the newsletter of IP (Interactive Publications Pty Ltd)

 
 

Director's Welcome

DR_Photo

As the bard once wrote, the best laid plans…

Illness prevented me from joining the Far North Queensland tour in late August, but it still went ahead — thanks to Barry Levy, who not only promoted his novel As If! but my new one, Primary Instinct, as well.

Apologies to the THRONGS of festival attendees in Cairns who were expecting me to launch Hazel Menehira’s Vocal Enrichment book. By all accounts it went without a hitch.

I won’t dwell on it. I’ve already apologised to the groups in Ravenshoe, Proserpine, Mackay, Rockhampton / Yeppoon and Gladstone. Thanks for looking after Barry, IP's literary ambassador. Next time we’ll do it bigger and better!

Now, we’ve scheduled an ambitious Southern tour, with three events in South-east Queensland, followed by events in Lismore / Byron Bay, Sydney, Canberra, Ballarat and Melbourne — with a few others to be confirmed. More on that in Out & About.

There have been changes in staffing at IP, with work experience Assistant Editors Anna Bartlett and Brooke Butler now becoming permanent employees. And Kimberly Chandler, our new volunteer Assistant Editor, has plunged right in by taking on the role of your newsletter editor.

There’s been lots of action on all fronts, so I’ll let you get stuck into all that, but, before you scroll down, has anyone noticed that this is our 40th issue? IP eNews has been at it for 10 years. I hope you’ll agree that we’re just a bit better at it now than we were in the ‘good old days’. As always, we welcome your thoughts on what we could do better, and what else you’d like to see in our newsletter.

Cheers!
David

Editor's Welcome

KimC

Coming on board with IP in the past few weeks has been an exciting time for me, especially being able to work on, and bring to you, issue 40 of IP’s e-news.

We have lots of events happening in the coming weeks, including the launches of some great new books including poetry collections from Lee Knowles, Lia Hills and E A Gleeson, and Jim Brigginshaw’s latest Over My Dead Body among others. To support these amazing new titles David will be touring down the eastern coast of Australia from the 19 November, so check out the Out & About section for more information on a launch or workshop that may be near you.

Over the past few weeks the staff here have also interviewed a few of our authors to give you inside information about their latest books. I was lucky enough to speak to both Gloria Burley (Blood and Guts) and Eugenie Navarre (The Cane Barracks Story) and Lauren caught up with Ann Jones (Put the Billy On).

We’re also pleased to announce that Gloria’s book Blood and Guts will be featured in Readers Digest very soon. We’d like to congratulate Gloria on this very exciting news.

On top of that David takes you into the world of online book shops and gives some sound advice on making sure that you really are getting the best price for your books, Lisa Saul shares with you the hurdles she overcame while trying to get her fantasy novel Bloodline: Alliance published and David also lets you in on the world of e-books in a great how-to.

There’s also much much more packed into this issue but I’m going to let you find it all out for yourself. And don’t forget that submissions have opened for the IP Picks 09 competition, so get into gear and get those fingers typing!

Enjoy!
Kimberly

 

FEATURED ARTISTS

JimB

Jim Brigginshaw's latest book Over My Dead Body will be launched at the Rous Hotel in Lismore on 19 November
read more >

LiaH

Hot on the heels of her Text novel, Lia Hils IP Picks, The Possibility of Flight, will be launched in Melbourne on 30 November
read more >

AnnJ

Ann Jones' memoir of growing up in the 30s and 40s in Far North Queensland, Put the Billy On, will be launched at the Salt Bar Restaurant on Bribie Island on 16 November.
read more >

DR-Auckland

Finished during his residency in Auckland, David Reiter's fourth work of fiction, Primary Instinct and his third children's book, Global Cooling will be launched in Brisbane on 15 November.
read more >

AnneGl

E A Gleeson's IP Picks winning poetry book, in between the dancing, will have its premiere in Ballarat on 29 November.
read more >

LeeKnowles

Lee Knowles' latest poetry book, Invaders of the Heart, will be launched in Melbourne on 30 November.
read more >

 

 

 

 

 

Aibe

Check out the Slideshow!

 

      
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Editorial

Buyer Beware!

An ad campaign back in the States for the Yellow Pages once invited readers to “let your fingers do the walking”. The idea was you could shop from the comfort of your home just by flipping through the Yellow Pages, saving yourself time and money.

These days, a myriad of online shops promise much the same thing, although maybe “let your mouse do the clicking” does not have the same appeal. In the early days of Internet hype, online stores cropped up like mushrooms after a downpour — and disappeared almost as quickly. It seemed that people were happy to browse but not buy. One of the reasons may have been that they didn’t trust the online shops to deliver the goods. Credibility was in short supply back then. But have things changed?

