returned from Europe and surviving the very cold winter
(minus seventeen in Vienna!), I am honoured to take over the role
of Newsletter Editor, although I am aware I
have very big shoes to fill!
This issue of IP eNews sees some very important information
for would-be authors in David’s column
on follow-up contact with publishers. It’s also a good
refresher for all the published writers out there.
Our Editorial is of particular
interest this issue, considering the ALP’s recent loss in the
by-election in Gaven. David sent him an email urging Premier Beattie
discriminatory policy toward private arts companies. One only hopes
that the Premier will take notice of it this time!
We have interviews with three new authors this month: Basil
author of 3rd i or within the contingent skin, Rosemary Huisman,
IP Picks 2006 Highly Commended with her poetry collection The Possibility
of Winds and Monique Choy, author of the interactive CD The
You can find out more about The Last Laugh in the IP.Digital
Buzz, as well as an update on
Reiter’s DVD Hemingway
In Spain and some exciting news concerning how IP.Digital is
getting our titles out there to the iTunes Stores and other online
Out and About features a great line-up of news about IP
authors, including Liam Ferney’s poem being chosen as part
of Toilet Door Poetry (seriously!), an initiative by the Red Room
Company. Tilly Brasch recaps
her talk with the Royal Flying Doctors Association, not to mention
David’s recent activities with the Queensland Writers
Association, Conjure (the National Science Fiction and Fantasy Conference)
and the upcoming CAL conference on digital copyright.
In Review features a snippet of an intriguing review of local Melbourne
authors, that includes our own Joel Deane with his novel Another.
And we also feature two new competitions that you may want to know
Don’t forget to check out Your
Deal because if there’s
ever an excuse to add books to your collection, it’s getting
great deals on them. Our specials for this issue include a tempting
selection from the IP Digital collection, so make sure you click on
the Director's Desk
hard to believe we’re almost halfway through 2006 and on
the verge of yet another Autumn Season!
IP continues to grow in reputation, and
I’m pleased to report that more and more seasoned authors are
coming to us with proposals for new titles. This is a mixed blessing,
of course, as we already have a full publishing program for 2006
and are already scheduling new titles for the first half of 2007,
our 10th anniversary year.
Congratulations to IP author Joel Deane on his book of poetry being
shortlisted for the Anne Elder Award! More on that in In
Our blue-ribbon IP.Assess service
continues to thrive, with several new projects coming through in
April. If you have a manuscript that’s
almost there and you want a thorough and constructive report from
one of our accredited assessors, send it in.
I recently served on a panel at Conjure,
the National Science Fiction and Fantasy Conference, appropriately
held on Easter Sunday, since
there was certainly more than a sniff of resurrection in the air.
I was interested to hear the views of my fellow panelists on how
SF publishers are managing in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
One rather stressed publisher, who tries to do it ALL herself, was
characterised by Bruce Sterling, a prolific
American author and futurist, as a “patron of the arts”,
which, put kindly, means that she does it all for no financial reward.
Like the proverbial ram who has high hopes of bashing a hole in the
wall of State government indifference, in my Editorial I
call upon Premier Beattie to spur his newly found modesty into action
by expanding the
Government’s support for the arts. If there’s one thing
that spurs a politician out of lethargy, it’s a fear of being
defeated at the next election. Given the vacuum of opposition that
exists in Queensland at the moment perhaps it’s time for a
new party or a raft of independents to emerge. Stranger things have
happened. It’s worth noting that the senior management at Arts
Queensland has changed of late, after a “nation-wide search” for
the best administrative talent. Hopefully these new managers will
bring some Southern wisdom with them!
I’m especially pleased to report on our expanding digital
which will see us aligning with American distrbutor CD
Baby to get
some of our digital titles online. Our first sortie will include
twelve albums of wide-ranging content, from our innovative Audio
+ Text Series through
spoken word and music CDs from other Australian artists we admire — and
Speaking of digital news, next issue we’ll have a feature on
in Spain DVD, which is now in post-production. Authored
at IP using state-of-the-art software from Apple, it’s been
a process and a half! Writing organisations are lining up for demos
work and workshops about how individual artists and creative teams
can get into this exciting area.
Meanwhile you’ll have plenty to occupy yourself with this issue,
so keeping on scrolling!
Dr David Reiter
Sore Still Open...
