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From the Director’s Desk

Editorial: A Sore Still Open...

Focus: Basil Eliades, Monique Choy and Rosemary Huisman

To Call Or Not To Call

From the APA

IP.Sales News

IP.Digital Buzz

Out & About

In Review

Your Deal

Vol 8, No. 2— ISSN 1442-0023

Anne_MHaving returned from Europe and surviving the very cold winter (minus seventeen in Vienna!), I am honoured to take over the role of Newsletter Editor, although I am aware I have very big shoes to fill!

This issue of IP eNews sees some very important information for would-be authors in David’s column on follow-up contact with publishers. It’s also a good refresher for all the published writers out there.

Our Editorial is of particular interest this issue, considering the ALP’s recent loss in the by-election in Gaven. David sent him an email urging Premier Beattie to review the Government’s discriminatory policy toward private arts companies. One only hopes that the Premier will take notice of it this time!

We have interviews with three new authors this month: Basil Eliades, author of 3rd i or within the contingent skin, Rosemary Huisman, IP Picks 2006 Highly Commended with her poetry collection The Possibility of Winds and Monique Choy, author of the interactive CD The Last Laugh.

You can find out more about The Last Laugh in the IP.Digital Buzz, as well as an update on David Reiter’s DVD Hemingway In Spain and some exciting news concerning how IP.Digital is getting our titles out there to the iTunes Stores and other online shops.

Out and About features a great line-up of news about IP authors, including Liam Ferney’s poem being chosen as part of Toilet Door Poetry (seriously!), an initiative by the Red Room Company. Tilly Brasch recaps her talk with the Royal Flying Doctors Association, not to mention David’s recent activities with the Queensland Writers Association, Conjure (the National Science Fiction and Fantasy Conference) and the upcoming CAL conference on digital copyright.

In Review features a snippet of an intriguing review of local Melbourne authors, that includes our own Joel Deane with his novel Another. And we also feature two new competitions that you may want to know about.

Don’t forget to check out Your Deal because if there’s ever an excuse to add books to your collection, it’s getting great deals on them. Our specials for this issue include a tempting selection from the IP Digital collection, so make sure you click on down!


Anne Marshall
Newsletter Editor

From the Director's Desk

DR_roofIt’s hard to believe we’re almost halfway through 2006 and on the verge of yet another Autumn Season!

IP continues to grow in reputation, and I’m pleased to report that more and more seasoned authors are coming to us with proposals for new titles. This is a mixed blessing, of course, as we already have a full publishing program for 2006 and are already scheduling new titles for the first half of 2007, our 10th anniversary year.

Congratulations to IP author Joel Deane on his book of poetry being shortlisted for the Anne Elder Award! More on that in In Review.

Our blue-ribbon IP.Assess service continues to thrive, with several new projects coming through in April. If you have a manuscript that’s almost there and you want a thorough and constructive report from one of our accredited assessors, send it in.

I recently served on a panel at Conjure, the National Science Fiction and Fantasy Conference, appropriately held on Easter Sunday, since there was certainly more than a sniff of resurrection in the air. I was interested to hear the views of my fellow panelists on how SF publishers are managing in an increasingly competitive marketplace. One rather stressed publisher, who tries to do it ALL herself, was characterised by Bruce Sterling, a prolific American author and futurist, as a “patron of the arts”, which, put kindly, means that she does it all for no financial reward.

Like the proverbial ram who has high hopes of bashing a hole in the wall of State government indifference, in my Editorial I call upon Premier Beattie to spur his newly found modesty into action by expanding the Government’s support for the arts. If there’s one thing that spurs a politician out of lethargy, it’s a fear of being defeated at the next election. Given the vacuum of opposition that exists in Queensland at the moment perhaps it’s time for a new party or a raft of independents to emerge. Stranger things have happened. It’s worth noting that the senior management at Arts Queensland has changed of late, after a “nation-wide search” for the best administrative talent. Hopefully these new managers will bring some Southern wisdom with them!

I’m especially pleased to report on our expanding digital program, which will see us aligning with American distrbutor CD Baby to get some of our digital titles online. Our first sortie will include twelve albums of wide-ranging content, from our innovative Audio + Text Series through spoken word and music CDs from other Australian artists we admire — and distribute.

Speaking of digital news, next issue we’ll have a feature on my Hemingway in Spain DVD, which is now in post-production. Authored at IP using state-of-the-art software from Apple, it’s been a process and a half! Writing organisations are lining up for demos of the work and workshops about how individual artists and creative teams can get into this exciting area.