Certainly the big players have moved in. Amazon.com will sell you anything you want, and even things you didn’t realise you wanted. Most of the major national and international retailers maintain glossy e-commerce sites where you can buy their products at prices as cheap or cheaper than you can in a physical store. Generally this works well for both seller and buyer. The seller can save on staffing costs by letting the e-commerce site do the work 24/7, with no worries about paid maternity leave interrupting the cashflow. And the buyer gets a discount, right?

Not always. And, in some cases, the reverse is true: online prices can be higher than the actual retail price charged by the supplier.

I’m not sure how widespread this practice is across the retail sector, but I can tell you it’s certainly there in spades in the book trade. I won’t name names here, but I can tell you that some of the companies involved will be very familiar to you.

One of them goes so far as to “guarantee” that their prices will be cheaper than those on Amazon, but their listed prices are so far above the actual recommended price that you have to wonder which Amazon they are talking about! In a survey of 20 of our titles, we found prices that were 30-40% above our recommended retail price. The prices were even higher than those offered by Amazon, since we have to meet the differing price expectations in North America. Even when you take into account exchange rates and freight charges.

Of course, recommended prices are just that: retailers are free to charge above and below them. But when these prices are accompanied by a smoke-and-mirrors guarantee, that’s when I think you need to be alerted to these fraudulent practices.

From the publisher’s point of view, inflated prices reflect badly on us, especially if people are expecting  prices more in line with what they would find in a physical shop.

Another falsehood promised by these sites is the levels of stock they supposedly maintain of particular titles. We have found sites that claim to have 100 or more copies of our titles — sites that we have never supplied to directly or through our suppliers. More smoke-and-mirrors. Few of these online sites actually maintain physical stocks; they simply order in stock as orders are received. This is true for the bigger retailers as well as the virtual shops.

The moral of the story is for you to SHOP AROUND. If you know the publisher of the book you’re after, check out their online store and see how the prices compare. If you can’t find their online store, try finding the title on Google BookSearch. Typically, this site will offer links to the publisher’s online store or other sites that you can use to compare.

When you uncover sites like this, complain to them and spread the word. The only way to discourage the practice is for them to realise that people know what they’re up to and that their business is going elsewhere.

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Focus

[Lauren Daniels interviewed Ann Jones about her upcoming book Put the Billy On.]

LD: Put the Billy On is a spirited memoir written from the perspective of a young girl growing up in Far North Queensland during the World War II era. As the author, it seems you re-entered this time and place with great ease. What was this process like for you as a craftsperson? And what challenges did it present?

AJ: Everyone has a story to tell and initially I was telling mine to my family. I wanted to record for them, not only the unique identity of society then and there, but subtly interlace as many details of the language, artifacts and culture into my web of memories. It was never my intention to tell my stories to the world. They simply ‘fell off the back of the lorry’ into IP’s collection of manuscripts. So when I was encouraged to collate them into book form, quite a number of challenges confronted me.

During the writing process I had taken small visual images and written each as a separate account, so the first hurdle was transcribing this maze into a linear timeline. I also needed permission to use the names and photographs of the Aboriginal people who worked on the station. In those days indigenous births were not officially recorded and most information was by word of mouth, so began a long process of deduction and discovery.

One of the persons mentioned remains a close friend so we researched her family history together. But I had had no contact with the others and had no idea of their origins. The only clue came from a meeting with someone who had been head stockman on one of the missions when it was under the care of a church. He knew one of the people from the station so I began contacting various indigenous organisations and delving into indigenous writing protocol guidelines in pursuit.

There was much excitement when I eventually made contact with the mission, told my story and discovered the young girl who answered the phone was the granddaughter of a baby in one of the photographs.

LD: Readers have found that the speaker in your memoir is instantly likable. As a seven-year-old girl, she gives a unique voice to this era and setting. She's shrewd, strong-willed, observant and connected to the issues and problems that the adults around her are facing. How would you describe her?

AJ: I see her as whimsical, imaginative with a strong sense of fun. She also has a glint in her eye and a compulsive tendency to tease, which at times got her into trouble. But beneath that mischievous façade, she is serious, empathetic and quite a nice little girl. ‘Most of the time,’ her mother thought.

LD: Your memoir is part of a current surge of Australian writers and audiences wishing to connect with a collective cultural identity. Please describe for readers, in your own words, the underlying themes of Put the Billy On. How do you believe these themes resonate with, and even underscore, what it means to be an Australian both yesterday and today?