AN OPEN LETTER TO PETER BEATTIE, PREMIER, QUEENSLAND
Dear Mr Premier
As you consider the implications from yet another by-election loss,
perhaps it might be time for you to review your Government’s discriminatory
policy toward private companies trying to assist in the development
of a vibrant cultural sector in this State.
For several years, you and your Ministers have condoned the exclusion
of IP and other private companies from applying for Government support,
insisting that only “not-for-profit” organisations are
worthy of support. Queensland stands alone in this discriminatory
policy. If IP were located in any other State or Territory in Australia
we would be able to access grants in support of our innovative publishing
There is nothing in the nature of a “not-for-profit” organisation
that guarantees it will deliver to its constituents. In fact we have
several notable cases in this State where not-for-profits have been
shown to be inefficient in their use of public funds. The University
of Queensland Press is a key example. The Government continues to
prop up UQP despite loses of millions of dollars, to the exclusion
of more efficient companies such as IP.
While the Arts are not a high-profile issue in this State today,
they do employ a huge number of people. I have met many people in
that sector across Queensland over the past few years, and I can
say that your Government is extremely unpopular at present due to
policies such as this.
This is despite a flurry of policy announcements and glossy brochures trumpeting
the Government’s dedication to the arts, where, in reality,
funding has dropped in many areas, including writing. If you subtract
the cost of promotional events and brochures from the overall budget,
the shortfall in funding becomes even more accentuated.
While you enjoy a large majority at present, Mr Beattie, I’m
sure you are aware of other Governments, with similar majorities,
fell very quickly once the people got fed up with the current Government’s
arrogance and inaction on policies that needed changing.
Your Government’s aim should be to encourage arts organisation
to become commercially self-sufficient so that funding can be directed
to more worthy and ground-breaking work. Rather than
new directions in the arts, your policies reward inefficiency among
arts organisations that have become sacred cows in this State.
I urge you to take action NOW to restore confidence in your Government
and to end unnecessary and discriminatory practices toward a vital
area of the cultural sector in this State, private arts companies.
Stop passing the buck, Mr Beattie: all it takes is a simple directive
from you or Mr Welford to Arts Queensland to allow private companies
apply for arts funding.
[In this issue, Anne Marshall takes a look
at three of our new authors: Basil Eliades, Monique Choy and Rosemary
Basil Eliades is most well known for his
visual art and poetry. Basil's earlier two books, ohne Titel(abroad)
and ohne Titel (divorce, death, birth and rebirth) were published
in 1997 and 1995, respectively, in Australia and overseas. His
latest book 3rd
I or within the contingent skin is another example of the complexity
with which he writes. It will be launched in early June at the VIC Writers
Centre in Melbourne on Saturday, 10 June, with other events in Daylesford
and Castlemaine to
be confirmed. AM: Your poetry collection is very diverse. How did
you choose what poems to include in this collection?
BE: The only real choices to be made about pieces included
or excluded in this collection were based on how complete a piece was,
choosing pieces that
allow some space among the intensity so that the reader isn’t overwhelmed.
with graphic sexual content were excluded, one an orgy of text and texture,
the other a haiku. They worked nicely in reference to each
other, but they appeared a little gratuitous amongst the other works. I
that every word, every breath, is related to everything else.
of all things’ is a base value of mine that affects all processes.
Because everything is relative, because nothing exists in isolation, for
me these pieces are not diverse at all, they absolutely belong beside one
In your poems there are references to a wide range of cultures and concepts.
Have these formed a large part of your reading and research, or are these
references incidental to this collection? And do you think your background
as a visual artist influences the vivid imagery and visual layout of your
BE: I’m pleased you see the pieces as vivid and visual! It’s all
so tied up together. Of course my visual practice informs my text, just
as my reading (of text, of image, of social dynamics, of philosophy, of
with any luck informs my visual art practice and my every interaction with
the world. Being conscious of all this stuff doesn’t make living
easier, but it makes it a hell of a lot more interesting. Similarly, it
necessarily make writing or painting easier, but it sure makes it more
interesting. I see holistically, which for me means that I see conceptually,
experientially, in 3D, in 2D, in time and space, and a whole lot of other
Relationships and a sense of self are recurring themes in this collection.
Do these themes carry into your visual art or were they only necessary
for your poetry?
