the newsletter of Interactive Publications Pty Ltd


Director's Welcome


After our previous issue we were inundated with compliments about our new-look eNews. Emboldened by all this positive reinforcement, your hard-working webmaster has extended the design scheme to other areas of the site. Doing so, I've come to appreciate just how many pages there are in this website—and how many remain to be changed over (grrr). There's something to be said for keeping some of the old pages for the sake of any digital historians lurking about on the fringes. We'll see...

Change does seem to be a keyword around these parts, especially on the distribution front. We've recently signed a partnership with, which will see our print titles issued in various formats like large print for the visually impaired. IP has also signed up for Amazon's Advantage program, which should accelerate our sales with the online giant.

Just when you thought our tours couldn't get any more extensive, the IP Roadshow for Spring Season 07 hits the road. Kicking off with our second annual Gala Weekend in Brisbane on 16/17 November, we'll then have events in Newcastle, the Blue Mountains, Sydney, Canberra, Ballarat and Melbourne.

The events in the capital cities will bring together IP authors from the early years as well as our new list. It's an excellent chance for us to promote the sense of community that is IP—a key reason why we're still here, ten years on.

As expected our new IP Kidz imprint is proving a drawing card for children's authors and illustrators alike. Check out next issue for our 2008 line-up of picture books and chapter books. They may not all be as controversial as Real Guns, but they'll have a social edge to them that kids and parents will come to expect from IP Kidz.

Finally, we're pleased to see that entries are flowing in for IP Picks 2008. Same categories, same entry fee but a wider range of choice for your free title. Get your entry in by 1 December!



Editor's Intro

Spring has sprung and here we have a bumper-filled IP eNews for you in the run up to holiday season. Now’s the time to start thinking about presents – avoid the rush and give the gift everyone is bound to love – books.

This month our Focus interviews continue, with great reads from Hal Judge, Paul Sterling and our very own David Reiter. They discuss their books, inspiration, controversy, other cultures and more.

We’ve got all our 10th Anniversary events coming up in Brisbane and elsewhere, so make sure you book your places early. Get more details in our special 10th Anniversary section!

And of course things are never idle at IP, and since it’s that time of year again, things are gearing up for the 2008 IP Picks competition. This is a great way not only to get your manuscript read by a fabulous publisher, but it’s also a fantastic way to get published. Check out the Picks section and take note of the final deadline—1 December. Make sure you get your entry in on time!

Enjoy this issue of eNews, and be sure to check out Your Deal so that you can get your copy of the Rainshadows 10th Anniversary CD for only $11! (No apologies to the ABC: we had the name first!)

Until next year,




Matt Ottley


Stephen Oliver

Matt and Stephen's Text + Audio CD King Hit will tour New Zealand next March in IP's first transtasman tour.
read more >


Hal Judge has just returned from Indonesia and will be joining the IP Roadshow in Sydney and Canberra for the launch of his new book..
read more >


David Reiter (pictured with his son Alexander) completed a sequel to The Greenhouse Effect entitled Global Cooling and was a featured author in Book Week at Bundanon.
read more >


Paul Sterling is bracing himself for the launch of his satiric novel The Buggerum Intrigue in the town where it is set.
read more >


Basil Eliades will be one of several authors spicing up IP events in Ballarat and Melbourne on 28 November and 1 December.
read more >


Kathy Kituai will join several other interstate IP authors for our second annual Gala Weekend in Brisbane.
read more >



Our featured artist Sharon Ratheiser was born in England and moved to Vienna in 1968. She attended classes in various media by Bogdan Pascu and Ingrid Runtic and is currently attending classes by Jakov Bararon.  As President of the Vienna International Centre (VIC) Art Club Jan 2002-Aug 2003, she strived to encourage all aspects of creative activity by organizing exhibitions presenting a wide variety of art to the VIC audience. She enjoys experimenting with various media (aquarelle, acrylics, oil, chalk pastel, ink) and painting a wide range of themes (including natural history, still life, landscapes, portraits, nudes, and some abstract), 




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Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…

Who is the fairest publisher of them all? In Australia, if sheer number of volumes published is any indicator, most people would have thought of Five Islands Press (FIP) as the answer, and quite deservedly so. But with the recent departure of Ron Pretty from the helm, due to ill-health, the mirror may well have reasons to hesitate before responding.

