Goldie's Blog

Category: Articles

TIPS FOR EMERGING WRITERS

1. What is your writing process like?

Do you write consistently or only when inspired? Do you write many drafts quickly, or have an early draft that’s almost perfect?

I admire splurgers like mad. My writing process is more ‘snail like’. Sometimes it seems that I have to squeeze out every word. Then it needs lots of re-editing. Mark Twain once said that he spent a whole afternoon putting in a comma, and another afternoon taking it out. No early draft has ever been perfect.

3. Can you tell me a bit about your inspirations and what drew you to writing in the first place?

In one word: reading. I learnt to read when I was three and I have never stopped. Books take me far away from my present reality to other worlds.

As for what inspires me: what I read, what I see, what I hear. I am one of those strange people who actually enjoys listening to people talking on their mobiles. In a word, the world around me is my inspiration.

4. Is each novel you write easier than the last? Or is every one challenging? Where there any specific points at which you struggled with this novel?

Each novel is as difficult as the last. Because I write in so many genres (otherwise I get bored) I am always challenging myself. For example, in the last two years I have had two middle grade novels written and published: ‘My Holocaust Story: Hanna’, (historical fiction) and ‘Cybertricks’ (science fiction), and completed the first drafts of two YA novels: ‘Ferdie & Miranda’ (science fiction) and ‘Gap Year Nanny’,(contemporary fiction)

5. Is having a book published exclusively as an ebook a different experience to having a book in print? Do you prefer reading either format? Do you think the print book is on the way out?

I adore my Kindle. I adore being able to download within minutes. But ultimately what format a book appears in, isn’t all that relevant. What matters are the words, the characters and the narrative drive. I think hardcopy might gradually disappear. What will remain are story picture books for little readers, and maybe elegant coffee table books. Of course this is a time of transition and who can predict the future? The monks who illustrated all those wonderful bibles must have felt the same way when they first caught sight of a printing press. ‘Never catch on,’ they must have told each other. Same as when Penguin decided to produce soft covers.

6. What tips do you have for other writers?

I have a blog where I post lots of tips, both for very beginning writers, and those that are trying to promote their work. Social networking is important, so I recommend using facebook, tweeting, and logging into other blogs. Promoting on You Tube is useful though I have to confess I’m technologically too stupid to do this. My major piece of advice is to never give up. A book may be rejected many times before it takes off. Sometimes it can take many years, and of course this has happened to me many, many times. After I lick my wounds at yet another rejection, I remind myself that it might be the wrong time, the wrong publisher, and probably needs another draft. Now the book revolution is on us, perhaps it’s useful to think of self publishing. But be warned: too many self-published books are badly edited or frankly, need more work.

7. Imagining you could travel back in time and give advice to your teenaged self about writing and life, what would you tell her? And would she listen.

I would tell her to start writing very much earlier and not leave it all so late. For some years I lived next door to Elizabeth Jolly. While she was writing I was swanning about.  If I had been writing alongside her, maybe I would now be as good and famous as she was?
8. What tips can you give for writing fantasy?

All fantasy must have certain common elements. They take place in a consistent, if imaginary world, and have exciting and convincing protagonists. Their major theme, much like the fairy story, is good versus evil, with good eventually winning out against what seems like insurmountable odds. The reader is asked to suspend disbelief with a completeness that is not required in more traditional genres.  If the best fantasy is written with flair and imagination, it can also be used as metaphor – coping with climate warming, protecting the environment, ensuring endangered animals survive, and overcoming totalitarian rule. They all offer the hope that everything can and will turn out for the best. My next blog will concentrate on historical fiction.

9. What is the most important thing to remember when starting a new work?

In my opinion, a character must become a living breathing person easily recognisable. I always recommend writers create a character profile to start with. Once your character is living at a specific time and you know his/her likes dislikes/conflicts/ family etc. you already have half your plot. I can’t emphasise this enough. In ‘Cybertricks’ set so many years in the future, my characters might look odd, but they behave like normal youngsters with disparate personalities.

