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the newsletter of IP (Interactive Publications Pty Ltd)

 
 

Director's Welcome

DR_Photo

After several weeks overseas, I’m pleased to be back home and gearing up for our next Season of titles. Even as I write this, four new titles are plying their way toward Melbourne for release in June: Barry Levy’s gritty novel As If!; Coral Petkovich’s memoir/biography of one family’s emigration to Australia, Ivan: from Adriatic to Pacific; David Gilbey’s poetry collection Death and the Motorway, and Global Cooling, the sequel to my children’s chapter book The Greenhouse Effect. In press, we have The Biggest-Ever Mining Swindle in the Colonies, an exhaustive study of intrigue and corruption in the Queensland mining industry in the late 19th Century by Yeppoon author and historian John Peach; a local history by Cairns author Eugenie Navarre who showcases people who figured prominently in The Cane Barracks Story; and Bloodline, IP’s first fantasy novel, by Mittagong author Lisa Saul.

My thanks to Lauren Daniels, our Prose Editor, who minded the shop while I was away, reassuring me, with a steady flow of emails, that almost everything was in order. With the Internet, email and Skype, I was able to keep my finger on the pulse of things and help put out any bushfires, and Lauren and the crew kept things moving, as you need to in a vibrant and growing publishing enterprise.

We’re gearing up for a Brisbane Gala weekend that will coincide with our Summer Solstice and then an active tour of the new titles in Queensland and points south, starting in Melbourne at the Australian Bookseller’s Book Fair. We’ll send out an email circular in about a month’s time regarding where the roadshow will stop.

Now in its 38th issue, IP eNews is a collaborative effort, drawing material from all IP staff members, as well as our authors and other contacts, but one of the key players over the years has been our newsletter editor Anne Marshall. It’s with sadness that I announce that Anne will be moving on after this issue due to other work commitments. Anne first came to IP as a work experience Assistant Editor while she was studying at the University of Queensland, and I have valued her contribution, experience and dedication from Day 1. She’ll be missed, and I’ll be happy to thank her on your behalf for her contribution to this newsletter. The substantial increase in subscribers during her tenure is evidence of the fine job she has done.

I trust that you will enjoy this latest issue.

Cheers

David

Editor's Intro
 
AnneM

As we feel the cooler mornings reminding us that winter Down Under is approaching, IP continues its rapid expansion on the print and digital fronts.

David has returned from his trips to find that IP’s editors have been holding down the fort (and missing him) while he was slaving away (better known as enjoying himself?) overseas. Make sure to check Out and About for all his adventures, not to mention the exploits of our authors.

This newsletter showcases some great talent, including our emerging stable of high profile children’s authors. This issue’s Focus includes interviews with Goldie Alexander and Edel Wignell, as well as interviews with poets Lia Hills and David Gilbey.

IP has also been adding many more titles to our Lightning Source and Booksurge listings, ensuring that no matter where you live, or how you like to read your books, IP has you covered.

Regretfully this will be the last newsletter I do for IP. I want to thank David for all the opportunities he gave me while I worked with him. I will make sure to keep in touch as IP continues to go from strength to strength.

Happy Reading and enjoy this issue of eNews!


Anne

 

 

FEATURED ARTISTS

LeaHills

Lia Hills talks to Emily Brinkworth about her upcoming IP Picks winning poetry collection.
read more >

StephenOliver

Stephen Oliver impressed audiences in Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin with his new book Harmonic and his Text + Audio CD King Hit.
read more >

LisaS

Lisa Saul's fantasy novel, Bloodline, promises to be the first of a series from Glass House Books.
read more >

DR-AR

Back orders are flooding in for David Reiter's new junior novel Global Cooling before its release in Australia in June.
read more >

DuncanR

Brisbane-based Duncan Richardson's junior novel Jason and the Time Banana is upcoming from IP Kidz.
read more >

 

 

 

 

 

 

      
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Editorial

Has JFK Come to Oz?

In the current nomination mania occupying the Democratic Party in the United States, Hillary Clinton and husband Bill have been accused of plotting to putting their dream of establishing a ”Clinton Dynasty” ahead of forerunner Barack Obama’s chances of being elected President. It’s no more than a rumour, but it does point to a cult of personality that has persisted in America ever since the Kennedys.

It’s essentially a left-wing liberal pipe dream. Ironically, John Howard was seduced by it to the point that he thought he was invincible. Now, the idealists in the ALP are trying to impose the mystique on Kevin Rudd, but the threads don’t fit well. Mr Rudd lost no time in qualifying the liberal dream with some pragmatic decisions such as watering down Peter Garrett’s influence on the environment with Penny Wong’s appointment as Minister for Climate Change and Water. Minister Wong has already applied a break to Australia’s about-shift on climate change. Anticipating the release of a very conservative budget that puts controlling inflation ahead of new investment in social programs Mr Rudd was more than a little amused to remark that the Opposition is attacking him from the Left.

JFK he ain’t.

The silence about arts related matters during the campaign was deafening, and nothing has changed much since. Anyone who doubts this should have a look at Ben Eltham’s assessment on newmatilda.com where he remarks that: “so far our Arts Minister is showing far less reforming zeal for the sector than many had hoped for.”