Here’s the latest from the Australian Book Group’s website from the committee of “managing co-editors” that has taken over from Ron:

As supporters of Five Islands Press may be aware, Ron Pretty is ceasing his leadership of, and involvement with the press from the middle of 2007. A group of poets—Kevin Brophy, Robyn Rowland, Lyn Hatherly, and Dan Disney—intend to keep the Five Islands imprint active.

Initially, we will publish solicited manuscripts only, and will publish a smaller number of books per year than Ron has been capable of publishing. We regret that the New Poets Series will cease for the foreseeable future. Publication of Five Islands Press books will be dependent on funding from the Literature Board of the Australia Council.

The new team will have their own website up shortly; meantime, for further information check at 
Five Island Press remains committed to publishing excellent Australian poetry.

It’s hard enough to run an independent publishing house these days without referring key decisions to a committee, so we hope that a new Director will arise from all this. And it does not bode well that the group is intimating that its program choices will be conditional on support from the Australia Council.

Nor is there any “further information” on the Australian Poetry Centre’s website, which the Centre describes as a “holding site”. It’s been in that state for several months now, despite the promise of an “exciting website” promising “educational resources, archives, member poems, poetry news and much more”. We’ve requested to be kept informed about developments but have heard nothing. Are we the only ones wondering where the money supplied by the Copyright Agency Ltd has gone to date other than to pay the Centre’s rent on ‘Glenfern’ in Melbourne? We wish the Centre well, but we're keen to see some runs up on the board for the sake of poetry—and not just Melbourne-based activities.

Meanwhile, far from the cultural epicentres of Australia, IP continues to develop its award-winning poetry series, with six new titles being published this year and several more already scheduled for 2008, many of them arising out of the stiff competition that is engendered by IP Picks. More and more poets are staring into the mirror and seeing a different answer to the question. Not that we would want to put words into any poet’s mouth…

— DR

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[Casey Hutton cornered Paul Sterling to interview him about the source material for his satiric novel about a country Victoria town, just after the ABC Rain Shadow drama went to air, but long before the occupants of the town caught up with him.]

CH: How did you come to write The Buggerum Intrigue? Was it a long process?

PS: It took a couple of years, putting together a few ideas, which essentially make fun of events that many groups take seriously: extraterrestrial visits, miracle diets, etc., and then putting them all on the same stage. 

CH: In The Buggerum Intrigue, each chapter focuses on the story of one particular occupant of the fictional town of Buggerum. Are many of these stories based on fact?

PS: Only one and I will not tell you which one that is as I have just entered my 23rd year of blissful matrimony and am not looking to rekindle the 100 years war. 

CH: What has been your personal experience with living in small or isolated places?

PaulSPS: Always interesting but often very frustrating.   If I can take as an example the new series on ABC called Rain Shadow, the story of a woman who is a vet in a drought stricken rural community, I often feel that the dialogue is written in Double Bay by a writer sipping café latté and whose only visit to rural Australia was a coach trip to the Blue Mountains. The outback is where retirees and Japanese tourists venture. But the residents of this great sunburnt continent prefer the big cities.

CH: How does the future look for small communities in Australia?

PS: Bleak. Conservative governments with leaders gazing across the water at the Opera House will pay them to leave the land and settle in the suburbs. Aboriginals will continue to be ignored apart from occasional visits during electoral campaigns.

CH: Many of the stories in this book focus on relationships/intrigues between men and women. Do you think that gender politics is different in a small town compared to in a city?

PS: Very different. People in small rural communities are less likely to show their feelings or discuss their sentimental problems. Rural communities are still a little old-fashioned, and are only now accepting to see women in careers such as politics, law, medicine. In my opinion it is not discrimination but tradition.  In the bush, women were the foundation stones for each family, managing the family base, the home. Through each crisis they had the hand on the helm, offered comfort and encouragement, fed the kids, and often came up with simple, honest solutions to desperate situations.

PS: What inspires you as a writer?

CH: People around me, history, the news, hypocrisy, unusual events, anything to which I can add a shade of satire. 

PS: What's your next project?

CH: I am finishing a one act play which I hope will be lots of fun, describing a day in the reception office of a Melbourne brothel.  I am writing a sequel to the book which was published in Nouméa about two years ago concerning life in post-war New Caledonia.  I am researching for my next novel about a French colony in the Pacific opting to become Free French in 1940. This will be based on true events.

[David P Reiter's picture book Real Guns continues to stir controversy. Our new Assistant Editor, Gemma Barlow, tries to find out why, and how David answers the concerns of those who would keep issue-based stories far away from children]

GB: What prompted you to write a children’s book about guns?

