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From the Director’s Desk

Editorial: Has the e-Bubble Burst?

IP Picks 2003 Winners!

Focus: Paul Mitchell and Liam Guilar

Autumn Season 2003 Sneak Preview

Change Those Bookmarks!

The Future of IP Picks

New to the Cast

Out & About

One for Nero Wolf

Can you hear us yet?

Your Deal

Vol 5, No. 1 — ISSN 1442-0023


Welcome to eNews and a belated Happy New Year to all!

Before you read any further, please update your IP bookmarks!! This includes our email and URLs. We recently switched to the new .biz domain, and soon all our old addresses will dissolve into cyberspace.

Our first issue for 2003 reflects the pleasure and pain of independent publishing. With pleasure we announce the results of the IP Picks Awards and profile the winning authors. No fiction winner was chosen this year but we were blessed with outstanding poetry manuscripts.

With pain we acknowledge, at the time of writing, no response was forthcoming from Arts Queensland or the Minister’s office with respect to support for the competition. This throws a shadow over its future and our Director has PLENTY to say on the subject. Our selections from this year’s winning entries provide further proof IP Picks is an initiative worth supporting.

David also ponders the present and future of the eBook. Have the new technologies fulfilled their early promise in terms of sales? He introduces IP’s exciting new audio series and is out and about at the Stanthorpe Library, Gladstone, and the New South Wales and Queensland Writers Centres.

We also have a teasing sneak preview of our Autumn 2003 Season and give you an up close and personal view of our new Assistant Editors, Heidi and Morag, in a probing interview asking the really important literary questions... If you would like a break from the heavy news, try taking the IP Quiz yourself.

I’ve barely paddled out to websurf this year, so Bestlinks takes a breather for this issue. As always, we're open to suggestions, so, if you have a site you would like us to feature, please get in early.

Finally, a timely reminder to our readers that we cannot continue to bring you quality literature without selling more of our products! Why not become a "friend of IP" as well as a reader of this newsletter, and benefit doubly from our special deals?

Sara Moss, Editor, IP eNews

From the Director's Desk

DR in Park I generally get about 40-50 emails each day, only about a third of which have anything to do with IP. There are the usual invitations from “Sissy” and the like promising me a personal view of her intimate body parts via her web cam, a sprinkling of offers for drugs that will see me live longer, have more sustained erections and orgasms, not to mention the come-ons from Nigerian insiders who have millions to ‘invest’ in Australia and who are eager to deposit 20% of it in my bank account if only I will agree to help them smuggle it out of the country. Several promise foolproof schemes to sell anything and everything—maybe I should try a few of these to put a dent in our inventory!

A growing number are from people committed to the peace movement, warning of dire consequences if the United States’ “Coalition of the Willing” attacks Iraq without UN sanction. Perhaps the most moving of these came from Harold Pinter, indirectly, of course. I’ve always admired Pinter’s work for its directness and economy, and, this letter was no different. After telling us about his recent fight with cancer—a personal war that is necessary, Pinter goes on to criticise Tony Blair and George W. Bush for threatening to wage an unnecessary war. They, Pinter maintains, have been reduced to a ‘vocabulary of bombs’.

As the world moves closer to a war “we have to have”, is there any room for literature in our lives? I think so. Eventually the repetition and posturing—on both sides—become so mundane that we have to seek sources of truth and solace far from the maddening crowd. This is not retreat, but a search for affirmation in the ability of humanity to ultimately rise above the orchestrated chaos and PR-driven truth. Life and the Forces of Evil really are not as simple as George W, Tony and Saddam would have us believe.

Perhaps we all need to take a deep breath and read a good book to remind ourselves of the lessons of the past.

In peace,

Dr David Reiter

Has the e-bubble burst?

Five years ago, the predictions were upbeat: e-books were the wave of the future. E-publishers sprang up like wildflowers after a drought. And DIY publishing became a real alternative to ‘vanity’ publishing. You really could do it all yourself—with The Idiot’s Guide to Self-Publishing in hand.

Access to an appreciative audience would not be a problem. You simply perfected your masterpiece by showing it around to a few friends, who all judged it as “publishable”, tweaked the punctuation a bit, chose an exotic font to emphasise your originality and then uploaded a teaser onto your home page. You were realistic enough not to expect many sales in the first month—at least until you’d spread the word on the search engines. But the sales didn’t flood in, or even trickle.

