Cheat Sheet from the EWF Author Development Skills Workshop 2 Comments

Cheat Sheet from the EWF Author Development Skills Workshop

This was an exclusive event funded by the Australia Council for the arts, available to those involved in the EWF. While it was limited space, I took some notes on some of the key points from the presentation. The day’s talk was presented by Jaki Arthur, Publicity Manager for Hachette, and produced by Karen Le Roy, Australia Council for the Arts’ Program Officer of Literature.

There were plenty of topics covered in a much more coherent way, but here are a few notes on some of the key points.

To be most effective, your goals need to be specific, measurable, clear, and time-specific.

These should make you seem a little interesting to the reader. It’s fine to have a ‘professional’ one but this should be separate from your main bio. While it’s good to have a few publications or awards, it is considered important for you to have something unique about yourself as well.

Identifying common themes in your work helps you understand your passions and interests, and means you’ll be able to sell it better to potential publishers. This will also help inform the creation of a strap line.

You are your own best promoter. Get a clear idea of what you and your writing is about, and then be able to say it at any time. A snappy strap line will help potential readers connect with your work as well as aid you to sell it to publishers. If you already have a book, carry it around with you, put it on your website, your blog, your email signature.

It’s not what you know, it’s whom. If you don’t already have a contacts list then you should. This serves as a means of knowing who is the best person to contact, as well as making sure you don’t forget anyone. If you don’t yet have any contacts, then get cracking! Book launches, industry events, even sending emails to publications you like. It all helps.

The progression from having small pieces published to having a novel published can be hard, but some intermediary steps to consider are:
– Submitting the book to competitions
– Residencies
– Grants
These are very real and possible things. They are changing with the new financial year, but we were strongly encouraged to directly contact the Australia Council for the Arts in August for specific ways on how they could help develop our careers and projects.

You don’t have to quote your rates on your website, but it certainly helps to be able to link people to this, as well as know it for your own practice. Everyone understands this is far and above what you’ll actually be earning, but it’s useful to know, and even more so to quote.

An Editor’s / Publicist’s wish list for writers:
– Can do attitude
– Be promotable
– Go beyond the book = is there extra material? Things that can be used online? Additional chapters, alternative endings, FAQs, Things that relate to it, and are around it.
– Understand the publicist’s job
– Come with ideas
– Deliver on time and follow up
– Be honest
– Thank the team = all the time. Learn their names and appreciate them
– Be punctual and prepared

If you can submit a piece polished, and on deadline, in a way that generates some discussion, or provokes some thought, then you’re already being a professional writer.

Below are the dates for the remaining workshops, being run by the writers’ centre in each state (they’ll be advertising them on their websites).

ACT: Sunday 27 July
VIC: Thursday 21 August
QLD: Tuesday 2 September
TAS: Sunday 26 October

Rafael’s (24) purpose is to give people glorious stories to tell. Some have appeared in dotdotdash, Going Down Swinging and The Big Issue Fiction Edition. He also competes in poetry slams and giant-sized chess games. Graduated from RMIT’s creative writing program in 2012, he often wonders what he’ll do with the rest of his life, but the answer’s always the same. Writing and falling in love.

  • http://Website JK

    Why not Perth?

  • http://Website Rafael

    I’m not sure JK, perhaps ask your local writers’ centre and see if they can make it happen?

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