For my class Industry Overivew (Industry Overview explores the nature of the writing industry. It will explore experienced practitioners and experts from different aspects of the industry.) I have to write about all the people who visited the class and spoke about the profession that they are in. AND SO HERE IT IS! Considering my blog is about writing, and my life, and how I go about being a young adult in the brand new world I thought I’d put it here. c: I hope whoever is reading this finds it interesting. It’s under a read more, and names / what they do is listed.
I. Ray Mooney – playwright, novelist and screenwriter. Spoke about writing novels and writing in general. (23/07)
II. Hazel Edwards – novelist. Spoke about authorpreneurship. (30/07)
III. Peter Hodgson – blogger. Spoke about blogging (he isn’t apart of the roster we had but it might be interesting) (06/08)
IV. Catherine Beaumont – marketing communication specialist. Spoke about getting into the industry. (13/08)
V. Jessica Polanco – Fanfiction writer, previous student in Professional Writing and Editing course. Spoke about Fanfiction and writing as a career. (20/08)
VI. Young Adult Presentation at RMIT – Nicole Hayes – YA Author. Susannah Chambers – Publisher at Allen & Unwin. Susan La Marca – Librarian, book reviewer, Penguin associate. Spoke about marketing young adult novels. (10/09)
VII. Claire Halliday – freelance writer, previous student in Professional Writing and Editing course. Spoke about copywriting and freelance. (17/09)
VIII. Bruce Shearer – lawyer and writer. Spoke about copyright and defamation. (08/10)
IX.Teresa Cannon – teacher and travel writer. Spoke about travel writing. (15/10)
X. Marie Alafaci – writer and works at ASA. Spoke about Australian Society of Authors. (22/10)
XI. Kate Larson – writer and works at Writers Victoria. Spoke about Organisations/support and competitions for writers. (29/10)
XII. Kristin Henry – poet. The power of poetry and the verse novel. (05/11)
Ray Mooney is a playwright, novelist and a screenwriter. First Mooney told us find what works for us, whether it be for novels, short stories or non-fiction pieces, we as writers should find what we are comfortable to write with. Once we’ve chosen the writing style we prefer, we must practice it. Whether it be to write a thousand screenplays, speeches or poems – just write. Find a writing persona, and by this Mooney means; find your voice. Find how you write and you can, as a writer, stand out from the crowd.
Put words down in a way that others find interesting, so for example Stephen King is known for writing horror, George R.R. Martin is known for fantasy and John Green writes Young Adult fiction. These people are famous due to how they write, or how they use their words to write. Mooney then says that we should show, not tell. The best kind of writing is the one that demonstrates so for example. e.g. Sam and Dean are lovers, and this is set up. Put Dean under attack, thus you set up the interest of the reader. This talks about the structure of our forms, and as writers, we should be aware of structure and form.
In characterisation, we are allowed to do whatever we want with them, we can make them do silly things; however we must give the reason or access to our readers as to why our characters did this particular action, or had this particular thought. When reading something or watching something view it as a writer rather than a reader and be critical and think about why this character felt this way, or look in a particular direction. It’s always good to view things as a reader/watcher, but as a writer is much better. Mooney also said that we must give attributes to our characters, as well as a dilemma.
We must also work out a formula or a template of how we write the things we’re writing. We must also practice this formula, and we must also practice a technique until it just becomes second nature to us. And we need to commit to the craft we have chosen, we must commit until we make it. And as a writer, everything we do is relevant. We should also talk to our peers about our craft for entertainment, and we must also sensibly align ourselves.
The last few things Mooney tells us is that we must find our inner geek, especially if our craft is to do with video games, comic books, movies, TV shows, books. We should be as geeky as we can. We also need to network, and you need to get a Linkedin account, using their site gives you access to network with many other writers. Lastly, do not compare yourself to others, I mean given this line should work in everyday life but do not compare yourself to your other peers. No one isn’t like the other in how much they write, how they write or when they write. We will never be like them so stop comparing yourself to them.
Mooney’s words of wisdom were very useful for myself. I learnt about that I should just write, and how I should write, and especially how I have to find my “inner geek” which in reality, I’m very geeky all the time so I don’t need to find my inner geek. How to write I need to network with others, and I need to get a Linkedin account (which I do actually have one). Mooney’s presentation is really good and I really liked it.