Other authors turned to the professionals—or at least e-publishers who implied they were professionals on their glitzy website or their three-column ad in the writers’ centre newsletters. These would be people who knew the technology, and could make any manuscript irresistible to the buyers who would throng to their online store. You licked your lips at the prospect of a 40% royalty (why would anyone settle for 10% anymore?) The good news is that there were some sales this time; the bad news is that there weren’t many.

These new publishers had one thing going for them: a partnership of silence between them and their clients. The publishers took the view that they had to be in it for the long-term for their investment to pay off—at least a year or so. And the authors weren’t inclined to take class action against the publishers for not delivering what their promos promised. It might be put down to the fact that their novel wasn’t a masterpiece after all!

But then even the e-publishers had to face their bottom line, and, in the case of the larger enterprises, their shareholders. The sales just weren’t happening—three and four years on.

What’s gone wrong?

You might want to blame it on September 11, or Osama, or Saddam, and maybe there’s some truth to that. More of us probably spend more time in front of a screen for our daily fix of pre-deployed bad news, and less time curled up with any kind of book, e- or otherwise. And maybe there’s something unspoken in all of us that blames our infatuation with new technology for a prevailing indifference to human values. But you’d be right in saying that an editorial is not the right place for idle philosophy…

E-publishing as a process will continue to develop. In some arenas it will even thrive. For example, the process of assessing, editing, designing and producing books is increasingly digital. For example, IP requires our authors to submit work on disk, and we do most things digitally from that point on. It simply takes less time, money and trees to follow a digital workflow.

But people will continue to demand physical books, and it’s a brave publisher who would give them what they should have rather than what they want. The problem is no one told the printing industry that the physical book was about to die. Printing technology has changed quite dramatically of late. Print-on-demand has thrown a lifeline to publishers who hitherto had no access to markets outside their immediate area. For little more than the unit cost of a short print-run in Australia, we can produce single copies of a book in the UK and North America and have them delivered to buyers at local postage charges.

Which leaves many e-publishers out to dry—unless they go retro.

IP, on the other hand, has always had a strong commitment to publishing physical books, so we are in a good position to take advantage of the latest advances in printing technology. We still think e-books have a future, but, as I’ve said elsewhere, we must give readers something on screen that they can’t get in a physical book. You may already be aware of our multimedia titles, which include The Gallery, The Fickle Brat and Sharpened Knife, and we will soon start work on an exciting new series called, which I hope will appeal to people who prefer to curl up with a CD player rather than a book.

E-books will have a future, and, in many areas, a bright one. In the literary sphere, it will depend on the willingness of e-publishers to add value to text. It will also depend on authors producing work that speaks to a wide audience rather than a cluey techno few. The key question is will buyers embrace these emerging forms? That depends on whose future you believe in. My young children are already voting with their fingertips.


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The IP Picks awards are unique in that they offer reading of complete manuscripts for selection in Interactive Publication’s literary publishing program. The winners of the award are offered standard royalty contracts for publication. It is hoped that cash prizes will also be available in the future but this will be subject to government or corporate funding (see “The Future of IP Picks” in this issue).

The Awards were decided this year by a panel of assessors from within Interactive Publications: Editor Sara Moss and Assistant Editors Morag Kobez-Halvorson and Heidi Keefer. IP’s Director Dr David Reiter read all short-listed titles and chaired the final meeting of the panel.

The selection criteria for the winning entries were literary merit and commercial viability. We looked for outstanding manuscripts, ready, or very close to being ready, for publication. Works that will, in our opinion, attract a solid readership.

According to the competition conditions, the panel may recommend to the Director that manuscripts that are Highly Commended and Commended be offered publication, but the Director has the final say.

On announcement of the Awards, assessors’ reports were provided to authors of the Winning, Highly Commended and Commended entries. Sections of the reports and profiles of the winning authors appear in the Focus column below.

We congratulate the winners on their success. We thank all the entrants for their manuscripts and wish them well with their future writing.

And the winners are…

Australian Poetry

Minorphysics by Paul Mitchell
Commended – Café Boogie by Jennifer Nixon

Queensland Poetry

I’ll Howl Before you Bury Me by Liam Guilar

Highly Commended – Popular Mechanics by Liam Ferney

No winners were chosen in the fiction categories this year.


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[In this issue we provide snapshots of the winners of this year’s IP Picks competition as well as the assessors’ reports on their manuscripts.]

Paul Mitchell
Winner, Best Australian Poetry

Melbourne-based Paul Mitchell is developing a reputation as an energetic performer and accomplished poet. His poetry is especially concerned with issues of home and community, spirituality and fragility of mind.