We shouldn’t be surprised by this. Peter Garrett chose power over idealism in joining the ALP rather than the Greens. And he doubtlessly prefers to be a watermark on the front bench rather than being on the back bench.

Most significantly for publishers and authors, Eltham comments that: “Garrett has ignored certain parts of the sector (new media arts, publishing, festivals), and faces significant challenges in other parts (the future of the major performing arts sector, the need for an over-arching Australian cultural policy)”.

What does this mean for the arts in Australia? The battle continues. There are no signs of a renaissance in funding at the Australia Council, and I predict the arts will not be mentioned in the upcoming Budget. Which is probably a good thing since it is traditionally a “soft” area that no one will run to the barricades to defend against cut-backs.

Be ready for sympathetic nods and winks from Mr Garrett for the “creative arts industry” but very little in the way of concrete support.

This steady-as-you-go attitude will continue to hamper innovation in the arts and our ability to display our wares on the global stage.

Still, we shouldn’t ignore the positive things the New ALP has done since coming to power. Just the other day I heard that the Government will provide a free bowel cancer testing kit to everyone over 50.

I might need it..

— DR

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Focus

[Assistant Editor, Emily Brinkworth interviewed Lia Hills about her IP Award winning book,The Possibility of Flight.]

EB: How does your use of metaphor and metonymy relate to the messages in your poems?

LH: One of the most important metaphors for me is entailed in the title.  It suggests two aspects of the collection: the possibility of escape, not in the sense of denial, but that individual responses are possible within this collective experience, and that we are not bound by an environment that is created by the media, among other sources, directly or indirectly; and the possibility for faith beyond the dogma and rhetoric of religious war, real or simulated - faith, in a non-doctrinal sense, within a secular world.

EB: Can you elaborate on your view: ‘only believe what you can’t see with your own eyes.’

LH: This turns on the standard phrase, suggesting instead that what we can see does not require ‘belief’ – belief is connected to the unverifiable, so in some ways this statement is self-evident, in others it points to a genuine human need: the need for faith, often in that which is beyond proof or definition.  It is the very improvability of the thing that is essential – what has been referred to by mystics as ‘wordless knowledge’.

EH: I like how you’ve linked the poems together with similar themes, even starting with the ‘fall of man’, and ending with the ‘nature of flight’. Did you conceive the collection in this way, or did you find a structure after the poems had been written?

LiaHillsLH: I began the collection with the idea of the ‘love letters’, last letters from men at war, which I wrote around the same time as the poem now entitled ‘the possibility of flight’, a dramatic monologue in the voice of a man who has jumped from one of the Twin Towers. They came together as the precursor and consequences of war, raising the question of inevitability. 

Gradually, this notion of possible escape began to take over as the poems emerged and there were increasing images of birds connecting in to the collection.  Each poem that has gone in has been measured for its suitability to this emerging theme, among others, in an amorphous way. The collection is intended to be read in order as a loose sequence with enough space for the reader to be able to find his or her own narrative within it.

EB: You use musical terms, numbering and layout throughout your piece (such as libretto, legato and even musical bar lines). Why did you structure your piece in this way?

LH: One of the theme pieces in the collection is called ‘libretto’.  As I was writing, particularly about the politics of fear, I felt a sense of orchestration, of a certain rhythm emerging in the stories, similar to the patterns we seek in our own lives.  This tied in with the natural relationship between poetry and music, and the strong rhythm that was developing in my poetry at the time of writing – regularly incorporated internal rhyme so that the reader would feel held within the more difficult poems.  I

was also interested in the relationship between metanarratives such as we find in mythology, and which are perpetuated in opera, and the way they seemed to be reflected in the emerging narrative of the stories I was researching - a kind of opera of life, and our constant seeking of the libretto. The structure naturally followed.

EB: You seem passionate about war and the politics of fear – and in particular the ‘fabric of rhetoric’ concept. How did this influence your choice of subject, and could you explain a bit of the background behind this concept?

LH: Many of the poems were written around news items on the Internet connected to the war on terror.  One of the main ideas running through the collection is the notion of obtaining meaning out of a series of random events and I applied this to the news articles, creating a notion of a mythology behind the war on terror that could be gleaned from headlines etc.  Is there a narrative here? 

Connected with this is the idea of the metanarratives inferred by governments and the media, a post-secular mythologising, as a by-product or direct intention of the politics of fear – the way in which paradigm shifts are orchestrated to enable the actions of those in power, and the day-to-day experience of this. I see myself writing very much from necessity, in that each poem is a visceral response to what concerns me in the world, and an attempt to comprehend and sublimate these recurring thoughts.

EB: How much research was involved to provide the historical and cultural context for your poems?

LH: For the war poems I researched each period, both for historical content and the style of the poem e.g. the WWI poem was based on a Wilfred Owen sonnet form, the Vietnam poem on Ginsberg’s Howl.  My interest in philosophy also fed into the collection, particularly the work of Foucault, Derrida, Kristeva, Baudrillard and Camus, with regard to ideas such as the simulacral nature of perception as a result of increased media exposure and the notion of the Panopticon, the omniscient eye, as well as the search for meaning and narrative amidst the absurd.

EB: You write in “Duet”, ‘There’s no war here - just pledges to illusion a CNN of pareidolia’. This is a very clever metonymy. Have you seen any other examples of pareidolia at work in our society?