Hazel Edwards writes quirky, thought-provoking fiction and facts for adults and children. Edwards also has her own e-book store. The first thing Edwards tell us is to have a business card with facts (facts especially for Asian countries) on the back and link to your website. When you talk about yourself, and you give yourself a bio with three to four lines all together about anything that is relevant enough, pick out what is interesting about yourself. She adds that you should make sure your title is not confusing, and if it is, or people don’t understand it then it needs to be changed.
With authorpreneurship, link talks to book titles and where they are sold so many people knows what the title is and where it’s easy for them to get. And depending on the novel, make sure the content is appropriate for the market, e.g. don’t write sex scenes for children books (it’s a given, but still). The author is the originator, and the entrepreneur is the seller of the idea. Some strategies to work as an authorpreneur is to have an awareness of your audience and markets, like you wouldn’t write a novelization of Pulp Fiction for young children, and with audience you must have a specific target audience and market your piece to the appropriate group.
Next, everything is going to cost you time; so you might need to work out how long a project might take you, if you want to write a trilogy about a group of teenagers becoming a bunch of comedians, you’ve got to realise that this is going to take you ages and you’ll have to split your time up between writing and your life. Edwards adds later on that you need time and energy management, this means that not only you need management skills for your time like with the trilogy of comedian teenagers, you need to save your energy by eating, sleeping and socialising; you need good mental, physical, emotional and social health when writing your novel(s). You also have to have a % on actual writing and e-administrative.
When giving out information about yourself and your book, you need a portfolio of your skills and all of the projects you’ve completed or started on. Edwards said that when writing your rights reverted, recycled and long-term income. Basically, never sell a story out right – maintain your rights and or royalties. Edwards speaks about delegating or collaborating, so would you rather have someone write your work (of sorts) or work close with someone, much like John Green and David Levithan’s novel Will Grayson, Will Grayson where the two of them collaborated on a novel together. Because technology is changing, you need to accommodate to those changes.
If you were to make an educational e-book uploaded to the Apple iTunes store, or the Google Play Store, you want to embed videos into the book so that children are engaged with the story / educational book. Edwards said that you need to think about local and international, do you want your novel to be national (Australia, England, America, wherever you live) or International (if you live in Australia, will your novel showcase in America, or United Kingdom, etc.).
Another thing Edwards said is to ask yourself “why are you doing this?” is it to bring awareness to a cause, or to entertain? Have fun when writing and even when promoting your novel, Edwards continues to talk about an awareness of audience, like brand names to have appropriate brand names. You also need to market yourself as an author and you need to market your characters. On your website you should also have high res photos that people are able to download of either yourself, or people reading your books much like Edwards has on her website.
The lecture that Edwards gave the class was really good, and I learnt about the specifics of marketing yourself rather than someone else marketing you. However it felt like that she was telling us to basically not write, which sucks to me for someone who wants to write.
Peter Hodgson writes for I heart Guitar, he writes primarily for Gibson guitars and Australian guitars. Hodgson suggests when starting a blog that you use twitter and Facebook and any other sort of social media, as well as following people who blog about the same sort of things you blog about. So I blog about my life, and writing and such and I follow people on twitter (mortem-auctoris twitter) and I follow pages on Facebook (my personal Facebook) who tweet / posts about writing and such.
Another thing Hodgson spoke of is to interact with likes, readers and commenters (excluding if they’re trolls of course which never feed the trolls). On your blog write about yourself and your passions and/or interests, basically whatever you are interested in. When writing blog entries write in the first person (so I’s, and all that stuff), and when writing just keep writing entries no matter what, even if only a few people read it, keep writing because you’ll never know where you’ll be in the future to come. as well as to post regularly to build your blog audience, once a week, twice a week, etc.
If you become popular enough, that you get enough views you can get affiliated items related to what you blog about, so Hodgson would get a little bit of money from Commission Junction and/or Amazon where he advertises Gibson guitars and if someone buys a guitar he suggests, Hodgson would get a bit of money from that guitar, and so on and so forth. Some food blogs suggests recipe books and they’ll get a little bit of money from that book. He says that content is “king”, much like quality over quantity, sure you want to knock out blog posts after blog posts but if it’s about what you ate this morning that you could put into a tweet – it’s not necessary. Lastly Hodgson suggests that you should go to events for blogging so you can network with other bloggers, or go to events that relate to your blog.