Meanwhile you’ll have plenty to occupy yourself with this issue, so keeping on scrolling!


Dr David Reiter


A Sore Still Open...


Dear Mr Premier

As you consider the implications from yet another by-election loss, perhaps it might be time for you to review your Government’s discriminatory policy toward private companies trying to assist in the development of a vibrant cultural sector in this State.

For several years, you and your Ministers have condoned the exclusion of IP and other private companies from applying for Government support, insisting that only “not-for-profit” organisations are worthy of support. Queensland stands alone in this discriminatory policy. If IP were located in any other State or Territory in Australia we would be able to access grants in support of our innovative publishing program.

There is nothing in the nature of a “not-for-profit” organisation that guarantees it will deliver to its constituents. In fact we have several notable cases in this State where not-for-profits have been shown to be inefficient in their use of public funds. The University of Queensland Press is a key example. The Government continues to prop up UQP despite loses of millions of dollars, to the exclusion of more efficient companies such as IP.

While the Arts are not a high-profile issue in this State today, they do employ a huge number of people. I have met many people in that sector across Queensland over the past few years, and I can say that your Government is extremely unpopular at present due to policies such as this.

This is despite a flurry of policy announcements and glossy brochures trumpeting the Government’s dedication to the arts, where, in reality, funding has dropped in many areas, including writing. If you subtract the cost of promotional events and brochures from the overall budget, the shortfall in funding becomes even more accentuated.

While you enjoy a large majority at present, Mr Beattie, I’m sure you are aware of other Governments, with similar majorities, that fell very quickly once the people got fed up with the current Government’s arrogance and inaction on policies that needed changing.

Your Government’s aim should be to encourage arts organisation to become commercially self-sufficient so that funding can be directed to more worthy and ground-breaking work. Rather than new directions in the arts, your policies reward inefficiency among arts organisations that have become sacred cows in this State.

I urge you to take action NOW to restore confidence in your Government and to end unnecessary and discriminatory practices toward a vital area of the cultural sector in this State, private arts companies. Stop passing the buck, Mr Beattie: all it takes is a simple directive from you or Mr Welford to Arts Queensland to allow private companies to apply for arts funding.


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[In this issue, Anne Marshall takes a look at three of our new authors: Basil Eliades, Monique Choy and Rosemary Huisman]

Basil Eliades is most well known for his visual art and poetry. Basil's earlier two books, ohne Titel (abroad) and ohne Titel (divorce, death, birth and rebirth) were published in 1997 and 1995, respectively, in Australia and overseas. His latest book 3rd I or within the contingent skin is another example of the complexity with which he writes. It will be launched in early June at the VIC Writers Centre in Melbourne on Saturday, 10 June, with other events in Daylesford and Castlemaine to be confirmed.

AM: Your poetry collection is very diverse. How did you choose what poems to include in this collection?

BE: The only real choices to be made about pieces included or excluded in this collection were based on how complete a piece was, choosing pieces that allow some space among the intensity so that the reader isn’t overwhelmed. Two BasilEpieces with graphic sexual content were excluded, one an orgy of text and texture, the other a haiku. They worked nicely in reference to each other, but they appeared a little gratuitous amongst the other works. I believe that every word, every breath, is related to everything else.

The ‘interconnectedness of all things’ is a base value of mine that affects all processes. Because everything is relative, because nothing exists in isolation, for me these pieces are not diverse at all, they absolutely belong beside one another.

AM: In your poems there are references to a wide range of cultures and concepts. Have these formed a large part of your reading and research, or are these references incidental to this collection? And do you think your background as a visual artist influences the vivid imagery and visual layout of your poems?

BE: I’m pleased you see the pieces as vivid and visual! It’s all so tied up together. Of course my visual practice informs my text, just as my reading (of text, of image, of social dynamics, of philosophy, of anything) with any luck informs my visual art practice and my every interaction with the world. Being conscious of all this stuff doesn’t make living easier, but it makes it a hell of a lot more interesting. Similarly, it doesn’t necessarily make writing or painting easier, but it sure makes it more interesting. I see holistically, which for me means that I see conceptually, experientially, in 3D, in 2D, in time and space, and a whole lot of other stuff.

AM: Relationships and a sense of self are recurring themes in this collection. Do these themes carry into your visual art or were they only necessary for your poetry?