LH: Pareidolia is a form of apophenia, the phenomenon of seeing connections or images where they ‘normally’ don’t exist, such as seeing Jesus Christ in a piece of toast.  Here I was putting words into the mouth of Baudrillard, the recently deceased French philosopher, who claimed that the first Gulf War was not really a war, there was no true enemy, and that the media was complicit in this, implying that the war on terror is an illusion, even an act of faith of the most disastrous kind.  I thought this was an interesting idea to apply to other aspects of the politics of fear, such as the ‘paradigm of prevention’ - this dualist notion of seeing the enemy everywhere, of seeking out the bogeyman – which could be construed as an example of pareidolia within current political policy.

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[Assistant Editor, Children's Titles, Anna Bartlett interviewed Goldie Alexander about her upcoming picture book Lame Duck Protest with IP Kidz]

AB: Your parents migrated to Australia from Poland, and as a child you spoke very little English. At what stage of your life did you feel comfortable enough with the English language to become an author?

GA: I learnt English pretty quickly once I was sent to kindergarten aged 3. From then on English was always my first language. All my further studies focused on literature, and I spend the first half of my working career teaching in Victorian high schools. Though I 'played' with becoming a writer, I didn't take it seriously until some twenty years ago when I was asked to write a series of YA books for "Dolly Fiction".

AB: You started off as a high school English and History teacher. How has this experience influenced your writing?

GA: When I first started writing for young adults, very little was being published for Australian readers. This meant that much of the material I used as a teacher sometimes didn't relate to the actual experiences of my students. I suspect that I went into writing for kids because I had been working with them for 25 years. I was able to combine my love of English and History in many of my novels, even the first which I wrote under my own name. That was "Mavis Road Medley" and explored Melbourne in 1933 when my parents turned up here.

AB: You write a lot of historical fiction, but also science fiction and fantasy. To some this may seem an unusual combination. How do you explain it?

GoldieAGA: I write mystery and crime too. To tell the truth I get very quickly bored and I'm always interested to try something new. History, sci fi and fantasy all share one important factor in that all depend on creating other worlds, other times, other settings. All grist for the imagination. Also, writing contemporary realism, stuff quickly goes out of date. Think clothes, pop groups, electronics.

AB: 'Lame Duck Protest', your latest book, to be published by IP, is a picture book. What interests you most about this form?

GA: In a story picture book the text must leave room for the illustrator to 'write the other half'. I have always considered these the hardest to write because so much must be left out. Every word counts. But I enjoy the challenge. Besides, a successful Story Picture Book encourages little ones to enjoy hearing and reading stories. I think that's fundamental to growing up.

AB: In 'Lame Duck Protest', the characters stage a protest over the proposed opening of a shopping centre in their local reserve. How do you avoid didacticism in projects like this?

GA: I suppose by using a 'lame duck' as my metaphor. I like the idea of a ducking imprinting Zoe as her mum and even following her into the toilet. I think kids would find this funny. Humour deconstructs any didacticism.

AB: You've had a lot of pets throughout your life. Why did you choose a duck as the focal character for this book?

GA: This was a challenge put out by my co-writer Hazel Edwards. We passed a sign saying LAME DUCK PROTEST and she challenged me to write a story using that title. I also like ducks! More to the point, I am surrounded by proposed developments, some totally inappropriate. This is my way of fighting back.

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[Anna also interviewed Edel Wignell about her fractured fairytale Long Live Us! currently in production with IP Kidz]

AB: You grew up on a sheep farm in northern Victoria. How did this setting influence your writing?

EW: I'm comfortable writing stories set in the country, though I haven't written many. My first collections, titled A Boggle of Bunyips and A Bluey of Swaggies, arose from my interest in the folklore, beliefs and practices of country people, including the Koori families in my district.

When I wrote the junior historical novel, The Long Sticky Walk, I was able to identify with the family caught in a disastrous flood because my district suffered a similar one and I walked several miles through floodwaters each day to catch a bus to school. The chapter book mysteries, Missing and What's in the Red Bag? are set on the New South Wales coast, and the thriller, Hands Up!, is set in a Victorian National Park.

AB: You've been involved in drawing, painting and gold and silversmithing. Do you see any relationship between your work in these areas and your writing?

EW: Being involved in the arts, encourages a vivid EdelWimagination which is helpful to a writer. When I write, I visualize both the characters and the action. Writing a picture-story, I imagine how the illustrator may interpret it, and I omit segments of text that I know will be illustrated.

AB: You write for both children and adults. Which do you find it easier?

EW: Writing for adults is like having a conversation with adults – mind meets mind, and the language is appropriate. Writing for children is more difficult because one has to take into account the maturity and experience of a particular age group. It's important to remember that children read fiction primarily for entertainment, so there's no place for didacticism. The writing should be subtle and leave space for the imagination.

AB: Your novels often contain elements of folklore or fantasy, and, in your latest picture book, 'Long Live Us', we see fairy-tale characters and their stories becoming intertwined. What is it about fantasy that makes it appeal to children?