BE: This idea that one can see at many levels simultaneously
affects everything. Often the only thing it doesn’t affect immediately
is whatever is too close to us, like intimate relationships. My responses
about everything being interrelated points specifically to intimate relationships,
because it is by reference points such as these that we gain our understanding
of self. Unfortunately we often rely too much on our partners to give
us those location points. For me these explorations about my own relationships,
and those of my friends, are essential for getting some perspective on
the world. So yes, these themes affect everything, including my painting
Your collection experiments with form and layout. Was this a conscious
decision as you wrote the poetry, or something that occurred when you
were compiling the collection?
BE: There is no experimentation at all. The form and
layout of the works is merely a part of the process, and simultaneously
intrinsic to each
impossible for me to consider the form of a piece as separate to any
other part of it. These elements can be observed, analysed, even modified
the fact, but not during the writing. What everyone
else calls “experimentation” I
simply call the process of being alive, the practice of writing, of exploring
words and their interactions and the energy that they carry. Exploring
is what we should all be doing, each day, otherwise there is simply existing
in the same state, and that ain’t fun. My writing, teaching, learning,
painting, even my parenting I try to approach with a fresh vision each
day, each interaction. Of course I fail dismally, repeatedly, but I try!
explore means you’re merely digging a deeper rut. Of course this
has to be done respectfully, because all of our actions affect everything
How do you decide on titles for your poems?
BE: A title is a door handle. It offers an opportunity
to grasp the energy of a subject, or concept, or spatial relationship,
and sit with it
for a moment.
After that, one can step through the door and grapple with or free-fall
into the poem. The poems tend to choose their titles themselves, self-electing.
Sometimes it’s a real struggle. Because they are necessarily
part of the poem and yet separate to it, clarifying their role and
choosing, is sometimes as difficult as the entire poem. So much can
depend on that one word having integrity, and being responsible for
of the entire piece. The title also has to counterbalance the energy
of the poem sometimes, which is a big ask.
Monique Choy's interactive CD The
Last Laugh is a prime
example of the way digital publishing can contribute to a piece
of writing. Monique has written for many different publications,
including the Lonely
Planet series, newspapers, magazines, zines and children’s
books. The Last Laugh will be launched at the NSW Writers
Centre on Saturday evening, 3 June.
AM: Why did you choose to have The Last Laugh as
an interactive CD rather than a print novel?
MC: I wrote the story as part of my Master of
New Media course through Canberra Uni, so it had to be interactive.
interactive story is a structuring issue that affects the shape
of the narrative right from the start, so for this particular story
a print format wouldn’t have worked. Right from the start I
was grappling with questions like: How will the reader move through
Can they know this if they haven't yet read that? Is this a necessary
bit, or could the reader skip it or perhaps come back and read it
if they want to? I wanted the story to build momentum and so my main
challenge was to give the reader choices while still building the
AM: What are the advantages and disadvantages to
having your work published digitally rather than trade paperback?
MC: Digital works open up all sorts of exciting
ideas when it comes to multiple narratives and interactivity. It
changes the nature of the
stories that can be told. However I think the
digital market is still very small. People don’t like reading on
screens and they associate
screen reading with work,
rather than fun. I'm hoping this will change though. As XML eclipses
HTML we'll be able to use digital media in ways that suit us better,
and hopefully creators will keep innovating to make the products
available more interesting.
I think narrative is one area that has
to really change in ways we haven’t seen before — after
all humans have been using basically the same story shape across
for millennia. Now we have the chance to bust it open with multiple
pathways. I think this is a bit like giving the reader a time machine
and letting them loose in your story — it can wreak havoc
if they kill their own grandfathers, but I think there are ways
this power and still tell a satisfying story... we just have to
AM: The genre of this story is a departure from
your previous genres of travel and children’s books. Was
it difficult to make the transition or was it always something
MC: I’ve never written a romance before! Yes,
a big departure. But we’ve all had love stories in our lives
and I think they’re among the
most compelling stories that shape our lives. Our choices in love
are some of the most powerful decisions we make — so that’s
an interactive story. Also, I have a theory that you can innovate
with form or content, but not both. So with such an unfamiliar format
wanted to give the reader a familiar genre to guide them through.
My story’s no Mills and Boon, but it does have the classic
“boy meets girl”, “boy and girl fight”, “boy
and girl get together — or not” shape.
Because I’ve seen my share of romantic comedies, it wasn’t
hard to deduce the rules of the genre— the hard part was
adapting it to
AM: The main character of The Last Laugh,
Mary-Anne, has a gift in her ability to provoke laughter in others.