10. What other advice can you give beginner writers?

Perseverance is what counts. It’s said that inspiration is only 10% and hard work 90% . I am often approached by people who tell me they ‘have a book in them’ as if I can give a magic tip. Wish I could.

That Stranger Next Door: the opening

cover image for That Stranger Next Door

Perhaps it is time to introduce readers to some of my latest books. Others often ask me for tips about opening chapters that will  intrigue readers into reading more.  Here is the opening chapter of this novel.

This novel is available in hard copy and on all digital readers.

MELBOURNE.  APRIL, 1954.

1. Ruth.

Just after midnight, I was woken by feet clambering up the rear staircase. Curious, I[ crept down the passage through the kitchen onto the wooden landing.  From here I could look into next door’s windows.

A light went on and a blind shot up.

I saw two women and two men, their faces half hidden by hats, their heads together as if deep in conversation.

They must have felt someone eyeing them, because the blind came back down.

Half frozen and shivering, I dashed back down the passage, jumped into bed, and burrowed under the blankets. Ten minutes later, I heard feet clatter downstairs. My room, an enclosed balcony overlooking Brighton Road, has louvered windows. I sat up to peer between slits, and watched two men, but only one woman, climb into a car with darkened windows.

The car took off down the street.

This late, there was hardly any traffic. Above the outline of distant buildings, a quarter-moon slid behind a cloud. A cat skulking along the pavement receded into the shadows.

I slid back under the blankets and snuggled into my pillow. Next time my eyes opened, it was time to get up and dressed for school.

****

Written  in 2 voices: fifteen year old Ruth and the mysterious older  Eva, this novel is set against the Cold War of the 195o’s.

 

 

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More about how to keep going in spite of all the setbacks….

Mavis Road Cover1. One of the great things about being a writer is that you can diversity into so many different areas. If you are a skilled wordsmith, you can write fiction and non-fiction; short pieces, novels and scripts. I think I have tried everything apart from ghosting and scripts for film. Be aware of your own limitations. I’m hopeless at design and even worse with technology. I work on my strengths and recommend that so do you.

2. Novel writing is like attempting a long distance swim over a cold dark choppy sea. If I don’t have strict guidelines for my first four novels I would never have known how to do it. It also forced me to remember the power of plot. Without narrative drive, you end up with beautiful but meaningless words.

3. In a way the ebook has become both a life saver and a curse. Hazel Edwards and my ‘The  Business of Writing for Young People’ might be out of hardcopy print, but it is on Hazel’s website to be bought and read. My ‘Mentoring Your Memoir’ is available as both hardcopy and on line. We are now able to take books that have been long out of print and upload them as ebooks.

I have done this to the first YA novel published under my own name. ‘Mavis Road Medley’ was originally put out by Margaret Hamilton in 1991 with a grant from the Australia Council. The first print run sold out, but then this small company was taken over by a larger company and the book sank into oblivion.  Unfortunately, that’s what happens to lots of books. So the blessing of ebooks is the ability to revitalize some of our hardcopy in digital format. The curse is the flood of ebooks now appearing on line, many of which, dare I say, not worth the trouble of downloading much less reading.

 

Publishing Fiction as eBooks and “Dessi’s Romance”

I’m no novice at putting out some of my newest fiction and non-fiction in both hardcopy and ebook format.

My adult crime series: “The Grevillea Murder Mysteries: A Trilogy” has already appeared in both formats, as has my how-to ‘Mentoring Your Memoir’ and my Aussie children’s ‘Famous Five’: ‘A~Z PI Hedgeburners’ and its sequel ‘Car-Crimes’. What is new is only having an ebook for my latest YA novel: ‘DESSI’S ROMANCE’.

This idea was first suggested by the publisher of www.indrabooks.com who had already published “Body and Soul: Lilbet’s Romance” in 2003. I originally wrote both Lilbet’s and Dessi’s story as one novel, each section reflecting similar turbulence and issues, each using the word ‘romance’ in an ironic sense. If the problems my protagonists encountered were parallel, Lilbet’s story is set in 1938 and Dessi’s is very contemporary being set in ‘Schoolies Week’.