DR: The idea for the story is based on an event from my childhood. I overheard my father and mother talking in secret about a gun in the house. Like most young boys, I was fascinated by guns, so I had to go looking for it when my parents weren’t around. I found it under their bed, and the memory of its weight and the cold metal stayed with me to this day. It didn’t go off, but it could have, and only as an adult did I realise what the consequences could have been. I think it’s important for parents and educators to teach children to have respect for dangerous objects like guns and the need for people who own guns to handle and store them responsibly.

GB: There are a number of issues discussed in the Real Guns besides gun control. Can you elaborate on these?

RealGunsCovDR: The story suggests that parents need to be as open with their children as possible about things that might affect them. When certain subjects are regarded as taboo, as secrets that parents share between themselves, children naturally want to be included, so they will go in search of answers.

Jon’s father is a returned war veteran who keeps a gun to try to deal with the nightmares he continues to have at home. Unwittingly, he places his personal need above the imperative to ensure that his child lives in a safe environment. Had he shared his feelings about the war with Jon earlier on, it might have dispelled the mythology connected with the gun and discouraged Jon from going in search of it on his own. When his father does talk about it, Jon comes to appreciate his  feelings about the war and why it’s important not to regard guns as toys. It becomes a story about the bond that can be forged between father and son when secrets and feelings are shared.

GB: What benefits does Real Guns offer to children, in particular young boys?

DR: Fiction provides children with the opportunity to engage issues that may be too confronting in real life. Real Guns deals indirectly to the problems faced by the families of returned war veterans—not a rare circumstance in our society—and promotes the need for sharing feelings among family members to put the ‘ghosts’ to rest.

DR-ARReal Guns also speaks directly to young boys, suggesting that even toy and imaginary objects such as guns may instil attitudes of aggression that can be harmful to them and others. It prompts them to think about the consequences of using guns irresponsibly and the harm they can cause during wartime and afterwards.

GB: How do you respond to those who feel Real Guns may be too confronting for children?

DR: Adults naturally want to protect their children from anything they think may be too confronting. Like Jon’s father, they think it’s better to keep it a secret, in the hope that the children will never have to face the danger. But if children are not taught what to do they may make the wrong choice when they find themselves in dangerous circumstances, as Jon did when he encountered the gun without the benefit of his father’s advice about the harm guns can cause.

Adults tend to underestimate the ability that children have to learn from a work of fiction what might be too confronting in their real life. Children are bombarded with games, films, TV programs, and news reports in which guns—real and imaginary figure prominently, and we know they find some of these reports disturbing. Without the reassurance and lessons that can be provided in fictional works like Real Guns, children may not know how to respond to situations of potential danger like that faced by Jon.

GB: You have done a number of book readings of Real Guns in schools and libraries over the past year. What have you found the response to be?

DR: I’ve already read the book to groups of primary school students in two States from Grade 4 through Grade 7, in public libraries and in visiting school groups during National Book Week. The children have been overwhelming positive about Real Guns. When asked by their teachers if they found the book disturbing, less than one percent of the children said yes. Almost all said they hoped their parents would buy it for them. With very little prompting, they were able to identify and discuss the main themes. A

fter I read Real Guns and a selection from my previous book from Lothian, The Greenhouse Effect, which is a humorous chapter book with animal characters, one group were asked which book they preferred, and two-thirds said Real Guns.

GB: In your opinion, what do the illustrations add to the Real Guns story?

DR: The illustrator, Patrick J Murphy, an experienced artist from Belfast, Northern Ireland purposefully made the illustrations colourful and simplistic to attract the children’s attention and to de-emphasise any potential for the themes to be too confrontational. Again, the children have been very positive about the illustrations and how they underscore the themes of the work. They point to images like the one where Jon’s face appears as a reflection in his father’s teardrop as an effective way of capturing his father’s sadness over his experiences in the war, and the one where Jon’s mother gives him a hug after the gun accidentally goes off, to reassure him that all will be well now that the secret is out in the open.

We have shown the book to managers of art gallery shops and curators of major art galleries who have responded very positively to the quality of Patrick’s illustrations. For example, the manager of the National Gallery Shop in Canberra remarked that he wanted to stock it just for the quality of the artwork itself. The Curator of the Rockhampton Art Gallery has offered to host an exhibition of the original artworks in 2009 as a model of how picture books are conceived and produced. IP is currently organising a regional tour of other art galleries to follow on from the Rockhampton event.

