Ins and Outs of Publishing Your Book via the Web –

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Not long ago, an aspiring book writer rejected by traditional publishing houses had only one alternative: vanity publishing. For $5,000 or $10,000, or sometimes much more, he could have his manuscript edited and published, provided that he agreed to buy many copies himself, often a few thousand or more. They typically ended up in the garage.

Digital technology has changed all that. A writer turned down by traditional publishers — or even avoiding them — now has a range of options. Among them are self-publishing a manuscript as an e-book; self-publishing through myriad companies that print on demand, in which a paperback or hardcover book is printed each time it is purchased; and buying an array of services, from editing and design to marketing and publicity, from what are known as assisted self-publishing companies.

via Ins and Outs of Publishing Your Book via the Web –

The Greening of Society

If you think that the police are protecting your children by taking cannabis out of society, you’re wrong.
By removing cannabis, you ensure that a majority of smokers will look elsewhere to get their high. This may be alcohol, speed or prescription medicines, but for many cannabis smokers, it will be something.
I should know. I spoke to young drug-users. I also used illicit drugs for most of my life. I smoked dope, I used speed and heroin, and, on occasion, I used pills when I couldn’t get hold of anything else. For most of the time, I preferred cannabis to all the other drugs. If there was no grass available, I turned to other options.
Based on responses to the 2004 National Drug Strategy Household Survey, over a third of the Australian population aged 14 years and over had used an illicit drug at least once in their lifetime and nearly 20% had used an illicit drug at least once in the previous 12 months.
Marijuana/cannabis was the most common illicit drug used, with one in three persons having used it at least once in their lifetime and 11% of the population having used it in the previous 12 months.
There are no real statistics to show what happens when police reduce the amount of cannabis in any area, but by interviewing some local marijuana users, I found there is a trend to move towards other substances to get ‘high’.
Neil X, a 16-year old cannabis user says, “…when I can’t score some dope, I turn to alcohol or speed to get off.” A poll conducted by High Times magazine in the US seems to confirm this is the case. Australian substance-abusers likely follow the same trend, although no formal studies have been done so far.
In the UK, “[A]lcohol consumption causes far greater harms to the individual user and to society than does the use of cannabis,” according to a review published online in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, the journal of the British Association of Psychopharmacology. The trend (when cannabis is unobtainable) to move towards drinking is alarming.
Researchers determined: “A direct comparison of alcohol and cannabis showed that alcohol was considered to be more than twice as harmful as cannabis to [individual] users, and five times more harmful as cannabis to others (society).”
Neil X says that he just wants to get high, and if he couldn’t, then the next best alternative is alcohol.
“I’ve done some really stupid things when I’m drunk,” Neil says. “I’ve damaged property, I’ve gotten into fights, and I’ve stolen things just for a laugh.
“My friends are the same,” he says. “We all prefer a smoke, but sometimes we can’t get it.
“Then we go out and buy some piss and get drunk.”
Neil is one of many young smokers who turn to other substances when cannabis in unavailable. He makes no apologies for his behaviour.
“It’s normal,” he says. “All me[sic] mates do it.
“If we can’t get stoned, we get pissed. It’s not as much fun, but it’s better than nothing,” Neil says.
He goes on to tell me that other substances, such as speed or prescription drugs, are another alternative for him.
“I’ll raid me[sic] Mum’s pills, or steal from her purse to score some goey [amphetamines],” he says.
“It’s all the same to me and me[sic] mates. As long as we get off our heads, we don’t give a f***,” he laughs.
When I asked him what he preferred to use, he replied: “Out of all the shit, I’d rather sit around and have a bong [marijuana pipe], but if it ain’t there, I’ll do whatever it takes to get off.
“When we smoke, we just sit around and talk and laugh,” Neil says, “but when we use goey or pills or get pissed, we always end up in trouble.”
The opportunistic rationale of most drug-dealers means that if there is no cannabis available to sell, they will source other drugs to ensure their weekly profits are as unaffected as possible.
In this case, other drugs may include speed [amphetamines], ecstasy or prescription pills. When the drug-users arrive to score cannabis, the seller informs them that he/she has none. He then goes on to suggest trying something new.
I’m aware that this article could be misread as supporting the sale and use of marijuana. This is not the case. It is simply an attempt to look at the practice – and ramifications – of taking out of circulation the most visible and prolific drug in Central Victoria.

