On Writing

Writers, editors, agents, publishers and more share their thoughts, experiences and stories.

If I had a dollar for every person who has approached us saying, ‘So, I have this really great blog that gets up to X amount of hits per day and now I want a book deal,’ I’d be a rich woman. It’s the new big thing – EVERYONE has a blog and now EVERYONE wants a book to accompany their blog.

Are you hoping to find a publisher for your manuscript? Or considering self-publishing? An editor can help you improve your writing and get it ready for submission or publication. A good editor is like a great coach – they will inform, encourage and inspire you to make your writing the best it can be.

‘Writing a picture book is like writing “War and Peace” in Haiku.’ – Mem Fox

‘Social media does not constitute a marketing plan.’

- Judith Curr, President and Publisher of the Atria Publishing Group.

Many Australian publishers now have a direct-to-digital imprint, whether for genre fiction, such as the romance imprints: Escape (Harlequin), Destiny (Penguin Random House), or HarperImpulse (HarperCollins). Other companies such as Momentum (Pan Macmillan) and Xoum publish almost exclusively in digital format across a range of genre and age groups.

Advice for new writers of novels:

Some geniuses write alone. Without a single word of encouragement or criticism, these annoyingly self-motivated authors emerge with a fully formed masterpiece ready for publication. For the rest of us, being part of a community of other writers helps us polish our work and find new publishing opportunities – not to mention helping us maintain sanity in a world where words are cheap and writers are seen as financial fools in the thrall of some ridiculous bohemian mythology.

Some of Australia’s most remarkable and inspiring stories stem from true life. Told in voices plain, ornate, and everything in between, first-person accounts serve many purposes and begin from diverse places. A great number of successful books are sparked by the writer’s curiosity about a detail of family, which has always been puzzling or unspoken: a gap in the records. Others explore a powerful and cherished relationship. Yet others stem from a profound bond with place. And some stories arise from a terrible loss or tragedy.

I begin every talk I ever give – no matter what the subject – by telling people they need to have something worth selling. It applies to agents, publishers, and authors. The best description of something worth selling is: a good story, well told. This applies to fiction, narrative non-fiction and children’s books.

Do you have a manuscript in your ‘bottom drawer’? One that you promised yourself that you would finish, polish, and get out to agents and/or publishers this year?

Now it’s October. . . The year is almost over and you’re keen to make good on that New Year’s resolution and get it onto someone’s desk before midnight this New Year’s Eve.


Could there be a better time to make your submission?

on the left, Graeme Simsion; on the right, Paddy O'Reilly

Graeme Simsion and Paddy O’Reilly will be discussing their distinct approaches to writing at our inaugural Plotters Vs Pantsers debate.

They spoke to Program Intern Kate Steele about plotting and flying by the seat of your pants.