Paul MitchellPaul’s work has appeared in The Age, The Australian, Southerly, Quadrant, Cordite, Overland, Going Down Swinging, Studio, Verandah and a number of other journals. It has also been broadcast on Triple R radio in Melbourne, and Sydney’s The RedRoom Project.

Paul’s currently studying for a Masters of Creative Arts (Creative Writing) under Dr Kevin Brophy at the University of Melbourne.

Assessors’ Reports: Minorphysics

Key to judges: SM=Sara Moss; M K-H=Morag Kobez-Halvorson; HK=Heidi Kefer

A poetry that illuminates everyday life in that `wasteland’ where most of Australia lives, not the inner cities or the “bush” but the burbs, the city’s fringes. This author’s poetry reflects the good, the bad and the ugly of this place and its culture/s.

There are cries of desperation, such as:

Sleepless in Braybrook

in the middle of the week
at 1.19 am
staring at the stars
the ones not washed out
by the CBD

I’m down here
and I can see the shadows
          bouncing off the fence
and I’ve calmed down

I have

I could be any man
staring at any sky

I’ve become something else
not quite me
          it wouldn’t frighten you
it’s something you could love
maybe at least enjoy

this is my sky

lay off the beauty sleep
come out and see me

or I’ll disappear

And insights into unvoiced emotions:

Prayer of Thanks

we hear the westgate bridge
doing sit ups
(breathing in and out)
while our hands hold stubbies
we agree    are good
by the way we put them down
softly as
a surgeon sews our wounds

The author’s poetic skill is demonstrated in endings which often surprise, leaving the reader thinking about the poem and drawn to re-reading it.

Our Land

Keyboards are gone, there aren’t enough
people to drown out bars of Mexican guitar.
So let’s pack up our Sombreros,
pick up our Myer bags and walk.
It’s fifteen kilometres per hour
in the car park and the road to home
is lined by wheelie bins in military green.
Lids open, saluting us.

The language is simple and concise, but there is plenty of depth and substance to the observations. There is also diversity in subject and treatment throughout the collection. Some elements of cynicism about suburban life are well balanced with humour and astute social comment.

The poem “Atoms/Bread”, illustrative of the collection’s title, shifts focus from the specific to the general philosophical/existential without sacrificing clarity and quality of verse:

There is so much evidence against me.
I sit down on a chair, arm across the table,
holding a coffee cup as if nothing is happening.

And it is. My attempt to keep quiet about it
won’t change that. The nothing I appear to be
keeps being. I slice the bread, my only meal.
I never finish eating, but there are leftovers

scraped into the dark galaxy
crumbs go tumbling
to where my atoms are already
torn apart and reassembled.

Mitchell also demonstrates the ability to move from a poetry of the self and the everyday to connect with the wider world. The writing demonstrates social awareness and concern without dogma. In “dredging jerusalem” the speaker turns the newspaper onto its back a flightless dove with wings outstretched, waiting for a prayer.

But there is no doubt the author is more comfortable with the politics of the everyday. The final long poem “Stubby Bill and The True Sense of Everything”, shows he can face his subject without fear turning it inside-out to reveal the less palatable underbelly. The real and implied violence in this poem provides a challenging finish to a collection which began in quiet contemplation. The writing cuts so close to the bone, it almost hurts to read it.

The poet questions the legacy and place of masculinity and masculine “roles” within our landscape and culture. His speakers are attempting to forge a path forward, acknowledging the violent legacy of the past, but freshly defining what it means to be “a man”. I see this as an important movement in literature. The “reactionary” new age guy is dead. So too his ancestor, the authoritarian patriarch. This “new man” has a different song to sing.


A scathing commentary on the contemporary values of the Australian suburban middle class – the pursuit of the ‘security’ of gated communities and the blandness of the suburban landscape:

from Aspirational

A townhouse where Des
and Faye’s weatherboard stood.

These poems cover everything from the loss of cultural identity to the monotony of the casual workforce and the growing class of underemployed in Australia:

from Our Land

A bin waitress wipes your table,
flicks a two-hour mark grin
from a three-hour shift.
Enough wipes a week
Makes a family trip to Noosa.
Next year

The collection uses straightforward, succinct language to give insight into our choices and beliefs as a society, and leads the reader to question their values.


A mature voice, confident style and polished expression. Here is a poet who knows what he wants to say and says it!

He acknowledges the plateaus of human existence without slipping into defeatism. His writing is subtly suggestive, integrating familiar images.