BE: This idea that one can see at many levels simultaneously affects everything. Often the only thing it doesn’t affect immediately is whatever is too close to us, like intimate relationships. My responses to the other questions about everything being interrelated points specifically to intimate relationships, because it is by reference points such as these that we gain our understanding of self. Unfortunately we often rely too much on our partners to give us those location points. For me these explorations about my own relationships, and those of my friends, are essential for getting some perspective on the world. So yes, these themes affect everything, including my painting practice.

AM: Your collection experiments with form and layout. Was this a conscious decision as you wrote the poetry, or something that occurred when you were compiling the collection?

BE: There is no experimentation at all. The form and layout of the works is merely a part of the process, and simultaneously intrinsic to each piece. It is impossible for me to consider the form of a piece as separate to any other part of it. These elements can be observed, analysed, even modified after the fact, but not during the writing. What3rdiCov everyone else calls “experimentation” I simply call the process of being alive, the practice of writing, of exploring words and their interactions and the energy that they carry. Exploring is what we should all be doing, each day, otherwise there is simply existing in the same state, and that ain’t fun. My writing, teaching, learning, painting, even my parenting I try to approach with a fresh vision each day, each interaction. Of course I fail dismally, repeatedly, but I try! To not explore means you’re merely digging a deeper rut. Of course this has to be done respectfully, because all of our actions affect everything and everyone else…

AM: How do you decide on titles for your poems?

BE: A title is a door handle. It offers an opportunity to grasp the energy of a subject, or concept, or spatial relationship, and sit with it for a moment. After that, one can step through the door and grapple with or free-fall into the poem. The poems tend to choose their titles themselves, self-electing. Sometimes it’s a real struggle. Because they are necessarily part of the poem and yet separate to it, clarifying their role and isolating, identifying, choosing, is sometimes as difficult as the entire poem. So much can depend on that one word having integrity, and being responsible for the appearance of the entire piece. The title also has to counterbalance the energy of the poem sometimes, which is a big ask.

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Monique Choy's interactive CD The Last Laugh is a prime example of the way digital publishing can contribute to a piece of writing. Monique has written for many different publications, including the Lonely Planet series, newspapers, magazines, zines and children’s books. The Last Laugh will be launched at the NSW Writers Centre on Saturday evening, 3 June.

AM: Why did you choose to have The Last Laugh as an interactive CD rather than a print novel?

MC: I wrote the story as part of my Master of New Media course through Canberra Uni, so it had to be interactive. I found that writing an interactive story is a structuring issue that affects the shape of the narrative right from the start, so for this particular story a print format wouldn’t have worked. Right from the start I was grappling with questions like: How will the reader move through this section? Can they know this if they haven't yet read that? Is this a necessary bit, or could the reader skip it or perhaps come back and read it later if they want to? I wanted the story to build momentum and so my main challenge was to give the reader choices while still building the story’s tension.

AM: What are the advantages and disadvantages to having your work published digitally rather than trade paperback?

MC: Digital works open up all sorts of exciting ideas when it comes to multiple narratives and interactivity. It changes the nature of the stories that can be told. However I thinkMoniqueC the digital market is still very small. People don’t like reading on screens and they associate screen reading with work, rather than fun. I'm hoping this will change though. As XML eclipses HTML we'll be able to use digital media in ways that suit us better, and hopefully creators will keep innovating to make the products available more interesting.

I think narrative is one area that has huge potential to really change in ways we haven’t seen before — after all humans have been using basically the same story shape across most cultures for millennia. Now we have the chance to bust it open with multiple pathways. I think this is a bit like giving the reader a time machine and letting them loose in your story — it can wreak havoc if they kill their own grandfathers, but I think there are ways to give the reader this power and still tell a satisfying story... we just have to discover them.

AM: The genre of this story is a departure from your previous genres of travel and children’s books. Was it difficult to make the transition or was it always something you were working towards?

MC: I’ve never written a romance before! Yes, it’s a big departure. But we’ve all had love stories in our lives and I think they’re among the most compelling stories that shape our lives. Our choices in love are some of the most powerful decisions we make — so that’s perfect for an interactive story. Also, I have a theory that you can innovate with form or content, but not both. So with such an unfamiliar format I wanted to give the reader a familiar genre to guide them through. My story’s no Mills and Boon, but it does have the classic “boy meets girl”, “boy and girl fight”, “boy and girl get together — or not” shape. Because I’ve seen my share of romantic comedies, it wasn’t hard to deduce the rules of the genre— the hard part was adapting it to interactivity.

AM: The main character of The Last Laugh, Mary-Anne, has a gift in her ability to provoke laughter in others. Where did the idea for this talent come from and was it your original choice?