It was in the second or third rewrite that I took Lilbet’s story and fleshed it out to become just one novel and removed the other half. Thus Dessi’s story was left to idle for nearly ten years. But when Lilbet’s story was about to be republished under it’s new title, it seemed an excellent idea to put out both novels in this easily accessible new way that saves trees, warehouse space, printing costs.

The market for eBooks is not only thriving, it’s exploding. Electronic publishing has taken the power out of the hands of traditional publishers, though in my case www.indrabooks.com is very aware of innovative and current trends. Many authors are having more success with the electronic format than they could have ever imagined with traditional print.

Thanks to this great shift in power, we can promote ourselves, our work, and hopefully, make some profit on all our hard efforts.

I had already discovered how wonderful it is to own a Kindle that will download almost every book I want to read in just minutes. Marooned in hospital for ten weeks with a badly broken right leg, I might never have been able to read as widely if it wasn’t for that Kindle. It won me over to this new technology completely. However, I have since discovered that it is difficult to be a ‘prophet in one’s own land’.

For example, my publisher requires reviews. But the only reviewers we both know are only prepared to read novels in hardcopy. Some literary competitions have started, albeit reluctantly, to accede to this new format. But only if hardcopies are easily accessible.

We have a user friendly printing firm, so we can use PIO (Print On Demand) to answer this demand. But there still remains the question of how to promote this new technology without prospective buyers being able to browse a shop’s bookshelves.

Amazon, Kobe, Apple, and all other book readers have hundreds of thousands of ebooks, many that have never been edited, many not worth the trouble of downloading even if they come free.

How are we to convince youngsters with Apples and PC’s –many schools now make this technology obligatory – that they might like to pick up this novel on screen?

Hence, here are some ideas I am currently using to promote ‘Dessi’s Romance’:

1. Providing a brand new author website.
2. Providing easy links to my blog, facebook and twitter.
3. Creating re-usable talks to connect with all forms of social media.
4 Providing links to where the book can be bought in eBook formats
5. Ensuring that the eBook is available internationally
6. Utilising user friendly eFormatting and links
7. Being aware if the speed of YA blogger-reviewers and guest blog interviews
8. Placing the book on strategic reviews and recommended reading lists
9. Using curriculum links and teacher discussion notes
10. But best of all is to promote myself as the author of the title.

This involves making a few guest appearances on related blogs, and submitting quality articles to ezines and directories, and providing advice on popular Q&A sites that include a link back to where my eBook can be purchased or downloaded.

www.indraboooks.com

#FLYING ANTS IN THE CITY

It’s interesting to know that nature will always find a way of reasserting her/him/itself. For the last few days our balcony and windows have been occupied by thousands of flying ants. We call it the ‘grand mating’ as that’s what the ants appear to be doing. Though not the smaller ones. No partner if you are too small. Because I thought many had died from exhaustion I tried sweeping them off the balcony only to discover that rather than having died, they were dormant.

Because we live opposite the beach, we think these insects must lay their eggs in the dunes. When the weather and winds are right they hatch and fly up and over a busy road to roost somewhere comfortable. And then they do their best to mate. I suspect another strong wind will carry those that are still here well away. I certainly hope so. Right now I don’t dare leave any windows open in case they come inside. I would have a devil of a time trying to clear them away.

This reminds me of the time I wrote small pieces for ‘Country Viewpoint’ in which I reported the vagaries of our local animals in our bush hideaway. But that was country and this is city. I guess nature will always triumph in the end.

“DESSI’S ROMANCE”: coming very shortly

This is truly exciting as I have waited a long time to have this novel emerge as an ebook because it carries similar themes and issues to YA “Lilbet’s Romance” This will also shortly be republished as an ebook, the original title being “Body and Soul: Lilbet’s Romance”.