GB: Being a father yourself, what benefits does Real Guns offer parents and their children?

DR: It gives parents and children an opportunity to share a book that deals with meaningful issues that are important in our society today. Children crave to learn about their world by whatever means possible, and they will explore on their own, if they are not guided and advised. Books like Real Guns give them a chance to learn that guns will always have a place in our society, but they need to be treated responsibly and with respect. It’s far better for children to gain lessons like this through fiction, shared with their parents, than on their own.

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[Commended in IP Picks Best Poetry this year, Hal Judge is a Canberra poet not shy of making political statements in his poetry. Courtney Frederiksen talked to him about that , his love of Indonesia and other issues related to his poetry.]

CF: Last year you represented Australia at the Jakarta International Poetry Festival. Why did you decide to go back to Indonesia this year?

HJ: I was in Bali during the 2005 bombings. I decided to go to again despite the Australian Government’s travel advisories because I think one can usually avoid hotspots. This year I was very fortunate to be able to return for a third time to mix with international writers. I went as an Asialink Arts Management resident (thanks to funding from the Australia-Indonesia Institute and artsACT). Indonesia is a fascinating and diverse country where the rich culture, or I should say cultures plural, are an intrinsic part of life. I was expecting to find creative inspiration and I was saturated. Indonesia is definitely an affordable and comfortable destination to escape Canberra’s protracted winters. Indonesia is dangerously beautiful.

CF: During the residency you assisted the Paradox Literary Centre in Yogyakarta to establish a resource centre for writers. What were you able to achieve?

HalJHJ: When I arrived, I discovered that my host organisation was little more than a dream—no premises, no money, not even a computer. But I guess dreams are where everything begins. It’s not uncommon to find Indonesian non-government organisations running on a shoestring. Funding for the writers centre is unlikely to come from Government, which has its hands full with more urgent human needs, and unlikely to come from the writers themselves who have very low incomes.

The next step will be to begin seeking sponsorship. I hope that the companies exploiting Indonesia’s rich resources will contribute. In July Indonesia became the first nation to legislate corporate social responsibility. The new law makes it compulsory for companies in the natural resource sector to contribute to socially responsible programs such as literacy.

Actually my preparatory work began a year ago with a survey of Indonesian writers’ needs. The first results show that what Indonesian writers need is similar to emerging writers here, except that they have the additional hurdle of translation if they want to reach the world, which many do.

CF: Yogyakarta is renowned for its high level of culture and art; including poetry. How does the appreciation for literature there differ from that in Australia?

HJ: Indonesia has a long tradition of literature inseparable from other art forms. They have a high respect for their writers especially those who risked their lives during the Suharto era of repression. The older poets have a declamatory style of reciting their poetry with passion. With microphones now they probably don’t need to shout, but they still do. Poetry is also popular among the younger generation. I was also delighted to hear a high standard of hip hop poetry generated in Yogyakarta.

CF: How has the Indonesian culture affected your own writing?

HJ: Indonesia affected my whole outlook. Indonesia Someone Forgot to Tell the Fishis a very diverse nation embracing many cultures across 17,000 islands. Java is predominantly a tolerant form of Muslim and Bali and layback form of Hindu. Both are genuinely humble, friendly and hospitable. They have nothing and they’ll give you half. Most Indonesians can communicate in four or more languages. It made me reflect on my own culture.

I’m not saying that Indonesia is without problems (like corruption) but, in comparison, we look culturally insular and materialistic. Frankly it shows up our national mythology of “mateship” as “fair go”.

CF: What do you believe is the most important experience you have gained during your stay?

HJ: Getting things done in the context of different culture, language and climate is always a culture shock. It demands flexibility and patience. Keeping an open and inquisitive mind led me to some experiences that you don’t read about in Lonely Planet books.

Trusting the people I met took me to places where you don’t find tourists. I was invited to talk poetry with amiable young students at an Islamic boarding school. I stayed with a Buddhist mystic and historian in a bamboo hut on the Opak River. He introduced me to his friend the spiritual guardian of Mt Merapi. I found myself in a village on the high slopes of Mt Sumbing (3321 metres) for a truly traditional gathering of villagers from the five mountains of Central Java. Far from tourist cameras, they performed wild and colourful dances into the misty darkness breaking into trances where they pranced like wild cat and horse spirits, ate burning embers and fought against the men who held them while the shaman exorcised them.

CF: Can you tell us one story from your stay that stands out to you?