EW: Children, like adults, love to escape the real world. In fantasy everything is possible: exhilarating adventure, amazing characters, improbable and impossible achievements... The pleasure of a fractured fairy tale, such as Long Live Us!, for children aged 6-10 years, is in seeing characters that have been familiar since early childhood, behaving in surprising ways in an unpredictable adventure. The illustrations add another level of enjoyment, for they add a strand of humour that isn't unexplained until the last pages.

AB: 'Long Live Us' is a humorous story – fairy-tale characters attend an Annual General Meeting, Goldilocks teams up with the Big Bad Wolf, the Wicked Witch and the Troll to outwit the Goodies... How difficult is it to get the balance right between writing stories that will entertain children and those that have an important message?

EW: This story was a response to seeing a notice of a Fractured Fairy Tale Competition, so I wasn't thinking of an important message. I focused on creating a way to link several fairy tales in a humorous fashion. When it won, I thought it could be a successful picture-story.

Stories have been told forever by means of myths, legends, folktale and epics, and the constant theme throughout the centuries has been: Good versus Evil, with Good always winning.

If there is a message in Long Live Us!, it is that stories created to teach reading (such as the 'John and Betty' series in the 60s) are likely to be totally boring (and may even turn kids away from reading) because the tried and tested story elements are missing. But that's a message for adults, not for children. When children are learning the mechanics of reading, they need, more than ever, to listen to entertaining stories read by parents and teachers. And I didn't have that message in mind when I created the story.

AB: You've written over 90 books for children. Do you think you'll ever run out of ideas?

EW: Story ideas crowd in constantly. Every day the newspaper includes several incidents that can be 'story starters' or inspiration for the creation of a poem. Writers are observers. The germ of a story can be observed in the shopping centre, on public transport, anywhere and everywhere. So the answer to the question is 'No!'

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[David Reiter cornered David Gilbey about his poetry collection Death and the Motorway and his feelings about being in the role of author rather than editor.]

DR: People probably know you first and foremost as an academic. How have you managed the balance between your “day job” as an academic and the urge to write poetry?

DG: Balance? What is balance? I seem able to achieve it only in short bursts, between greater stretches of crowded. However, I’m comforted by William Blake’s claim that ‘the road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom’. I guess I’ve always liked reading and studying poetry – fondling language and utterance is so engaging, intriguing – there
seemed such an endless array of voices and styles from Eliot, Donne, Hopkins and Shakespeare in one hemisphere, to Slessor, McAuley, Wright and Murray in our own. In a sense, studying these (and others) made me feel daunted – they are so good in so many ways I wondered if I could possibly write anything of such subtlety, complexity or impact – and if ‘Kubla Khan’ is a fragment, then I’m condemned to be an eternal mariner! Their words are part of what has produced my shaping imagination.

DavidGBut being involved in Wagga Wagga Writers Writers, hosting writers to give readings and workshops, talking with writers about the processes of drafting and editing, and having been mentored by Kate Llewellyn, Geoff Page, Susan Hampton has showed me ways of valuing my own words, and eased me, almost obstetrically, into a shift from “literature” to “writing”. Sometimes reading and teaching is quite suggestive – of phrases, images, styles – and in the midst of marking, or preparing a lecture or tutorial, I’ll sometimes get an idea of something that might turn into a poem. I try to forget about the “greatness” of my models when I’m scribbling, but I think it helps when I’m editing – to know what those whose conversations I want to join, are saying.

DR: Though you’ve been writing poetry for many years, this is your first collection. How did you decide which poems to include in the collection and which to leave out?

DG: I wanted to have poetry from the various phases and foci of my writing in print so that when I am invited to read or perform, I have something to sell. Like most writers, my preoccupations and styles have changed. I wanted to get a “best of” my work in one substantial collection. So I selected (and edited) a few of the poems from Under the Rainbow (1996) and then looked hard at the various ‘foci’ of recent years: living and working in Japan; writing which emerges from being in Wagga; writing exploring writing, art, music; bits about and from family; then I was travelling and writing in Europe, UK and Ireland, China.

Writing is only ever partly “about” something, somewhere or someone – but particular locations and contexts do “produce” often intense language moments which sometimes become poems. I knew that some of my poems are particularly shaped by my sense of a speaking voice – inclined towards a performance mode. Others are more oblique, metaphorical. Some are particularly focussed on playing with particular styles. In practical terms, I asked my mentors and publisher for their suggestions and opinions about which were best.

DR: Death and the Motorway might seem like a rather racy title for a poetry book. What made you choose this as a title?

DG: At first I wanted ‘Syzygy’ but John Kinsella had used it. Then I thought I’d often liked two-word titles like John Tranter’s Under Berlin and David McCooey’s Blister Pack so I thought of ‘Pachinko Sunset’, a phrase from one of my Japan poems (in fact I’d started to tell people that was the title) – but it started to sound obscure, precious. ‘Death and the Motorway’ was the first title of a poem that my friend Peter Robinson suggested might be better off as ‘Ghostly Razzamatazz’ but it seemed a bit insistent.

Then, just before the manuscript came together, I received an acceptance from Southerly to publish ‘Death and the Motorway’, in its original version – that’s it! I thought. I tried it on a number of friends who agreed it was more pretentious than ‘Pachinko Sunset’ but had a more dramatic/ironic/comic cachet. ‘Who knows’ quipped one, ‘you might sell copies in car accessories or road safety contexts?’