AJ: I guess there are two themes in the book, first being our relationship with Aboriginal people. The era of Put the Billy On was a time of change for them. The aggressive colonial invasion phase had passed and the conditioning of colonial attitudes was changing in the adult world to a mutually acceptable paternalism, although segregation and authority were still very much adhered to in some form especially in government circles.

The other theme is the identity of the Australian people. Australia as a Commonwealth was built from scratch and the hardship of living in those times has awarded the Australian people attributes such as mateship, camaraderie, autonomy, self reliance, volunteerism and that famously dry sense of humour.

Today the ‘bushie’ syndrome has been replaced. The goal post remains the same, the number on the team has increased and the players have changed, but Australians still cling desperately to that identity of mateship despite the fact they now live in a society more heavily influenced by economic affluence, sophisticated communicative technology and diversity.

LD: As a retired teacher, a mother of five daughters and a grandmother, what did the process of writing your memoir ask of you and what did it give you and your family in return?

AJ: I wanted to give our daughters a legacy of the unwritten history of the Gulf. It was also a fun way to keep me occupied after I retired from teaching and curtailed finding jobs for my husband, Doug, to do around the house.

I was never very serious about writing the stories and enjoyed the creative freedom. When publication was in sight, the ‘troops’ were called in and the final effort of scanning and repairing old photographs, reading and re-reading boosted the collaborative level to the relationship with my family, although I suspect there were times when they kept their distance in case they were given another job. The grandchildren usually hovered round, lovingly cuddling up, but with an ulterior motive, whispering, ‘When is it my turn on the computer, Nanna?”

LD: Given the strong historical and communal basis, Put the Billy On required research to collate recorded facts and details with your childhood experience in the Gulf of Carpentaria. How would you describe your researching process during the crafting of your memoir?

AJ: It was extensive and time consuming and I spent more time trying to confirm facts than I did actually writing the stories. It was also exasperating. Communication at that time in history was limited, World War II was at its zenith and bureaucracy was an infrequent visitor because of the geographical isolation. Details were often never recorded, were contradictory, lost or destroyed by fire. But the search to confirm facts was interesting and a great learning experience.

It was also exciting for me with the discovery that Burketown was used as the prototype of the fictitious town in Neville Shute’s book A Town Like Alice and the Burketown bath, referred to in one of the stories, was the scene in which his heroine, Jean Pagett, lies in a Roman style public bath, dreaming of developing the small town into a successful and productive community. The bath was designed and built by my father, Geoff Colless, in 1943 during his time as Shire Clerk.

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[Kimberly Chandler recently interviewed Gloria Burley about her experience as a nurse, depicted in her memoir Blood and Guts.]

KC: What compelled you to tell your story about being a nurse as your first novel? Have you always had an interest in writing?

GB: I have always loved to write and I have heard that you should write about something you know so as a first novel, I picked something I knew a lot about and that I had found fascinating and I hoped others would feel the same way.

KC: Do you think your experiences as a nurse made you more or less scared/nervous/accepting when you were diagnosed with cancer?

GloriaBGB: As a nurse I was more accepting of my cancer diagnosis because I knew what was going to happen.  I think as far as health is concerned, ignorance is not bliss but rather scary.  This is why I have written my second book entitled 'What did the doctor say' outlining hospital tests - why are they done, do they hurt, how long do they take etc.

KC: You have little humorous sayings or anecdotes at the beginning of each of your chapters. What made you decide to put them into the book? Where did you find them?

GB: I decided to put in the anecdotes at the beginning of each chapter because a friend of mine sent me an email with a lot of them and I thought they were very clever.  Some are well known to hospital personnel.

KC: You’ve worked in both outback and city hospitals, how big are the  differences? Did you prefer one over the other?

GB: Outback hospitals seem to operate on a wing and a prayer sometimes because of lack of equipment and specialist doctors.  Big cases have to be sent to the nearest large hospital - in my case Darwin.  I very much enjoyed working in the outback as it was slow paced and intimate but I didn’t like being on call and being dragged out of my bed on average once a week in the middle of the night due to lack of personnel.

KC: After working in the hospital system for a long time, as a nurse or a doctor, do you think you become numb to the bad things that happen or are you just as affected each time?

GB: I don’t think you ever become numb to what you see but it does help you to sort out the serious from the not so serious.  There are some people that overcome incredible problems.  It just makes you really glad to be alive and appreciate your health.

<title>IP eNews/<title>

[Kimberly also interviewed Eugenie Navarre about her book The Cane Barracks Story, a look into the pioneers and history of north Queensland.]

KC: It's been said that you’ve always had a passion for the unusual and interesting. What made you want to research and write a book about the cane barracks?