HJ: In Ubud, the lush artistic centre of Bali, I became immersed (for a second time) in the annual Ubud Writers & Readers Festival, which welcomed over 100 writers from 18 different countries and explored the theme 'The Seen and The Unseen’. This year it featured the winner of the 2006 Man Booker Prize, Kiran Desai, the youngest woman ever to win the prize for her magnificent novel The Inheritance of Loss. I also shared anecdotes at the Festival Club with Australian authors Richard Flanagan and Peter Goldsworthy and Sydney performance poet Miles Merrill. The Ubud Festival lived up to its reputation as one of the world's best literary events in an indescribably beautiful setting. I highly recommend it.

Hot Off the Wire

Sylvia Petter has been a model author-in-waiting for us, making a number of contacts here, there and everywhere in anticipation of the release of Back Burning. For example, she was interviewed by Bookarazzi, also known as BloggersWithBookDeals, about her book and the readings she’s been doing on the circuit of late. If you want a sample of that, check out our latest podcast.

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Jan Dean's been a bit of a local hero on the Central Coast of New South Wales, designing the cover for the latest issue of Poetry at the Pub anthology and also getting ready for the Newcastle segment of our Roadshow Tour, where she'll be launching at the Newcastle Library on 22 November. Word has it that another publisher will be launching the latest incarnation of their Best Australian Short Stories that day, but we're sure that Newcastle's big enough to handle two launches!

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Since last issue, Steve Bracks resigned as Premier of Victoria, and we were wondering what that would mean for Joel Deane, who was his Chief Speechwriter, when he wasn't writing novels and poetry. It seems that politicians come and go, but speechwriters hang on forever—or for at least TWO terms: Joel still has his day job!

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IP Kidz Update

We've signed several authors and illustrators for 2008 under our brash new imprint.

Edel Wignell's picture book Long Live Us will be illustrated by Noela Young, who has illustrated for Edel's books before. The book is in the "fractured fairytale" mode and we're sure kids—and many adults—will enjoy it. We've already viewed some of Noela's "very, very rough" (her words, not ours) images, and have found them to be very, very fine!

We'll also be publishing at least two more picture books: Goldie Alexander's latest, Lame Duck Protest, illustrated by Michele Gaudion and The Tickle Tree by Juliet Williams.

On the chapter book front, we expect to publish at least two, including the sequel to The Greenhouse Effect by David Reiter entitled Global Cooling—how's that for optimism? (the title, not the number of chapter books)

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Characters to Die For

Well, not exactly die for—unless you’re writing a murder mystery. But how do you create characters that readers will find so engaging that they have to read on?

First, you need to rid yourself of any preconceived notions about your character. The more the character is based on someone you know or knew the harder this may be. Authors have this thing about being true to the real person when constructing the virtual one, as if the real person will sue them for defamation if every minute detail used in the story is not true to their own sense of who they are—or were. I’m sure a host of editors will nod when I say we’ve heard too many times but that’s just the way he was in reference to the actual person.

To that I immediately have to apply a corrective: no, that’s the way you saw him to be, or, worse, how he saw himself to be. Neither of which should have much bearing on how you depict your fictional character.

The key thing to remember is that, unless your reader is the person being recreated or knows the person being recreated s/he will have no interest in what the real person was like. Readers want characters that are intriguing, characters that they can identify with, characters on a journey that they themselves would like to be on, above all, characters that seem to belong to the fictional world the author has created. It’s no good to simply borrow them from the real world and expect them to magically fit into your virtual world—the glass slipper will almost always be too loose or too tight a fit.

What about naughty or evil characters? you ask. No one wants to identify with a villain. It’s true that a good villain is hard to find in fiction, but when we do find one, we’re hooked. These are characters we love to hate, ones we try to keep at arm’s length, and yet ones we let sneak into our consciousness again and again. Think of Fagin or even Bill Sikes in Oliver Twist. They’re much more magnetic, in a negative kind of way, than Mr Brownlow, the goody two-shoes who takes in Oliver. But why? Is it because we are drawn to evil, the forbidden, in everyday life? Or is it because Dickens knew how to complicate his characters beyond a stereotype so that we would want to know why they acted as they did?

The trick is to invest the evil character with a measure of humanity that we can identify with, even if we can’t condone their behaviour. We understand why Fagin is a criminal, even if we would never resort to his survival tactics ourselves.