DR: You spend much of your working time in Japan, and you’re fluent in Japanese. Has Japanese culture influenced your writing?

DG: I’ve been to Japan three times now, for a year each time, teaching English at Miyagi Gakuin University in Sendai. It’s been a considerable influence on my life and writing, almost picking me up and putting me down facing another direction, making me aware of myself, my words and my relationships with other people in new ways. As both more separate from Japanese and Australian culture as well as more intimately connected to minutiae.

It’s true that when you go to another country to live and work, and especially if the language is different, you become a different person and you feel your language differently. ‘english’seemed to me a much more contestable place and process. Some of my recent poems use the curiousities of ‘jinglish’ as part of their architecture. As well, there’s a whole new world of words, objects, ideas that are intriguingly unfamiliar and getting to know and use them is part of my imaginative embrace. Although, dutifully, I attended Japanese classes every week they were offered, and I learned hiragana and katakana, survival conversation and even managed to construct and deliver a couple of pretty accomplished speeches in kana, I’m by no means fluent. My Japanese is well known to be barbarous.

DR: You’ve been Editor of the literary magazine fourW for many years. How did it feel to be edited as opposed to editor?

DG: I liked the detailed attention to words and phrases and lines and welcomed it as a constructive ‘close reading’ of my texts. Often it helped me to see my work in a new light. It felt like a process of ‘value-adding’, certainly of affirming my enterprise as poet, even if there was criticism of particular bits. In fact I’d have been happy with a more extended scrutiny.

While writing is a kind of private act, language is nothing if it’s not engaged by some ‘other’. We need readers even if we don’t write with particular readers in mind. The editorial processes seemed to emerge fairly naturally out of a tutorial/lecturing experience and out of workshops which I’ve both attended and offered.

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Mr Peach and the Gold Mine

How did a person who describes himself as the “only surviving formation director of Genetics Australia, Bacchus Marsh, a former President of the Federated Chamber of Commerce of Queensland and a charter member of Lions International” come to write a book titled The Biggest-Ever Mining Swindle in the Colonies? It’s a long story—and almost as hefty as the book itself!

An historian more by inclination than training, John Peach is the brother of Bill, the well-known ABC journalist and anchorman, who provides an introduction to John’s book. But it was the Ross gold saga itself that would occupy years of research and writing on John’s part, uncovering a fascinating story of intrigue and corruption “at the highest levels” in the mining industry.

GoldMineThe hard cover book not only tells the story but also delves into the personalities of many of the figures involved, compiling hundreds of original documents as evidence of what actually happened. As the author says, in typically colourful language: “there is no doubt the story recounts a profusion of frauds, deception, avarice, overnight fortunes, gross injustice and ultimately some immense losses to mainly the innocent, and that many of the most prominent gentry, politicians and silks in the colonies were involved”.

We expect this book to raise the eyebrows of general readers as well as historians. It will be available exclusively from IP Sales and the author in August.

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A Winter Soltice Gala!

We can confirm that our first-ever Winter Soltice Gala will be held in the familiar surrounds of the Performance Studio at 4MBS Classic-FM, 384 Old Cleveland Road, Coorparoo from 2-4 p.m. on Sunday, 22 June.

The event, which will be taped for podcast, will feature Darren Groth, author of The Umbilical BarryLWord, visiting from Canada; David Gilbey (Death and the Motorway); Barry Levy, pictured here, (As If!) and David Reiter (Global Cooling).

Our 10th Anniversary Gala was a sell out, so snap up your seats while they're still available.

Also back by popular demand will be the infamous Cocktail Soirée at a venue to be determined, but certainly on Friday, 20 June. Short readings by the authors, plus a chance to mingle with them and learn their secrets of success!

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How to Make an e-Book

It’s easier than you think. If you sit at a keyboard and type in text, you’re well on your way to making an e-book.

It’s all about packaging. Just as paper and ink can convert text into a physical book, certain software can package digital text into an e-book.

But it’s also about channels. Most publishers these days make an e-book of sorts on their way to producing a physical book. They receive a manuscript from an author, often in digital form, via a word processing package like Microsoft Word. An editor may then edit the manuscript in Word and work with the author to refine it—sometimes using little or no paper in the editorial process. Then the Production Department takes over, designing a cover and laying out the text in a Desktop Publishing package like InDesign. The final step is to send the completed manuscript to a printer, usually in Adobe Acrobat, press-ready.

At this stage, the printer is producing a physical book from an e-book. That same file could be burnt to CD or DVD and sold as is. However, in its press-ready state, that file might not work so well for transmission on the Internet. So, if you wanted to make an e-book that could easily be downloaded from your website, you might have to back up a step to your InDesign file and optimise it so that the same file occupies less space in terms of dots on your screen.

Again, this is easier than it sounds. Programs like InDesign have presets that will convert your file to a Web-friendly size that you can send as an email attachment. Or, if you don’t want to invest in the software, there are bureaus around that will do the conversion for you. In fact, certain digital printers like Lightning Source and BookSurge work with publishers to repurpose their press-ready files into e-books that will work with the latest generation of e-book readers such as Amazon’s Kindle.