Where did the idea for
this talent come from and
was it your original choice?
MC: I needed to give Mary-Anne a career that would
cause tension in her love life but I didn’t want to get bogged
down in the details of a
real profession. So I took the easy way out and made her career
metaphorical! Also, I wanted her professional success to be a special
was hers alone.
AM: The readers can choose different endings for
the story and even then they are not necessarily what the reader
expects. How did you
come up with these different endings, and why are they so different
from reader expectations?
MC: I hope the endings don't come completely out
of the blue. I tried to sow the seeds of each outcome into the
story before the final decision
point — and I hope the reader gets an appropriate pay-off
for their choice.
It’s something like a whodunit... Is he the guy for her? Based
on their relationship so far— you decide. Of course some
whodunits have better clues than others so I hope I managed to
AM: You said that the ending the reader chooses
could reveal a lot about themselves that they didn’t expect.
What sort of things do the choices reveal, and why do you think
these revelations are a surprise
to the reader?
MC: Some readers have had the experience of recognising
a pattern in their real life that corresponded to the choice they
made in the final decision
point. Not necessarily because things panned out the same way,
but because they recognised that there was a point in their relationship
where they made a similar choice. I’m not trying to claim that
my story is great literature — at the end of the day it’s
a light genre fiction.
But that’s one of the reasons we read stories, because they
can highlight aspects of our lives that were perhaps hidden or uncontemplated
some reason. There’s no obvious way to go in the final choice
of six directions and the reader does have to make a choice if they
finish the story. I hope that the choice is based on the reader’s
understanding of the characters, but also on their beliefs about
love, career, honour
even. We all shuffle that deck slightly differently.
Rosemary Huisman has published poems inSoutherly, the Bulletin and
Herald. She has also had many academic publications published, including The
Written Poem, Semiotic Conventions from Old to Modern English and
six chapters in Narrative and Media with Helen Fulton, Julian Murphet
and Anne Dunn. Her poetry book The Possibility of Winds was commended
in the IP 2006 Award for Best Poetry and will be launched at Sydney University
on Friday evening 2 June by High Court of Australia Justice Michael Kirby.
AM: After retiring from your post as a lecturer in English at the
University of Sydney, do you feel your writing is now a new career, or rather
RH: Neither. I have always written poems, and always spoken “in defence of
poetry”, when the opportunity presented (for example, the subject of
my retirement party speech!). I suppose I see my academic career as the way
my living (Sydney mortgages are expensive), whereas writing poems was breathing,
something I would do whatever else I was doing.
Incidentally, despite retirement, I still supervise a doctoral thesis and this
semester, at the department’s request, am teaching a postgraduate unit
for eight hours a week. I also still give papers at academic conferences. But
have more time for writing and reading poetry in the future.
AM: Colours are often mentioned in your poems (“Parramatta
Road, 1981”, “Gate-way”).
Is there a special significance to their inclusion, or is it simply another
form of description?
RH: The colours in “Parramatta Road” — at
the level of physical observation— are of course the colours of traffic
Road is a long road
in Sydney, and one is stopped again and again at lights. At the same time,
I trust the colours have a symbolic resonance, in the context of the verses.
colours of the slippers and dressing gown in Gateway are, again, at one level
the colours of experience, in this case the memory of experience. I did have
a dressing gown and bunny slippers in some combination of green and red, but
at this distance the memory is inexact (and the possibility of memory without
speech is one of the things this poem is “about”, I suppose).
reference to Joyce is twofold: on the one hand, his reference to the hairbrushes
at the most childish part of his memories, in A Portrait of the Artist
as a Young Man. On the other hand, this colour choice, for Joyce, resonates
with the choice of political Irishness, and I was reared with a strong sense
of the “Irish” heritage
of my mother’s family. (A mythical family story: the South Australian
branch was there “because of the martyrdom of Robert Emmet” and
years later, on my first visit to Dublin, I was astonished to find his statue
gardens of Dublin and his bust outside the library of Trinity College.)
AM: There is a diverse selection of styles in your collection.
Were you experimenting as you wrote, or did the particular styles instinctively
match the poems?