In “Aspirational”, the line ‘our lawns will be mowed by ‘Jim’ because he knows what to do’ is indicative not only of the economic factors of deferred labour and migration of wealth, but also a diminishing of collective identity – what could be more Australian than mowing your lawn? We are left pondering what happens when a society loses confidence in the practices that have for so long defined it?

The simplicity of the author’s language belies the depth of his poetry. He subverts the obvious bringing fresh perspectives to familiar landscapes, leaving the reader to wonder “why didn’t I see this before?”

Other striking features are an excellent use of rhythm and the complete absence of emotional manipulation. This is natural writing.


Liam Guilar
Winner, Best Queensland Poetry

Born in Coventry, England, 1960. He studied Medieval Literature and History at Birmingham University, and moved to Australia in 1986. He has a Masters Degree in Medieval Literature from
the University of Queensland.

Liam GuilarHe lives on the Gold Coast, where a version of himself is Head of English at a private girls school, a fact he often finds incomprehensible.

In a desperate attempt to appear windswept and interesting he can claim to be the only lute playing, kayaking medievalist to have been “smuggled” across the Kazak border in an apple
truck and “arrested and deported” from Samarkand. All this occurred in 1993 during the first Australian kayaking expedition to enter what was then Soviet Central Asia. Since then he has also organised four journeys to Indonesia to explore rivers there.

Articles about these travels have appeared in various magasines. The full length version of the journey though Soviet Central Asia is on the Idaho State University Website:

Poems have appeared in various places, and a chapbook, The Poet’s Confession was published by Ginninderra Press in January 2000.

Assessors’ Reports: I'll Howl Before You Bury Me

Key to judges: SM=Sara Moss; M K-H=Morag Kobez-Halvorson; HK=Heidi Kefer

This is indeed beautiful poetry. A collection so breathtaking in places I was tempted to ask…is this really an unpublished manuscript? “I’ll Howl Before you Bury Me” reads like a literary classic and certainly deserves to be published and widely read.

Liam Guilar, with maturity of vision and considerable flourish, interprets Irish legend, transporting us to a place of Irish dreaming:

Beyond the ninth wave
the nightmare riders wait
for the wind to blow them
back to shore

Although fear fractures me
I will go
where the corpses hang
on the moon stained sky,
where the sailors shipwrecked
and were broken on the reefs
guarding the harbour
they called home.

I will swallow my fear,
be it vast as this ocean.

I will look
into the plague graves of their eyes.
Beyond the ninth wave
I will learn their names.

His interpretation of the legend of Cuchulain conveys the bloody potency of its inspiration:

They drank and feasted
Listening to stories,
Of the slide between the worlds
Moving to the music of the harp
Released, to drive their chariots
To where the beardless hero waited
Where their deaths were numbered by the poets.
The wound’s ejaculation
Spurting red seed arcing
Wet as Emer’s thighs,
Blood soaking waters
Breeding the legend
Of Cuchulain at the ford

When he turns to poetry of personal and wider contemporary experience, he applies the essence of these legends - in his connection with the natural environment, the world of moon and tides, in musical, rhythmic and beautifully rhyming verses:

Even though she’s spent the year beside you,
you wake to find a stranger in the dawn.
Nothing you can do or say will keep her,
You can break the clocks, time will stagger on.

Hand in hand you wandered by the water
Between familiar yachts and café lights
She moved away and said, “I took their offer”
And tore the moon and stars out of the night…

(from Even though she’s spent the year beside you)

In “Alleluia”, Guilar asks:

In my chapel haunted childhood
you were the high priest
cantor, troubadour
and fool.
          When you’re gone
who’ll write love songs
I can understand?

The answer…Liam Guilar will!


The first poem in this collection gives the reader a hint of what’s to come:

I like my poems bawdy, boozy, proud
At best they should be dangerous to know.
Let there be laughter, music, friends
Rebellion: landscapes I can recognize.
I read the slim unloving volumes that you sent
But the poems turned their backs on me
Communicating nothing, except perhaps
A bizarre refusal to communicate.
I'd rather read the tags on Lucy’s underwear
Than all this bloodless syntax
That leaves my senses on another page.

And this collection, delivers on its promise of laughter, rebellion, landscapes and sensory experiences. The dominant theme here is Celtic mythology but the author does not limit himself to this subject. He writes about the conflict in Northern Ireland in poems such as “Between the Lines (A Family Myth)”. He skilfully manages a contemporary personal perspective:

So I shuttle like my Grandfather
between contending propositions
knowing that my place will be
between the lines:
remembering it was
Grandad’s house
both sides blew to rubble.

