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From the Director’s Desk

Editorial: “Your Organisation is Important to Us”

Focus: Andrew Lansdown, Michael O’Sullivan, Joel Deane

Those First Few Pages!

Travel Into Fiction

Tips from the Road

The IP.Digital Buzz

IP Picks Update

Out & About

In Review

From Pakistan...

QWC & IP Partnership

Your Deal

Vol 7, No. 4— ISSN 1442-0023

Sara_MWelcome to eNews. This issue focuses on the literary delights of seven titles on our Spring Season 05 list.

Books and CDs to add to your holiday season stocking are: The Dispossessed, Andrew Lansdown’s collection of short stories; Joel Deane’s IP Picks Award winning poetry collection, Subterranean Radio Songs; Michael O’Sullivan’s novel, Secret Writing; the Text + Audio CD I’ll Howl Before You Bury Me by Liam Guilar and Chen Yang; Geoffrey Gates’ novel, A Ticket for Perpetual Locomotion; and Jocelyn Ortt Saeed’s poetry collection, Distant Horizons, and last but not least David Reiter’s innovative multimedia CD, Paul and Vincent.

Anne Marshall gives readers a “glimpse behind the curtain” in her interviews with Andrew, Joel and Michael, and Geoffrey tells us all about his travel and writing experiences.

David has been out and about across the nation in promotion of the spring season. Regional areas featured prominently in the launch events in Queensland and New South Wales. There were also events in all the capital cities along the East Coast and in Canberra. This was the most ambitious tour to date with a very positive response to IP titles from the 23 libraries visited across the country, particularly for our digital program.
Despite all this frenetic activity, he still found time to participate as a ‘guest publisher’ in the Queensland Writers’ Centre Roadshow in Rockhampton, and he writes of the positive relationship developing between IP and QWC. The same cannot be said of our relationship with Arts Queensland. His editorial blasts the organisation for its continuing indifference to the company.

Finally, Tilly Brasch, author of the award-winning No Middle Name continues to break ground in raising awareness nationally to the problem of youth suicide. A speech by Senator for Brisbane, Arch Bevis, prompted by her book, is reprinted here.

This season continues the tradition of fine publishing at IP. After eight years with the company, I have an unshaken belief in the integrity of this independent house, where merit counts for all in the quality works released and distributed. I can be forgiven for waxing lyrical as this is my final newsletter. After a happy time as IP’s first Assistant Editor and then its Poetry and Newsletter Editor I’ve decided it’s time to move on. I’ll leave with many good memories and will continue to be a lifelong friend of IP. In the future, I’ll be dedicating more time and energy to my own writing, to the creative arts collective I co-founded with my partner Shane and to my political interests and activities.

So, for one last time, I will encourage you to check Your Deal before you leave, pick up a book or two and have a very Happy New Year!

Sara Moss

From the Director's Desk

DR_roofAs I speak to you, my bags are literally only half unpacked between our most successful Southern tour to date and my trip to Canada and the USA.

We’ve now launched five new titles in this Season – at the Gold Coast, Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney – to excellent crowds and encouraging sales.

I invite you to have a look at the interviews with three of our Spring Season authors below, plus a feature on the interplay between travel and fiction by Geoffrey Gates, winner of the IP Picks 2005 Best Fiction Award. In a first, we had three separate events in support of Geoff’s A Ticket for Perpetual Locomotion in Sydney – at the school where he teaches, at a local bookshop, and finally with our friends at the NSW Writers Centre – and the strategy worked because we were appealing to different audiences. A special thanks to The Hills Grammar School, Banjo Books and the Writers Centre for all their help and support – not to mention Geoff’s charming wife Estelle and his hard-working family. If IP could afford a full-time Promotions Manager, I would be telling her to TAKE NOTE!

And a good time was had by all at the launch of Joel Deane’s Subterranean Radio Songs at the Victorian Writers Centre as well as for the launch of Michael O’Sullivan’s Secret Writing at Old Canberra House at the Australian National University.

My trip to North America will be only partly for business. I do have meetings planned with distributors and libraries and guest readings at some venues, but I will also relish some time off at my mother’s place, including a proper Thanksgiving dinner!

We’re very pleased by the response to IP Picks 06 so far. A record number of people have registered interest by email, post, and by hits on our new Picks Page, and we’re anticipating a record number of entries, up from the 50% increase we had last year. Picks 06 closes on 1 December.

2006 is shaping up to be our busiest to date – a mixed blessing, that. On the strength of demos I gave in several regional centres over the past few months on digital composing and publishing, I expect that a number of in-depth workshops will be arranged over the year. Check out Out & About for details at hand to date, and keep reading your eNews!

As you’ve already noted from Sara’s intro, she has resigned from her positions of Newsletter Editor and Poetry Editor at IP. I’ve known Sara for more than 10 years, first as a student in a Master Class I offered for the Queensland Writers Centre, then as a hopeful author with a manuscript in hand, A Deep Fear of Trains, which became the first in our trend-setting Emerging Authors Series, then as a colleague in her capacity as a volunteer editor for IP. She’s witnessed a lot of changes at IP over the years, especially our evolution toward a viable commercial enterprise and has grown with the company. I have always valued her opinion and advice, and, more than that, her friendship. I wish her well with her future projects and thank her for her invaluable support of me and several IP poets along the way.