The talk that Hodgson gave us is good, and I did learn a lot but I sort of knew the things that he spoke about like for example the following: follow blogs much like yours, engage with your readers, write about your interests/yourself, post regularly and go to events and network. So I wasn’t unnecessary, however I was still informed and I gained a lot more knowledge on the specifics of blogging.
Catherine Beaumont is a marketing communications specialist and has worked for three of Australia’s well-known brands: Myer, IKEA and NAB. When getting started in the industry of a business, Beaumont began working on a friends business newsletter (her first client), so if you can find someone to write for, it helps entirely. She added that the friend she helped write his business newsletter, referred her to another business (her second client), and at a New Years Eve party she met another person who ended up being her third client. So from one person Beaumont worked with, she ended up getting referred to another client and met another client at a New Years party.
For the tools of trade you’ll need a website (it can be a blog, or a free website like Weebly, Wix, Yola there are a ton of websites you can join to make one), make business cards, brochure and a folio much like what Hazel Edwards said. When setting up your business, you need a sole trade, so for example you need a simple business structure (so your outline needs to be easy for everyone to understand) and it needs to be inexpensive, or at least cheap enough that everyone can agree too. If instead you’re not a sole trader but you’re a company, you need to realise that the money you get is for the company, however with a company you need to pay yourself a salary (plus super for Australians). Whether you GST or not, both sole traders and companies must register for GST if their annual turnover is $75,000 or more.
When meeting new people, you need to network in more of a formal networking group. Beaumont says to ‘hook up‘ with a web designer agency, graphics person or a marketing agency or two, just so you can branch out and know people you can rely on if you need to do anything with your website. When relating to real estate copy (writing the information about a house), you need to have great fun if you’re interested in real estate at all, and you need great discipline when writing it too and lastly you need to do regular work. If you’re working for a popular real estate company, they might bring out 1 or 2 houses a day and they need you to write what it looks like and they’ll have a deadline for said houses.
If you’re in business, big business’s are reluctant to employ permanent staff this includes a pay roll, tax and super. Along with that, a lot of them are somewhat flexible this relates to contracts the time that the business employs you can be short (a month) to long (a year or two). If you’re contracted by them, Beaumont says that it’s a really great way to learn about new industries and to make new contacts. And finally when keeping in touch with all of the people you meet, Beaumont reminds us that people switch companies all the time, so don’t take it personally. She, like many others have reminded us to make a Linkedin account, and every so often send a company or two an e-mail or even a card. And the last thing she told us is to always say yes no matter what.
Beaumont’s presentation was very interesting to me, and I generally enjoyed it. However I don’t think I’ll be in a company any time soon from now.
Jessica Polanco writes One Direction fanfiction (now come on we’ve all been there. Well okay not writing One Direction fanfiction, but we’ve written fanfiction in our life before) and she has a strong following. Now to be honest, I like taking notes. I need written notes on the board or I can’t focus and I won’t write anything down (because I’ll forget what they say), but in this case I was WAY too engaged to write notes. Polanco told us to just write, like many other of the guests has told us, but Polanco (to me anyways) felt more genuine. Polanco was a previous student of the course I’m doing this year (2014) so she’s been through this whole thing but she continues to write and that’s what she dedicates her life to (which in all honesty is amazing).
The only thing I have written down for Planco is to write because you want to, and join wattpad but that’s not the point. The point is to write what you want to write. I attended a discussion later this year (which I’ll talk about in this entry) and someone asked “is there anything we shouldn’t write that won’t get us in trouble by parents” and one of the women speaking said to not worry about it, and I feel like what she and Polanco said relate to each other a lot. Don’t just write something that you think other people will like because you won’t please everyone. For nanowrimo I plan to write about a girl who questions her sexuality. Will that please everyone? Hell no. It’s going to piss off a lot of people who don’t agree with bisexuality, homosexuality, just basically anything that isn’t monosexuality or heterosexuality to be honest. But I’m writing because I want to write it, not to please others.