MC: I needed to give Mary-Anne a career that would cause tension in her love life but I didn’t want to get bogged down in the details of a real profession. So I took the easy way out and made her career metaphorical! Also, I wanted her professional success to be a special talent that was hers alone.

AM: The readers can choose different endings for the story and even then they are not necessarily what the reader expects. How did you come up with these different endings, and why are they so different from reader expectations?

MC: I hope the endings don't come completely out of the blue. I tried to sow the seeds of each outcome into the story before the final decision point — and I hope the reader gets an appropriate pay-off for their LastLCov choice. It’s something like a whodunit... Is he the guy for her? Based on their relationship so far— you decide. Of course some whodunits have better clues than others so I hope I managed to foreshadow the outcomes successfully.

AM: You said that the ending the reader chooses could reveal a lot about themselves that they didn’t expect. What sort of things do the choices reveal, and why do you think these revelations are a surprise to the reader?

MC: Some readers have had the experience of recognising a pattern in their real life that corresponded to the choice they made in the final decision point. Not necessarily because things panned out the same way, but because they recognised that there was a point in their relationship where they made a similar choice. I’m not trying to claim that my story is great literature — at the end of the day it’s a light genre fiction. But that’s one of the reasons we read stories, because they can highlight aspects of our lives that were perhaps hidden or uncontemplated for some reason. There’s no obvious way to go in the final choice of six directions and the reader does have to make a choice if they want to finish the story. I hope that the choice is based on the reader’s understanding of the characters, but also on their beliefs about love, career, honour even. We all shuffle that deck slightly differently.

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Rosemary Huisman has published poems in Southerly, the Bulletin and the Sydney Morning Herald. She has also had many academic publications published, including The Written Poem, Semiotic Conventions from Old to Modern English and six chapters in Narrative and Media with Helen Fulton, Julian Murphet and Anne Dunn. Her poetry book The Possibility of Winds was commended in the IP 2006 Award for Best Poetry and will be launched at Sydney University on Friday evening 2 June by High Court of Australia Justice Michael Kirby.

After retiring from your post as a lecturer in English at the University of Sydney, do you feel your writing is now a new career, or rather a pastime?

RH: Neither. I have always written poems, and always spoken “in defence of poetry”, when the opportunity presented (for example, the subject of my retirement party speech!). I suppose I see my academic career as the way I earned my living (Sydney mortgages are expensive), whereas writing poems was breathing, something I would do whatever else I was doing. RosemaryH
Incidentally, despite retirement, I still supervise a doctoral thesis and this semester, at the department’s request, am teaching a postgraduate unit for eight hours a week. I also still give papers at academic conferences. But I should have more time for writing and reading poetry in the future.

AM: Colours are often mentioned in your poems (“Parramatta Road, 1981”, “Gate-way”). Is there a special significance to their inclusion, or is it simply another form of description?

RH: The colours in “Parramatta Road” — at the level of physical observation— are of course the colours of traffic lights. Parramatta Road is a long road in Sydney, and one is stopped again and again at lights. At the same time, I trust the colours have a symbolic resonance, in the context of the verses. The colours of the slippers and dressing gown in Gateway are, again, at one level the colours of experience, in this case the memory of experience. I did have a dressing gown and bunny slippers in some combination of green and red, but at this distance the memory is inexact (and the possibility of memory without speech is one of the things this poem is “about”, I suppose).

The reference to Joyce is twofold: on the one hand, his reference to the hairbrushes is given at the most childish part of his memories, in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. On the other hand, this colour choice, for Joyce, resonates with the choice of political Irishness, and I was reared with a strong sense of the “Irish” heritage of my mother’s family. (A mythical family story: the South Australian branch was there “because of the martyrdom of Robert Emmet” and years later, on my first visit to Dublin, I was astonished to find his statue in the public gardens of Dublin and his bust outside the library of Trinity College.)

AM: There is a diverse selection of styles in your collection. Were you experimenting as you wrote, or did the particular styles instinctively match the poems?

RH: Very much the latter. For me, poetic meaning may be understood through all the levels of language — the choice of words and grammar, the choice of sound patterns, the choice of written display and, if you wish, the choice of textured paper, of raised marks as in Braille — any material substance which our senses can perceive. The dichotomy of “content” and “style” is to me the most artificial of divisions, cherished by those who want the security of a “deep” objectivity (content), which they want to oppose to a “surface” subjectivity (style).

I imagine my “instinct” was honed by its intellectual context; I have taught semiotics, poststructuralism, postmodernism, etc, and read and written about “schools” of contemporary poetry. But I have never been conscious of letting theory drive my writing.

