Ask Valerie: Letters to the editor…

I’m starting out in freelance writing for magazines and newspapers, and it’s very frustrating to spend so long working on a pitch only to have a negative response from the editor or, worse still, nothing at all! This is particularly frustrating if I’ve spent the time researching the publication, finding a relevant hook, gathering information and stats, and putting effort into collating the information into a succinct pitch.

Of course, I know editors won’t commission every pitch they receive but is this something that we just need to get used to? Or is it simply a matter of honing our pitching skills which can only come with time?

Read More

Getting Published: What are my options?

Blaise van Hecke is the publisher and co-owner of Busybird Publishing. She is also the author of The Book Book: 12 Steps to Successful Publishing and a contributing author to Self-Made: Real Australian Business Stories. For more information visit www.busybird.com.au or contact [email protected]

It wasn’t long ago that if you wanted to be published, there was only one route: submitting to what’s known as a commercial (aka ‘traditional’) publisher. Of course, this was during an age where you banged out your work on a typewriter and had to mail out submissions. After all, this was before computers became as common to households as toasters.

Then vanity publishing (now known as self-publishing) came into vogue, but it was an expensive endeavour and lacked credibility. If the book couldn’t make it with a real publisher, then it couldn’t be any good, could it?

Read More

Making a name for yourself: author trade marks

This is a guest post by Barry Newman of Armour IP – Patent & Trade Mark Attorneys. Barry wrote to us in response to a discussion about trade marks recently on our podcast.

Just a quick glance at the relative size of a bestselling author’s name compared with the title on a book cover will tell you that our names can be valuable commodities. But can an author register a trade mark for themselves? What about their book title? And what protection do they actually provide?

When it comes to creative endeavours such as writing, the rules surrounding Intellectual Property (IP) rights aren’t always black and white. To provide a little more clarity, we threw some quick questions across to Barry Newman, principal at Armour IP – patent and trade mark attorneys. They assist their clients in dealings with IP Australia and other government and international bodies.

Read More

Southern Highlands Writers’ Festival: "How to sell more books"

Last week was the Southern Highlands Writers’ Festival, held in Bowral. I was thrilled to speak on a panel on “How to Get Published”, along with fellow panellists Carol George (Commissioning Editor at Penguin Books) and Laura Greaves (author of Be My Baby). Moderated by journalist and author William Verity, he suggested that the title was a misnomer. After all, these days anyone can “get published” when you consider that self-publishing has become very easy and is also extremely affordable.

William said that the more pertinent issue is probably “How to Sell More Books” and that brings in a whole raft of questions about marketing your book and yourself. The bottom line is that you might have the best book in the world, but that’s a moot point if no one knows about it. It may as well be still sitting in your bottom drawer!

What followed was a lively discussion on what you need to do in order to give yourself the best chance at increasing your book sales – and thus the amount of your royalty cheque.

Read More

Confessions of a Qantas Flight Attendant

I was browsing through the bookshop inside the Qantas Lounge at Sydney Airport when I spotted this row of books in prime position, ready to be snapped up by travellers eager for an easy read on the plane.

It’s interesting that Qantas are so keen to show off the book, considering that this cheeky memoir is not just about what flight attendants get up to on the job, but is also a scathing account of what the author portrays as cost-cutting measures by an airline that has an uncaring attitude to its staff. Coupled with endless vignettes of high-flying fun, it’s also a unique take on Qantas’s human resources practices and its entry into (and exit from) different markets from 2001 to 2013.

Perhaps Qantas’s PR department hasn’t read it. Or perhaps they just have a fabulous sense of humour. Let’s hope it’s the latter.

Read More

I sent an unsolicited manuscript – and got published!

To get published these days you don’t just need an amazing book — you often also need an amazing and hardworking agent to go along with it.

But when Therese Creed wrote her first novel, Redstone Station, she submitted it to the first big publisher that would take her unsolicited manuscript. To her surprise, she received a formal offer on the book not long after.

Charlotte’s Creek is her second novel released by Allen & Unwin, and we sat down with Therese to chat about her love of writing and outback adventures.

Read More

Your short story could win you $2,000

The Australian Writers’ Centre posts awards and competitions which may be of interest to readers. However, this should not be taken as a sign of endorsement. Please do your own research when entering any awards or competitions listed mentioned on this site.

The 2014 Lane Cove Literary Award is now open, and Australian writers over 16 years of age are invited to submit unpublished works in the following categories…

Read More

Has your cat been published yet?

Spend a small amount of time online and you’re bound to come across a cute video of a cat playing a violin or ice skating. So perhaps it should come as no surprise that cats can be published authors, too.

Since Bailey Boat Cat first started his blog in 2012, his adventures have captured readers’ imaginations around the globe. And now, with help from his human companion Louise Kennedy, he has released his first book about life at sea. We sat down with Louise to chat about the journey from blog to book.