Since this is our last issue of the year, on behalf of all the staff at IP, I want to wish you and yours a healthy and safe holiday season. It’s been a dreadful year for disasters – natural and otherwise – and we can all use an extended time of peace and goodwill! Here’s hoping for a better New Year!


Dr David Reiter


“Your Organisation Is Important To Us”

My wife is reading a book entitled Your Call Is Important to Us, which blasts all the sources of bullshit found in politics and business in America these days. Needless to say, for anyone put On Hold or trying to get satisfaction from Government these days, the book travels well.

The arts scarcely get a mention in Queensland of late, with all the bushfires the Beattie Government is tending these days. There’s certainly less money around for glossy brochures telling us, in glowing terms, how much the Government is doing for the arts.

Given the push to apply user fees in our public hospitals, I don’t imagine the arts can expect much of an increase in the next budget.

It goes without saying that Governments now change policy only when they are forced to by the Courts or by overwhelming public opinion. Individuals can expect to get no more than a “your call is important to us” when arguing for change. IP has been treated similarly in our ongoing dispute with Arts Queensland about their discriminatory policy that excludes us and other for-profit companies from applying for Government support.

Even when the Ministers change deck chairs, we get the same reply to our letters. They must defer to the same bureaucrat at Arts Queensland rather than actually considering the merits of our case. Arts Queensland still must believe that we will take consolation from being told that, at some time in the distant future, they might review the policy. Which of course they won’t. Or that I am eligible to apply for grants, even though IP isn’t. What I don't understand is how that should make me feel better about their discrimination against IP.

Even if I chose to apply for a personal grant and was successful, how would that help IP? If I used the money to further IP's interests I would violate the grant conditions – surely AQ would not want to encourage that. Or would they?

It seems the rationale is contagious. Recently I emailed all members of Parliament, asking them to lobby the Government to change the policy. Not surprisingly, I heard nothing from the ALP side other than a recycled form letter from the new Minister. The Coalition did not reply, either; obviously they have better ammunition against the ALP without our issue.
I did, however, hear back from Liz Cunningham, Independent for Gladstone, who actually went to the trouble of writing to the Minister. They simply sent her the same form letter as they had to me, with the same lame excuses for inaction, and the same offer of consolation to me. Liz passed on the letter, just in case the offer was news to me.

Thanks, Liz. We need more Independents like you in Parliament next time. Then the Government might be less likely to send you a “your letter is important to us”. If enough people feel like I do at present toward this Government, perhaps it will happen.

In the meantime, I’m setting aside spare dollars for the next time we have to queue up at a public hospital.


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[In this issue, Assistant Editor Anne Marshall interviews three of our Spring Season authors: Andrew Lansdown, Michael O’Sullivan and Joel Deane.]

Andrew Lansdown is perhaps best known for his award-winning poetry collections, but he’s also written some fine fiction, including his Highly Commended IP Picks 2005 title The Dispossessed.

You’re a well-published author in both prose and poetry. Do you find you can work on a poetry manuscript at the same time as a prose manuscript, and can you borrow from each technique or must they remain a separate entity?

AL: I usually have a number of writing projects underway at any one time. This is more by necessity than by choice, because new ideas come before old ones are settled.

I do not find it difficult to shift from poetry to prose and back again. In fact, writing in different genres helps to overcome writer’s block. If, on a given day, I lack the impetus and/or insight to work in one genre, I can usually do something in the other.

Of course, poetry and fiction are significantly different from one another in intent and intensity. So there is a sense in which they require separate approaches and remain separate entities. Yet both are writing, after all. So skills developed in one genre are potentially useful in the other.

I think that being a poet has helped me to become a better prose writer. Poetry has instilled in me a love for the English language itself, and I have brought that love to my prose. Language in poetry is often (almost) an end in itself, while in prose it is often (almost) a means to an end. Poetry is sitting in a garden to enjoy the moment, while prose is riding on a train to get somewhere. Thanks to poetry, I find that I want every sentence in a story to be balanced and pleasing to the ear. I want my prose to have some of the qualities of poetry.

AM: What made you decide to write a collection of short stories about these themes, such as cross-cultural and social interactions and how individuals and family members see one another? Was it from personal experience, or musings of an imagination?

AL: I did not decide to write a story collection, as such. Rather, I set out to write this story—then this one. The subject, theme and mood of each story reflect particular interests or preoccupations that I had at the time of writing. When at last I began to gather the stories into a collection, I was surprised and pleased to discover the recurrence of certain concerns.

Some stories sprang from chance ideas, others from fragments of information, and still others from my own experience.

The events described in “The Dispossessed”, for example, are not far from reality. I did go to the local park with my family and I did encounter and help an Aboriginal couple. When I later reflected on the actual persons and events, I decided to transform them into fiction. And as I worked on the story, a certain mood took hold and a particular theme began to emerge.

Other stories are not so strongly grounded in experience—and some, such as “The Lepers”, are quite outside my experience. But many are a mixture of personal experience and imaginative musings.

AM: The points of view in these stories change quite rapidly between each one. In some there are third person, others are first person and some are letters. What made you decide to use these narrative points of view and techniques?