But don’t stop there. Current consumer devices like laptops and 3G phones can play multimedia content as well as text, so creators have other channels available to them. Why not consider enhancing your text with visuals, or spoken word performances, or music? Engage your audience with interactivity. The resulting works may be one or even several steps beyond what we think of as being an e-book, but they share the same digital space and are played on digital devices.

One of the advantages of e-books is their ease of transmission and storage. Rather than having huge warehouses to store physical books, publishers and distributors can store them on hard drives or servers that can connect with buyers 24/7 anywhere in the world, instantaneously. Forget freight charges and Customs clearances; when your buyer pays for your e-book, they can receive it in a matter of minutes.

E-books have the potential to reshape the publishing and book distribution industry. As more and more people browse and purchase online and are comfortable with reading or viewing their purchases on portable screens, e-books will become a dominant medium for many audiences. This is good news for creators since their work will become available to wider audiences. It may not be as good news for booksellers or libraries unless they retool to promote and handle digital products.

Will e-books replace physical books? Probably not—and certainly not in the short-term. No more than videos and DVDs have replaced movie theatres. Digital content adds channels to the landscape, and added channels are all about enriching our choice of what we read or view. That has to be good news.

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Fantasy in the Glass House

Lulu’s loss is Glass House Book’s gain. Several weeks ago we were pitched to by Mittagong author Lisa Saul, who had heard about IP’s Your Book to the World program. Lisa was about to publish with American POD publisher Lulu.com but she was hesitating because she wasn’t pleased with their production standards. She wanted to get it right with her first book, Bloodline: Alliance, because she already has three more fantasy novels waiting in the wings, and she knew that first impressions count, especially with the audience for fantasy fiction. So she asked IP if we could assist.

Forget POD: we liked Bloodline so much we offered to publish it as a royalty title under our Glass House Books imprint. It was a happy coincidence, because IP is keen to publish fantasy titles. Though we receive many proposals for books in this genre, we know that the manuscripts have to be exceptional to succeed in this very competitive market. Our Prose Editor, Lauren Daniels, was captivated by Bloodline from page one—just what it takes for this kind of work. It has everything going for it: a page turning plot, a fantasy world that keeps the reader on the edge of her seat, and a well-crafted style.

Now in press, Bloodline: Alliance is due for release in August.

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IP Kidz Update

Our new Assistant Editor Anna Bartlett has plunged straight into several Kidz projects. Welcome, Anna!

Following our New Zealand tour, where David showed The Greenhouse Effect, Global Cooling and Real Guns to libraries and bookshops, we’re looking forward to Global Cooling’s release in June here in Australia. The book will formally be launched at our Gala event in Brisbane on 22 June but also available for viewing at the Australian Bookseller’s Book Fair in Melbourne on 15-16 June. Our distributor reports considerable interest in the book, with a stack of back orders awaiting its arrival in early June.

GlobalCoolingIn something of a pilot project for us, Global Cooling will have a special launch at a local Brisbane school! Seven Hills State School has taken it on as a school project in which several students will help to set up a real-life book launch at the school in mid-June. It’s no coincidence that David’s kids Siobhan and Alexander attend the school, but we’re hoping that a successful launch at Seven Hills will encourage other schools to hold their own events!

While The Greenhouse Effect is actually not an IP Kidz title, but rather the prequel to Global Cooling, we were pleased to hear that Hachette Livre Australia, who own the print rights to the first book have just sold the Thailand rights to Pen Publishing. A bit of research reveals that Pen also publishes the Thai edition of Penthouse Magazine, so we’re looking forward to a sexy promotional campaign for the GE!

On the subsidiary rights front, David has signed with New York agent Ronnie Gramazio of Martin Literary Management, who is confident of finding a publisher for a North American edition of Real Guns. When David was in Ohio during his recent tour, he noted a sign on a university library prohibiting visitors from having a gun on their person while using the facility. Clearly, a topical book like Real Guns will find an audience over there!

Nearing final production is Brisbane author Duncan Richardson’s chapter book Jason and the Time Banana, which we’ve scheduled for release in August-September. Brisbane illustrator Dave Charlton has provided a stunning cover and is completing line drawings for the internals at the moment.

Not far behind are picture books by Goldie Alexander and Edel Wignell. Goldie’s Lame Duck Protest, a story with a strong conservation message, is being illustrated by Michele Gaudion. Both author and illustrator are from Melbourne. Also from Melbourne, author Edel’s fractured fairytale Long Live Us! is being illustrated by Sydney artist Angelo Vlachoulis.

Keeping it in the family are author and artist team Juliet and Anthea Williams with their picture book The Tickle Tree, currently being illustrated by Anthea.

We’ve signed with established author Di Bates to publish her version of a Guinness Book of Records for Australian kids called Aussie Kid Heroes, which is a compilation of amazing feats by Australian kids. We’re also working with her on an anthology of contemporary Australian poetry for the schools, something is sorely needed, if poetry is to stage a comeback with the young.

Several other projects are being negotiated with authors at present, so click back to this column next issue to see what we’re up to!

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IP Digital Buzz

IP was pleased to add a third music CD by Alan Ferguson, Live at the Irish Club, to our list. It’s LiveIrishClubreally our fourth Ferguson title, dating back to his musical interpretation of the title story of The Diggings are Silent by Wendy Evans. As the title suggests, Alan and his crew (Louise Steding and Colin Merry) got together at the Irish Club, WA, for an impromptu concert of traditional and contemporary Irish music. You can order the CD from us, or sample it on the iTunes Store and many other online audio outlets.