EN: For decades I’d been driving through the cane fields as a journalist and I noticed historic old buildings and thought it was important that they were recorded for history. The years went on and nothing happened and one day I thought, I better take a few notes in case no one does anything. Over a number of years I took more notes, and still nothing happened, and one day I made a decision that if I didn’t do anything then no one would. So I set out slowly and interviewed people that owned these historic old buildings and I discovered people with extraordinary stories that aren’t recorded and that there was this plethora of amazing history of cane hay-day and so the book changed direction from just a book on the barracks to book on the history of the pioneers of the cane barracks.

KC: What is one of your favourite/most interesting pieces of information or stories that you’ve discovered since beginning your research?

EN: The thing that amazed me was how frightened the early pioneers were of our wildlife. In those days, late 19th century, there were no TV documentaries and no National Geographic telling stories about where EugenieNcrocodiles live or what a cassowarie is or anything. They had no idea, they were just confronted by this bizarre wildlife, and they were terrified. This was really a surprise for them. The first thing they used to tell me was how horrified they were by the croak of a frog or by the frillneck lizard raising its frill. One lady saw a cassowarie coming out of a cane paddock and thought it was a hen as big as a horse. It was really horrifying for the women left out there on their own. One of my heroes said that the first time he saw a lizard he thought it was a crocodile.

KC: You began researching for The Cane Barracks Story back in 2000. How much time did you spend with each family in order completely understand their story?

EN: Initially, as a journalist, I give every story the time that it needs, I never set time limits. I like people to expand and feel that they trust me enough to tell me their story. It’s the last thing they say as you walk out the door is the introduction to your story. It’s as you’re leaving that they say “oh Eugenie you know what...” which is your opening line.

I spent a lot of time with the families as I found it hard to understand that they had so little of anything. It was impossible to believe at first that when they said they had nothing they really meant nothing. I was going to call the book “Nothing Means Nothing” before I realised that nothing did mean nothing - they really had nothing. When the workers came out to work in the cane paddocks the family would move out of the barracks and live in the horse stables. I said “it must have been hard work moving into the stables every season” thinking about how difficult it is for us to move house, but they’d reply “oh no we had nothing.” I couldn’t make myself comprehend that it really meant nothing. Exasperated one lady eventually said “Eugenie you don’t understand we had nothing! Not even saucepans, or curtains” and it suddenly hit me. They had literally one pot and wore old heshen bags made into clothes. They had no beds just a heshen bag like a stretcher: they literally had nothing. It was an extraordinary realisation for me.

They really are true heroes and pioneers. When I call them heroic I mean every last letter of that. Nobody ever realised, in the media or circles that were writing about it, just how difficult it was as these people never whinged. They were very proud people and they just got on with it. The magic word was trust.

TC: How difficult is it to tell someone else’s story, and not just one person’s story, but a whole town’s story?

EN: It is the easiest thing in the world for me; It's what I was taught as a journalist. It’s far easier to record people’s stories than to write my own and make it up. But, as I’m recording their words, it's a wonderful experience, I don’t have to think just scribble down that they’re telling me. Then I go and sit under a tree and pull it together into a short, sharp chapter.

KC: Does it amaze you how the Black Hand Society still holds the town in a state of fear? Do you think that the terror they bought on the town will ever just become part of the history instead of being at the forefront of people’s minds?

EN: The Black Hand doesn’t exist as such anymore, Hwever the memories are still deeply embedded as the decedents of the people are still living in North Queensland. It’s still talked about in hushed voices in certain circles. Everyone is still hesitant to talk about the people who were involved, as they know that their grandchildren are still around. I guess you could say it’s still hidden under tropicana of North Queensland, and if it still exists then it’s only in a very small area, it is a thing of the past.

The chapter on the Black Hand tells how they demanded that the townsfolk pay hush hush money. Anyone who didn’t pay would have their tractor or house blown up, or their ears cut off. The Black Hand were a hideous mob of a small section of Italian society. Their tactics were widespread n the 20s, 30s and 40s when they really wrecked havoc, and had people terrified. But they disappeared in the end and there’s only the memories left as far as I know. There are still rumors about a section remaining, but it still would be minor compared to what they were back then.

<title>IP eNews/<title>

So Long and Thanks for a Good Read

[Author Lisa Saul recently launched her fantasy novel Bloodline: Alliance in Sydney and Melbourne, in this article she delves a little further into the fantasy genre.]

Do you ever wonder why all those publishers rejected Harry Potter before Bloomsbury took it on and made publishing history? I wonder it all the time because I have seen, first hand, some of the nonsensical and humorous reasons a book is rejected.

