Today I presented for CBCA Tasmania on the topic of publishing. It was a well attended session and I thoroughly enjoyed both the preparation of the presentation and the talk itself. I spoke for nearly an hour and a half (thankfully there were questions too!) and was followed by Nella talking about the nuts and bolts (things like ISBNs, CiP application, legal deposit and so on) and Richard, who gave a brief overview on copyright for authors. My part focussed on the various options authors have for getting published, focussing on traditional, boutique and self-publishing routes. My presentation is made available to download here, for the purposes of the participants, but I don’t mind who else reads it (and it is licensed under Creative Commons, so you are welcome to use it under the licence conditions).
Obviously I spoke a lot more than what is contained on the presentation but you get the gist.
I didn’t really talk a lot about the specifics of marketing your book (whether you self-publish or not, you still need to market!) but did mention that it’s always useful to have ephemera such as bookmarks or postcards to pass out to potential readers and that Vistaprint has been having some excellent deals (you have to be patient and wait for free upload combined with discounts/freebies for the best bargains, but these do happen!). It also occurred to me that I might have spoken in more detail about social networking, but I think that’s a whole other session!
Thanks to all the participants who seemed to find the information useful, and particularly to Nella, both for inviting me and for practising her grandma skills so successfully with the baby I had in tow!
ETA: A couple more useful links that are relevant!
10 ways self publishing has changed the world
A contractual obligation (looking at contracts and what you are signing)
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License.
FableCroft welcomes author Rabia Gale to the blog! I discovered Rabia’s amazing writing via a recommendation from Joanne Anderton, and have since devoured as much of her work as I can get my hands on. Rabia breaks fairy tales and fuses fantasy and science fiction. She loves to write about flawed heroes who never give up, transformation and redemption, and things from outer space. Rabia grew up in Karachi, Pakistan and now lives in Northern Virginia. Visit her online at http://www.rabiagale.com. See the end of the post for a teaser from Rabia’s latest work, Rainbird, (which I’ll be reviewing soon!).
Today, Rabia shares her thoughts on balancing family with writing, something which resonates with me strongly.
Balancing Act: On Raising Both a Family and a Writing Career
Juggling parenting, homeschooling, writing, and publishing is a tricky act—and one that often involves dropped balls, shattered plates, and knives falling all over the place. I can’t claim to be an expert at this, and it doesn’t help that as soon as I have one stage figured out, I’m confronted by something new and unexpected. (I can see the parents out there nodding their heads!)
However, a few attitude adjustments have made it possible for me to fit writing and family life together.
Everything comes in seasons.
I might actually be able to have it all–only not at the same time. Raising my children is my top priority at this season of life. However, in fourteen years they’ll all be adults. I’ll be able channel more of my time and energy into writing and publishing then. Right now, I’m content to fit it into an hour or two a day.
There are also cycles in the shorter-term. There are weeks that I’m going to be busy with family activities, and weeks when I have to put more hours into my writing to meet deadlines. There are days I have to devote to housecleaning, and days that I set aside to deal with administrivia. Understanding these cycles keeps me from getting agitated or down on myself for not being productive in all areas every single day.
My routines are flexible
I always get a lot more writing done during the school year than in the summer because we have a routine. I know when we’re doing math and when we’re studying history, when the kids have gymnastics or taekwondo, what we’re having for dinner, and when I can write. Routines prepare my brain for each activity as it comes up, and free me from having to constantly make decisions about what I’m going to do next.
But we all know that Life Happens. So routines have to be flexible. As I write this, Hurricane Sandy is barreling up the east coast of the United States. Today I took stock of the pantry, filled up bottles (and bathtub) with water, did laundry, and mentally prepared myself for the storm.
I haven’t done a lick of fiction writing. But that’s okay. I know I’ll come back to it.
I’m going for the slow build
I want writing fiction to be my fulltime career when my children leave home.
But I’m laying the groundwork for that now.
Earlier this year, I self-published a collection of short stories. I followed that up with another collection, a short story, and a novella. I plan to release more work at a steady rate that fits my current lifestyle. I’m also submitting short stories to anthologies and ’zines.
I don’t expect to make a living wage from writing anytime soon. Instead, I’m working on developing good habits, learning from my mistakes, improving my craft, creating relationships with other people in the industry, and building my readership and my backlist.
I’m focusing on shorter formats
Before this year, I would have told you that I was a novelist to the core. Short stories were only flings; novels were my serious passion. As my life has gotten busier, shorter fiction has become more appealing to me as a reader. This has made me more receptive to writing it.
I’ve especially come to love the novella form. In a print-based world, novellas didn’t make much sense — too slim to stand alone on a bookstore shelf, too long to be part of an anthology (unless written by a Big Name). Now, because of digital publishing, we’re seeing a resurgence of the novella form, which is great for me.
Novellas allow me to develop my characters, setting, and plot while writing fewer words in less time. Much as I’d love to write an epic urban gothic science fantasy with wide-ranging scope, multiple points-of-views and encompassing several volumes, that’s my Someday Project. Considering my limited time right now, short stories, novellas, and short novels make more sense for me.
Thanks, Tehani, for having me as your guest!
She’s a halfbreed in hiding.
Rainbird never belonged. To one race, she’s chattel. To the other, she’s an abomination that should never have existed.
She lives on the sunway.
High above the ground, Rainbird is safe, as long as she does her job, keeps her head down, and never ever draws attention to herself.
But one act of sabotage is about to change everything.
For Rainbird. And for her world.
Rainbird is a fantasy novella of about 31,000 words.
Now available at Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords
Excerpts at Rabia’s site
Writing Science Fiction Short Story
Six-week course in July and October
Join one of Australia’s most successful authors of science fiction, fantasy and horror, Lee Battersby, for a journey through the fantastic art of the science fiction short story. Over six weeks you will learn how to build worlds, character, voice and mood in this challenging and rewarding form.
Kim Wilkins’ Year of the Novel led by Trent Jamieson
Year-long course starting August 2011
Challenge yourself to complete the ultimate writing journey in Kim Wilkins’ Year of the Novel under the tutelage of author of Dust, Christine Bongers. Christine will guide you through this course created by Kim Wilkins and help you get that manuscript finished in a year!
Pitching to Publishers with Tiana Templeman
Four-week course in October
This four-week course, starting 9 May, will show you how to push all the right buttons to attract a publisher’s eye. Discover what commissioning editors love and what they loathe.
From writing a captivating synopsis to deciding where to send it, learn about all facets of the proposal process for a range of writing including non-fiction, fiction, and children’s.
Introduction to Creative Writing
Six-week course in August and October
There are a lot of us out there who write, scribbling ideas on bus tickets, boarding passes and coffee shop serviettes, but who never seem to turn these notes into anything. If you have been scribbling away quietly but have never taken the leap to finish anything or call yourself a writer, clear a few hours a week in your schedule to sit down and rediscover the art of creative writing in this practice-based series of online activities and resources.
For more information on any of the courses, or to book your place, contact the Queensland Writers Centre!