Did Dickens base Fagin and Sikes on actual people he knew? Possibly. More likely they began as composites of real people he’d met or had heard of. But in the hands of a skilled author, the character transcends the real to become symbolic of a class of people, while still retaining enough individuality to set him apart from the group he’s intended to represent. Where the character is too close to being a symbol, we see him as two-dimensional and doubt his humanity—the author is visibly pulling strings.

On the other hand, your good characters shouldn’t be too good, or they’ll lack credibility. Oliver himself is at the other end of the continuum: an innocent child thrust into a hard world where a life a crime seems to be his only means of survival. When Oliver goes along with the Dodger and Fagin for a while, we understand his actions, even if we don’t approve. And we would have found it incredible if he had too quickly melted into Mr Brownlow’s world. In some ways, Nancy, Bill’s girlfriend, would have been the most challenging character to draw because she’s a part of Bill and Fagin’s world while still retaining her principles about right and wrong. It’s a tightrope act for Dickens: showing her as loyal to Bill while still being able to make the choice to save Oliver.

Once you’re immersed in the recreation of a character who is appropriate to your fictional world you should begin to lose touch with the source of that character from the real world. Let go. Let the character act out her fictional self. Let her be true to the world you’ve constructed. And keep your thematic agenda at bay. Be prepared to let the story take over and let the characters go on their journey of discovery, taking the reader with them.

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10th Anniversary Roadshow!

Have you booked for the two events in IP's 10th Anniversary weekend in November? We've confirmed our second annual Soirée for Friday the 16th, from 6 p.m., where you can mingle with IP authors from our past and upcoming list at The Corner Bistro, 3 The Corso, Seven Hills. Short readings, from some IP Picks winners, IP title giveaways, signings, gourmet nibblies, premium wine. The cost is $29.95 per person. Bookings essential to the restaurant. Phone: 3399 2995. Email:

Did you know that the Queensland Writers Centre is giving away a double pass to the Soirée? Check out their latest e-newsletter for details!

On Saturday afternoon the 17th, from 2 p.m. at the Performance Studio. 4 MBS Classic-FM, 384 Old Cleveland Road, Coorparoo, will be our Gala event,featuring IP Picks 07 luminaries Chris Dowding (A Few Drops Short of a Pint), Mark O'Flynn (What Can Be Proven), Jan Dean (With One Brush) and Kathy Kituai (Straggling into Winter). More nibblies, premium wine. Bookings essential. Be in audience and claim your part in our next podcast! RSVP to IP.

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Tour Dates

Here are the confirmed dates and places up to the moment for the Tour after the Gala Weekend. We'll update this as more details come to hand, so check back! Click on the RSVP links to reserve your spot.

22 November: Launch of With One Brush by Jan Dean, Newcastle Region Library, from 5:30, launched by Jean Talbot. RSVP.

24 November: Roadshow event, Sydney, NSW Writers' Centre, Rozelle, from 2 p.m. 10 authors reading. RSVP.

25 November: Launch of Straggling into Winter by Kathy Kituai, The Botanical Bookshop, Australian Botanical Gardens, Canberra. Launched by Lizz Murphy. RSVP.

26 November: Launch of Someone Forgot to Tell the Fish by Hal Judge at Smiths' Alternative Bookshop, Alinga Street, Canberra City, from 6 p.m. Launched by Anne-Maree Britton. RSVP.

28 November: Launch of The Buggerum Intrigue by Paul Sterling at the Ballarat Library from 7 p.m. RSVP.

1 December: Roadshow event, Melbourne. VIC Writers' Centre, Swanston Street, Melbourne, from 6 p.m. Eight authors reading. RSVP.

8 December: Launch of Back Burning by Sylvia Petter, Gleebooks, 49 Glebe Point Road, Glebe, NSW. RSVP.

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IP Picks '08

Yes, the latest incarnation of our national writing competition is now open for entries. No free trips to Fiji or handshakes from a politician as First Prize, just a guarantee of a royalty contract from a respected national publisher—isn't that why you write in the first place?

Now in its eighth year, the competition attracts entries from every State and Territory in its four categories: Best Fiction, Best Creative Non-fiction, Best Poetry and Best First Book. And the calibre of entries has improved every year, making the job of our esteemed judging panel increasingly difficult.

Another difference between Picks and other State-supported competitions is that we pay attention to entries that make it to the long-list as well as the short-list. Long listed entrants have the chance of receiving a Reader's Report on their manuscript for a modest extra charge. We have had manuscripts follow this route and eventually get published, so it's worthwhile considering if we write to you and invite you to get a Reader's Report.