Bendigo Writers Festival – Part One

Arrived just before ten, armed with a coffee. Managed twenty minutes of the ‘Truth in Writing’ panel before I got a text to meet a friend outside. I was holding their ticket for them. That gave me the opportunity for a ciggie before hitting the ‘hot seat’ room, where Ian Irvine interviewed grunge-poet Neil Boyack. Great talk.

Then it was outside to chat for a while with a fellow TAFE student over coffee before meeting up with Cameron Oliver, Brett McBean and Lucy Sussex to discuss the best way to run Sunday’s panel on the future and direction of horror and spec-fic.

After chatting with them for at least an hour and a half, it was time to meet up with my lovely family before hitting the ‘hot seat’ myself. I was interviewed by Dr Tom McWilliam, and it was a great session, with about thirty people and some great questions from the audience. Then it was time to chat outside for a while, and finally on to the launch of Scintillae, the festival anthology of writing.

Great launch.

After, went out for a meal with some friends. Now on to day 2!

Full report and photos to come tomorrow.

QWC | Narrative momentum: An interview with editor Laurel Cohn | Queensland Writers Centre

In the lead-up to her fantastic workshop, Keep it Rolling: Narrative Momentum, we asked editor Laurel Cohn about the importance of narrative momentum, her life as an editor and her top tips for emerging writers.

via QWC | Narrative momentum: An interview with editor Laurel Cohn | Queensland Writers Centre.

Bendigo Writers Festival 2012

Well, the inaugural Bendigo Writers Festival is nigh. Three days of speakers, panels, booklaunches, literature, poetry, music and art.
I’m speaking on Saturday, a half-hour ‘hot seat’ interview about Hammered, my memoir. On Sunday, I’m hosting a panel consisting of award-winning authors Brett McBean and Lucy Sussex, as well as Cam Oliver–scriptwriter, producer and filmmaker who has collaborated with Greg McLean on Wolf Creek (and its upcoming sequel).

Held, as I said, over three days, the festival has a great venue in The Capital Theatre in Bendigo.

The Capital Theatre

The Capital Theatre in View Street is the home of the Bendigo Writers Festival. Originally a Masonic Hall, it dates back to the 1870s and is a grand and ornate building, right in the heart of the cultural precinct, and next door to the much-admired Bendigo Art Gallery. The main theatre will host keynote events on each day of the festival, while panel sessions and spotlight interviews will take place in the Bendigo Bank theatre and next door in the Fire Station. The La Trobe University Visual Arts Centre’s theatrette will also host sessions and workshops, with a special event to be held in the Bendigo Art Gallery as well.

Some wonderful guests make for a potentially wonderful weekend.

Ita Buttrose

Ita is unrivalled in the world of publishing. Her career as a journalist and then ground-breaking editor was recently immortalised in a TV mini series Paper Giants and now she will put her own perspective on her influential and extraordinary life with her memoir, A Passionate Life.

Leigh Hobbs

Just say Horrible Harriet, or Mr Chicken and, of course, Old Tom, and generations of young readers will laugh and tell you their favourite episode in one of Leigh Hobbs’ fabulous picture books. One of Australia’s best-loved and most successful writer-illustrators, Leigh is also one of the most outlandish, inventive and entertaining.

Ian Jones

A long career in Australian TV and fondly remembered for his writing and directing work on the iconic Homicice, Matlock Police, The Sullivansand mini series Against the Wind, it is Ian’s authority and passion for all things Ned Kelly that brings him to the festival. His successful reference books include the best seller Ned Kelly: A Short Life and The Fatal Friendship: Ned Kelly, Aaron Sherritt and Joe Byrne.