RH: Very much the latter. For me, poetic meaning may be understood
through all the levels of language — the choice of words and grammar,
the choice of sound patterns,
the choice of written display and, if you wish, the choice of textured paper,
of raised marks as in Braille — any material substance which our senses
can perceive. The dichotomy of “content” and “style” is
to me the most artificial of divisions,
cherished by those who want the security of a “deep” objectivity
(content), which they want to oppose to a “surface” subjectivity
I imagine my “instinct” was honed by its intellectual context;
I have taught semiotics, poststructuralism, postmodernism, etc, and read and
“schools” of contemporary poetry. But I have never been conscious
of letting theory drive my writing.
AM: The outdoors and people and things associated with
the outdoors feature prominently in your collection. You’ve also said that
you “write from where I am”. Is the outdoors from where you draw
your inspiration and could you explain this in relation to The Possibility
RH: Hmm. I haven’t thought about this. I do know that
I love the landscape of northern New South Wales, where I grew up. I haven’t
farm but we had one that
I’d visit, and many people we knew were on farms or came from farms.
The land was certainly part of one’s identity, in some subliminal way— when
it suffered, people suffered.
Perhaps I equate “outdoors” with “non-urban”, the country
migrant always left-footed in the local insider ways. Although I’ve lived
for over forty years
I still view it from the outside — its strange huddles of “old
school friends”, its tribes who must live here or there, must own this
There’s a poem, “Return Journey”, (published in Southerly many
years ago), which I did not include in this collection, which makes the point
now I come to think of it.
Incidentally, when I previously said that I ‘write from where I am,’ I
added this ... ‘mean[s] paying attention to my surroundings, natural,
social, political.’ At the risk of sounding portentous, I have to say
I draw my
inspiration from living.
AM: Your collection ends with a poem “The Casino Cemetery”, which
offers finality to the book while the opening poem “Of the Possibility
of Winds” describes
a violent wind. Why did you decide to frame the collection with these two poems?
RH: Both pairs of grandparents and my parents are buried in
words ‘scatter seeds of kindness’ came from my paternal grandmother’s
favourite hymn, and are carved on her gravestone). The “I” of the
poem is one in a chain, rather than an individual — this is both a comfort
erasure (the “difference — differance? — engraved upon the
stone’, scorched by summer fires, is indeed under a Derridean “erasure”).
The egoism of the
“I” — which postmodern poetics so earnestly tries to erase — is
inevitably erased by time. What survives is what was loved — a trace,
a generosity of
could hope for no more from a reader of the book.
The opening poem, in a different way, deals with the poetic “I”. There
is a contradiction. Here the “I” is powerless, subjugated — or
claims to be. Yet it has the ability
to record and control its own subjugation, as in the fairly regular stanzas
of this poem. At the same time, as in much of my poetry, this is a simple record
of experience: there was a wild wind, the trees did amaze me with their wild
antics. I was pleased with the poem.
AM: Many of your poems deal with the Northern Rivers area of
Does this area have special significance to your life, and has this encouraged
you to draw on
your past as further inspiration for your poetry?
RH: Yes, the area has special significance in my life — it’s
my imaginative base, so to speak. I wouldn’t have thought so at the time,
a child waiting for the
performance to begin (I left the area at seventeen to go to university in Sydney).
A friend has called it a “mythical childhood,” — the hammock
slung in the camphor laurel where you could read for hours, the pets, chooks,
and cribbage, passionfruit vines and bush nuts (“macadamias” in
Sydney — more syllables to justify the expense).
I don’t know about the “draw on your past as further inspiration”;
one might turn to Nietzsche, the past that is always rewritten by the present,
that is always understood through the past. Certainly I have always felt that
repression and denial silenced the poetic impulse.
At the same time, putting this collection together was in one way drawing a
line. My more recent poems look toward the social/political as much as or more
the natural — in contemporary Australia and beyond, there’s a lot
that needs looking at.
Our friends at the NSW Writer’s Centre have launched two new
The first competition is for writers who self-published their
book between 1 September 2005 and 31 August 2006.
The other competition is for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Writers
and the entries are based on the theme of ‘survival’.
The entry forms can be downloaded from their website.
For more information please contact Irina Dunn, Executive Director, NSW Writers’ Centre.
(02) 9555 9757 or email them.
[Snippets from full reviews that we’ve
posted elsewhere (click through to read the full review)]
In a recent issue of Overland, IP was
singled out as being one of the few independent Australian publishers who continue
to publish new Australian talent. Joel’s novel was considered along with
several other books by promising young authors.
Another is harsh, a gruelling depiction of family breakdown, petty crime, adolescent
discontent and inner and outer scars. Its confronting stream of short sentences
jerked out as if in pain, convincingly capture the mood of sullen confusion.