AL: In literature, how a thing is said is as important as what is said. Indeed, what is said gains (or fails to gain) power on the basis of how it is said. For this reason—along with a sheer love of language—I have always been interested in form and technique.

Andrew_LI like to experiment with different styles. However, it would be wrong to view the stories in The Dispossessed as experimental. The stories do not vary in point-of-view and technique because I wanted to experiment for the sake of it. The variations arise from the demands of the stories themselves. The forms in which they presently exist are the only forms in which I could get them to exist.

Soon after I began writing short stories, I realised that a story can fail simply because the writer has chosen the wrong point-of-view. I originally wrote “The Leper”, for example, in the third person—and the story did not work. But when I changed to the first person, the story came alive.

AM: When compiling a short story collection, there are often many short stories too choose from. How did you decide on these particular stories, or were they all written with the collection in mind?

AL: Although in their collected form some of the stories exhibit certain similarities in theme and tone, none of them were written with the collection in mind. Rather, they were chosen from a pool of about forty stories that I have had published over the years in various literary magazines, newspapers and anthologies.

While sorting through these stories, I came to feel that certain ones were not strong enough to go into the collection. I wanted to include only the best.
However, after IP had accepted the collection for publication, IP director/editor David Reiter expressed reservations about several stories.

After reconsidering these in the light of David’s concerns, I decided to withdraw them from the collection. The end result is a shorter but stronger collection.

AM: Many of the stories are set in rural situations. Do you think the themes of your stories work better in these settings rather than in an urban setting, or are the themes universal, regardless of the setting?

AL: I believe the themes are universal, regardless of setting. Yet a particular setting can facilitate the exploration of a particular theme and/or enhance the theme itself.

AM: Was any research needed for some of the details that are included in your stories, such as salt gathering in “Salt” and wheat harvesting such as “The Story”?

AL: The stories set in the early 1900s contain bits and pieces that I gleaned from discussions with elderly people. My grandfather, for example, helped me with the technical information about horse-drawn harvesters in “The Story”.

An elderly farmer in Burracoppin, a town in the eastern wheatbelt of WA, told me about collecting salt for his sheep, and I used that snippet of information to form both the plot and the emotional metaphor of the story “Salt”. Also, on his farm he actually had an old stone well of the sort I describe in the story (although it had never been the scene of the sort of catastrophe that I have imagined). I also thumbed through some archives of the Road Board in the area—and it was in these that I learned about the bounty paid on emus at that time, which also figures in the story. And so on…

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Michael O’Sullivan, who lives and writes in Yass, a regional town north of Canberra sets his third novel, Secret Writing, in Australia’s Red Centre.

AM: Could you tell us a little about your research into the Red Centre as a metaphor for the quest and how you related this to Namatjira’s paintings?

MO: I wanted to write a work about non-indigenous Michael_OAustralians’ relationships to our landscape. As most Australians are urban dwellers, I decided to lead the two central characters into a remote and unfamiliar landscape. The Red Centre became an obvious choice for the setting, particularly its association with the works of Albert Namatjira. Maps and photographs were useful, but Namatjira’s paintings provided not only the colours and contours of the landscape, but its spiritual essence.

AM: Was making Luis Spanish a conscious decision and, if so, does the fact that he’s Spanish have significance to the novel?

MO: In choosing the characters I reflected on contemporary multicultural Australia, and decided one of the protagonists should be an immigrant, who had no direct ties with the landscape. Luis could have come from any ethnic background, so the fact that he’s Spanish has no particular significance. It is more important that he grew up in two different cultures, but felt alienated from both.

AM: How did you structure your story to deal with the different threads of the two main characters lives? Did you plan them out beforehand or compose them as you wrote?

MO: Originally I planned Secret Writing as a novella, with what is now Part One of the novel. I often write first drafts in the third person, and then in subsequent revisions employ first person narratives.

This introduced the character of Pearl into the work, as someone reading Luis’ letters and journal. But when I thought the work was complete as a novella I was dissatisfied that I’d told only half the story, and there was more to it.

So in Part Two I followed Pearl into Central Australia, ostensibly in search of Luis, but as the story evolved it became her journey of discovery, just as it had for Luis.

AM: Why did you choose Namatjira’s paintings to have the secret writing that Luis is looking for, instead of paintings by other Aboriginal artists?

MO: I’ve been an admirer of Namatjira’s paintings for many years, and so it was natural for me to choose his work as a catalyst for Luis and Pearl’s quests. In addition Namatjira was in many ways caught between two worlds- the traditions of the Arrernte people and Western culture. This dichotomy both made and broke him. Similarly Luis is confused about his identity; and Pearl has been a captive of her marriage for most of her life.

AM: Landscape, myth and art are closely related in Secret Writing. Do you think this interrelation is a natural one, or is it simply a literary device?

MO: Both. Most landscape painters, from numerous cultures, attempt to do more than simply present a pictorial scene. Australian landscape artists have, I think, been particularly attracted to presenting indefinable elements in the landscape, its essence, at times its hostility, and its appeal to us as Australians. Having said that, the connections between landscape, myth and art was a convenient literary device in a story about personal identity in relation to a sense of place.

AM: The plot of Secret Writing deals a lot with the inner thoughts and beliefs of the two main characters. How did you put yourself into the mindset of both Luis and Pearl?