AM: The outdoors and people and things associated with the outdoors feature prominently in your collection. You’ve also said that you “write from where I am”. Is the outdoors from where you draw your inspiration and could you explain this in relation to The Possibility of Winds.

RH: Hmm. I haven’t thought about this. I do know that I love the landscape of northern New South Wales, where I grew up. I haven’t lived on a farm but we had one that I’d visit, and many people we knew were on farms or came from farms. The land was certainly part of one’s identity, in some subliminal way— when it suffered, people suffered.

Perhaps I equate “outdoors” with “non-urban”, the country migrant always left-footed in the local insider ways. Although I’ve lived for over forty years in Sydney, I still view it from the outside — its strange huddles of “old school friends”, its tribes who must live here or there, must own this or that.

There’s a poem, “Return Journey”, (published in Southerly many years ago), which I did not include in this collection, which makes the point explicitly, now I come to think of it.

Incidentally, when I previously said that I ‘write from where I am,’ I added this ... ‘mean[s] paying attention to my surroundings, natural, social, political.’ At the risk of sounding portentous, I have to say I draw my inspiration from living.

AM: Your collection ends with a poem “The Casino Cemetery”, which offers finality to the book while the opening poem “Of the Possibility of Winds” describes a violent wind. Why did you decide to frame the collection with these two poems?

Both pairs of grandparents and my parents are buried in Casino Cemetery (the words ‘scatter seeds of kindness’ came from my paternal grandmother’s favourite hymn, and are carved on her gravestone). The “I” of the poem is one in a chain, rather than an individual — this is both a comfort and an erasure (the “difference — differance? — engraved upon the stone’, scorched by summer fires, is indeed under a Derridean “erasure”). The egoism of the poetic “I” — which postmodern poetics so earnestly tries to erase — is inevitably erased by time. What survives is what was loved — a trace, a generosity of memory. One could hope for no more from a reader of the book.TPWCov

The opening poem, in a different way, deals with the poetic “I”. There is a contradiction. Here the “I” is powerless, subjugated — or claims to be. Yet it has the ability to record and control its own subjugation, as in the fairly regular stanzas of this poem. At the same time, as in much of my poetry, this is a simple record of experience: there was a wild wind, the trees did amaze me with their wild antics. I was pleased with the poem.

Many of your poems deal with the Northern Rivers area of NSW. Does this area have special significance to your life, and has this encouraged you to draw on your past as further inspiration for your poetry?

RH: Yes, the area has special significance in my life — it’s my imaginative base, so to speak. I wouldn’t have thought so at the time, a child waiting for the performance to begin (I left the area at seventeen to go to university in Sydney). A friend has called it a “mythical childhood,” — the hammock slung in the camphor laurel where you could read for hours, the pets, chooks, chess and cribbage, passionfruit vines and bush nuts (“macadamias” in Sydney — more syllables to justify the expense).

I don’t know about the “draw on your past as further inspiration”; one might turn to Nietzsche, the past that is always rewritten by the present, the present that is always understood through the past. Certainly I have always felt that repression and denial silenced the poetic impulse.

At the same time, putting this collection together was in one way drawing a line. My more recent poems look toward the social/political as much as or more than the natural — in contemporary Australia and beyond, there’s a lot that needs looking at.

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Our friends at the NSW Writer’s Centre have launched two new competitions.

The first competition is for writers who self-published their book between 1 September 2005 and 31 August 2006.

The other competition is for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Writers and the entries are based on the theme of ‘survival’.

The entry forms can be downloaded from their website.

For more information please contact Irina Dunn, Executive Director, NSW Writers’ Centre. (02) 9555 9757 or email them.

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[Snippets from full reviews that we’ve posted elsewhere (click through to read the full review)]

On Another by Joel Deane:

In a recent issue of Overland, IP was singled out as being one of the few independent Australian publishers who AnotherCovcontinue to publish new Australian talent. Joel’s novel was considered along with several other books by promising young authors.

Another is harsh, a gruelling depiction of family breakdown, petty crime, adolescent discontent and inner and outer scars. Its confronting stream of short sentences jerked out as if in pain, convincingly capture the mood of sullen confusion.

— Paul Gimmel, Overland


We’re also pleased to announce that Joel’s second book, Subterranean_RadioSubterranean Radio Songs, has been shortlisted for the 2006 Anne Elder Award for a first book of poetry.