LisaSI wrote Bloodline: Alliance – released August 2008 by Interactive Publications – in 2001. Yes, I admit it. It’s been circulating for seven years. Why did it take that long to see any of my eight fantasy novels published? I still wonder that myself, because frequently my rejection letters said: “Loved the story, and your writing shows so much promise. But . . .”

Which begs the question: When is an enjoyable story and proficient writing, simply not enough? Worse, when did it become secondary to what can only be described as irrelevant?

I once sent Bloodline: Alliance to a very keen agent who later rejected it because she believed my heroine, Shenna, a starving, injured thief, should have been a vegetarian. In one scene, my fantasy characters sit around an open fire in a quasi-medieval world. Shenna’s new-found friends – who are nursing her back to health after an injury – offer her some salted lamb. But the agent has scribbled out lamb and written in ‘tofu’. Yes, tofu. And it was a point so significant to her, that she mentioned it as a reason for rejecting the book.

To be fair, Shenna can speak to animals. And she shares an incredible mind-bond with a wolf that is constantly at her side. But let’s disregard works like Robin Hobb’s Farseer Trilogy, where Fitz speaks to and yet eats animals. And ignore the fact that Wolf is a carnivore, so Shenna would have to watch him eat animals. Apart from all of that, who would read it unless starving Shenna only ate tofu she regularly stole from traders of specialist vegetarian products? I think the agent had a point.

But probably not as sound a point as another agent who rejected what she admitted was a great story with writing that showed talent, only because Wolf – the wolf Shenna shares a mind-bond with – calls Shenna ‘Master’.

“Does Wolf need to call Shenna, ‘master’?” she asked. To which I replied, yes, and that ended the relationship. There are many reasons why Wolf does call Shenna ‘Master’ – reasons the agent never got to. But to go into them here would spoil too many important things about the novel and its sequel.

One editor enjoyed Bloodline: Alliance very much, but claimed the age group was ambiguous. My heroine is youngish – about twenty-one – and in many ways she is childish, having had her life stunted at the age of ten when her father died rather brutally, saving her life. And I admit that my book has appealed to fifteen-year-olds and fifty-year-olds. But apparently this makes it a sales risk. Like, say, the Lord of the Rings written for a young audience and obsessively loved by adults? Or like David Edding’s Belgariad, in which the hero is thirteen years old? Or Juliet Marillier’s heroine, Sorcha, who is a toddler when Daughter of the Forest starts, and sixteen when it finishes? But maybe the editor had a point.

One agent believed that to keep her reading, I needed to reveal the answers to the underlying mystery much earlier, not near the novel’s end. And the rest of the book could then be filled up with, well . . . stuff. Mysteries, it seems, only keep a reader reading when they are no longer a mystery. Except that we were all willing to wait for seven entire novels, to resolve the mystery between Harry Potter and his nemesis Voldemort. But perhaps this agent too, had a point.

With rejections such as these, I wondered how anyone got published. And though I seemed to have a good page-turning story with promising writing, there were just too many words in my novel – 110,000 of them, and that made 110,000 reasons it could be rejected.

I had decided self-publishing was my only chance to appease a growing list of fans who were begging for more – readers who didn’t realise lamb versus tofu was a serious issue – when the novel came to the attention of Interactive Publications. Their fiction editor read the novel in a week, and decided: “Page-turning plot, promising writing . . . Let’s run with it.”
It would seem, reassuringly to all of us, there are still some who know that a good story and good writing, is what it takes.

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Blood and Guts in Readers Digest

We’re pleased to announce that Readers Digest will be running an extract from Gloria Burley’s Blood and Guts in the Health Smart section of their magazine. We’re expecting a run on the book at the bookshops soon after the article appears.

The section’s editor commented that they were very impressed by the book and wanted to do everything they can to promote it here in Australia.

BGCovThe book deals with Gloria’s experience as a nurse working in a large Sydney hospital as well as a hospital in the Outback at Katherine, Northern Territory.

Nationally renowned brain surgeon Dr Charlie Teo launched the book recently at Sydney Hospital and has promised to spread the word about it as widely as possible. Thanks, Charlie!

And thanks, too, to Gloria, for making the initial contact with Readers Digest that enabled us to land the deal.

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e-Books: Facts and Fictions

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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IP Kidz Update

Two new titles will be going to press shortly. There’ll be Goldie Alexander’s Lame Duck Protest, illustrated by Michelle Gaudion, a picture book about how an injured duck becomes the mascot for a community action group trying to head off a development in a local park land. IP has also accepted Goldie’s A-Z PIs, a junior detective novel about a group of kids who pursue some nasty characters who’ve been burning down hedges.