Both ebooks are published by wwww.Indrabooks.com.

In both, similar themes occur: chiefly what happens when an’outsider’ comes between sisters as in “Lilbet’s Romance”. Or best friends, “Dessi’s Romance”.

Both novels examine current attitudes to sexuality and racism, though Lilbet writng in 1938 is concerned with anti-Jewish sentiments, and Dessi with contemporary anti-Moslem sentiments.

All these heroines are 18 years old and really starting to mature into the adult they will become.

‘Dessi’s Romance’ also gave me a chance to use that favorite end-of-rite passage: SCHOOLIES WEEK. This was in fact, the novel’s original title. However, as Dessi is Lilbet’s grand-niece, I decided to tie the novels together.

Given the themes I mention above, I find it interesting to see how often similar themes and stories appear in other authors’ work. Some authors seem to write the same story over and over again but use different settings. Other, such as my current favorite John Lanchester, use a certain knowledge. I have just read CAPITAL and am halfway through FRAGRANT HARBOOUR. Lanchester, who happens to be an economist, writes about money, or rather the effect money has on people. And boy, does he do it well.

If I have any readers who also are into writing their own novels, can I suggest that you look for these motifs and issues in your own work? They certainly carry a reader along.

AFTER A BAD ACCIDENT

Many friends ask where I am after a crippling accident I was involved in some 8 months ago.

As soon as I came home from rehab I swapped morphine patches for panadol. I spend part of my day exercising, one hour on a pedal machine, carry weights on my ankle, tackle twice weekly Pilates, walk around the block, do my best to strengthen my withered thigh and leg. But no matter how hard I aim to get back to ‘normal’, this accident has left its indelible mark. Just like going through chemotherapy, I developed bald patches, teeth cracked, fillings fell out, fingernails split, and my leg is so scarred and ugly, it must always be covered from a stranger’s gaze. I tire quickly and my leg feels as if I was given a stranger’s limb in lieu of my own and must learn to love it.

More positively, I find I can write, give talks in schools and clubs as an author, cook, climb stairs, shop, manage some gentle housekeeping and walk several kilometers using a zimmer-frame or a walking stick, even if it takes me twice as long to get there.

I have also learnt what life must be like for the permanently disabled. Showering and dressing takes far longer, as does preparing a simple meal. Shop counters and cafe counters are far too high for anyone in a wheelchair. Try being in a wheelchair, being handed a hot coffee and then carrying it to an empty table on the other side of the room. Sometimes chairs are packed so closely together, it is impossible to wend one’s way through them without disturbing other tables. Too many restaurants and other venues only have upstairs toilets. Doorways are often too narrow to roll or push through. People will shout if they see you in a wheelchair, assuming you must either be simple or deaf. Older trams, the ones closest to where I live, have steps too high to mount. Buses take a long time to lower their platforms. Roads are a menace because young drivers appear to be blind to wheelchairs and frames. I could go on and on. To sum it all up, for our disabled, every action takes careful thought, so much more so than for someone with four usable limbs.

If I am nowhere back to what I was before this accident, I suspect that I never will be. Perhaps if I had been fifty years younger, I would have recuperated completely. I doubt that this can happen at my age, though my young physio swears he will have me walking freely by Christmas. But when I mentioned touring Japan next March, he looked doubtful. ‘Lots of walking. Might be painful.’

My present hope is that those that have been injured will take heart from my experience, and realize that there is some kind of personal redemption even after the most appalling event that can leave you shattered and torn. Above all, to never give up hope of some kind of recovery.

ABOUT SOME COMMENTS ON MY BLOG

Only today did I discover that I am making some gross technical errors with my blog. Clancy’s interview brought in a large number of comments, some more to the point than others. However, only searching through this blog site was I able to find them. They are supposed to come up automatically. So much for this technological marvel. Grrr!!! though more probably a case of mea culpa.