According to the judges, Kevin Brophy and Robyn Rowland, “Joel Deane's Subterranean Radio Songs is relaxed and full of flare.”

Subterranean Radio Songs was the 2005 winner of the IP Picks competition for Best Poetry.

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OK. You’ve packaged up your magnum opus, applied a ruler to ensure the postage stamps are aligned perfectly square to the sides of the envelope and shipped it off to the publisher. So how long do you wait for The News?

Is no news good news? Or just bad news? Depending on the publisher, no news could well be just that: no news.

It may seem like publishers go out of their way to avoid reading submissions. In fact there are very good reasons why the process can take months. The most important are the size of the slushpile and the availability of staff to work through it. Some publishers get hundreds of unsolicited submissions per year. Generally these are read and culled by junior editors who often have many other duties in their working day. They can either reject the submission or pass it up the line. In the latter case, the manuscript may cool its heels in a senior editor’s in basket for weeks before being read.

If you knew that your manuscript had been promoted to the next level, you could break out the bubbly—well, at least a cheap variety. But how do you find out if your work has made it thus far? What’s the protocol?

If you’ve done your homework on the publisher, you already know what their advertised turn-around time is for unsolicited work. Chance can come into play here if you’re lucky enough to submit during a slow time, but few manuscripts will be dealt with in less than the average time. Add on another two weeks before even contemplating anhy reconnisance.

It’s three weeks now, and still no word. Do you write or call?

Letters have a certain formality, and they’re harder to ignore than a phone message or email. You can revise a letter before you send it and not risk getting tongue-tied over the phone.

If you know how to write diplomatically, leaving the editor room to explain what’s happening, than a brief letter might be the ticket. Mention the manuscript by title, the date you submitted it and ask when you might expect to hear back. Don’t bother with phrases like, “I know how busy you must be…” This will score quite high on the editor’s Insincerity Index. If you have news about the manuscript beyond what you said in your covering letter, that can be a good excuse for a follow-up, but don’t get carried away by including a two-page blurb. Keep the letter to one page — a half page is even better.

Call to action? If you want a quick reply, don’t forget to include a self-addressed stamped envelope. Or you can include an email address. Some editors like email; others don’t. So it’s best to include both the SASE and your email.

What about calling the editor? Your chances of getting through the first time are slim. Some editors leave an answering machine on all the time to filter their calls. Should you leave a message? Yes. Something that says what you would have written in a letter — only much briefer. Plan to call back in a few days if she hasn’t responded.

Above all, remember that your contact with the editor is mainly to ensure that the manuscript is arrived safely and still under consideration. (It’s rare for manuscripts to go missing in the Post, but it does happen.) Did you remember to include that self-addressed stamped envelope for return of the manuscript? Some publishers simply discard unsolicited submissions that do not include an SASE. Others let them sit on the slushpile until the author rings up about them. It’s always a good idea to include your email address on your covering letter, since some time-challenged publishers will email you even if you’ve forgotten the SASE.

If you’re lucky enough to get to the right editor first do not try to charm her into publishing your book. The time to pitch your book was in your covering letter. At this stage of the piece you simply want to convey the sense that you are an author who knows the business well enough to be patient. No editor will want to take on an author who has an “attitude”.

If your manuscript is still “under consideration”, so much the better. You could ask when the might expect to hear back, but don’t be disappointed if the editor is evasive. Sign off politely, and leave it at that.

Keep that bottle of champers on ice.

Next time: How to Write a Killer Covering Letter.

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One of our top priorities this year is gearing up sales, domestically and offshore. That was one of the reasons we joined the Australian Publishers’ Association this year (see the story in our last issue).

Even before the ink had dried on our membership application, the APA had invited us to attend a special workshop on export, funded by the Australia Council. We were also selected to be mentored, as an organisation, by an expert on export and rights management from an established publishing house.

David was surprised to find that even the established Australian publishers find the going tough on the export front. It has something to do with locale: we’re so far away from the centres of activity like London, Frankfurt and New York. It also has something to do with history: some UK publishers tend to regard Australia as a publishing colony of the Mother Country rather than a territory in our own right. So they pretend to be surprised when Australian publishers front up with new titles having good prospects for international sales.

It’s all about getting the right people to put the right titles in front of the right people. Some publishers frequent the international book fairs to do this, where it’s all about networking and Making Deals.

The key is to know who’s buying what — and before that, who’s buying at all. There’s no point pitching to a publisher that has no budget for buying the rights that you’re offering.

