Liz Foster on the steps she took to get published

Liz Foster always imagined being a published author one day. She says: “Imagine being the key word there.” But it was while doing courses through the Australian Writers' Centre that she learned the difference between writing well and writing well for an audience.

“I literally would be nowhere without AWC’s courses,” Liz told us. 

And Liz has most certainly arrived, with the publication of her debut novel The Good Woman’s Guide to Making Better Choices out now with Affirm Press.

A catalyst for change

Although she worked as a communications manager, being a published author hadn’t been part of Liz’s plan. She had reached a point in her life where her two daughters were in high school and she was looking forward to having extra time to take on the world. However, she was then diagnosed with breast cancer.

“Needless to say it was a huge comedown,” Liz says. “Among the mouse wheel of treatment plans and recovery, I mourned the loss of myself. My doctor told me that my job was now my health. Well, I thought, I didn’t apply for that!

“While recovering I had a lot of time on my hands and was no doubt testing my loved one’s patience as I moaned non-stop. In the end, my lovely husband said in exasperation, ‘Look, I know you don’t want it but you’ve been gifted this time. Do something with it! Write a book!’ I thought that was a great idea.”

Liz started sketching out plots and characters during her daily trips to the coffee shop.

“It opened up a world of possibility and took my brain to new positive places as well as providing mental stimulation. I applied for the Write Your Novel course which required the first 20,000 words, so that was the impetus to get my first 20,000 words done! Bernadette Foley was wonderful and I wrote my first novel. It didn’t get anywhere but it got me somewhere – on the road to being an author.”

Following that course, Liz went on to complete another 17 courses with the Australian Writers' Centre, covering everything from Scrivener to our Fiction Essentials series and Inside Publishing. We asked Liz what she found most useful from doing all those courses.

“Understanding that being a good writer is not enough. You need to know the trigger points for engaging readers, planting plot points, planning structure, editing, pitching – you name it. And you need persistence! And dedication.”

A clear path

Originally, Liz intended to self-publish, but that changed after she met up with a fellow AWC alumna.

“My objective has never been fame and fortune, but just to connect with readers. I became friends with the lovely Joanna Nell, a fellow AWC alumna and published author, at the AWC Vivid event. She’s been an incredible source of support and guidance and she suggested I keep chipping away with traditional publishers because ‘you may not get there if you do, but you definitely won’t if you give up.’ So I did. And now Jo has endorsed my book and is launching it with me!”

Liz’s debut novel, The Good Woman’s Guide to Making Better Choices, follows Libby Popovic, a country girl who’s now living a golden life in Bondi with her confident financier husband Ludo and their two children. When Ludo is jailed for financial fraud – but his business partner, Maya, gets away scot-free – and Libby’s friends and family lose tens of thousands of dollars as a result,  she feels agonisingly complicit for hosting the final investor pitch in their home. Matters go from atrocious to worse when her belongings and home are repossessed, Libby is sacked and a priceless family heirloom is wrecked. While camping out at the rural goat farm where she was raised, Libby is forced to re-evaluate her life choices. How will she crawl out of financial ruin? Was Maya more than a business partner to her husband? And, most importantly, how will she save her family from falling apart?

Liz met her agent Fiona Johnson at an event and sent her the manuscript. Two months later, Fiona called with a query from Kelly Doust, a publisher from Affirm Press.

“I remember thinking, oh at least someone’s reading it! Then Kelly reached out directly and invited me to lunch to talk about my ‘wonderful’ book. Wait, what? I was very sceptical and not in the least hopeful because my hopes had been dashed too many times before,” Liz recalls. “We had a nice lunch, then two days of back and forth developing her pitch document for the publishing team. Before they even had their weekly meeting she’d emailed me an offer with full terms and advance. It was after ten o’clock and we’d just come home from dinner. I stared at the email on my phone and couldn’t make sense of it. All the letters rose before my eyes like alphabetti spaghetti!”

Liz is still working two days a week as a General Manager of Communications for an aged care facility but writes the rest of the time either at home or her local library. Writing is very much a family affair as she frequently workshops ideas with her husband and daughters. She still finds the courses she completed useful and recommends them to writers of all levels.

“They are all superb. Certainly, start with Creative Writing Stage 1 if you’ve never done a course before to dip your toe in. For writers who’ve got some work under their belt, you can’t go past any of the Fiction Essentials courses (I still use all of mine). Pitch Your Novel and 2 Hours to Scrivener Power were invaluable.”

Courses completed at AWC:

Browse posts by category
Browse posts by category

Courses starting soon


Nice one! You've added this to your cart