When Polanco was talking about her work, she said that even if she writes fanfiction she does make some money off of it by her redbubble account, and the only reason she can make money off of real life people is because their image is everywhere and their management literally cannot stop it no matter how much they try. So even though she’s no John Green or J.K. Rowling, she’s still making money off of her fanfiction, and also I really love the fact that she spoke so open about it. To give a philosophical view-point, society teaches us that writing is good, writing is cool, but when you write about fictional characters or real life people you’re weird… you’re weird for having the same love story as the notebook but switching it around so that the main guy falls in love with another guy. And to me it’s absurd, I mean, I’m writing who gives a shit what I write UNLESS the person it’s about doesn’t want me to. I’m apart of a community that writes fanfiction about real people, and a lot of them are cool about it, but they say don’t write such and such. Like one of the guys has a daughter and he said “you can write fanfiction just don’t write Millie in it” and I think that’s cool that they allow this stuff, and it’s even cooler that the community I’m a part of doesn’t abuse that. I think that Polanco’s presentation has been my favourite overall because she told me that I should write if it’s my dream, if I really want to write, then I would.
Young Adult presentation.
The Young Adult forum was moderated by Annie Collins, a final year student in the RMIT Associate Degree of Professional Writing and Editing. Collins was joined by: Nicole Hayes, a young adult author. Susannah Chambers, a publisher at Allen and Unwin. And Susan la Marca, a librarian, book reviewer and a penguin associate. The group of women spoke about their experiences with authors and agencies, and how to go about marketing young adult novels.
One of the women said that you have to market not only to the core demographic, this relates to parents and friends. Parents might not be into YA but are into romance or crime novels with no YA aspect, so you have to market your novel to them to so they can buy it for their children. This also goes for friends who like parents aren’t interested in YA fiction, they might be a fantasy buff, so to market to them relates to the parents and just about anyone who knows someone who likes YA novels.
When marketing novels, they go for about roughly three months, of course this is different from marketing agencies and what not but it’s generally three months and it isn’t as unusual if marketing goes for a year. It can also go for ages if the book is being sold or marketed as a movie. When going to places to talk (school libraries, public libraries, bookstores), your publisher doesn’t force you to go anywhere you don’t feel comfortable about. So if you don’t feel comfortable being around 11 / 12 / 13 / 14 year olds they will not force you to visit a grade 6, years 7 or 8 class because they want you to be as comfortable when marketing you novels as you can be.
A lot of indie Australian book stores love Australian authors, as well as a lot of Melbourne (considering I live in Melbourne, Australia so this would go for each state and/or country you live in) bookstores love Melbourne YA authors. So, when speaking to public libraries, school libraries and/or bookstores, it’s much better for the author to talk about the novel than anyone else like a teacher or a librarian because the writer will know their novel or their story more than anyone else.
When getting a speaking role at somewhere where they have books, you are looking at getting a speaking agent, they’re the ones that get you a speaking ‘gig‘ of sorts rather than a normal agent who helps you to get published. A sad reality though, for people who write is that you get paid more from speaking about your book then you do from writing it, as Nicole Hayes said about it. A lot of places where you can get your novel out there and for it to be spoken about is in a review magazine called Viewpoint. Viewpoint reviews young adult novels and is publish quarterly, of course this is Australian only magazine sadly. You can also try to get your novel into other magazines and newspapers and the number one most effective way to get readers is word of mouth from people who has already read the book.
Lastly, like what I said with Jessica Polanco, parents will get upset if there is sex scenes or violence or course language. Susan la Marca works at an all girls Catholic school, and she spoke about “book bans” that are very popular in a lot of American states. Marca said that there was a parent who was outraged at the fact that a novel her daughter read showed a male homosexual romance in a positive light; however there was no outrage what so ever about the violence and Marca was confused about that. So if your novel becomes available in bookstores, public libraries, especially school libraries don’t be scared that you’ll have backlash because it happens to everyone. Parents will always be upset about anything and everything in your novel. You can’t please everyone no matter how hard you try.
The forum was good, and I’m happy I went (besides that I had a fun day talking about creativity and hanging out with my friends). I originally thought it was about writing YA novels and not marketing them; however nonetheless, it was interesting and I actually did learn some things I will be taking away with me.
Claire Halliday is a full-time freelance writer, she was originally a professional writing student in the 1990s (the same course that I am doing, so it kind of makes you wonder what changes they’ve made since then). Since Halliday has started, she’s written around 1,500 articles and she started in the Sunday Age. To be a freelance writer, your career is built on ideas. You need to have a copious amount of ideas as a freelance writer for many newspapers or magazines whether it be print or online, as your new idea could be something already written or old news in the editor’s point of view.