In this poem Guilar demonstrates he is just as adept at contemporary free verse as the more traditional forms.

It is the command of language, the range of subject and the diversity of form that really set this manuscript apart from the other entries. This is mature, polished and hauntingly beautiful writing.

The collection also lends itself superbly to musical accompaniment, extending the potential options for production by IP.


Liam Guilar imbues Irish myth and legend, with his own reactions and interpretations, strengthening their emotional resonance.

His ability to address contemporary subjects with the language of myth also balances the emotional and intellectual aspects of these poems.

He blends the traditional with the contemporary, the narrative with the lyric, fully engaging the reader in this collection with a wide scope. From this work we can guess Guilar’s first love is language:

...Adam wakes to find a version of himself
whose strange distortions lack all purpose.
First oral pleasure was the taste of words,
the joys of shaping sounds, soon superseded
by the tastes of Eve. Abandoning his words
they grope their way to ecstasy. But afterwards
attempting to define what they‘ve just done
they find themselves outside the gates of Eden.

(from Lacan outside the Gates of Eden)


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If you made it to this page, you’ll note that the URL has changed. That’s because IP now has a new domain:

Why the switch? is a bit more of a mouthful (try reading it out over the phone!) And it’s not all that easy for people to remember. The .biz suffix identifies a site devoted to business, and the company can be located anywhere. For companies like ours who are constantly seeking a more global market, .biz makes a lot of sense.

Your old addresses will still work—but not for long. We recommend that you change your bookmarks and address book entries NOW.

And for those stragglers in the pack still sending email to, please make the change ASAP!!

To amend your bookmarks, simply substitute “” for every instance of “”. Too easy!


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Two titles have been confirmed for release so far: Sally Finn’s Fine Salt and Swelter by Louise Waller and Kristin Hannaford.

Sally FinnFinn is a Melbourne-based writer. Fine Salt, her first novel, was winner of the open fiction category of IP Picks 2002 competition. Very poetic in mode, the novel traces the life of twins Samuel and Phoebe, growing up in a tumultuous family, with art and the many shades of love as the primary subjects. (photo, courtesy Sarah Banch, Sarah Banch Photography)

Louise Waller (right) and Kristin Hannaford (left) are based in Yeppoon, a town on Kristin & LouiseQueensland’s Central Coast, not far from Rockhampton. Swelter comprises their two collections, Slipway and Inhale, respectively. Both are involved in drama, and Waller’s Two Fridas was recently produced for the stage, with Hannaford acting in one of the leading parts. (photo, courtesy Shaune Sinclair)

Our Autumn Season 2003 will be launched in late April. More details in IP eNews 18.

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[Those of you who have had direct contact with IP of late will know that we have two new Assistant Editors: Morag Kobez-Halvorson and Heidi Kefer. Morag and Heidi are work experience students from the Queensland University of Technology, and are quickly learning the essentials of what it takes to run a street-wise independent publishing house. Rather than torture them with the usual “write a 100-word bio” assignment, I decided to interview them—a la Women’s Day—to introduce them to you. If you want to read the serious stuff about them, check out our Staff page. Otherwise, enjoy!]

SM: Where were you born and how do you think this has influenced your life?

M K-H: I was born north of Brisbane, on the Redcliffe Peninsula. I spent my childhood on fishing boats and splashing around in mud-flats amongst mangroves. Although I couldn’t wait to move away to the nearest city when I finished school, I realize now that being near the water will always hold appeal for me.

SM: What is your star sign?
M K-H: Libra.

SM: What is your favourite food?
M K-H: Vietnamese cuisine in general, and specifically a dish called Bi cuon, which is a plate of grilled pork, a pile of salad and fresh mint. It comes with circles of rice paper, a bowl of hot water to soften them in, and either a hoisin or vinegar-based sauce to dip the rolls in once you’ve constructed them from all the ingredients. It is possible to order similar dishes which come already rolled for you, but I never tire of the ritual of assembling them, despite it being quite time-consuming. Unfortunately friends and family are sick to death of watching me adding a mint leaf here, and a bean sprout there, long after they have finished their meals.

SM: What was the last book you read and would you recommend it?
M K-H: I’ve just read The Bolivian Times, by Tim Elliot. It's an amusing tale of an Australian journalist living and working in South America for a year. Anyone who has faced the challenges of traveling in a third world country will appreciate this book. It’s a quick, easy read which left me longing to jump on the next plane out of the country, in search of adventure.