It takes years to find the people in the know and then get an audience with them. Where’s a small publisher supposed to begin? Some opt for paying overseas agents to represent them in territories that they’ve targeted for their books. Others try to do it all themselves—talk about pushing the proverbial boulder up the mountain!

We don’t expect miracles. Anne Marshall is doing some legwork for us by scanning the book fair catalogues and sites on the Net for publishers that might have simpatico with us. And then in early June, David will be meeting with Angela Namoi, a senior rights editor with Allen & Unwin, who will fine-tune our export plan for the short term.

We also plan to apply to the Australia Council for funding under their 2007 International Market Development Program. If successful, we’ll attend the London Book Fair and arrange meetings with publishers and agents there and in New York and Toronto to talk up IP and to see what deals we can make for our recent titles.

Watch this space!

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Several recent IP titles were featured in the latest catalogue from Tower Books, our Australian distributor. David Reiter met with Tower’s Director Michael Rakusin at Treetop Studio recently to discuss our plan of action for getting more IP titles out into the bookshops.

Neither David or Michael have stars in their eyes about the prospects for huge sales — at least in the short term. Michael noted that current statistics indicate that on average 30,000 new titles come on stream in Australia EVERY MONTH. That’s a depressing statistic when you realise that most independent bookshops only have room for about 15,000 books on their premises.

So it’s not an easy job for a publisher to compete, even when we’re producing 12-15 titles per year. There’s a lot of noise out there!

Our strategy is not to saturate the market with the full range of IP titles but rather to roll them out over several months. We have supplied samples from our major releases to all of Towers 20 reps in the hope that booksellers will quickly see the quality they can expect from our list.

Michael commended IP on the promotional material we already have for our titles, which the reps have found quite useful. Keep it coming, was his advice.

He also had some pointed advice on how to make our covers more visible among those titles vying for the attention of browsers in the shops. David took all that on board.

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New IP.Digital titles will be up there with the print ones for our Autumn Season 06 releases. Here’s a preview.

The big news around Treetop Studio is that David’s latest digital work, Hemingway in Spain, is now in post-production. (For those of you unfamiliar with filmic jargon, that means HISCovthat the work is basically finished and is now being fine-tuned before being mastered.)

David’s most sophisticated project to date, Hemingway will be a feature-length film, with readings from the source book of the same name, which was runner-up for the John Bray Award at the Adelaide Festival in 1998. The work also contains hundreds of images and video footage from David’s trips to Spain. The content is authored in Apple’s Final Cut Studio, which includes audio editing in Soundtrack Pro, background music and sound effects in Apple Loops, animation and special effects in Motion, video editing in Final Cut Pro, and packaging in DVD Studio Pro.

This groundbreaking work will be very much in evidence during our Autumn and Spring tours, so keep in touch with eNews for demos heading your way. Who knows—if he has any energy left, we might be able to talk him into producing a trailer for it! Keep your eye on Quicktime News!

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The other digital work to be launched this Season will be Monique Choy’s interactive chicklit romance, The Last Laugh. It’s a fast-moving exploration of a contemporary relationship, with multiple endings and a few candy-wrappers of humour along the way, suitable for audiences from young adult and up. Read more about it in the interview with Monique in this issue’s Focus.

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The other big news is that IP Digital will soon have a swag of work available for sale on iTunes Stores here and overseas as well as dozens of other global digital shops. The iTunes Store seems to be leading the pack in distribution of music, audio books and even video work, with more than a billion downloadsCattledogCov to date, and they are quite keen to get our material online.

With our growing list of audio titles, as well as titles mixing text with music and visuals, we felt that seeking wider distribution channels made sense. So IP has signed seven of our artists, representing twelve titles, to be in the first wave. These include Alan Ferguson, Jack Drake, Chris Mansell, Jenni Nixon, Liam Guilar (teaming up with Chen Yang), Paul Mitchell (teaming up with Bill Buttler as Jumbuktu) and David Reiter. Once online, their ‘albums’ will be available in whole or by track 24/7 to anyone with Net access.

These new distribution channels bypass most conventional shops altogether, and that may not be a bad thing, given the reluctance booksellers have toward stocking digital work by independent labels. Interestingly, our American distributor, CD Baby, also maintains a physical shop, which willCafeBoogieCov stock our albums for sale in North America on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.

This brand of digital distribution could well be a first for Australian publishers, but if we’re wrong, I’m sure someone will let us know!


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In a change of pace, David was a panellist on independent publishing at Conjure, the 45th Australian National Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention, which was held on 14-17 April at Brisbane’s Mercure Hotel. While IP has yet to publish any titles in these popular genres, it’s not due to lack of interest on our part, which was one of the points David put to the audience.