Speaking of sampling, you can also have a listen online to our latest Audio + Text CD King Hit, a brilliant collaboration between poet Stephen Oliver and musician Matt Ottley. We’ve already posted the short film A Simple Tale on YouTube SimpleTaleand will shortly put it up on our podcast site as a part of a feature on Stephen’s work. A Simple Tale is emblematic of our vision for IP Digital, with images from the Swiss documentary maker Christian Frei, Stephen’s words, Matt’s music, produced as a film by David Reiter.

Other IP Digital projects are at pre-production stage.

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IP Sales

We're pleased to announce that David has been elected to the Australian Publisher's Association Expert Panel on Professional Development. The APA has taken note of IP's innovative approach to publishing, especially our digital activities, and David is only too happy to share his expertise with his colleagues in the industry.

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Contrary to this issue’s Editorial, it hasn’t been completely steady-as-you-go on the Arts front from the Rudd Government. Shortly after taking office, a new competition entitled the Prime Minister’s Awards was announced. Someone forgot to include poetry in the list of eligible forms, which we think is a shame, hopefully to be corrected in the next round. But another problem for independent publishers was a condition that the minimum print run for each nominated title has to be 750 copies—a bit of a challenge when it comes to short story collections, which have a narrow market.

That didn’t discourage Sylvia Petter, whose short story collection Back Burning had already taken out the IP Picks Best Fiction Award last year. We had only printed 500 copies of the title initially, with the expectation that an additional run could be handled either by our print-on-demand partners Lightning Source or BookSurge.

SylviaPFaced with being ruled ineligible due the print run on her book, Sylvia embarked on an ambitious campaign—a kind of gentle protest against what she saw as discrimination against small publishers. She emailed all of her contacts in Europe (where she lives at present) and in North America, urging them to help her reach the minimum print run by buying the book through bookstores, or individually off Amazon.com, who would fill the orders via POD.

She and IP have agreed to contribute a share of the royalties from those sales to the Indigenous Literacy Project here in Australia, so people who bought the book were not only helping Sylvia reach her goal but also assisting the campaign to improve literacy among our indigenous people. Orders flowed in from all over the world, and we have entered Back Burning in the competition.

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IP continues to add to our list of titles available for POD printing on Lightning Source and BookSurge.

The two companies are, in fact, in competition, with Lightning Source (LSI) being owned by wholesale giant Ingrams and BookSurge being a division of Amazon.com. Recently, Amazon got a bit of bad press when it tried to put pressure on publishers to POD exclusively through BookSurge. Those publishers who did not comply were told that they would have their listings removed from Amazon. Needless to say, many publishers were openly critical of what they saw as Amazon’s strong-armed tactics!

To date, IP continues to add titles to both companies’ offerings and we have no intention of changing our approach. LSI has more clout in the European market, and David found, in his recent trip to North America, that many booksellers and libraries prefer to order through Ingrams than Amazon. Even though LSI charges for set-up and archiving, we think the prospect of sales to the wholesale trade and libraries is greater with them.

Both LSI and BookSurge now offer full-colour printing, so we have submitted our first picture book, Real Guns, to them. At this stage, there is not sufficient flexibility in paper stock to allow for “coffee table” quality books, but this may change soon. In the POD industry, even a month is a long time.

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David will attend the Australian Book Group’s annual conference in Melbourne on 17 June and also be available to meet with booksellers at the ABG’s stand at the Australian Bookseller’s Book Fair on Monday, 16 June. We encourage any booksellers and other buyers interested in viewing and discussing our list to make appointments with David for that day.

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Out & About

David was away almost more than he was in the Studio over the past few months, so his activities while on tour dominate this issue’s Out & About.

His first trip was to New Zealand to spread the word about IP’s interests in promoting “transtasman” writing projects. In mid-February, he was Visiting Author at the Michael King Writers’ Centre in Auckland (see the associated story on the Centre). This gave him the time he needed to complete his new novel, Primary Instinct, which he began while in residence at Bundanon, the Arthur Boyd artists’ retreat. He hadn’t looked at the novel since Bundanon, so his two weeks at the Michael King Centre were very productive.

He still found time, though, to make some contacts at libraries and schools about IP’s plans to expand into New Zealand, work that he continued once he and Stephen Oliver—our first New Zealand author—went on the road.

The object was to promote Stephen’s latest book of poetry, Harmonic, and King Hit, his Harmoniccollaborative CD with musician Matt Ottley, as well as David’s new children’s books—Real Guns and Global Cooling.

After an event in Auckland at Poetry Live!, he and Stephen flew down to Wellington for events at the Lembas Café on the Kapiti Coast and the Penthouse Theatre—a grand old movie theatre in the style of Brisbane’s Classic Cinema before it was degraded into the site of a kung-fu school.

Then the pair went down to Dunedin for readings at the Circadian Café, wrapping up the tour at Dunedin Library.

Obviously the word about IP’s intentions has spread like wildfire, thanks to help from locals like Mark Pirie of HeadworX. One new New Zealand author has just had a manuscript accepted and two others are under serious consideration.