MO: One of the things I’ve learned about myself through writing is that I’m interested in spirituality. It’s never my intention to preach a particular code of belief, but I think it is easy for our spiritual selves to be shunted aside in the hurly-burly of contemporary life. Often it is only when confronted with the unexpected or tragic, that we consider the issue, think about what we believe and why, what’s important and what’s not. So frequently characters in my work find themselves in a position where they need to examine these questions about themselves.

Placing yourself into the mindset of characters is perhaps achieved by empathy with their dilemmas. But so that this doesn’t sound too profound, I love literary experiences such as in Flann O’Brien’s masterpiece, At Swim-Two-Birds, where a succession of characters who are writers invent other characters who are also writers, leading to a comic masterstroke where characters who exist only while their creator is at work decide to rebel. Their answer – to start writing about their creators..

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Joel Deane found that lightning can strike twice, when we told him that Subterranean Radio Songs had won the IP Picks Best Poetry award this year [his novel Another won Best Fiction last year]. How does he find time to write and while serving as Victorian Premier Steve Bracks chief speechwriter? Read on!

AM: Is poetry better suited to capturing the essence of travel experiences than prose?

JD: Poetry is all about journeys of time, place, experience, language, faith and imagination. You can see elements of that in the work of poets like Homer, Chaucer, Blake and Dante. Prose can – and does – tackle journeys as well, but in my opinion poetry did it first and best.

For instance, I originally intended to write a short story about Havana, Cuba, where I stayed in 2001 at a time when I was reevaluating my life, but found a short story just couldn’t do the subject justice. In the end, I sat down and wrote a long poem, “Romeo y Julieta”, that captures the journey – physical, spiritual, political – that I was going through better than a short story could have. To me it’s one of the most important poems in the collection.

Overall, Subterranean Radio Songs can be read as a poetic travelogue, but there’s another journey going on there, too. A more personal journey that relates to a series of events that I struggled with: my partner becoming seriously ill, discovering that my daughter, Sophie, had Down Syndrome, and losing three children in childbirth. There is a fair degree of grief in the book. More than I’d like, but that’s where I’ve come from – and the poems reflect that path.

AM: Do you feel more comfortable writing poetry or prose?

JD: I am always writing a poem – even if I’m writing a novel or a speech I’m writing a poem – because, for me, it’s all about the sounds the words make when you bang them together. The music. I feel fractionally more settled writing poetry, because I’ve been working in that form longer.

The trouble with poetry is I can’t turn it on or off like prose. It’s either coming or it isn’t. If it is coming, I drop everything; if it isn’t, I start to wonder whether I’ve done a Slessor and become an extinct volcano.

AM: Does your inspiration for poetry come from the same places as your inspiration for prose, and, if so, how do you choose one genre over the other?

JD: My poetry and fiction are like two brothers: poetry the introvert, fiction the extrovert. Generally, my poetry has a strong basis in the autobiographical – it is what I write to cope with the world. My fiction, on the other hand, is more about how I respond to the world. It is much less autobiographical and more overtly political.

AM: Your poems in Subterranean Radio Songs shift from childhood experiences to the traveling experiences. Was this a conscious part of your planning process, or did you simply write the poems and then collate them in this order?

JD: Subterranean Radio Songs reflects the journey I made in my twenties and early thirties. A journey out of regional Victoria and into the city; a journey out of Australia and into the United States; a journey out of childhood into adulthood; and a journey back to Australia.

Joel_DUltimately, the collection is not a collection I sat down and wrote – it wrote me. It’s a selection of my work with an emphasis on the ones that tell the story of, or relate to, my journey.

When it came time to collate the collection, I decided the best way to group the poems was to split them into two hemispheres, North and South. Doing that gave the collection a natural symmetry. My editor at IP, Sara Moss, was a big help in this regard.

AM: How did you decide on the different poetry forms for Subterranean Radio Songs? For example, while some poems are very linear in their layout like “Passage”, others are staggered like “Conversation on the Midnight Stream”.

JD: For me, the poems dictate the form. I’m not an apostle of any particular style. I admire poems written in all forms and believe every poem, if it’s good enough, will find its own form, given enough time and work. That process can take years.

“ London”, for instance, was first written in 1996, but only finalized in 2005. One practice that helps me resolve a poem is giving a reading. I might try out a raw poem to a roomful of strangers, record it to hear how it sounds, or have my computer read it back to me. Hearing a work read helps me visualize how it should look on the page.

AM: The poems based on travel experiences are interspersed with poems about the inner human frailty. Do you think these two subjects go hand in hand, and is the human experience changed or aided by traveling?

JD: The physical journey and personal journey go hand in hand for me because, in my case, they were interrelated.

I didn’t travel to find myself. But I went through some life-changing experiences during the six years I spent living, working, and travelling overseas. During that time I was based in the San Francisco Bay Area, but bouncing all over the United States. The Bay Area is my second home, but that didn’t help much when things fell apart. When the trouble hit, I was alone. So was my partner.

By the time we returned to Melbourne – both arriving separately and weeks apart, with a baby in tow – we were utterly different people. Different to ourselves and each other. Part of that was growing older, part of that was the experiences we had gone through, part of that was the miles we’d clocked up.
We were a mess. We needed decompression chambers. And, for me, poetry was the way I found my way back.