It seems that, unless you’re a popular author like Bruce Sterling and Cory Doctorow, who were international guests of the convention, SF writers face the same problems as their more literary colleagues: how to promote and distribute. David found it interesting that, even among the technological savvy authors in attendance, few seemed to be exploiting channels that would encourage digital sales.

Bruce Sterling, who was in the audience for David’s session, thinks that the days of the book — and the conventional bookshop — are numbered, with other means of online publication such as blogs and podcasts coming onstream. David was more optimistic, saying that IP continues to regard the physical book as an important part of the publications mix, as a source for other forms of repurposed content, but he agreed that we will see more and more titles bypassing the physical book for a digital life online and via other means.

IP titles on your iPod or 3G phone? It may be less of a fantasy than you think?

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IP authors Joel Deane and Paul Mitchell were featured performers at the SheppARTon Festival in Victoria on March 11.

A sellout crowd of more than 60 people paid $30 a head to participate in Joel and Paul's Poets’ Breakfast.

minor_physicsThe Shepparton News
reported that the event was a great success, with a packed house listening to Paul and Joel’s ‘rhythmic and narrative laden narratives’. According to the News, ‘Deane and Mitchell were warm and encouraging ... and a highlight was the Post-it poetry section, in which the audience was invited to scrawl quick compositions and read them out.’

Afterwards, the crowd snapped up copies of Joel's books, Subterranean Radio Songs and Another, and Paul’s Minorphysics. Stay tuned for more Poets’ Breakfasts.

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One of IP author Liam Ferney’s poems has been chosen by the Red Room Company to feature in their Toilet Door Poetry.

“Small days” is one of six Australian poems that LiamFwill feature in the project that will see the illustrated poems displayed in Qantas terminals, as well as Greater Union and Village Cinemas nationally in April.

More information about the project can be found at

Interested in more toilet door humour? Check out Liam’s Popular Mechanics.

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On Tuesday 16th May, David will participate in the Brisbane seminar developed by the Copyright Agency Limited (CAL).

The free seminar will explore digital copyright issues and what authors and publishers need to know when offering their work digitally. It will also look at what is happening with digital publishing and new content models from online search engines, e-book readers to digital rights management.

CALDavid will be part of a panel held in association with the Australian Society of Authors that will feature Australian authors, publishers and copyright experts who will be sharing their experiences with the online environment.

We think CAL’s invitation may have had something to do with David’s call for CAL to look at the need to compensate the creators of digital content for borrowing and copying of their work held in libraries and academic institutions.

The Brisbane seminar will be at Brisbane Council City Hall from 4-6pm.

To view the seminar program for Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Sydney, Canberra or Melbourne, or to register visit or phone 02 9394 7600.

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Tilly Brasch spoke to members of the Royal Flying Doctors Service of Australia (Qld section) recently. Here she recaps it for us.

In late February 2006, I was invited by the NMNCovProgram Manager of the Rural & Remote Women's Health Program, Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia (Qld section), to make a presentation about mental illness and suicide to twenty medical personnel and administrative staff of the RFDS. I did this at the RFDS Brisbane headquarters in the Eagle Farm airport precinct.

The Program Manager had read my book No Middle Name and thought that my personal experience of mental illness and suicide would provide beneficial information to RFDS practitioners and their clients in remote regions of Queensland.

Although I have lived in Brisbane for more than forty years and use the Eagle Farm airport regularly, I was unaware of the large and varied business community that operates near the domestic airport. I certainly increased my knowledge of Brisbane on that day, and hope that what I had to say about mental illness and suicide increased the knowledge of my audience.

Any circumstance of mental illness and suicide is tragic, but if you add to this the geographical and physical isolation of rural and remote areas of Queensland, the problems inherent in mental illness and suicide are exacerbated and beyond my comprehension.

My audience was receptive and appreciative. They had many questions to ask, and assured me that I had given them much to think about.

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Deal 1: Catch the digital buzz! Choose any two of the following titles to receive a 10% discount.

You must order from the IP Shop via our orders page or by email to qualify.

If These Walls Could Talk
The Diggings Are Silent (Music CD by Alan Ferguson)
Café Boogie (Audiot + Text)
Paul and Vincent

Do it before 15 May and and we’ll throw in free postage and handling (a flat $5.40 charge applies thereafter).

Quote YD:30_1 in the Comments field on the Orders page. 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:30_2 in the Comments field on the Orders page. 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.