We’re also looking forward to publishing Di Bates’ latest book, Aussie Kid Heroes, which can be described as a Guinness Book of Records focussing on kids and their extraordinary achievements. Marjory Gardner has provided the cover and line drawings.

Three picture books scheduled for release in the first half of 2009 are Edel Wignell’s fractured fairy tale Long Live Us, being illustrated by Angelo Vlachoulis; Juliet Williams’ environmental story The Giggle Gum Tree, with art work by Elizabeth Botté and Libby Hathorn’s historical piece Roksanna’s Rose, being illustrated by Doris Unger.

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IP Digital Buzz

David continues to be much in demand for speaking engagements and workshops on digital publishing. He’ll be offering a two-session on creating e-books on 20 November for the Northern Rivers Writers Centre, and his full-day Redo and Remix: Get a Digital Life for the NSW Writers Centre on 22 November. Orana Arts is working on organising a digital workshop for Dubbo on 3 Dec.

We’re pleased to report that the Australia Council is funding a two-day course for publishers on digital publishing in Sydney in the first week of March. David will likely be involved with that, given IP’s pioneering work in the area. (David had a meeting at OzCo recently where they stressed the Council’s commitment to providing support for digital innovation – good news in the light of David’s previous editorial!)

Looking into the New Year, David will give a talk on the implications of the digital revolution for education and libraries at the Somerset Conference on the Gold Coast in mid-March then lead a workshop showing how IP publishes our digital projects.

We continue to upload titles to our digital partners overseas: Lightning Source, BookSurge, Goggle BookSearch. We’re about to gear up to provide a considerable portion of our list to Amazon.com for their Kindle Reader, the latest generation of e-book readers, which now boasts more than 180,000 titles available for download. American publishers routinely upload new releases for the Kindle at the same time as they release new titles for print publication. Even blockbuster releases are available for download for a fraction of their paper versions, generally US$9.95. We’re not at the stage of simultaneous release yet, but hope to be by early next year.

The latest release in our Audio + Text Series, The Heart Takes Wing, is a collaboration between HTWCovtanka artist Kathy Kituai and musician/composer Nitya Bernard Parker. We see the CD is a gift to people grappling with cancer and terminal illness since it’s based on Kathy’s poetic reflections over a year of dealing with the cancer of two people close to her. Nitya, whose family has also been touched by cancer, is a social worker and psychotherapist who believes in the spiritual and healing properties of music. The CD will be launched in Canberra at Calvery Hospital and at Smiths Alternative Bookshop on 26 November. Copies are already winging their way to our digital distributor, CD Baby, so you’ll soon be able to sample the tracks on the iTunes Store and elsewhere.

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Stop Press: Google BookSearch Landmark Agreement

We've just learned that Google has reached an agreement with US publisher and author groups that may well revolutionise the access to information via Google BookSearch and compensation to content creators for this access.

If ratified by the courts that have jurisdiction over the case between the disputing parties, the agreement will see unfettered access by Google to the holdings of major American libraries in exchange for a mechanism of monitoring by a new Book Rights Registry:

"Holders worldwide of U.S. copyrights can register their works with the Book Rights Registry and receive compensation from institutional subscriptions, book sales, ad revenues and other possible revenue models, as well as a cash payment if their works have already been digitized."

The good news is that this sets a precedence by which Google, publishers and author groups can mutually benefit by the sharing of access to creative content. The reading community also benefits by having improved access to the resources of major libraries in the USA and elsewhere.

The bad news is that the settlement would apply only to publishers and content creators in the USA, while publishers and authors elsewhere will find the system unchanged - unless they hold US copyright over their titles.

It remains to be seen whether Google can sustain a two-tier system whereby only American publishers and authors benefit from these new arrangements. Publishers and content creators elsewhere could mount a case based on the American precedent and very likely succeed, but unless the case could be settled out of court, the dispute could drag on for years. It took the Americans three years to reach an out of court settlement.

In Australia, we have the Copyright Agency Ltd (CAL) as a legally constituted body charged with monitoring the photocopying of copyrighted material. CAL could likely assume the role of the Book Rights Registry under expanded terms of reference.

It's an issue that calls for immediate consultation between publisher and author groups here to hopefully result in a unified front in an approach to Google. If we sit back and wait for others to do our work for us, we may be waiting a long , long time.

They should be burning the midnight oil even as you read this in the offices of the Australian Publishers Association and the Australian Authors Association. Are they?

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IP Sales

We were pleased to launch our recent list at Gleebooks in Sydney, the Hobart Bookshop and Readings, Carlton.

