Over the last few years, I've been on a researching and fact-finding mission for any information on how to become a published author in Australia. Whilst there's a wealth of information online, it can often be a little overwhelming. Sometimes you just want to be told what your next steps should be in a concise easy-to-digest format from someone who's been successful in the process. Enter the Australian Writers' Centre's 'How to Get Your Book Published' course!
Armed with my new blog, written on the back of my work business card—classy!—I attended the two hour course with much enthusiasm, preparing to leave the session knowing exactly what my next step would be. In the past three years I've attended four other courses at the Australian Writers' Centre and they have each been fabulous in their own way. I've completed Creative Writing 1, Creative Writing 2, Into to Novel Writing and Blogging for Beginners. The courses are always full of like-minded people who want/need to share their writing, which is always one of the great joys of these classes—being surrounded by kindred spirits!
The course was presented by Geoff Bartlett, author of Comedians in the Mist, the adorable Cattitude and Mutterings. Most information I've garnered from different courses and festivals tend to leave me a tad overwhelmed, and often, a little disheartened, but Geoff was very encouraging whilst remaining realistic. Although the stats remain the same, 95% of submissions are passed based on proposals alone, he delivered the material without leaning towards the doom and gloom version, which I really appreciated.
Here's a few nuggets of wisdom I learnt on the night:
It takes between 12–18 months to publish a book. *Sounds pretty fair to me.
The media will always back local talent over international talent. *Yay for Australian authors!
Think outside the box for marketing opportunities *Still mulling this one over.
Literary agents are mostly interested in authors already published or a celebrity. *Sadly no and no for me.
Literary agents have a 50% hit rate with manuscripts they pitch to publishers *That's pretty awesome! Now I'm wondering how I can become an instant celebrity...
On a full moon all the lunatics come out *Ha! Must remember not to behave like a lunatic around publishers...
But my favourite part of the night was Geoff's theoretical scenario:
“Let's say Astrid wrote the Australian version of the Hunger Games...”
To which I replied, “I like the sound of that.”
“Then literary agents will be interested in representing her, pursuing other writing opportunities for her, such as writing for film or an episode of Home and Away.”
Whilst I wasn't so keen on the Home and Away offer (no offence Home and Away fans), I started imagining that my book *will* be the next Hunger Games, one can always dream!
So what are my next steps? Well, it sounds like an agent is off the cards for now, so I will be crafting a kick-ass proposal for publishing houses that accept unsolicited manuscripts. Slush pile here I come! ;)
If you have any questions about publishing, or suggestions on how I can become an instant celebrity, please let me know in the comments. For other aspiring authors, I highly recommend the 'How To Get Your Book Published' course, here's the link: http://www.writerscentre.com.au/sydney/getyourbookpublished.htm
Until next time,