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We’ve all been watching with great sadness the unfolding tragedy in earthquake-ravaged Pakistan.

IP.Sales is pleased to announce that we are now distributing a very fine poetry book, Distant Horizons, by ex-pat Queenslander Jocelyn Ortt-Saeed, who has lived in Pakistan for many years. The book provides an in-depth view of a rich culture with which most of us are unfamiliar.

Further details will appear on our website shortly, but here’s a taste of Jocelyn’s work, which will hopefully bring you back for more.

I go into silence
beyond time space—
questioning, questing,
asking each day,
how can we show
peace is the way?

Distant_HorizonA blurb from Judith Wright says it all:

Having once stayed with Jocelyn for a week in Lahore, I appreciate the way her poetry mediates between languages and cultures. She makes moving poems about the heart’s desire and about the joy and sorrow of being a woman.

You can order this book in either hard or soft cover for $39.95 and $23 respectively. Some of the proceeds go in aid of Jocelyn’s humanitarian work in Pakistan. A nice idea for the holiday season!

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In past issues we’ve spoken about the prospects for closer relations between IP and Queensland’s peak writing organisation, the Queensland Writers Centre.

We’re pleased to confirm that David has been confirmed as a guest speaker at one of the first QWC events in the New Year: Meet the Publisher.

And we are working with QWC to inject an IP focus to the 2006 Wordpool events, with plans to have Cate Kennedy, Geoff Gates and David reading from their work to the theme of the night.

We also expect greater IP involvement in the QWC’s regional Roadshow for 2006, building on the success of the Rockhampton session this year, and responding to interest expressed by groups in Far North and North Queensland.

On that note, we were saddened to hear of Martin Buzacott’s recent resignation as QWC CEO. In the short time Martin was at the helm, a new energy was evident at QWC, and certainly the priority he placed on getting things happening in the regions was welcome.

IP looks forward to working with the new CEO in keeping the flame of renewal alive—in the Southeast corner as well as elsewhere in Queensland.


Many manuscripts “spin their wheels” in the first few pages and are quickly discarded by editors minding the slushpile.

Few authors would disagree – in theory – that the opening of a book is very important, but far too many look critically at how well the first few pages work in conveying an accurate sense of what the manuscript will be about.

The harsh reality is that few editors have the time to read beyond the opening of a manuscript if it doesn’t captivate them from the first few lines. If the beginning waffles or is awkwardly written, the editor will generally conclude that the rest of the book will be like that. Editors are not paid to be patient. Your opening needs to act as your agent for the rest of the work.

Think of the opening as a kind of trailer, in a cinematic sense, for the work as a whole. This is your chance, in a few scant paragraphs or stanzas, to hook your reader and to excite them to read on.

This is not to say that the opening needs to answer all the key journalistic questions of who, what, where, when and why – but it should certainly start the process. Perhaps you will be offering up an intriguing situation, or a character in immediate danger, or a mysterious setting that sends shivers up our spine. Above all, the first few pages will exude direction, a sense that this is a manuscript that knows what it’s about, rather than one that is discovering its purpose as it moves along.

Just as a movie trailer gives prospective viewers a reason to put money on the counter, your opening should be compelling, so that the reader has no choice but to read on.

If your manuscript does pass the attention test, the editor will refer back to it often to see if the rest of the work is true to the environment created in the first few pages. So it’s not enough to write a brilliant opening and then revert into so-so writing thereafter. You should anticipate the pathway followed by your reader and test the rest of the work against the opening to see if it fulfills the initials expectations.

One way to do this is to ask a few trusted people to read the opening and then tell you what kind of story they think will follow. If they are confused about the nature of the story, who the main character is, where the story is set, warning bells should go off for you.

First impressions do last, in writing as well as relationships. A strong opening will put you well in front of the field, and that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?

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David participated as guest publisher in the Queensland Writers Centre Roadshow to Rockhampton recently, and sends aspiring writers his three best tips, reprinted from Writing Queensland.

1. Remember that getting published is a PROCESS.
It doesn’t end once your book has been accepted by a publisher. The more you can convey to a prospective publisher that you know enough about the industry to be keen to promote the title as much as possible when it comes out, the better. And you have an important role before the book goes to the printer and after, in ensuring it's in the best possible shape. That means keeping an open mind during the content and copy editing process and going the extra kilometers while proofreading.

2. “Practice, practice: put your faith in that!”
The poet WS Merwin was right. Very few manuscripts are ready for publication after the first few drafts, so why submit them then? Give them time to simmer, get them professionally assessed or workshopped, and PAY ATTENTION to the advice you're given, even when it’s free. Convey the sense that you’ve gone the distance to prospective publishers by listing where you’ve published individual works or books up till then, and by all means include review clips written by anyone who is not easily identified as a family member or spouse.

3. There are more options under the sun than royalty publishing and vanity publishing. If a publisher suggests a “partnership” deal to you, don’t reject it out of hand — if you have the resources to invest in your project. But do your homework on the publisher to ensure they can deliver the goods. You could actually make more money from such an arrangement than what you can expect from a traditional 10% royalty deal, especially if you're prepared to be an active ambassador for your work. “Self-publishing” has its attractions, but only if you’re an experienced editor, desktop publisher, designer, proofreader, marketing professional and distributor. If you can’t tick all of these, do a personal inventory of your strengths and weaknesses, and then GET HELP for the other aspects. (Pssst: you do get what you pay for!)