Margo Lanagan

Described as bold, inventive and filled with mystery, Margo’s new bookSea Hearts is a strange, beautiful story based on the selkie myth, the sea people who haunt the imaginations of coastal peoples. Margo will talk about fantasy, and how to set the imagination free as well as how love and romance makes writing live and breathe.

Alex Miller

Alex Miller has been short listed for the Miles Franklin Award seven times and won twice. He creates books that sing about the nature of the landscape, and the dangerous and essential power of love. His new novel, Autumn Laing, was inspired by his interest in the Heide circle of painters and in particular Sunday Reed.

Katherine Thomson

Katherine Thomson has written plays, produced by Sydney Theatre Company, Magpie Theatre Company, Melbourne Theatre Company and Griffin. Diving for Pearls, will be staged in Bendigo during the festival. She will be presenting on Australian theatre, sharing her memories and hopes for live theatre as a contemporary entertainment.

Don Watson

Don has written three books on Australian history and spent several years writting political satire for the actor Max Gillies and political speeches for Premier John Cain and PM Paul Keating. Don is also a screenwriter of several feature films, including The Man Who Sued God, starring Billy Connolly and Judy Davis. Don will give us the first glimpse of his new book, The Book of the Bush.

Alexis Wright

A Miles Franklin winner and a land rights activist from the Gulf of Carpentaria, Alexis first wrote Plains of Promise and followed with the internationally renowned Carpentaria. Alexis has also published a collection of writings about the land rights movement and the Grog Wars – alcohol restrictions in Tennant Creek.

Sydney Smith

Sydney Smith is a past winner of the Age Short Story Competition, and her fiction and non-fiction has appeared in the Age, Griffith REVIEW, Island, Imago and the England Review. Sydney founded and co-ordinates the Victorian Mentoring Service for Writers. She has just released her first book, a harrowing memoir about parental abuse and the path to escape.

Lucy Sussex

Lucy Sussex is a prolific writer, editor, reviewer and literature teacher. Her fiction ranges form sci-fi and horror to crime and detective fiction. She has also edited collections of crime and science fiction, and is an expert in early Australian women crime writers.

Paul D Carter

Paul D Carter was born in Melbourne and spent much of his youth going to Collingwood Football matches with his Dad and brother, Marcus. In 2001, Paul completed a Bachelor of Arts with honours from Deakin University and, in 2008 completed a PhD while writing Eleven Seasons which won this year’s Vogel’s Award. Paul grew up in Melbourne in the 1980s and has a keen interest in modern Australian history.

Dennis O’Keeffe

Dennis O’Keeffe graduated from Monash University in 1999, with a diploma specialising in Australian Folklife Studies) However; his greatest education has been his twenty years involvement at the forefront of the Australian Folk Movement. His craft of story-telling has evolved through continuous performances of our wonderful Australian traditional songs and his uncanny ability to compose unique songs pertaining to the tradition. He recently publishing Waltzing Matilda, the secret history of Australia’s favourite song.

Judith Armstrong

Judith Armstrong is a Melbourne writer, who taught Russian literature and culture at the University of Melbourne. Her book about Clem Christesen, the creator of the literary magazine Meanjin, was shortlisted for the Age Book of the Year, and she went on to write many books, including The French Tutor, The Novel of Adultery and, her latest, War and Peace and Sonya, about Tolstoy’s life told from his wife’s perspective. She is also a passionate advocate of the art of reviewing, and will speak about the role of the critic at the Bendigo Writers Festival.

Gideon Haigh

Gideon Haigh is a world-renowned cricket writer and also an authority on business and culture. He won the John Curtin Prize for Journalism in the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards in 2006 for an essay about the Google phenomenon. His books include Mystery Spinner (about Jack Iverson), Asbestos House (about the James Hardie company), The Racket: How Abortion became Legal in Australia, and his new one, The Office, a social history.

Hanifa Deen

Hanifa Deen is an award-winning Australian author who writes narrative nonfiction and lives in Melbourne. She now works full-time as a writer, which she sees as the perfect medium for a woman with an irreverent tongue, a maverick Muslim perspective on life, and a passion to subvert stereotypes. Her books include The Jihad Seminar, Broken Bangles and Ali Abdul vs the King, about Muslims and the White Australia Policy.