Our Summer Season Tour will kick off with an event at 4MBS FM’s Performance Studio on 15 November and then on Bribie Island for Primary Instinct and Put the Billy On, followed by events in Lismore / Byron, Sydney, Canberra, Ballarat, Melbourne and Dubbo where David will be joined by authors Ann Jones, Jim Brigginshaw, Kathy Kituai, Lia Hills, E A Gleeson and Lee Knowles along the way. See Out & About for the latest on the itinerary to date.

Of special note on the POD (print on demand) front was a spectacular sales statistic for Erica Bell’s historical novel The Voyage of the Shuckenoor, which sold over 100 copies in the first month! Well-done, Erica!!

Google BookSearch sends us weekly stats on visits to their site, including page views of our books and the number of click-through sales. Leading the pack this month was another new title, David’s junior novel Global Cooling. There’s something to be said for choosing a good title…

Australian Standing Orders (ASO) is a division of Scholastic Books, which has effective distribution to Australian primary and secondary schools. ASO considers titles from publishers other than Scholastic, too, and when a title is accepted for distribution, it can mean orders in the thousands of copies. Most children’s publishers, then, are keen to partner with ASO and IP is no exception. David and Anna, our Assistant Editor, Children’s Titles, had a meeting with Ron McCarthy, ASO’s CEO to show him our recent and upcoming list, and we’re pleased to report that ASO welcomed us with open arms, with Ron remarking his pleasure at finding a new quality children’s publisher. Several of our titles will now be considered for distribution by ASO, so we’ll keep you up to date on the news.

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IP Picks Update

This year's entries are running ahead of last year, which set the record for the largest number of entries we'd received to date.

There's still a month to go before the entry deadline, so need to panic – yet.

Once again, the competition is open for the first time to residents and citizens of New Zealand. The total number of categories – Best Fiction, Best Creative Non-fiction, Best Poetry and Best First Book – remain the same.

Entries close with the last post mark on 1 December. Entry forms and conditions, as well as information on the latest crop of winnners, are now available on the Picks site.

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Out & About

Our goodwill ambassador to the Far North Queensland, Barry Levy, author of As If! reports a successful tour up there, starting with the Tropical Writers Festival in Cairns in late August and winding up with a well-attended reading at Gladstone Library. Stops along the way included the Atherton Tablelands, where Barry and Hazel Menehira read from their new books to the Ravenshoe Writers Group; Innisfail, where Barry read from his and David’s Primary Instinct; Proserpine, where Gloria Burley launched Blood and Guts; Mackay, where Barry and Gloria ran a workshop on bringing research material into fiction; Rockhampton and Yeppoon, where Barry joined up with John Peach for the launch of his book The Greatest-ever Mining Swindle in the Colonies; ending with Barry’s reading to the Friends of the Gladstone Library. Well-done, Barry!

JasonCWe launched Duncan Richardson’s latest book, the junior novel Jason and the Time Banana at Corinda State School on 14 September, with Mark Svendsen doing the launch honours. A hybrid historical novel and fantasy, the novel travels back to the Great Fire of Brisbane in the late 19th Century to show how the Chinese community was unfairly blamed for setting off the fire.

David flew down to Hobart to launch Erica Bell’s historical novel, The Voyage of the Shuckenoor, as well as Primary Instinct and Global Cooling in mid-September. He also met with Chris Gallagher, the new Director of the Tasmanian Writers Centre, who is keen to bring him back next year to run workshops for the Centre.

Returning to the Mainland, David had a reading at Poets at the Pub in Newcastle after Jan Dean generously put in a good word for him – thanks, Jan! Even after 20 years in Australia, David had never stayed at a pub hotel, but he found the Northern Star a very comfortable place and is pleased to report that the poetry scene in Newcastle is alive and well.

Sydney was his next stop where he met up with Lisa Saul for the launch at Gleebooks of the first volume of her fantasy novel Bloodline as well as Primary Instinct and Global Cooling. Those of you who are already hooked on Bloodline will be pleased to hear that IP is keen to publish the next Bloodline book, which Lisa is revising at the moment. We’re also looking at a third title by her..

In Melbourne, we launched at Readings, Carlton, where Lisa and I were joined by Erica, but due to a misunderstanding at the bookseller’s end, no Voyage of Shuckenoorcopies of The Voyage of the Shuckenoor were available in the store for the event! We’re sure that Voyage is going to be a very popular book, so if you missed out on your copy, just email us by 15 November and we’ll ship the book to you postage-free (that’s a savings of at least $10)!