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Twenty-three libraries can’t be wrong — it’s time for you to take a closer look at our digital titles!

On his recent tour to Victoria and New South Wales, David found plenty of librarians in regional as well as metropolitan centres keen to order some of our latest digital titles. Some of the libraries have been tracking check-out rates on titles such as David own interactive works like The Gallery and Sharpened Knife, and these have been encouraging.

Ordered in quantity were our Audio + Text series CDs, which work in portable CD players, as well as on computer CD-ROMs. With the former, you get to listen to an anthology in music CD mode, while the latter enables you to read the complete e-book while you listen to readings.

HowlEspecially popular was our latest Audio + Text work, I’ll Howl Before You Bury Me, which is a collaboration in music and words between poet Liam Guilar and musician composer Chen Yang. It’s based on Liam’s poetry book of the same name. The music’s there in partnership with the text, rather than just an accompaniment.

Paul-VincentDavid’s latest multimedia work, Paul and Vincent, received rave reviews at demonstrations held in Dubbo, Orange and Wagga Wagga. A performed script, accompanied by period music and more than 50 paintings by artists Gauguin and van Gogh, it inspired several viewers to think about how their own projects could be adapted to multimedia, and how such work could be applied in the classroom for drama and art students, as well as students exploring the possibilities of New Media.

All of our CDs work on Windows and Mac computers, though you may have to update some of your free players, such as Quicktime, Adobe Acrobat or iTunes.

So don’t take a backseat to the librarians — order in a few of our CDs now!

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Based on David’s demos of our digital arsenal during the tour, several centres have lined up to propose that he lead full workshops during 2006.

These have included Dubbo Library, Proserpine Library, Tamworth Library, the Central-West Writers Centre, Northern Rivers Writers Centre (Byron Bay) and the NSW Writers Centre.

The workshops are geared to students of New Media as well as authors interested in seeing how their work might fare in the digital environment.

We suggest you register your interest now with the library or writers centre closest to you, and we’ll keep you informed about developments early in the New Year. Of course, we’re always happy to hear from other libraries and writers groups wanting to be included in David’s Roadshow!

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IP author Geoffrey Gates made the front cover of the NewSOuth Wales Writers Centre Newswrite for October for his article “Turning Travel Into Fiction”. We’ve reprinted much of it below, courtesy of the Writers Centre.

[After nine years overseas, fiction writer Geoffrey Gates returned home to Sydney with a well-worn manuscript. A Ticket for Perpetual Locomotion subsequently won the 2005 IP Picks Award and will be published in October by IP, with the support of the Australia Council. He now teaches English in Sydney and has no more travel plans at present.]

I remember sitting on the plane waiting to fly out of Sydney on Boxing Day, 1994, a nervous traveller and a hopeful writer-in-the-making. My hand luggage consisted of spare pens and thirty-five pages of novel ideas written in small print. I closed my eyes as the plane took off, prayed for good air-pockets and told myself it was time to be bold, brave and resolute.

I wrote the following sentence across the first page of my journal. It was a call-to-arms for the Romantic Self, currently doing battle the Cowardly Me. It was also a kind of wish-list for whatever was to follow when I landed at Heathrow in the London wet:

The Travel Journal of Geoffrey Gates: Incorporating Perpetual Movement and Stationary Existence; Physical Scenery, Cultural Observations and Affairs of the Heart.

A_TicketWhen I read over the first few months of my brown journal (a black journal and a green one were to follow – I was away a long time) I see that these were grand aspirations. I travelled on the London underground and taught in an East End school. There was local colour, but it was hardly the great Andes trail.

Soon, I did manage to begin a more adventurous life. I walked on a wintry Glacier in Norway with an ice-pick, I rode a horse around the Pyramids under the moon in Cairo.

None of these experiences made it into my novel. It is, as everyone knows, notoriously hard to turn travel into fiction and make it as interesting on the page as the experience lived in real times and real places. The years were passing since I left home, and I had written nothing. Apart from not being a novelist, I was in danger of not being a young novelist. It was time to pack up stumps and leave London for new horizons. I moved to Germany.

In Hamburg I joined a writers’ group made up of expatriates from England and Ireland, who with a few lost souls from the fringes of the city itself, met once a week and read their work.

In this stationary existence, I made a serious attempt to start writing again. Just when I was beginning to think that my travelling had been useless for my fiction, the tale of a boy leaving home (stealing away, in fact) came to me strongly. I saw him picking up his backpack on a sultry Sydney morning, pulling the door gently shut behind him, expatriating himself in a permanent way.

The central idea for my novel came out of an emotional realisation, Geoff_Gatesrather than an exotic travel experience. It was an idea born of anxiety.

Writing had taken me away from Australia but it also brought me home. From my time overseas I have realised that you can travel the world and have the time of your life, but this won’t help you to write a novel. Well, it will help, but only to an extent. You must also sit down at a desk and do little else but think and write, for hours and hours on end. It will always be tempting to pick up the backpack and go off on another trip, and procrastinate in putting the words down on the page. I’m sure many a promising novel idea has lost its legs this way, as aspiring writers have refused to tie themselves down to just one story, when there is a whole world of adventures out there just waiting to be had. After all, travelling is every bit as addictive as the strange habit of putting words on a page.