Your first post on the Bailey Boat Cat blog was in October 2012 – around the time Bailey was one year old. Where did the idea to create a blog around your cat’s adventures come from?

Read More

Have you suffered from GARGALESIS lately?

If so, fear not, you’re not alone. In fact, it would be quite difficult to be alone with this one. Despite its rather ominous-sounding title, ‘gargalesis’ is actually “heavy tickling, often resulting in laughter”. So it’s more than likely going to require at least two people to get a bad case of this condition.

And it has a sibling. To perform or receive a feathery ‘light tickling’ (and actually, sometimes they’re even worse) goes by the name, KNISMESIS. The names themselves have very scientific origins, coined in 1897 by a couple of psychologists clearly with too much time on their hands. As words, they’re pretty rare – confined usually to medical journals and smarty-pants know-it-all blogs.

Read More

Ask Valerie: Letters to the editor…

I’m starting out in freelance writing for magazines and newspapers, and it’s very frustrating to spend so long working on a pitch only to have a negative response from the editor or, worse still, nothing at all! This is particularly frustrating if I’ve spent the time researching the publication, finding a relevant hook, gathering information and stats, and putting effort into collating the information into a succinct pitch.

Of course, I know editors won’t commission every pitch they receive but is this something that we just need to get used to? Or is it simply a matter of honing our pitching skills which can only come with time?

Read More »

Q&A: There’s no need to obsess about it…

Each week, we take a look at a common confusions and ambiguities in the English language (that gives us about a century’s worth of material!) – making things easier through the power of friendly conversation. This week, we share an obsession of ours… Q: Hi Australian Writers’ Centre, I’m obsessed

Read More »

Getting Published: What are my options?

Blaise van Hecke is the publisher and co-owner of Busybird Publishing. She is also the author of The Book Book: 12 Steps to Successful Publishing and a contributing author to Self-Made: Real Australian Business Stories. For more information visit www.busybird.com.au or contact [email protected]

It wasn’t long ago that if you wanted to be published, there was only one route: submitting to what’s known as a commercial (aka ‘traditional’) publisher. Of course, this was during an age where you banged out your work on a typewriter and had to mail out submissions. After all, this was before computers became as common to households as toasters.

Then vanity publishing (now known as self-publishing) came into vogue, but it was an expensive endeavour and lacked credibility. If the book couldn’t make it with a real publisher, then it couldn’t be any good, could it?

Read More »

Making a name for yourself: author trade marks

This is a guest post by Barry Newman of Armour IP – Patent & Trade Mark Attorneys. Barry wrote to us in response to a discussion about trade marks recently on our podcast.

Just a quick glance at the relative size of a bestselling author’s name compared with the title on a book cover will tell you that our names can be valuable commodities. But can an author register a trade mark for themselves? What about their book title? And what protection do they actually provide?

When it comes to creative endeavours such as writing, the rules surrounding Intellectual Property (IP) rights aren’t always black and white. To provide a little more clarity, we threw some quick questions across to Barry Newman, principal at Armour IP – patent and trade mark attorneys. They assist their clients in dealings with IP Australia and other government and international bodies.

Read More »

Q&A: Centres around vs centres on?

Each week, we take a look at a common confusions and ambiguities in the English language (that gives us about a century’s worth of material!) – making things easier through the power of friendly conversation… This week, which phrase is correct? Q: Hi there – a friend of mine wrote

Read More »

"I got published!": Stephen Denham

We love hearing from our students no matter what they have to say, but when we hear of a student being published, we just want to shout it from the rooftops! We’re a little scared of heights, so we’ll go with a blog post instead. Stephen says: I am a

Read More »

“I got published!”: Lucille Wong

We love hearing from our students no matter what they have to say, but when we hear of a student being published, we just want to shout it from the rooftops! We’re a little scared of heights, so we’ll go with a blog post instead. Lucille says: I did the

Read More »

Southern Highlands Writers’ Festival: "How to sell more books"

Last week was the Southern Highlands Writers’ Festival, held in Bowral. I was thrilled to speak on a panel on “How to Get Published”, along with fellow panellists Carol George (Commissioning Editor at Penguin Books) and Laura Greaves (author of Be My Baby). Moderated by journalist and author William Verity, he suggested that the title was a misnomer. After all, these days anyone can “get published” when you consider that self-publishing has become very easy and is also extremely affordable.

William said that the more pertinent issue is probably “How to Sell More Books” and that brings in a whole raft of questions about marketing your book and yourself. The bottom line is that you might have the best book in the world, but that’s a moot point if no one knows about it. It may as well be still sitting in your bottom drawer!

What followed was a lively discussion on what you need to do in order to give yourself the best chance at increasing your book sales – and thus the amount of your royalty cheque.