— Paul Gimmel, Overland
We’re also pleased to announce that Joel’s
second book, Subterranean Radio Songs, has been shortlisted for the 2006 Anne
Elder Award for a first book of poetry.
According to the judges, Kevin Brophy
and Robyn Rowland, “Joel Deane's Subterranean Radio Songs is relaxed and
full of flare.”
Subterranean Radio Songs was the 2005 winner of the IP
for Best Poetry.
OK. You’ve packaged up your
magnum opus, applied a ruler to ensure the postage stamps are aligned
perfectly square to the sides of the envelope and shipped it off
to the publisher. So how long do you wait for The News?
Is no news good news? Or just bad news? Depending on the publisher,
no news could well be just that: no news.
It may seem like publishers go out of their way to avoid reading
submissions. In fact there are very good reasons why the process
can take months.
The most important are the size of the slushpile and the availability
of staff to work through it. Some publishers get hundreds of
unsolicited submissions per year. Generally these are read and culled
editors who often have many other duties in their working day. They
can either reject the submission or pass it up the line. In the latter
case, the manuscript may cool its heels in a senior editor’s
in basket for weeks before being read.
If you knew that your manuscript had been promoted to the next level,
you could break out the bubbly—well, at least a cheap variety.
But how do you find out if your work has made it thus far? What’s
If you’ve done your homework on the publisher, you already
know what their advertised turn-around time is for unsolicited work.
Chance can come into play here if you’re lucky enough to submit
during a slow time, but few manuscripts will be dealt with in less
than the average time. Add on another two weeks before even contemplating
It’s three weeks now, and still no word. Do you write or call?
Letters have a certain formality, and they’re harder to ignore
than a phone message or email. You can revise a letter before you
send it and not risk getting tongue-tied over the phone.
If you know
how to write diplomatically, leaving the editor room to explain what’s
happening, than a brief letter might be the ticket. Mention the manuscript
by title, the date you submitted it and ask when you might expect
to hear back. Don’t bother with phrases like, “I know
how busy you must be…” This will score quite high on
the editor’s Insincerity Index. If you have news about the
manuscript beyond what you said in your covering letter, that can
be a good excuse for a follow-up, but don’t get carried away
by including a two-page blurb. Keep the letter to one page — a
half page is even better.
Call to action? If you want a quick reply, don’t forget to
include a self-addressed stamped envelope. Or you can include an
email address. Some editors like email; others don’t. So it’s
best to include both the SASE and your email.
What about calling the editor? Your chances of getting through the
first time are slim. Some editors leave an answering machine on all
the time to filter their calls. Should you leave a message? Yes.
Something that says what you would have written in a letter — only
much briefer. Plan to call back in a few days if she hasn’t
Above all, remember that your contact with the editor is mainly to
ensure that the manuscript is arrived safely and still under consideration.
(It’s rare for manuscripts to go missing in the Post, but it
does happen.) Did you remember to include that self-addressed stamped
envelope for return of the manuscript? Some publishers simply discard
unsolicited submissions that do not include an SASE. Others let them
sit on the slushpile until the author rings up about them. It’s
always a good idea to include your email address on your covering
letter, since some time-challenged publishers will email you even
forgotten the SASE.
If you’re lucky enough to get to the right editor first do not try
to charm her into publishing your book. The time to pitch your book
was in your covering letter. At this stage of the piece you simply
want to convey the sense that you are an author who knows the business
well enough to be patient. No editor will want to take on an author
who has an “attitude”.
If your manuscript is still “under consideration”, so
much the better. You could ask when the might expect to hear back,
but don’t be disappointed if the editor is evasive. Sign off
politely, and leave it at that.
Keep that bottle of champers on ice.
Next time: How to Write a Killer Covering Letter.
One of our top priorities this year is gearing up sales,
domestically and offshore. That was one of the reasons we joined
Publishers’ Association this year (see the story in our last
Even before the ink had dried on our membership application,
the APA had invited us to attend a special workshop on export, funded
by the Australia Council. We were also selected to be mentored, as
an organisation, by an expert on export and rights management from
an established publishing house.
David was surprised to find that even the established Australian publishers
find the going tough on the export front. It has something to do with
locale: we’re so far away from the centres of activity like London,
Frankfurt and New York. It also has something to do with history: some
UK publishers tend to regard Australia as a publishing colony of the
Mother Country rather than a territory in our own right. So they pretend
to be surprised when Australian publishers front up with new titles
having good prospects for international sales.