We hope to see lots of you on our upcoming Summer Season Roadshow, which kicks off in Brisbane on Saturday, 15 November at the Performance Studio, 4MBS Classic-FM at Coorparoo (see the itinerary below), after a special event in Ipswich, the setting of As If!. Featured titles on the Roadshow will be:

Primary Instinct and Global Cooling by David
Put the Billy On, a memoir by Ann Jones
Over My Dead Body, an historical novel by Jim Brigginshaw; The Heart Takes Wing, a Text + Audio CD by Kathy Kituai and Nitya Bernard Parker; in between the dancing, poetry by E A Gleeson; The Possibility of Flight, poetry by Lia Hills; Intrigues of the Heart, by poetry by Lee Knowles.

Also please note the workshops David will be running in Byron Bay on 20 Nov, in Sydney on 22 Nov and his poetry reading at the Brett Whiteley Gallery on 23 Nov. A workshop may also be offered at Dubbo via Orana Arts on 3 December, but that had not been confirmed as we went to press.

Here’s the itinerary as it stands.

Tour Dates for Summer Season

11 November (5:15pm): Launch of Barry Levy's As If! in Ipswich at the Barry Jones Auditorium; hosted by Ipswich City Council, with Mayor Paul Pissale welcoming the guests.

15 November (2pm): Launch of Global Cooling,Primary Instinct and Put the Billy On at the Performance Studio, 4MBS Classic FM, Coorparoo

16 November (2pm): Launch of Put the Billy On, Global Cooling, and Primary Instinct at the Salt Bar Restaurant, Bribie Island

19 November (3:30pm): Readings from Global Cooling and The Greenhouse Effect at Lismore Library, NSW

19 November (evening): Jim Brigginshaw will be launching his book Over My Dead Body, along with David Reiter's Global Cooling and Primary Instrinct at the Rous Hotel, NSW

20 November (5pm): Digital/e-Book Workshop with David Reiter at Northern Rivers Writers' Centre, Byron Bay

22 November (All day): Retool and Remix: Join the Digital Age! workshop with David Reiter at the NSW Writers' Centre, Rozelle NSW

23 November (2pm): David Reiter is featured reader of his poetry at the Brett Whiteley Gallery, Sydney

26 November (10:30am): Launch of CD The Heart Takes Wing by Nitya and Kathy Kituai at Calvery Hospital, Canberra

(6:30pm): Launch of The Heart Takes Wing, Primary Instinct and Global Cooling at Smiths Alternative Book Shop, Canberra

29 November (1:30pm): Launch of E A Gleeson's first poetry collection in between the dancing, along with David Reiter's Primary Instinct and Global Cooling at The Old Colonists Club, Ballarat

30 November (5pm): Poetry launch of E A Gleeson's in between the dancing, Lee Knowles' Invaders of the Heart and Lia Hills' The Possibility of Flight at the Victorian Writer's Centre, Melbourne

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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 Barry Levy's As If!:

AICovAs If! presents a sad and all-too-common scenario for which there are no easy answers. It is memorable, disturbing, frightening and certainly not pleasant to read, but its realism cannot be denied.

- Liz Hall-Downs, Compulsive Reader

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On Hazel Menehira's Vocal Enrichment: Path to Enlightenment:

Hazel’s book will be of benefit to those people who wish to pursue a course of vocal development with or without formal classes. It will open the mind to infinite possibilities and limitless pleasure while acquiring a strong, rich voice. I welcome it appearance in the library of voice texts.

– Margaret MacIsaac, LTCL

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On Duncan Richardson's Jason Chen and the Time Banana:

This is a well-written and compelling Junior/YA novel likely to appeal to children, particularly boys, who like adventure and have an interest in history.

– Robyn Bavati

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On Coral Petkovich's Ivan: from Adriatic to Pacific:

The author of this fictionalised biography writes IvanCovwell, with clarity and simplicity. It is her late husband she is describing, but Coral Petkovich takes the position of omniscient narrator, writing a novelisation of Ivan’s life based on stories he told to her, and ‘general family knowledge’.

- Sue Bond, Compulsive Reader

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On David Reiter's Real Guns:

RGCovA written text of many layers and multiple nuances, the picture book is a complex and thought provoking resource with clever and emotive illustrations.

- G. Cale, Scan Managzine

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Your Deal

Pre-Holiday Specials!

Buy any IP title at full price for yourself, then take 20% off any additional title.

Order online, specifying YD40-1 in the Comments field. Individual orders only.

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Have a heap of family and friends to buy for? Give the gift of fine Australian writing! Choose any FIVE titles for $110, and we'll cover the freight charges anywhere in Australia (to one address).

Just specify YD40-2 in the Comments field of our order form. Individual orders only.

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