How to get your book published
I was thrilled to be asked to be part of this panel providing information about the publishing experience. There were three other panelists: Melina Mallos, Cass Moriarty and Brett Michael Orr, and our moderator was Dr Kari Gislason, Associate Professor, Creative Industries Faculty, QUT. While a double graduate of QUT, I actually studied writing at University College Dublin (UCD), but I have only heard good things of the QUT program Dr Gislason teaches in.
We perched up on stools in front of the big Tweetwall screen and the old Government House backdrop and miked up. Our session was to be livestreamed and recorded as well. We were a little nervous. Kari asked us each our publishing story which we proceeded to tell.
Cass and I shared similar stories really of selection for prestigious programs changing our writing journey to publication. For Cass it was the Queensland Literary Awards, Emerging novelist, for which her shortlisting lead to connection with the team at University of Queensland Press (UQP) and publication of The Promise Seed. Cass outlined how having the guidance of a renowned editor can help hone a work and finesse it ready for publication. Cass also discussed her second novel, which she just handed in to UQP for editing.
Melina Mallos, the author of Catch that Cat, then described her road to publication, which ultimately involved a cultural association stepping in to pay for illustration and printing of her delightful children's book which aims to encourage cultural connections for Greek children in Australia. Melina has also self-published her second book, Trip to Greece, and compared the costs of printing in China (the first one hard cover, A4 sized picture book) and the second in Australia (soft cover, smaller size). She launched her first book at the Greek Festival in Brisbane in 2015.
Brett Michael Orr's first novel, The Bureau of Time, was published digitally on every format. He discussed his publishing process and how quick and versatile digital publishing is. One of the few problems though, he said, is you can't sign a Kindle for readers. QUT tweeted a quote from Brett "There's never a chance you won't be an author: publishers aren't the only avenue."
I summarised my experience with the Queensland Writers Centre / Hachette Manuscript Development program. I encouraged audience members to submit to contests, primarily that ensured more links with the industry be they with publishers, editors or agents. The industry can be so risk averse, writers need contacts, guidance and help. I shared that most of my cohort from that program had been published /or had publishing deals. As proof I mentioned my writer friends, Kim Lock and J.M Peace, whose books are in bookstores now. I talked about my experience with Echo and how they really fostered Australian publishing. I also advised writers to keep an open mind regarding a publication house's lists as when I was doing my research I initially had concerns that Echo was focussed on crime, thrillers, Scandi noir and non-fiction and would not be interested in my MS which didn't fit into any of those categories. So don't second guess. QUT tweeted me: "Take the risk to approach a publisher even if it seems it doesn't 'fit'."
All the panelists encouraged authors in the audience to keep writing and aiming for publication.
Kari asked us about the waiting a writer has to do and we all agreed it was the hardest part.
QUT tweeted, quoting me: "On getting used to rejection from publishers: 'You don't' - your persistence has paid off though – congrats."