When writing for the first time an article, Halliday wrote a profile on crime scene cleaners and it was around 3,500 words. So when writing you could write a profile on an interesting person, or a person in a career you’re interested in (there are a lot of career’s I’m interested in knowing about). So when writing for magazines or newspapers, you’ll need a niche paper or a broad paper. A lot of magazines for females will generally (as sucky as it is) be made up, dating, fashion, etc. so when writing for this said magazine, your articles should be about make up, dating, fashion anything that is seen in stereotypical female magazines.
If you find a magazine or newspaper that is broad (generally all newspapers will be more board than magazines) it is easy to send in an article, like writing about crime scene cleaners, you won’t find that in a magazine about cars. If you want to know about the market, or you want to see what a newspaper / magazine place looks in action, then visit one. You can even intern somewhere or do work experience for said place. When looking at magazine companies, in Australia the two major companies are Bauer Media and Pacific Magazines. Bauer has 72 titles, whilst Pacific has 23 titles.
Like many other lecturers in this piece said, know your target audience. When writing an article about ‘the type of cars you should have‘, you wouldn’t send it into a magazine for video games. Halliday reminds us that if we want to be a writer, we have to be a reader. It’s kind of a given that you should know the basics before you go head first. When writing, set yourself writing tasks. This doesn’t have to be just for freelance writers who are doing articles, it can be for both fiction and non-fiction writers.Also be flexible, as much as you wish you could watch another episode of Game of Thrones, realise that as a freelance writer, you need to be flexible in your work.
The one thing not to do is to pitch the same idea to different markets, or to different magazines. If you want to e-mail someone your article, e-mail editorial coordinator / assistant, never e-mail the editor and you should try to find their name somewhere. There’s also seasonal triggers. So if you want to write something for mothers day or Christmas you have to do it six months in advanced. For December, you want to do it in May or April (June would be kicking it).
The lecture Halliday gave us is interesting, and I do hope to do freelance writing so I really did take on what she gave me. Especially when doing articles about a season like Christmas is that the articles aren’t written a month or so before, but written six months in advanced which is really interesting to be honest.
Bruce Shearer is a lawyer and a writer. He spoke to us about writing and the law, but this is specifically about Australian law. Shearer first talks to us about the protection of ideas. Copyright comes into being an idea when it’s put into a permanent form. Idea = unprotected and form = protected. The Berne Convention is an international agreement with copyright in the literary form. The convention requires © year, first name last name (© 2014, melissa last name for example) to be legal, except in Australia where there is no legal authority as it is already automatically protected.
Copyright Act of 1968 (Australia) protects writers in the following categories:
- Literary works
- Musical works
- Dramatic works
- Artistic works
- Sound recording.
Literary, musical, dramatical and artistic works go for that artists lifetime alive + 70 years, so for example Edgar Allan Poe lived until 1849, and then you plus 70 more years. His work The Tell Tale Heart was in copyright until 1919. Films, sound recordings and broadcasts go for 70 years. So the movie Captain America 2 will be in copyright until 2084.
There are four different copy right uses. First is assign, the copyright holder or owner may sell the copy to another person. Licence, the writer or holder may license their work to other parties under particular conclusions. Bequeath, pass the copyright in a will. Lastly, Otherwise deal, Roald Dahl auctioned his last children’s manuscript for charity. Shearer then gave us the Defamation Act of 2005 (Australian only again). The Uniform Defamation laws of 2006, with each Australian state having one of their own. The Defamation Act of 2005 operates from the first of January, 2006. Defamation balances freedom of expression on one hand and reputation on the other. A defamed person must have a reputation in the place where they wish to initiate a proceeding. E.G. Sam Newman has no reputation on the Indian subcontinent whereas Shane Warne does.
When relating publication and defamation, it only needs to be a third-party. Things like effigies, cartoons, photos, e-mails, illustrations etc. aren’t defamation. If any can identify the subject, then identification has been made. The intention is irrelevant. A distinction between libel and slander has been removed. Defamation is cause of action created by the publication of defamation material with implications damaging to reputations. Slang and colloquial language must be used carefully. Satire and humour can soften defamatory impact as it is generally not perceived as being true or real.