More to the point, I would love to know where the people who write to me live. From some comments, I can only gather English is their 2nd language. Anyway I do apologize to Clancy for not having them easier to access. he has such a lot of interesting things to say about the current publishing world. Though I may not always totally agree with him on all aspects, it has set up an interesting dialogue between us. Maybe some other readers would be happy to join in?

Meanwhile a couple of adult books I have just enjoyed and recommend to other readers: ‘The Girl Who Fell from the Sky’ is a wonderful account of World War 2 from a young female agent’s perspective. And ‘The Paris Wife’, a fascinating account of life with the young Earnest Hemingway from the point of view of his first wife.

review of The Youngest Cameleer posted on GoodReads.

Unexpected Review from GOOD READS by Jill Smith that just turned up, Thank you Jill for the following.

“Ahmed Ackbar is 13, through his diary letters to family back home; we journey with him in Australia with his Uncle Kamran and two fellow Afghan cameleers. He is the youngest cameleer joining an English explorer’s journey across a continent. The country he crosses is so unlike his Afghan homeland, yet shares a desert that camels are best equipped to cross.
Although arriving in Australia speaking Pashto his native language and very little English. He quickly learns to increase his meager knowledge of English, so helping his cameleers cope with the strain of dealing with infidels. Ahmed works hard and proves to be a valuable member of the expedition as an interpreter.

The culture is a shock, as people he comes to treat as friends, do things that are not acceptable to his religion. They are equally tolerated by some of the party, thought of as odd by others, because they stop for prayers, and are despised by another.
At one point when they reach an isolated station to rest, Ahmed befriends the three children living there. He finds himself playing competitive games with the boy and allowing the girls to ride his camel. Just being alone with a female is not something he wants his Uncle to discover as it is taboo.
The book is a wonderful and accurate, drawn upon history, account of the W C Gosse exploration, tracing the journey along the inland telegraph route to Alice Springs and the discovery of Ayers Rock now known as Uluru. The naming of the landmarks along the way is also interesting, Goss contributed a great deal to Australia’s history.

The journey is a self discovery and coming of age event for Ahmed, as he is also wanting to learn how his beloved father recently died. To him, it is a mystery, and his Uncle Kamran holds the answer. He must be man enough to ask the questions burning in his mind.
Goldie has produced a book that is sure to be a school staple, as it invites young readers to question their outlook on the world and to investigate our own past. Exploration of Australia would not have been as successful without the assistance of cameleers.”

Q and A. Featuring Clancy Tucker: writer and blogger

Can you give us a brief bio of your work?

Mm … I’ll try to cut to the chase. I write young adult fiction, but I have also had some success as a poet and photographer. I guess I’ve had an interesting life: lived in four countries, speak three languages, had photography accepted and published in books in the USA, used as covers for magazines, have work registered with the International Library of Photography and been published in literary magazines. I’ve also written more than 145 short stories and numerous bush poems.

As you know, Goldie, writing is a tough gig in Australia. I’ve been short-listed, ‘Commended’ and ‘Highly Commended’ in writing contests: 2006, 2007& 2011 National Literary Awards, Raspberry & Vine (twice), Positive words, Australian Writers On-Line, Shaggy Sheep Tale, The Cancer Council Arts Awards (2005 & 2008), The Dusty Swag Awards (2010) and had ten short stories published in literary magazines (Page Seventeen, Branching Out & Positive Words), newspapers (The Standard, Mountain Views & The Advocate), written articles for Kid Magazine in the USA and won a poetry prize to name a life-size statue

Nowadays, I spend much of my time marketing my work, writing a daily blog for aspiring and emerging writers, mentoring young writers around Australia, working voluntarily with IndiePENdents.org to promote independent authors, and teach students from the University of the Third Age (U3A). Naturally, all of that takes me away from my core business – writing. However, it’s great to pass on knowledge and do things for free.

You post wonderful daily blogs. What gave you the idea to do this and why?