The entry fee ($60) is the same as last year, making it even better value for money since you get your choice of any IP title for free—and our cover prices are not getting any cheaper!

All in all, it's a good opportunity to put that manuscript to the test, in a turn-around time much better than you'll find in your average slushpile.

IP Picks '08 closes on 1 December. For complete details, check the Picks Page.

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IP Digital Buzz

King Hit by Stephen Oliver and Matt Ottley is our latest Text + Audio CD that we've uploaded to our North American distributor CD Baby. This means that our friends in North America can order the physical CD straight from CD Baby's physical store in Portland, Oregon, or they can download it as an album or by individual tracks from the iTunes Store or their favourite download site (CD Baby supplies more than 40 online shops with our content).

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While David was in Sydney recently to hear a rep from talk about their Advantage program, he also met up with Chris Stephens of (RHYW), an Australian company that prepares large print and other specialised editions of print work for people who are visually impaired.

RHYW provides this service to publishers for free, making their money by sharing the revenue from sales 50/50. They have partnered with to deliver the new versions to the North American market and beyond, which was why Chris came to the seminar.

It sounds pretty good to us, so IP has agreed to provide RHYW with ten titles initially to see how we go, but we're optimistic that this will open up new markets for us here and overseas. Aside from that, it's a good feeling knowing that our titles will now be accessible to readers who would otherwise be unable to read them without assistance.

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While we're talking about accessibility, do you realise that almost all of IP's current list can be ordered as e-books? We create a screen version for each title that can be sent to you as a pdf email attachment, generally at 30% off the cover price of the physical book.

All you need is the free Acrobat Reader on your computer or your iPod, or the light versions for Pocket PC or Palm OS. It's best to update any early versions you might have of the Reader before you try to read the file.

So if you've been browsing our online shop and can't find an e-book listed for the title you want, just email us and we'll let you know the price and organise a copy for you.

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We've had several authors contacting us recently about what our production and post-production capabilities are at Treetop Studio. The short answer is that at present we do not do much in the way of original production. We have a small recording room, which is fine for recording voice for short projects. Longer, book-length audio projects need to be recorded in a full fledged studio and then output to CD in .aiff or .wav files. IP can then handle the post-production via our Soundtrack Pro software.

This is also true for multimedia projects involving video, animation and interactivity. We can offer limited post production services, using our Final Cut Studio Suite, but generally we expect to receive a digital master that's in good shape before we consider post production and eventual publication as an IP Digital title.

We're hoping to eventually offer a wider range of production services, but this is the state of play at the moment.

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Have you ever wished that online books could look more like the real thing? Well, with Digipage technology your bookcan! Digipage is a process that turns ordinary Acrobat e-books into virtual page-turners using Adobe Flash software, so you actually "see" your pages turn as you would with a real book.

The e-book is generally hosted by Digipage on their servers, and your readers get to read it after they've paid for it.—or you can give it away if you're feeling generous or if you're advertising a product or service. You can also add audio and video to your document for an immersive multimedia experience.

IP now has an account with Digipage, We prepare pdf files to Digipage's specs, upload it to them and voilá, your title is an instant page-turner!

What does it cost? Digipage doesn't charge for set-up. You pay an annual fee of about $4 per text page or about $18 per page for video.

We see this as having commercial as well as creative applications. Imagine a tourist destination putting their brochure online, complete with video. Honda is using Digipage extensively to promote their cars.

You don't have to be an IP author to take advantage of this service. Contact us to discuss your project and what we can do to get it into pdf and then online for you.

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IP Sales

We're pleased to announce that many of our titles will be available on, via the Amazon Advantage Program. Currently the titles that we POD through Lightning Source (LSI) are listed on Amazon through the datafeed from LSI; however we have had no control over how our titles are described on the Amazon site.

With the Advantage Program, we get to provide extensive information on the title and the author, as well as up to three reviews of the work. Plus Amazon works a bit harder promoting our titles and cross-promoting them to potential customers who have bought similar books. If you've ever bought something from Amazon, you'll know what we mean from the occasional email you receive inviting you to consider products they think you might like based on your purchasing history.

We've also just signed an agreement with Amazon's partner Booksurge for print on demand services. This doesn't conflict with our arrangements with LSI, and it has the advantage (excuse the pun) of supplying Amazon more quickly when orders come to them for our titles (they promise a very quick turnaround).