Now with corporations can only sue for defamation under the UDA if they have less than 10 employees, however individuals in the corp. can still sue and corps can sue under common law action of Malicious Falsehood, but the malice must be proven in the action. The action takes place where “the harm occasioned by the publication as a whole has its closest connection.” To make amends, it must be within twenty-eight days in writing and must include an offer to pay reasonable expenses of the plaintiff if the offer is not accepted, it might be pleaded by the publishes / defendant as a defense to the action. If the defamation is towards a deceased person, a relative of the deceased cannot sue for defamation, UDAs 10. Except for in Tasmania (basically just go to Tasmania to sue).
For the defenses justification, the defendant must prove that the defamity imputations are substantially true. Contextual truth is a defense if the defendant can prove that one or more of the implications are true and has done further harm to the reputation of the plaintiff because of the substantial truth of the contextual imputation. Lastly, absolute privilege refers to a completed defense for written proceedings of all Australian courts, parliaments and communication on the matters of state. If a defendant can prove the material was contained in a public document or a fair copy, fair summary or fair extract of such a document there will be a defiance if it is published honestly.
I love all of the presentations and all of the people who have spoken to us, but Shearer’s presentation is interesting because I learned all of this information that I wouldn’t have known before hand and if I didn’t know about all of these things then I could possibly have been in trouble for all of this.
Teresa Cannon is a teacher and a travel writer. She spoke to us about travel writing and titled it appropriately “The Narrow Road to the Deep North.” and Cannon spoke about travel writing, non-fiction, guide books and feature articles. First for topics when you’re writing a travel guide there’s history, culture and the language. But why? For escape and freedom, adventure and to visit new places, to promote/market the town/city/country, to learn about and understand others, yourselves and lastly to educate others on different countries, languages and way of lives.
When or even before you visit this country, you have to think why you’re doing this. What work you might want to do and how to approach this work, the places you might go and you may negotiate some gigs. Cannon said that travel writing must be based off of facts and you shouldn’t slander a country. When you think of a country, think of the physicality and place like people’s lives, homes and activities. Secondly, culture and place like events and celebrations. Cannon said about the different regions there are in a lot of Asian countries. She also lists history, politics and places are things that people should make note of.
In place think of the obscure and hard to grasp way of seeing, knowing and understand the world. When we see the world as a world of places, we see: People and connections, meaning experience, rich and complicated interplay. When you’re moving throughout the country think of writing a journey, departure, arrival and transit lounge. Cannon said that travel writing also focuses on place or movement. When using print, you can write features, guide books and books (literary travel writing). If you want to use digital you can use websites like guides, articles, magazines and blogs. You can also use CDs/DVDs (educational and promotional). Writing your travel writing books, your trip is mostly about writing, and focus on writing not the holiday, you must always be on working mode rather than as said before, holiday mode.
For readers, they must be interested in the place, readers should be travelers, tour operator or in the business or government department. Ways to approach being a travel writer is that you can make it a personal story, thematic, about the destination or the journey. Agendas are that they always exist, understand them and decide what you’ll do about the agendas. Your responsibilities when you’re there are that you need to respect them, respect their language and give them a fair representation of the country or region you’re writing about. Research where you’re going, research the customs, references, contacts, etc. When you’re on the road work, always work. Writing takes precedence, there’s no time to waste, don’t miss an opportunity and collect all of the literature found. You need to allocate time for writing, and stick with a general itinerary.
For a brief, expected of you are having a new book, update, illustrations, models, maps and use of photography. Have a particular focus in your travel book. Do you need to educate your editor / publisher as well as your reader in case they don’t understand the culture. Always remember your audience, your timeline should always be realistic and ask yourself if the payment will cover costs and salary, and if you have a contract don’t sign without advice. When you submit our writing, where are you going to post it? Will it be mainly freelance, newspapers or magazines?
I really am not interested in travel writing, I don’t see myself ever in the business of travel writing. It’s interesting, and hey I mean look a holiday’s a holiday (even if the amount of work we have to do), but I really couldn’t do travel writing of any sorts.
Marie Alafaci works at the Australian Society of Authors and she spoke to us about the business aspect of being an author, she speaks primarily about Australia much like Bruce Shearer. The key players in the business of being an author are you, the literary creator, booksellers, publishers, agents and the ASA. The cultural and economic context for professional writers are that you have to think about the reading rates as well as buying books. competition for the reading dollar, who is read and who is not reading, the alternative to printed books, the digital market and the outlook of the industry.