Good question. Writing a blog was the last thing on my mind. However, after entering eleven Australian book awards in Australia in 2011, and being somewhat gob smacked by the well-known names on the short and long lists with only one debut author, I decided not to roll over. I spent three and a half weeks networking with other professionals around the world. The end result was a resounding 800 connections – human rights lawyers, illustrators, authors, poets, publishers, literary agents, musicians, educators, social activists and others. Some were people I already knew. The purpose of my blog is twofold: promote other authors and market my brand – Clancy Tucker. I now find people from around the world are contacting me to be a guest on my blog. Who’d have ever thought?

What are your views on the current state of publishing in Australia?

Cracker question, Goldie. I and many other authors, musicians, poets, playwrights and actors, are totally disillusioned and I’ve written much about this topic on my blog. Firstly, there is no appreciation for any author, other than those who have been published by a mainstream publisher. That means that every teacher, child, parent, librarian, grandparent and member of the general public is not privy to the full list of books that are available. Sadly, some distributors and most bookshops are the same, but independent authors are growing at a rapid pace and flexing their muscle globally, because they are frustrated by the current system. A good example of this is the fact that self-published authors cannot enter the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards or the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards. We put a man on the moon on the 20th of July 1969, but in 2012 we cannot appreciate all writing in this country. My blog posts for the 21st and 22nd of September 2012 clearly highlighted this scenario which is discriminatory.

What is the answer? Mm … I’ve suggested that the Prime Minister’s and Victorian Premier’s Awards have a separate category for self-published books, even suggested some simple guidelines but that idea fell on deaf ears. My suggestion is to have a public debate. I have 17 young readers who read all of my manuscripts, complete a simple questionnaire and rate my work out of ten. They are 8 to 16 years-of-age, Aboriginal, Muslim, Christian, male and female, and all of them are as sharp as a tack. I’d like them to debate the ‘big wheels’ at the Melbourne Writer’s Festival or any other festival. Get in early for a front seat, Goldie. I’d back my young readers to slice and dice any spurious responses given by the publishing hierarchy in regard to self-published or unpublished works that they’ve read.

I’ve developed a very healthy respect for my young readers, far more than my respect for those who are the supposed doyens in the industry. Why do I engage young readers? Simple: they are my clients and they readily tell me if my work is suitable. On the other hand, many publishers think they know what kids want to read. What would I do if I was a publisher? If I had a good piece of work that was neat and tidy, I’d send it to at least 100 kids around Australia and ask for their opinions. Then, I’d collate their responses and make a suitable business decision based on my market survey. Kids are honest.

The saddest part about all this, particularly in regard to book awards, is that I am not convinced that the major players are the slightest bit interested in finding the next Banjo Paterson or Henry Lawson – our literary heritage. Worst of all, who is encouraging and promoting very young emerging writers? Twitter? Facebook?


How do you feel about self-publishing: both hardcopy and ebooks?

I self-published after I’d rejected four contracts for my first book: Sydney, Melbourne, New York and London publishers. I’ve learnt heaps and now know enough to write a book about preparing a manuscript for printing. Fortunately I am a photographer so my own photographs are used for covers. Why not, eh? I believe the Internet is the ‘gateway to the world’ and ‘www’ is the biggest marketplace in the world. So, for every paperback, I will have an e-book. Traditional books will not die overnight. No way! However, as a writer, one has to avail oneself of every opportunity, including audio books – my next project.

I’ve become very involved with IndiePENdents.org, a voluntary organisation that promotes any self-published author. Three random members of IndiePENdents.org, all professional writers or editors, review fellow members’ books and provide a simple ‘Yay’ or ‘Nay’. Reviewers pass books which meet basic objective standards of spelling, grammar, punctuation, editing and formatting, outlined on www.indiePENdents.org website. I sincerely hope the ‘IndiePENdents Seal’ becomes universally known and accepted.

Can you describe your typical day’s work?