No sooner had David caught his breath from New Zealand than he was off again, this time to North America. While his main reason was to introduce his children to his relations in Canada and the United States, David managed to meet up in Vancouver with one of our upcoming authors DarrenGDarren Groth about his new novel The Umbilical Word. Darren’s fairly settled there with his Canadian wife and family, but he will be coming to Australia in June to run workshops for the State Library of Queensland and to be one of the showcased authors in our Winter Gala events (see the story). David also renewed acquaintances at the Banff Centre for the Arts, where his interest in multimedia began with The Gallery back in 2000.

In Cleveland, Ohio, where most of his relations live, he visited several libraries and bookshops HIS-DVDand was a guest speaker at Judson Manor, where he gave a demonstration of the Hemingway in Spain film as well as his recent short film, A Simple Tale, in which he collaborated with Stephen Oliver (words), Matt Ottley (music) and Christian Frei (stills). He also took more footage for his multimedia memoir My Planets at locations from his childhood—with his son Alexander in the role of the young David!

Sylvia Petter has been quite active in promoting her short story collection Back Burning at several events in Europe. Who wouldn’t be a bit jealous of having a reading at the Vienna Literary Festival?! Sylvia was also featured at the Temporary Soundmuseum and wientouristinnen in.form in an event billed as "South Pacific Yearning".

Chris Dowding and his wife Kerryn have kept the ball rolling with A Few Drops Short of a Pint, with FDPreadings at Written Dimensions bookshop in Noosa and at Mary Ryan’s Paddington where more than a few attendees were from our Prose Editor Lauren Daniels’ workshops. Well-done, Lauren!

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New Zealand's National Writers Centre

[David Reiter was a Visiting Author in February-March, 2008 courtesy of this Centre]

The Michael King Writers’ Centre, the first full writers’ facility and literary centre in New Zealand, offers low-cost rental accommodation to writers who visit Auckland.

The centre is based in the historic Signalman’s House on Mt Victoria in Devonport.

DR_MKCThe house has panoramic views over the Waitemata Harbour. It is a quiet retreat, but is close to the lively Devonport Village and just 15 minutes by ferry from Auckland city.

The centre was established in partnership with the North Shore City Council in memory of prominent New Zealand author and historian, Michael King, who died in a tragic accident in 2004. It aims to assist writers and to promote the literary arts in New Zealand.

Facilities include accommodation for up to two writers (each with its own ensuite bathroom), a writer’s studio for the selected resident writer, an administration base, a lounge/meeting room and shared kitchen and laundry.

Each year, with the assistance of Creative New Zealand, the centre selects a resident writer, who receives a stipend and is able to live in the house and work in the studio, usually for between three and six months.

In addition, short-term accommodation is available for rent to visiting authors who are carrying out research in Auckland or want a quiet place to work. Writers who want to use the house should make an application, with a brief CV, an outline of their writing project and references. The second bedroom currently costs NZ$150 per week to rent, although the charge may be reviewed from time to time. There is a minimum charge of a week’s rental and a deposit is required to secure a booking.

Applications should be sent to the administrator.

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In Review

[These are snippets from full reviews. Click on the link to view the complete review for each title.]

On David Reiter's Real Guns:

The emotional issues confronting former soldiers and their families are presented with deep Real Gunscompassion. A striking and exceptional example of illustration complementing text. Recommended for Upper Primary - Senior Secondary.

– JS, Reading Time

Despite the horrific nature of this morality tale, I found Reiter’s style somehow cool, detached and matter of fact. There is an honesty in the telling, which would perhaps have been explored more effectively if written in first person, from the child’s perspective.

– Dawn Meredith, Buzzwords

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On Nigel Turvey's Terania Creek: Rainforest Wars

This book is suitable as a reading in environmental management, environmental politics, history, ecology and political geography. Overall, I recommend this book as an important contribution to understanding a crucial part of Australia's political and environmental history.

– Dr Phil McManus, Geographical Education

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on Kathy Kituai's Straggling into Winter

Kituai brings fresh insights, imagery, and interestSIW to each tanka while maintaining the thread of the days, weeks, and months connecting them. What rewards wait in these pages for the careful reader. I heartily recommend Kathy Kituai's Straggling into Winter to anyone who loves tanka. For those with an interest in tanka as journal, it is a must-have.

– the Editor, Modern English Tanka

Chris Dowding, author of A Few Drops Short of a Pint has been giving a lot of interviews and FDPgetting rave reviews for his debut travel memoir. The Bayside Bulletin’s Linda Muller said “it’s the sort of travel book you can read over a few beers.” The NoosaHinter Living’s Helen Barber praised it as being as “much a journey of self-discovery as it is a travel journal.”

Sylvia Petter’s Back Burning was reviewed by BBElizabeth Rutherford Johnson in the short review. Elizabeth said that Sylvia “brings a powerful sense of place to every story. This is combined with a precise examination of fragmented lives and the fragmented people living them.”

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Your Deal

Order any title mentioned in this newsletter online and get your choice of one or more of the following gems for a mere $11! [click on the covers for further information]

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A Ticket for Perpetual Locomotion by Geoff Gates

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Live by the Bottle by Margaret Metz

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