Authors who are with us for LSI POD will automatically have their titles with Booksurge as well. The terms of the agreement we've signed with Amazon provide us with free set-up for 30 days. Thereafter, we will offer this as a user-pay option in addition to or instead of being listed with LSI. At this stage Booksurge does not charge an annual archiving fee, while LSI charges US$12 per title. And Booksurge has more flexibility with their trim sizes, compared to LSI's more limited range of standard trim sizes.

The competition between LSI and Amazon will heat up once Amazon expands its operations to Europe (at this point, Booksurge prints only in the USA). We're hopefully that this will pay off for us in better service and prices as the two giants try to keep our business.

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Out & About

David had a residency in August by invitation at the Arthur Boyd property at Bundanon on the Shoalhaven River near Nowra, New South Wales. The famous artist bequeathed the property to the Commonwealth on the condition it be kept as a productive farm and also as a residence for artists wanting some solitude to create new work.

DRBundanonDavid went with the intention of working on a sequel to his children's chapter book The Greenhouse Effect, but the writing went so well that he completed the 35,000 word novel in just over a week! Rather than spend the remaining time communing with the property's well-fed bulls, David started a new novel, with the focus being on a somewhat fictious primary school in Brisbane. The fact that his wife teaches at such a school is entirely coincidental! The shift of gears into adult satire didn't slow the pace of composition: David reports that the new novel is about half finished already.

When will he finish the new work? Perhaps in his next residency, since the demands on his time are so great at Treetop Studio. Always something to do...

While at Bundanon, during Book Week, David Greenhouse_Effectread to several primary school classes from The Greenhouse Effect and Real Guns, his second children's book. He was pleased by the very positive reception he got from the kids, their teachers and librarians. 'The teachers hardly had to do any work in getting the kids to talk about the books,' he says. ''They knew what was going on, and even taught me a few things about what was there that I hadn't seen!'

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As our first IP 10th Anniversary event in Brisbane, we were pleased to have a joint event at the Brisbane Writers Festival on 16 September. IP authors who read were Michelle Cahill (The Accidental Cage), Rosemary Huisman BillC(The Possibility of Winds), Basil Eliades (3rd i), Kristin Hannaford (Swelter), Bill Collopy (House of Given), pictured here, and Tilly Brasch (No Middle Name). It was a good mix of prose and poetry, recent and work from IP's early years, and the audience seemed to enjoy it all.

Several more authors expressed an interest in reading, but unfortunately we only had an hour at the Festival. A special thanks to the interstate troopers who made the trek up to Brisbane to celebrate with us.

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As part of her duties as a board member of the TillyBStepping Stone Clubhouse, Tilly Brasch recently attended the 14th International Seminar for the International Centre of Clubhouse Development in Milwaukee. There was huge demand for her book No Middle Name. It was just as well that she'd packed 40 copies in her suitcase, because they all were sold! Well done, Tilly!!

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SpeedPoets host their final gig for 2007 at the wonderful Alibi Room (720 Brunswick St., New Farm) from 2 pm, Sunday, 4 November.

The event features readings from multi-award winning poet, Nathan Shepherdson and live music from Brisbane's answer to Johnny Cash, the amazing Baron Field. So don't miss your final opportunity to be a part of Brisbane's longest running poetry/spoken word event.

Sign up for the open mic, be in the running for the monthly raffle and pick up a copy of the free monthly zine. All this for just a gold coin!

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In the latest news, Stephen Oliver and David Reiter will tour the North Island of New Zealand next March to promote Stephen and Matt Ottley's Text + Audio CD King Hit and Stephen's yet to be released poetry collection Harmonic. They're hoping to twist Matt's arm to come along...

David's been invited to be artist-in-residence at the Michael King Writers' Centre in Auckland in February where he will read and discuss his children's books with younger audiences (exact dates to be confirmed). While on tour thereafter e'll promote his sequel to The Greenhouse Effect and probably give in to the temptation to read some of his poetry as well as spreading the word about IP.

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Your Deal

Just one deal this time, but we're sure you'll agree that it's a good one!

Order ANY title from our online store and receive the fabulous Anniversary CD Rainshadows, which features almost 400 pages of text and multimedia from IP authors from 1997 to the present, for only $11 (one dollar for each anniversary year + one for Peter Costello!)

Not quite good enough to seduce your credit card? OK, if you're quick enough, the first 10 subscribers to order their title online will get Rainshadows FREE.

Just specify YD36 in the Comments field of our order form.