SM: Name a place that you would love to visit and tell us why.
M K-H: I have always had it in the back of my mind that I will travel to Russia, where my father was born. Although I have travelled quite a bit, I haven’t been there yet.

SM: Name a person (living) that you would love to meet and tell us why.
M K-H: I would love to meet the guy who is the voice of ‘Elmo’ from Sesame Street. I heard an interview with him recently and learned he has been the puppeteer behind the three and a half year old red monster for more than eighteen years. ‘Elmo’ appears in diverse situations, from his Sesame Street Home, to talk-show interviews, even as a guest at United Nations meetings and I’m always amazed at how fresh, intelligent and witty he is.

SM: Where were you born and how has this influenced your life?
Heidi KeferHK: I was born in a shed. In all honesty, I don’t think it's a fact that has asserted much influence on my life. It has however provided me with a vehicle for limitless embellishing of a childhood frought with hardship, triumph of character and various self-promoting Aussie Battler scenarios.

SM: Star sign?
HK: We’re a Gemini.

SM: Favourite food?
HK: This is a bad question for me to answer when I’m hungry! I think though, it would have to be Agadashi Tofu, with the little whisps of seaweed on top that quiver in the heat. And seafood—anything seafood. And curry of every possible variety. I also have a passion for fruit and anything Mexican involving black beans.

SM: Last book you read?
HK: Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art, by Scott McCloud. This book is brilliant! It provides an interesting perspective on the interactions between time, space, motion, words, pictures and the reader within the comic structure. Its exploration of the critical theory of comics helps to legitimise a form of expression which is far too frequently dismissed as
disposable kiddie-fare.

SM: Where would you visit and why?
HK: Everywhere and nowhere in particular. I have had a slight proclivity towards Mexico lately, but that could have less to do with the place itself and more to do with the lack of Mexican restaurants in Brisbane.

SM: Who would you like to meet and why?
HK: I can’t think of anyone I have a burning desire to meet. Saddam Hussein could prove to be quite an entertaining dinner guest. Similarly, Gene Roddenberry, with his ability to create an indomitable empire, has a
certain inspirational appeal. He’s dead though, so I suppose he doesn’t count.

Those of you out there who, like our Director, depend on detective shows in lieu of crosswords for relaxation and mental stimulation will know of the Nero Wolf mystery series currently screening on the ABC.

Aside from having an assistant who does most of his legwork (Wolf is girth-challenged), Nero is obsessed with orchids, and insists on spending at least an hour every morning after breakfast with his exotic charges—before putting his mind to solving the next crime.

OrchidopaediaWhat does this have to do with IP, you ask? New from our IPS distribution section is Orchidopaedia, which is literally everything Nero Wolf would want to know about orchids—and more. Co-authors Greg Steenbecke and Gary Yong Gee describe their pet project as “an illustrated reference and guide for the professional and amateur grower”.

What makes Orchidopaedia a real must-have for Wolf and the rest of the orchid-loving world is that it is published on Windows/Mac compatible CD-ROM, which makes it possible for the authors to thoroughly hyperlink all the recognised orchid genres in over 1000 pages of text and more than 550 full colour images.

At $88 GST-inclusive, it’s a tad more expensive than a night out at the Hoyt’s, but then you wouldn’t catch Nero Wolf there dead or alive.

With that much information at your fingertips, maybe it’s time to pop the popcorn at home and start planning where to put which orchid in your shade-house-to-be. Order it now!

A new series is born! (or at least it’s on the way…) will be part of our IP Digital imprint and offer digital recordings for your listening pleasure. Our titles will be drawn from work that has already been published and proven a popular read.

The plan is to include fiction, non-fiction, spoken word texts and dramatic scripts. They can be for adult or younger audiences.

IP will commission local professional actors to dramatise and read the works. Some recordings may include sound effects and musical backgrounds. The work will be recorded in the studios of 4MBS Classical-FM, a community radio station in Brisbane, and then edited at Treetop Studio before being mastered for production on CD and/or DVD. Eventually, as our list expands, we may offer streaming programs over the Internet.

If you’re an author interested in submitting a work for the series, read on. Otherwise, keep tuned to IP eNews for further developments!

Here are the key criteria we’ll apply:
• The work must have been published by a publisher with national distribution.
• The work must be commercial; that is, you must be able to show that it has sold well in print form.
• The work must be suitable for a straight dramatic reading by a small cast.
• You must be able to offer us exclusive audio rights to the work.