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Regional Queensland was high on David’s list in August, with stops in Cairns, Townsville, MacKay, and towns in between, building on the success of the QWC's One-Stop Shop event in Rockhampton that he participated in. In Cairns, he met with Eve Stafford (Arts Nexus) and Stephen Torres (JCU - Cairns) to discuss future writing workshops. He also met with library staff in Mossman and Atherton about activities for their local writers.

David was pleased to catch up with the Writers in Townsville group, who were keen to hear about the latest developments at IP, especially our digital publishing program.

Then it was back on the road for library sessions at Bowen and Proserpine. Proserpine Library is is already working on having David back to lead workshops at Airlie Beach next February, if funding can be arranged. We’ll keep you posted.

Finally, David had a session with the MacKay's Writers Group on publishing, just before jetting back to Brisbane.

These sessions complimented QWC extensive series of One Stop Shop in regional Queensland, and we’re looking forward to even closer cooperation with the Centre in the future so that writers outside Brisbane can gain better access to publishing information and opportunities.

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Our Spring Season began a bit early this year, with two events launching Liam Guilar’s Text + Audio CD on the Gold Coast and then in Brisbane. Liam teaches at St Hilda's Girls School, and we were grateful to the school for hosting an event attended by students, staff and parents.

Guilar-YangThe I'll Howl Before You Bury Me CD is the result of a collaboration between composer Chen Yang, who plays violin on the CD, as well as providing synthesised music, and Liam, who plays guitar and lute.

The following Sunday, we had the Brisbane launch at 4MBS Classic-FM in the intimate space of their Performance Studio.

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In what must be our most ambitious tour so far, David set off for Dubbo, New South Wales in mid October. With typical humility, he claims to be personally responsible for breaking the Big Dry, for it rained almost non-stop from Brisbane to Dubbo, and he was grateful for the proactive advice of his mechanic who’d advised him to buy new tyres for the trip, despite his fondness for hydroplaning.

Between Alice Hawkins, a staunch IP supporter at Dubbo, and the library, David had a full house for his demo of IP’s recent multimedia work. This included the Guilar/Yang CD, as well as David's interactive detective story Sharpened Knife, his theatrical work Paul and Vincent and Phase 1 of his memoir My Planets. The participants were keen to learn more about the projects, so Dubbo Library is thinking about organising a more in-depth workshop in the new year.

That same day, David drove to Orange for the first of our events, which featured Michael O'Sullivan reading from Secret Writing and David airing Paul and Vincent. The following day, the Central-West Writers Centre, under the capable baton of new Director Penny Marr, had organised a multimedia demo for three local high schools. With the multimedia option under the NSW HSC, Grade 11 students are very keen to learn as much about multimedia strategies and software as they can, and David was able to give them a brief immersion into several of our projects, which will hopefully give them some ideas for their own.

Residents of Melbourne are now confronting the possibility of drinking storm water recycled from the Yarra, or consuming it with “a knife and fork” as Wendy Harmer puts it, so they were no doubt grateful when David brought the rain with him, to hopefully stave off the inevitable.

After touching base with several regional libraries, David joined Joel Deane for the launch of his second book, Subterranean Radio Songs, at the Victorian Writers Centre on Friday, 21 October. Joel has the distinction of being the first author to win an IP Picks award two years in a row. Last year, he won Best Fiction for Another.

The book was launched by Kris Hemensley, a poet himself and also owner of the nearby Collected Works Bookshop, generally the first port-of-call for Melbournians looking for good poetry.

The next day, David drove up to Wagga Wagga to meet up with Michael O’Sullivan and Geoffrey Gates for a reading at Wagga Library. David Gilbey, a lecturer in English at Charles Sturt University's Wagga campus, gave an impromptu reflection on Paul and Vincent’s use of the paintings in different contexts to highlight themes in the work. (Do we hear a review coming on?)

Then it was on to Canberra for the launch of Michael's Secret Writing. Professor Ian Donaldson, Head of the Humanities Research Centre at the Australian National University, had kindly arranged Old Canberra House as the venue for the launch. Michael was a former Michael-Kelpiestudent of the professor, who retold the story of recognising Michael sitting at the back of one his lectures after he returned to Canberra after a long absence and wondering if Michael was still working on his degree after all that time! (He wasn't, but he couldn't resist the temptation to sit in on one of his former mentor's classes for old time's sake.)

Michael and family hosted David for two nights at their place in Yass, where David got close and personal with “the Kelpie”, but only after a few well-timed nips at his heels as he walked up the stairs to the house from his cosy retreat in Michael’s writing studio.

Several libraries later, David found himself in Sydney for the events heralding the launch of A Ticket for Perpetual Locomotion. The first was held on 20 October at The Hills Grammar School where Geoffrey Gates teaches.

The school pulled out all the stops in promoting the event to the local media and several articles appeared to coincide with The Hills event. We shared the venue with the people from Scholastic, who were mounting a book fair, and it was attended by parents, students and teachers, with lovely calorie-free cakes (!) for afternoon tea.