Simple. Get up, smile because I am alive, and get into it. First job is to post my daily blog. Then I check emails which may take some hours. For the rest of the day I might chat with other authors, prepare blogs, do work for indiePENdents.org, prepare classes for my students, write editorials and articles for local newspapers, send helpful ‘stuff’ to the 47 young teens I mentor, do ‘writing’ favours for other writers, lawyers and friends, network with past and future blog guests and human rights lawyers, eat, drink coffee and keep doing it. Every Friday afternoon I relax with a senior citizen and enjoy what I call the ‘Friday Orgy’- a few drinks and lots of pontification about the world in general. I have not written anything of substance for 12 months. Sadly, marketing yourself is a necessary task that takes you away from what you love, but you need to do it. I now work ten hours a day, but for twelve years I worked 12 – 14 hours a day, going to sleep at 2am every morning and waking up at 6.30am.
Do you enjoy researching material?

I have not done all that much research for any of my manuscripts but I do enjoy researching facts that will make my books more credible. Most of my 19 manuscripts have been based on true-life experiences. However, I’m about to embark on book three of the ‘Gunnedah Hero’ series. It will be called ‘Magic Billie’ and it will involve more research than I’ve ever done. Why, because it’s about one of the characters mentioned in ‘Gunnedah Hero’ – an Aboriginal drover in 1910 – Magic Billie. I’m meticulous about facts because my readers have the Internet and will check if I’ve stuffed up … and they tell me fairly bluntly. That’s what I love about them. They are great editors and teachers.

Writing a manuscript usually takes me three months. It’s an adrenalin rush.
What has been your most successful publication?

Thus far, I’ve published one book that has won two awards in the National Literary Awards – ‘Gunnedah Hero’. It is book one of a possible fifteen books about the same family. The sequel, ‘A Drover’s Blanket’, is finished and ‘Magic Billie’ will be number three. However, I have always said that ‘Gunnedah Hero’ would make a sensational movie. Why, because it’s a story for all ages, has very few mild swear words, is accurate, human, adventurous, credible and would be a movie that would suit the entire family; grandparents to kids. Imagine the tickets you’d sell?

Then and now: what has changed?

Mm … I became a full time writer fourteen years ago with swags to learn and lots of energy. Now I have heaps of confidence as a writer and knowledge about publishing, but I feel very jaded by the industry – jaded for and on behalf of all writers and authors. However, I’ve never been one to roll over so I’m always thinking outside the square. Although I love all forms of sport, I am often disheartened by the amount of money thrown at sports men and women in this country, compared to that spent on the arts.
Writing is a solitary profession and that causes a problem. How do you organise thousands of people who work alone? Not easy. It’s time for a literary revolution where all players get together and work out some fair and reasonable arrangement. Example: most people are shocked when they learn that an author receives $3.00 for a book that sells for $30.00 RRP. The book sellers and distributors make most, yet the author wrote the bloody thing! Question: what would happen to thousands of folks in the book industry, book shops et al if writers stopped work like they did in America some years back? I’m sure you get my point. They’d be up the proverbial creek without a paddle. However, it is not all about money, fame and glory. No, it’s about recognition of literary talent, equity, our literary heritage and the integrity of the publishing industry in the so-called lucky country.

Why is it that so few authors seem to gain literary recognition? Is this country so poor in talent?

Goldie, stop reading my blog. You’ve learnt how to press the right buttons. Mm … This country has an extraordinary amount of writers, poets, musicians and playwrights with talent. Australian publishers receive in excess of 2,000 manuscripts a year. Not bad for a country with 22.5 million people. And, that does not include those who write but do not submit to publishers, or those who only produce e-books.

Again, I say, we need a literary revolution to smash the literary ceiling. Too many writers are swimming upstream like a literary salmon. It should not be this difficult in 2012.
What advice would you give aspiring writers?

Ring me and I will give you some good tips that might prevent you from inventing the wheel. However, history has recorded swags of famous writers who were treated shabbily by the publishing industry … but succeeded. Passion has always been my driving force. So, find something your passionate about and write passionately about it. Then, learn all you can and keep trying until they finally submit. Persistence overcomes resistance.

Thanks, Goldie. It’s been an absolute pleasure.
CT

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