You’ll need to send us supporting material before submitting the complete work. This must include:

• A two-page (maximum) synopsis of the work; in the case of spoken word collections this can be a description of representative selections from the work.
• Copies of reviews, press clippings, etc.
• A detailed creative resume.
• Evidence that you are able to license the audio rights to the work.

Your package of supporting material must reach us by 15 April. Our editorial panel will review the submissions and then ask short-listed authors to send copies of their published work to us for final consideration. If you want any of this material returned to you, please include a self-addressed stamped envelope.

Please note that this will be a pilot project for the first year. The number of works we decide to produce will depend in part on external funding, but we will at least be offering royalties on a profit sharing basis. The actors as well as the author will be paid royalties.

Since our last issue, the usual holiday inertia set in and most of our dwindling energy was expended planning our list and activities for 2003.

Our friends at Stanthorpe Library invited David back for a return engagement—with a difference. His brief was to read at the local Grape and Food Festival from work that had something to do with the focus of the Festival, subjects that obviously required some further research! He had the choice of reading from other people’s work or writing something new. What did he do? The first person to email us with the right answer gets a free copy of his new story ‘The Sixth Bottle’ (no, this is not a trick question!)

Rumour has it that he was assisted in verifying the alcohol content of the said detective story by his wife Cherie, who accompanied him on a tour of several Granite Belt vineyards.

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As we go to press, Lesley Singh is returning to Gladstone for IP events at the Library and the local Dymocks bookshop. Lesley was born and raised in the Central Queensland city, which is now one of the busiest ports on Australia’s East Coast.

Lesley SShe will read from her IP Picks 2002 winning title Cry Ma Ma to the Moon at the Library on Friday, 21 February from 7 p.m. On Saturday, she’ll be signing books at Dymocks from 9:30 a.m., with a reading scheduled for 11 a.m.

David will introduce her at Gladstone Library after stops at Gympie, Maryborough and Hervey Bay Libraries on his drive up.

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The Queensland Writers Centre (QWC) has invited David to serve on a Meet the Publisher panel on Thursday, 6 March from 6:30 p.m. at Metro Arts, Edward Street, Brisbane. Also featured will be Madonna Duffy from UQP and Linda Funnell from HarperCollins.

David will talk about:
• Our three literary imprints and the opportunities for new authors to have work accepted
• IP plans for publishing print titles via print-on-demand technology in the UK and North America
• Our new series
• Our latest multimedia titles
• Expanding services offered to non-IP authors through IPS, our distribution section.

For further info, contact the QWC.

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PACovThe following weekend, David will join IP authors David Rowbotham and Chris Mansell at the New South Wales Writers Centre Harvest Festival (8-9 March) at the Centre in Rozelle. In a featured session, Rowbotham, a charter member of the Centre, will read from Poems for America, while Mansell will read from her IP Digital audio + text CD The Fickle Brat. Reiter will give a demo of his latest multimedia title, Sharpened Knife, before leading an all-day workshop Get Published Online! on Sunday. Bookings for the workshop are essential.

For further info, contact the NSWWC.

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Common Ground Publishing will be holding a conference on The Future of the Book at the Cairns Convention Centre from 22-24 April.

Conference speakers will include international experts from the publishing and printing industries, as well as academics from research institutes in North America and Europe. We’re pleased to mention that David Reiter will be making a presentation on IP at the conference and look forward to reporting back on the outcomes of the Conference in IP eNews 19.

The Conference has its own website. For further info, contact Common Ground.

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Two years on, it’s a good time to reflect on the future of the IP Picks competition. The idea of starting the competition was to:

1. Offer guaranteed publication to author of poetry and shorter fiction titles
2. Give Queensland authors greater access to publication opportunities
3. Promote IP nationally through the publicity generated by the competition
4. Realise higher sales for the winning entries.

IP Picks 2002 resulted in three new titles: Bacchanalia by Brisbane-based Brett Dionysius, Cry Ma Ma to the Moon by Maleny author Lesley Singh and Melbourne-based novelist Sally Finn’s soon to be published Fine Salt.

On the negative side, we have not had as many high-quality entries as we’d hoped to attract. In 2002, the judges decided that the standard of entry in the Open Category for Poetry was too low to award a prize. In 2003, the judges recommended against awarding prizes in either fiction category. It’s worth noting, however, that they did recommend that IP make publication offers to the runners-up in both poetry categories, so we will likely be publishing four new titles out of IP Picks 2003.

IP’s Editorial Team met recently to assess where we’re at with IP Picks and to consider if the competition has a future. At this point, frankly, we’re not sure.