It’s all about getting the right people to put the right titles
in front of the right people. Some publishers frequent the international
book fairs to do this, where it’s all about networking and Making
The key is to know who’s buying what — and before
that, who’s buying at all. There’s no point pitching to
a publisher that has no budget for buying the rights that you’re
It takes years to find the people in the know and then get an audience
with them. Where’s a small publisher supposed to begin? Some
opt for paying overseas agents to represent them in territories that
they’ve targeted for their books. Others try to do it all themselves—talk
about pushing the proverbial boulder up the mountain!
We don’t expect miracles. Anne Marshall is doing some legwork
for us by scanning the book fair catalogues and sites on the Net for
publishers that might have simpatico with us. And then in early June,
David will be meeting with Angela Namoi, a senior rights editor with
Allen & Unwin, who will fine-tune our export plan for the short
We also plan to apply to the Australia Council for funding under their
2007 International Market Development Program. If successful, we’ll
attend the London Book Fair and arrange meetings with publishers and
agents there and in New York and Toronto to talk up IP and to see what
deals we can make for our recent titles.
Watch this space!
Several recent IP titles were
featured in the latest catalogue from Tower Books, our Australian
distributor. David Reiter met with Tower’s Director
Michael Rakusin at Treetop Studio recently to discuss our plan of
action for getting more IP titles out into the bookshops.
Neither David or Michael have stars in their eyes about the prospects for huge
sales — at least in the short term. Michael noted that current statistics
new titles come on stream in Australia EVERY MONTH. That’s a depressing
statistic when you realise that most independent bookshops only have room for
about 15,000 books on their premises.
So it’s not an easy job for a publisher to compete, even when we’re
producing 12-15 titles per year. There’s a lot of noise out there!
Our strategy is not to saturate the market with the full range of IP titles but
rather to roll them out over several months. We have supplied samples from our
major releases to all of Towers 20 reps in the hope that booksellers will quickly
see the quality they can expect from our list.
Michael commended IP on the promotional material
we already have for our titles, which the reps have found quite useful. Keep
it coming, was his advice.
He also had some pointed advice on how to make our covers more visible among
those titles vying for the attention of browsers in the shops. David took all
that on board.
New IP.Digital titles will
be up there with the print ones for our Autumn Season 06 releases.Here’s
The big news around Treetop Studio is that David’s latest digital
work, Hemingway in Spain,
is now in post-production. (For those of you unfamiliar with filmic
jargon, that means that the work is basically
finished and is now being fine-tuned before being mastered.)
most sophisticated project to date, Hemingway will be a feature-length
film, with readings from the
source book of the same name, which was runner-up for the John Bray
Award at the Adelaide Festival in 1998. The work also contains hundreds
of images and video footage from David’s trips to Spain. The
content is authored in Apple’s Final Cut Studio, which includes
audio editing in Soundtrack Pro, background music and sound effects
in Apple Loops, animation and special effects in Motion, video editing
in Final Cut Pro, and packaging in DVD Studio Pro.
This groundbreaking work will be very much in evidence during our Autumn
and Spring tours, so keep in touch with eNews for demos heading
your way. Who knows—if he has any energy left, we might be able
to talk him into producing a trailer for it! Keep your eye
on Quicktime News!
The other digital work to be launched
this Season will be Monique Choy’s interactive chicklit romance,
The Last Laugh. It’s a fast-moving exploration of
a contemporary relationship, with multiple endings and a few candy-wrappers
of humour along
the way, suitable for audiences from young adult and up. Read more
about it in the interview with Monique in this issue’s Focus.
The other big news is that IP Digital
will soon have a swag of work available for sale on iTunes Stores
here and overseas as well
as dozens of other global digital shops. The iTunes Store seems to be
leading the pack in distribution of music, audio books and even video
work, with more than a billion downloads to
date, and they are quite keen to get our material online.
With our growing list of audio titles, as well as titles mixing text
with music and visuals, we felt that seeking wider distribution channels
made sense. So IP has signed seven of our artists, representing twelve
titles, to be in the first wave. These include Alan Ferguson, Jack
Drake, Chris Mansell, Jenni Nixon, Liam Guilar (teaming up with Chen
Yang), Paul Mitchell (teaming up with Bill Buttler as Jumbuktu) and
David Reiter. Once online, their ‘albums’ will be available
in whole or by track 24/7 to anyone with Net access.