Not content with one event, we pushed on the next day for a reading at Banjo Bookshop at Epping. There was some serious wine at the event, which attracted many of Geoffrey’s teaching colleagues who weren’t able to make the school event, as well as people from Banjo’s invitation list.

Finally, we climaxed with the formal launch at the NSW Writers Centre on Saturday afternoon, and thanks to a sponsorship from Angove’s Wines, the 60+ attendees were kept in good spirits. Crime writer Cathy Cole launched the book at both The Hills and the Writers Centre, and we were grateful for her kind words.

With the launches out of the way, David could concentrate on the few remaining libraries on his way back to Brisbane. He stopped in at Tamworth, Armidale and Coffs Harbour, making a total of 23 libraries visited on this tour, and injecting a much appreciated cash flow into IP’s balance sheet.

No rest for the wicked, though. David’s off to North America on 10 November for speaking engagements and meetings with libraries and potential distributors, with similar activities in the planning stage for New Zealand in January.

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Tilly Brasch, author of No Middle Name, attended a national conference hosted by the South Australian Schizophrenia Fellowship as well as the CAPS conference in Brisbane. Her book is the subject of an extensive interview in the online newsletter of the International Center for Clubhouse Development in New York City. Most recently, she was flown to Canberra to address a Parliamentary Committee looking at reform to the Mental Health Act.

Even before that, her IP Picks winning book had prompted this speech in Parliament by Arch Bevis, Senator for Brisbane, reprinted with his kind permission here:

Youth suicide is one of the most tragic issues in our society, and its occurrence is all too common. Sadly, and for far too long, youth suicide has been ignored by governments of all political persuasions. It is time that the parliament, including all members on both sides of the chamber, spoke up about this problem so that we can start to address this tragic situation. In my home state of Queensland the most recent figures, which are for 2003, indicate that 53 young men took their own lives. Overwhelmingly the problem affects more young men than young women. In 2003, nationally 250 young men and 39 women took their lives. Although I am happy to say that the number of women who have taken their lives in the last five years has reduced, the number of men who have taken their lives has not.

Arch_BevisIn Queensland, every week one person takes their life. In Australia, nationally, every working day one young man takes his life. The statistics indicate that, while we are sitting here and working in this place today, a young Australian male will take his life. That is tragic. We cannot allow the situation to continue, nor should we allow the parliament to ignore the issue. It is time that we had an open debate. We quite rightly take a great deal of interest in youth deaths on the roads; however, the statistics indicate that youth suicides number more than half the total deaths of young males in road accidents. The number of young men who take their lives is more than half of those who lose their lives on the road. Everyone talks about the incidence of road deaths; however, we ignore youth suicides, which particularly affect young men, and deaths from depression and other depressive illnesses. We need to do something to fix it.

I want to acknowledge the efforts of two organisations that are trying to combat this terrible problem, and I have to say that they have had little or no support from this parliament or any other parliament. The OzHelp Foundation operates here in Canberra and is targeted to the apprentices and young men who work in the building industry. The foundation is funded by the Master Builders Association and the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union. The CFMEU, which is much maligned in this place on a regular basis by the government, and the Master Builders Association deserve great credit for the work they are doing to help young men in the building industry in the ACT.

I also want to acknowledge the work of good friends of mine, Kev and Tilly Brasch. I had the great honour of launching Tilly’s book No Middle Name, which recounted the life of her son, Riley, who, tragically, took his life in tragic circumstances. It is a book that we should all read. Any parent who reads it and does not have a tear in their eye needs to have their heart checked. Youth suicide is a problem that all parliamentarians need to start talking about. We can no longer ignore the fact that one young man takes his life every working day of the year. That is a frightening statistic, and there is a human life and a family tragedy behind each statistic. We need to take action sooner rather than later. I urge all members to speak with their colleagues in their party room and elsewhere so we can start the work to correct this terrible tragedy.

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On Secret Writing, by Michael O’Sullivan:

Michael has developed the warp and weft of the plot using the complex literary device of telling the story through letters and flashbacks, but he handles this well and carries the reader along with competence and clarity. He maintains the interest on every page with challenging insights and a taut use of language and imagery.

— Dr Kevin Baker

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The entries are already coming in for our fifth annual competition for unpublished manuscripts.

If you’re reading about it for the first time and are interested, better get your skates on — it closes on 1 December!

Entry forms and conditions, along with further details about the competition, including previous winners, can be found on our special IP.Picks page.

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Deal 1: Order any Audio + Text CD from the list below and we’ll toss in the book (the paperback) for a mere extra $11 (a savings of at least 50%!) You decide which one to keep and which to give away at holiday time!!

Buy any of the following from the IP Shop via our orders page to qualify.

Café Boogie
Ill Howl Before You Bury Me

Do it before 1 December and and we’ll throw in free postage and handling (a flat $8 charge applies thereafter).

Quote YD:28_1. Payment by cheque, money order or EFT only.

Deal 2: Order an IP Six-pack for $66 + $6.

Your choice of any six IP titles published before 2004 for just $11 each, GST-inclusive, plus a flat $6 postage and handling.

uote YD:28_2. Payment by cheque, money order or EFT only.

FIPC members get a further 10% discount off the cost of either package plus free postage. Sign up now and get the benefits of Club membership today. (See Your Deal in Issue 15 for full details.)

Offers available only to individuals.