Read More »

Confessions of a Qantas Flight Attendant

I was browsing through the bookshop inside the Qantas Lounge at Sydney Airport when I spotted this row of books in prime position, ready to be snapped up by travellers eager for an easy read on the plane.

It’s interesting that Qantas are so keen to show off the book, considering that this cheeky memoir is not just about what flight attendants get up to on the job, but is also a scathing account of what the author portrays as cost-cutting measures by an airline that has an uncaring attitude to its staff. Coupled with endless vignettes of high-flying fun, it’s also a unique take on Qantas’s human resources practices and its entry into (and exit from) different markets from 2001 to 2013.

Perhaps Qantas’s PR department hasn’t read it. Or perhaps they just have a fabulous sense of humour. Let’s hope it’s the latter.

Read More »

"I got published!": Libby Hakim

We love hearing from our students no matter what they have to say, but when we hear of a student being published, we just want to shout it from the rooftops! We’re a little scared of heights, so we’ll go with a blog post instead. Libby says: I was published

Read More »

"I got published!": Ambra Sancin

We love hearing from our students no matter what they have to say, but when we hear of a student being published, we just want to shout it from the rooftops! We’re a little scared of heights, so we’ll go with a blog post instead. Ambra says: I was commissioned

Read More »

I sent an unsolicited manuscript – and got published!

To get published these days you don’t just need an amazing book — you often also need an amazing and hardworking agent to go along with it.

But when Therese Creed wrote her first novel, Redstone Station, she submitted it to the first big publisher that would take her unsolicited manuscript. To her surprise, she received a formal offer on the book not long after.

Charlotte’s Creek is her second novel released by Allen & Unwin, and we sat down with Therese to chat about her love of writing and outback adventures.

Read More »

Q&A: Champing or Chomping?

Each week, we take a look at a common confusions and ambiguities in the English language (that gives us about a century’s worth of material!) – making things easier through the power of friendly conversation… This week, which word is correct? Q: I couldn’t wait to ask you a question

Read More »

Your short story could win you $2,000

The Australian Writers’ Centre posts awards and competitions which may be of interest to readers. However, this should not be taken as a sign of endorsement. Please do your own research when entering any awards or competitions listed mentioned on this site.

The 2014 Lane Cove Literary Award is now open, and Australian writers over 16 years of age are invited to submit unpublished works in the following categories…

Read More »

“I got published!”: Sarah McKay

We love hearing from our students no matter what they have to say, but when we hear of a student being published, we just want to shout it from the rooftops! We’re a little scared of heights, so we’ll go with a blog post instead. Sarah says: My latest greatest

Read More »

Ep 20 We chat to daddy blogger Reservoir Dad.

In Episode 20 of So you want to be a writer, we chat about the writer spending Stephen King’s money, how you can make 50k a year without hitting the bestseller list, writing letters to strangers is making a comeback, Fiona McFarlane writes about her journey to being published, how to revive

Read More »

Has your cat been published yet?

Spend a small amount of time online and you’re bound to come across a cute video of a cat playing a violin or ice skating. So perhaps it should come as no surprise that cats can be published authors, too.

Since Bailey Boat Cat first started his blog in 2012, his adventures have captured readers’ imaginations around the globe. And now, with help from his human companion Louise Kennedy, he has released his first book about life at sea. We sat down with Louise to chat about the journey from blog to book.

Your first post on the Bailey Boat Cat blog was in October 2012 – around the time Bailey was one year old. Where did the idea to create a blog around your cat’s adventures come from?

Read More »

Have you suffered from GARGALESIS lately?

If so, fear not, you’re not alone. In fact, it would be quite difficult to be alone with this one. Despite its rather ominous-sounding title, ‘gargalesis’ is actually “heavy tickling, often resulting in laughter”. So it’s more than likely going to require at least two people to get a bad case of this condition.

And it has a sibling. To perform or receive a feathery ‘light tickling’ (and actually, sometimes they’re even worse) goes by the name, KNISMESIS. The names themselves have very scientific origins, coined in 1897 by a couple of psychologists clearly with too much time on their hands. As words, they’re pretty rare – confined usually to medical journals and smarty-pants know-it-all blogs.

Read More »

“I got published!”: Justine Hyde

We love hearing from our students no matter what they have to say, but when we hear of a student being published, we just want to shout it from the rooftops! We’re a little scared of heights, so we’ll go with a blog post instead. Justine says: Since completing the

Read More »

“I got published!”: Libby Hakim

We love hearing from our students no matter what they have to say, but when we hear of a student being published, we just want to shout it from the rooftops! We’re a little scared of heights, so we’ll go with a blog post instead. Libby says: My article on

Read More »

"I got published!": Kym Campradt

We love hearing from our students no matter what they have to say, but when we hear of a student being published, we just want to shout it from the rooftops! We’re a little scared of heights, so we’ll go with a blog post instead. Kym says: I was published for

Read More »
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