Professor Kevin Brophy

Professor Kevin Brophy is a poet and novelist. He has had eleven books published. From 1980 to 1994 he edited the small press literary journal Going Down Swinging. His poems and essays have been widely anthologised and his book, Creativity, was shortlisted for the NSW Premiers Nonfiction Literary Award in 1999. He was awarded the Martha Richardson Medal for poetry in 2005. He was co-winner of the Calibre Prize for an outstanding essay in 2009. His books include Patterns of Creativity and a new book of prose poems, Radar, published in August.

Lisa Lang

Lisa lang was co-winner of the Vogel Literary Award in 2009, for her novel, Utopia Man, based on the life of Edward Cole, who created Cole’s Book Arcade in late-19th century Melbourne. She first wrote a biography of Cole “Chasing the Rainbow” and was subsequently selected in the Australian Society of Authors mentorship program.

Emilie Zoey Baker

Emilie Zoey Baker is a published award winning poet and slam champion. She has performed her poetry all around the world and is a state coordinator for the Australian Poetry Slam. She is also the winner of the Berlin International Slam as part of the 2010 Berlin International Literature Festival. She is co-cordinater of the Liner Notesspoken word tributes to classic albums. She has featured at Women Of Letters, Ted, The Sydney Writers Festival, The Melbourne International Arts Festival, as well as the Bowery in NYC and The Green Mill in Chicago. She also coordinated The Super Poets, who travel into schools exciting and delighting kids about the joys of writing and performing poetry, and developed the first state teen team poetry slam called OutLoud.

Tony Birch

Tony Birch was born in inner-city Melbourne, into a large family of Aboriginal, West Indian and Irish descent. His upbringing was challenging and difficult, and much of this is captured in his remarkable debut, the semi-autobiographical Shadowboxing.

An alter boy and exceptional student at his local Catholic primary school, in adolescence, Birch went ‘off the rails’ as a teenager. He was expelled from two high schools for fighting and found trouble with the police for the same reason. Although somewhat adrift following his expulsions, he remained a voracious reader – once, when he was arrested by police, all they found when they patted him down was a copy of Camus’ The Outsider, which remains his favourite book.

Returning to night school to complete his studies, Birch met his mentor, Anne Misson, whose credo was very simple: ‘You’ll be great, but only if you work your arse off.’ Birch still lives by this and applies it to everything including his passion for running, which is where his writing is created and shaped.

Birch’s work is widely read and loved including by those who might normally avoid books, particularly teenage boys. Through his outreach work, he visits many schools to speak to students, and takes particular pleasure in returning to the two schools that expelled him, as both of his previous books are on the syllabus.

Janine Burke

Janine Burke is the award-winning author of books of art history, biography and fiction. Between 1977 and 1982, she lectured in art history at the Victorian College of the Arts before resigning to write full time. She has degrees in art history from the University of Melbourne, La Trobe University and Deakin University. She has written extensively on the Heide Circle, including Joy Hester, Dear Sun: The Letters of Joy Hester and Sunday Reed andThe Eye of the Beholder: Albert Tucker’s Photographs. Australian Gothic, her acclaimed biography of Tucker and the final book in the Heide quartet, The Heart Garden.
She has lectured extensively on art, curated exhibitions, written for newspapers and journals and acted as a consultant to films and documentaries.

Arnold Zable

Arnold Zable is one of Australia’s best-loved storytellers. He was born in Wellington, New Zealand, and grew up in the inner Melbourne suburb of Carlton. He has travelled and lived in the USA, India, Papua New Guinea, Europe, Southeast Asia and China, and now lives in Melbourne with his wife and son.