The economics of publishing and writing is that for AUD (Australian dollars) it is around $2.3 billion in 2010, $1.5 billion spent on retail and $830 million in education sales. In the 2011/12 overview, print books dominated, paper back still preferred format (52% of slaes / 48% of hardback), 19% of titles in digital formats for 2011 while it was 23% in 2012. 2012 print market down 10% to $966 million, while the e-book market is up 42% with $109 million. 20% fewer bookstores has prices dropped, and royalties off of a $30 dollar book, the writer gets $3 dollars so around 10%.
E-books are normally cheaper than actual books, 35% of net receipts, and there isn’t a weight to the e-book compared to books. It’s educational, non-fiction and self publishing on the increase and there’s a change in consumer behavior. The publisher’s role is that they can seek new materiel, and they’re taking a risk. Publishers are also creating a list that reflects their readership. The author profile are that on ASA there is approx. 7,600 – 10,000 authors and there are 2,800 – 3,000 primary professionals.
Writer’s sources of income are royalties and advances from: book store sales, online sales and e-book sales. Grants and fellowships, lending your book rights (PLR & ELR), copyright agency or teaching or public speaking. Alafaci says that you are a small business, pay for help when you need it and get your message out there. When looking at contracts – read them closely and don’t give away your copyright, a contract is a starting point and always get advice.
When getting support, find a community of writers, as it gives you networking opportunities and emotional support. Find agents, as they are a business; find a copyrighting agency and copyrighting council. Also go to the ASA, you’ll find professional advice, industry, information, contract advice too. There won’t be a difference between success and fail. And lastly, the ASA’s trade union of imagination and it’s role includes: Advice, both for legal and contracts. Advocacy, like government policy, PLR, ELR, individual authors with publishers, For authors as a group and copyright – ALRC proposed changes. They can also research like: industry trend and author needs. They also help out with the protection of author’s pay and conditions, and assisting writers to turn their passion into a business with professional development. And lastly, the ASA offers free phone queries for members.
Her presentation is very eye-opening of the thought that “I should work as something on the side” because the statistics that she gave, writers don’t earn a lot of money, and I’ve always wanted to be a writer no matter what. But that was when I was a child, and now I’m older and I’ve realised that I need to work somewhere whilst I write.
Kate Larson spoke to us about Writers Victoria, she also writes twitter poems on twitter and also organisation support through organisations for your state/country. Larson also has her poems on the Oklahoma curriculum in America. First she said that writers have their on library, it’s kind of an obvious thing. As an emerging writer or even when you’re already an established writer, go to writers festivals and also the Emerges Writers festival for Melbourne, and I’m sure there’s a writers festival for the country or state you live in. It’s also a good idea to find a writers group, or a writers community because they can help you out, with this community there’s also a group for what you want to write no matter what it is.
If you’re an Australian writer, and more specifically a Victorian writer – join Writers Victoria, it’ll help you out when you need it and they include competitions and opportunities for writers. Writers Victoria gives their members weekly and monthly news on writing opportunities. Larson says that we need to have a presence on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, blogging, YouTube, etc.), and through this presence on social media a lot of writers promote their own work.
Larson believes in the whole “fake it till you make it” ideal – DIY career management in other ways, so like Flash Fiction is popular now so to make it flash fiction is an ideal writing style. She suggests to enter competitions to get your name and work out there. Since you’re a writer, then Larson says to write anything… and yes write anything, no matter how much you don’t really like whatever you’re writing. You always should be clear, punctual and professional.
If a publisher wants you to give them money, don’t whatsoever. If you need help in knowing if it’s safe to give them money visit Writers Victoria or more specifically Australian Society of Authors. Larson gave us some Australian groups who can help you out on what writing you relate to specifically. So Australian Society of Authors and Writers Victoria are for all writers, and will help writers no matter what they write. Australian Writers Guild deals with theatre, film and TV (so screenwriters, playwrights.), M.E.A.A deals with journalists and people writing non-fiction and lastly Australian Poets.
The presentation Larson gave me is very interesting, I learnt a lot of things about Writers Victoria, who I should contact in the specific field I want to write in as well as what I should do to get my name out there, like competitions and social media. Though I sorta know that I need social media as writer considering today’s day and age and life isn’t like what it used to be sorta thing. So it isn’t something that I’m totally clueless about. However, it (as I said) is a very interesting talk.
