I really wanted to love this book. The author looks likes a character from a lovable indie film, the title was engaging, the cover splashed with exotic intrigue and the blurb was promising. Call me superficial, but what really hooked me was the wide-eyed girl from Flight of the Conchords' quote saying that 'Boyd Darrow is as poetically drawn as J.D. Salinger's Holden Caulfield...'

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