Arnold is the award-winning and highly acclaimed author of the memoir Jewels and Ashes (1991) and the bestselling Café Scheherazade (2001), which was recently adapted for the stage. His other books includeThe Fig Tree (2002), Scraps of Heaven (2004) and Sea of Many Returns (2008) and the recent collection of true stories Violin Lessons (2011), which takes the reader on an intimate journey into the lives of people Arnold has met on travels over the last forty years.

Arnold is president of the International PEN, Melbourne, and is a human rights advocate. Formerly a lecturer at the University of Melbourne, he speaks and writes with passion about memory and history, displacement and community. His writing has appeared in the Age,Sydney Morning Herald, Monthly and a range of journals.

Collings Notes: To “Is,” or Not to “Is”…Or Perhaps to Do Both

A great blog on usage of the ‘copular’ verb-forms.
Here’s an extract (and, yes, I know that ‘is’ as a contraction should not have been used in that particular sentence, considering the subject matter of the blog/essay)

“Some while ago, I attempted to write an essay on the uses and abuses of is and its cohorts are, was, were, be, being, been, seems, and becomes in poetry. I set out to do so without ever using the word except as the word. I could talk about the meaning symbolized by those two random symbols—i and s—but I could not use is as a sentence verb.I had no idea how difficult doing so would be. It required that I revise sentence after sentence, struggle to find active ways to express state-of-being ideas. Eventually, however, I succeeded; the chapter is titled “Compression III—Linking Verbs” in The Art and Craft of Poetry Borgo/Wildside, 2009. And I think it makes the point I wanted: writing can become stronger and more energetic without the linking or copular verbs.But not always.”

via Collings Notes: To “Is,” or Not to “Is”…Or Perhaps to Do Both.

Film shoot for the as-yet-unfinished trailer…

Film-maker giving direction
Getting the exposure right for some still shots
Getting some shots of the street-art
Kris Saknussemm (left), script-writer, discusses the shoot with GN Braun
GN Braun, guarding the camera stand
Script-writer Kris Saknussemm, with Luci, the World’s #1 Mastiff (set security)
Matthew Revert, representative of the publisher,Legumeman Books
Kris and film-maker discuss the shoot, while Luci stands guard
Braun and other discuss the seating for the interview sequence
Preparing for the interview (Kris on the left, Braun centred and other on the right)
Interview underway and being filmed
110 block, the backdrop for the interview. Bleak and depressing…
Film-maker setting up the camera angle
Braun and Kris talk while film-maker sets up the camera
Film-maker shifts the equipment for a different angle while the second round of questions are asked
Kris and Luci stand guard while film-maker prepares for a few short sequences and sound-bites
Luci ensures the film-shoot isn’t interrupted…

Winner of Victorian Premier’s Award for an Unpublished Manuscript announced! · Writers Victoria

Writers Victoria congratulates the winner of the 2012 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript. Graeme Simsion took the gong for his manuscript THE ROSIE PROJECT.

Graeme was announced as the winner of the prize at the launch of The Emerging Writer as part of the Emerging Writers’ Festival on 1 June. He receives a cash award of $15,000 as well as $1,000 worth of professional development support from Writers Victoria.


Don Tillman is a 40-year-old geneticist with undiagnosed Aspergers. When he wants to find a partner, he approaches the project the only way he knows – systematically. He creates a questionnaire designed to find the perfect woman – a punctual, non-drinking, non-smoking female who will fit in with his regimented lifestyle. When Rosie appears on the scene, she fits none of Don’s criteria – but she does turn his life upside down. Graeme Simsion’s moving and comic novel, sustained by a remarkable narrative voice, and illuminated by dramatic and hilarious scenes, takes the reader on an immensely satisfying journey as Don seeks to find out if he is capable of real love.

The judging panel comprised of Nick Gadd, the award’s 2007 winner; Peter Mews, owner of the Brunswick Street Bookstore; Zoe Dattner, General Manager of SPUNC; and Roderick Poole, Director of Writers Victoria.

Congratulations are also due to all shortlisted writers, but particularly to longtime Writers Victoria members Stephen Samuel and Clive Wansborough.

via Winner of Victorian Premier’s Award for an Unpublished Manuscript announced! · Writers Victoria.