Kristin Henry is a poet, she spoke to the group about poetry and a verse novel. She gave us ten things to go by if we are to become poets. First thing is gigs, there are many poetry readings and by reading your poetry at gigs it gives you a good opportunity to get your writing out there; much like competitions. AT these gigs people will critique your readings and it gives a good chance for feedback they’re supportive but don’t bullshit with a very diverse judges. A gig is a very intimate environment, it’s small but the environment is dedicated. Henry’s first book she published ended up being he results of her readings.
Next is magazines, so send your work out to places, there used to be a market for short stories but it isn’t as prolific as it used to be. However people still write poetry, and even if there isn’t a market for short stories you can still tell a story though poetry. Prose vs poetry is something Henry said, where poetry blurs the edges in ways other genders don’t. She speaks of adaptions in poetry, poetry has the element of speaking so not only read the piece but listen as well, poetry lends itself to theatre or radio plays very well.
If you want to write poetry, you must have disciplines, so you have to learn from poetry as it can help you tighten your writing. Poetry creates images, and it tells you a lot. Henry’s verse novel (A verse novel is a type of narrative poetry in which a novel-length narrative is told through the medium of poetry rather than prose – thanks wikipedia) tells a full story with multiple character over a lengthy period. A lot of poets compress their work by finding an image, she says ‘don’t say an emotion, find an image that evokes that emotion’ and also you need to play with the senses.
The last few sentences connects with the whole show don’t tell in writing both stories and poetry. Poetry is very good at the show don’t tell aspect, but some say it makes it obscure and hard to get into except this doesn’t have to be the case – you can always tell any story, but poetry is about leaving gaps for the reader to fill in, you don’t need or want to spoon feed the reader. You should always capture a moment, when you feel like expressing yourself, poetry is the ideal expression. It doesn’t have to be a story or a description of a scene as it can be a reaction.
Poetry is a good chance to play around with language and a logical syntax is not necessary. There is a degree in predictability in poetry of course, with the whole ‘I was walking down the–‘ but poetry shouldn’t work that way but you can and should play around with the language. Surprisingly enough you can get a career and income, like there are tools to make your own books and with the current situation with publishing houses, they’re in a state of flux. Though it’s never been easy, but now it can be very difficult but poets are getting together and publishing their own stuff, because publishers ask you to do a lot of the work such as building yourself up (social media and all) and it’s a vital and exciting option for poetry and there are organisations that get together to translate texts.
Now poetry and song writing are very close, it’s not exactly the same but they work on the same sort of mechanics, sometimes the artist will work with their lyricist and sometimes not but most lyricists must have a basic knowledge of how music works because it’s not the same as writing a poem. Lastly, tributes are very rare, are you going to be asked to write an epitaph or a speech for a funeral or a birthday? Maybe, because a lot of poets can be commissioned for events like it and it’s not always conventional like businesses, trams, buses, art galleries etc.
Henry speaks of the verse novel, a story told entirely through the medium of poetry. There has to be both a good story and good poetry, she relates that this has to be a sprinter or a marathon runner. Henry asks why we’d want to write one: simply because it’s too big for a single poem and you want to tell a story. Verse novels are very popular with young adults and kids and it’s similar to a novel in the options you have for telling a story, e.g. third person, omnipresent narrator, multiple points of view. There needs to be a forward motion to drive narrative, and she makes note that there need characters who are alive.
Henry decided to write a verse novel because she told stories in most of her poems and she thought of herself as a story-teller and wrote fifteen poems that formed a short story and actually enjoyed it, thus the enjoyment stuck with her and poet Dorothy Porter gave her an extra push and also a bit of inspiration. When writing poetry start with what you know, it can also make the mundane highly interesting as exposition is important.
The talk that was presented is very interesting much like the others I was presented with, though I don’t see myself as a poet or writing poetry as a job or as an income of any sorts maybe I’d write them in my spare time but as I said nothing as like I said with an income. However, a verse novel is something I’m interested and never knew it was a thing until Henry introduced it during her presentation. Though I believe this talk will be interesting and useful for the people who see themselves having a future in poetry.
I want to thank all of the speakers who I listened to, they’re inspirational people and I have learnt so much from them, and thanks to the teacher of the class Deb who organised everything. I had a blast this semester!