Up till IP Picks, IP published by means of a subsidy model, which involved authors investing in the cost of publishing their title, with the expectation of a higher share in the profits realised. IP Picks, which guarantees full royalty publication, was always going to be a gamble for us since we could not afford to offer cash prizes as well as royalty publication.

We hoped to attract additional funding from arts organisations in support of the competition. We’ve argued that the competition is different from other major national competitions in several important respects because it:
• offers publication for unpublished, complete manuscripts rather than recognition after a book has been published.
• provides valuable mentorship for the winning authors—support sometimes rarely found in ‘mainstream’ publishers
• gives Queensland authors an inside track on two of the awards because our perception is, rightly or wrongly, that Queenslanders do not do as well as they should in competitions run by Sydney and Melbourne- based organizations.

We would be delighted if the Premier’s Department decided to make IP Picks a part of the Premier’s Awards for these reasons. We’d be content if Arts Queensland saw fit to support these awards at the level of the Judith Wright Calenthe Award and the Steele Rudd (for published poetry and short story collections, respectively.

In 2002 Arts Queensland provided us with a modest grant that included support for two of the titles, but our bid for additional funding to cover cash prizes was rejected. (We were only asking for $1,000 per award—far less than that provided to winners of the State awards.) The Australia Council provided a subsidy to help with the printing costs of only one of the titles.

With two excellent IP Picks titles already published, we argued strongly for additional support for IP Picks 2003 with Arts Queensland; to date, that has fallen on deaf ears. The bureaucrats argue that Arts Queensland cannot support awards run by private businesses. Yet they have no problem with the University of Queensland Press creaming off the winners of the State Awards, including the ones for Aboriginal authors or Emerging authors. My quarrel is not with UQP—like IP, they are doing the best they can for their bottom line.

The Minister for the Arts, Matt Foley, frequently criticises Canberra for not providing enough support for Queensland artists, but he too has been slow to acknowledge the potential of IP Picks with financial support.

It remains to be seen if the Australia Council will provide more money in their upcoming grant round. But the Council supports only individual titles, not competitions.

Back to the issue of entries. Why aren’t we attracting more top flight entries, notably in the area of short fiction? It is interesting to note that the number of enquiries we had about the competition was significantly higher this year, probably because our publicity campaign was better. However, only about 20% of those who enquired actually entered. There could be several reasons for this, including:
• their manuscript wouldn’t be ready/available by the deadline
• they were disappointed by the lack of a cash award incentive
• they objected to having to pay an entry fee ($45, which included a free IP title)

There were certainly many worthy manuscripts out there that didn’t—for these and other reasons—get submitted. That’s a shame, especially when you consider that no fiction prizes were awarded this year.

The bottom line for us is that the competition must pull its weight and not be a drain on IP’s resources. We will continue to seek additional support from funding agencies, and we may search for corporate sponsors to provide cash awards. Maybe that will fix the problem; maybe it won’t.

We would be happy to hear from you about this, especially those of you who might have entered if the conditions were different. What do you think we can do to make IP Picks a viable competition in the long term? Or, to make the point more bluntly, what can be done to ensure there will be an IP Picks 2004?

Have You Joined the Friends of IP Club?

Not yet? Well, before you read any further, have a look at the Deal in our previous issue.

FIPC members receive an additional 10% discount on any promotions we offer below. So join up first then come back!

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A 2 for 1 Deal (almost!)

1) We’re clearing the backlist—and our storage facilities! Buy any IP title and get any one of the following for just $7.70! Buy two IP titles and get any two of the following for just $15.40! (and so on...)

A Deep Fear of Trains
carnal knowledge
Facing the Pacific
Last Journey
Old Time Religion

Want more info on a particular title? Just click on the name.

2) Did we whet your appetite for a good detective story in talking about Nero Wolf earlier on? Well, here’s the deal for you.

Order any of David Reiter’s titles

Kiss and Tell
Letters We Never Sent
The Gallery, or
Sharpened Knife

and we’ll include a limited edition, autographed copy of “The Sixth Bottle”, his most recent work, commissioned for the recent Stanthorpe Grape and Food Festival. Any resemblances to Archie Goodwin are purely coincidental in this vintage story of love, betrayal and near-homicide set in a sub-tropical suburb.

For both offers:

Postage and handling extra.

FIPC members get a further 10% discount off the cost of the full price IP title plus free postage. But if you haven't signed up, you must fulfill the requirements for FIPC membership first.

You can buy from our Orders page or email us, but you must mention the following code when you place your order: YD17.

Offers available only to individuals. One order per household, please.