These new distribution channels bypass most conventional shops altogether,
and that may not be a bad thing, given the reluctance booksellers
have toward stocking digital work by independent labels. Interestingly,
our American distributor, CD Baby, also maintains a physical shop,
which will stock
our albums for sale in North America on Amazon, Barnes and Noble,
This brand of digital distribution could well be a first for Australian
publishers, but if we’re
wrong, I’m sure someone will let us know!
In a change of pace, David was a panellist
on independent publishing at Conjure,
the 45th Australian National Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention,
which was held on 14-17 April
at Brisbane’s Mercure Hotel. While IP has yet to publish any
titles in these popular genres, it’s not due to lack of interest
on our part, which was one of the points David put to the audience.
It seems that, unless you’re a popular author like Bruce Sterling
and Cory Doctorow, who were international guests of the convention,
SF writers face the same problems as their more literary colleagues:
promote and distribute. David found it interesting that, even among
the technological savvy authors in attendance, few seemed to be exploiting
channels that would encourage digital sales.
Bruce Sterling, who was in the audience for David’s session,
thinks that the days of the book — and the conventional bookshop — are
numbered, with other means of online publication such as blogs and
podcasts coming onstream. David was more optimistic, saying that
IP continues to regard the physical book as an important part of
the publications mix, as a source for other forms of repurposed content,
but he agreed that we will see more and more titles bypassing the
physical book for a digital life online and via other means.
IP titles on your iPod or 3G phone? It may be less of a fantasy than
IP authors Joel Deane and Paul
Mitchell were featured performers at the SheppARTon Festival in
A sellout crowd of more than 60 people paid $30 a
head to participate in Joel and Paul's
The Shepparton News reported that
the event was a great success, with a packed house listening to Paul
and Joel’s ‘rhythmic
and narrative laden narratives’. According to the News, ‘Deane
and Mitchell were warm and encouraging ... and a highlight was the
Post-it poetry section, in which the audience was invited to scrawl
quick compositions and read them out.’
One of IP author Liam Ferney’s
poems has been chosen by the Red Room Company to feature in their
Toilet Door Poetry.
“Small days” is one of six Australian poems that will
feature in the project that will see the illustrated poems displayed
as well as Greater Union and Village Cinemas nationally in April.
On Tuesday 16th May, David will
participate in the Brisbane seminar developed by the Copyright
Agency Limited (CAL).
The free seminar will explore digital copyright issues and what
authors and publishers need to know when offering their work digitally.
It will also look at what is happening with digital publishing
and new content models from online search engines, e-book readers
to digital rights management.
David will be part of a panel held in association with the Australian
Society of Authors that will feature Australian authors, publishers
and copyright experts who will be sharing their experiences with
the online environment.
We think CAL’s invitation may have had something to do with
David’s call for CAL to look at the need to compensate the
creators of digital content for borrowing and copying of their
work held in libraries and academic institutions.
The Brisbane seminar will be at Brisbane Council City Hall
To view the seminar program for Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Sydney,
Canberra or Melbourne, or to register visit www.copyright.com.au or
phone 02 9394 7600.
Tilly Brasch spoke to members
of the Royal Flying Doctors Service of Australia (Qld section)
recently. Here she recaps it for us.
In late February 2006, I was invited
by the Program Manager of the Rural & Remote Women's Health Program,
Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia (Qld section), to make a
presentation about mental illness and suicide to twenty medical personnel
and administrative staff of the RFDS. I did this at the RFDS Brisbane
headquarters in the Eagle Farm airport precinct.
The Program Manager
had read my bookNo
thought that my personal experience of mental illness and suicide
would provide beneficial information
to RFDS practitioners and their clients in remote regions of Queensland.
Although I have lived in Brisbane for more than forty years and use
the Eagle Farm airport regularly, I was unaware of the large
and varied business community that operates near the domestic airport.
I certainly increased my knowledge of Brisbane on that day, and hope
that what I had to say about mental illness
and suicide increased the knowledge of my audience.
Any circumstance of mental illness and suicide is tragic, but if
you add to this the geographical and physical isolation of rural
and remote areas of Queensland, the problems inherent in mental illness
and suicide are exacerbated and beyond my comprehension.
My audience was receptive and appreciative. They had many questions
to ask, and assured me that I had given them much to think about.
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