HARDCOPY Writing Program 2017

2017_hardcopytag-279x300HARDCOPY 2017 is now open for applications. The main reason I have a book publishing deal is because of HARDCOPY 2015 and I simply can’t recommend this program enough.

Don’t think too hard about it – just put your application in! Apply here.

Established in 2014, HARDCOPY is a national professional development program that helps build the capacities, aptitudes and resources emerging Australian writers need to reach their potential.

By creating an environment that is educative, vigorous and nurturing, HARDCOPY:

  • helps writers develop their manuscripts;
  • increases industry knowledge;
  • facilitates relationships between writers and publishing professionals; and
  • breaks down the barriers of location and geography.

In 2017 the program will focus on nonfiction project. The program alternates each year, so last year the focus was on fiction. In 2015, the year I participated, the focus was nonfiction.

HARDCOPY does not specifically aim to have its participants achieve publication as a direct and immediate result of the program. Rather, HARDCOPY focuses on (1) manuscript/project development, (2) education about how the Australian publishing industry works, and (3) building connections and relationships within the industry/writing community. Any publication outcomes that may occur because of the program are considered an added bonus.  And yep – I scored the bonus! As did several of my colleagues.

HARDCOPY aims to develop writers who will have longevity as Australian writers.

HARDCOPY is underpinned by the principle of pragmatic optimism: being aware of the challenges, but also being positive about the future.

HARDCOPY is a special initiative of the ACT Writers Centre and funded by the Australia Council for the Arts.

I’ve written about my experiences in the program quite a bit:

  • HARDCOPY Round One – Phew – An overview of the first weekend, which the class spent with editor Nadine Davidoff in a writing workshop.
  • HARDCOPY – Reading List – After that first weekend workshop, there were a number of writers I wanted to follow up, to read more of their work.
  • Online Discussion With Lucy Treloar, author of Salt Creek – HARDCOPY participants (past and present) were lucky enough to take part in an online Facebook discussion with Australian novelist Lucy Treloar. Here are some of the highlights of Lucy’s responses (reproduced with the permission of Lucy, and of the HARDCOPY project officer Nigel Featherstone.) For 90 minutes Lucy was inundated with questions and she gamely fielded them with good cheer and fascinating insights.
  • HARDCOPY – what do publishers want? – The second weekend, in September, was like a mini writers festival. Over two days we sat in a lecture theatre and heard presentations from a wide variety of publishing industry insiders. Of course we could then ask questions and initiate discussions. This weekend opened up a whole new world to me. The sessions included: What do publishers want? The role of an agent.  Copyright and contracts. What I wish I knew before I was published. Let’s get digital.  Telling your story with social media.  Reviews – the state of play.  Overcoming stage fright. Publishing in a digital environment. Experiments in the reader-author relationship. It sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? And the speakers were very highly credentialed: Alex Adsett, Eva Bui, Mary Cunnane, Paul Daley, Jacinta Dimase, Linda Funnell, Charlotte Harper, Anna Maguire, Karen Middleton, Gordon Peake, Peter Stanley, Meg Vann, and Jen Webb.
  • How to be an author – Notes about my thoughts and take-aways from the Intro to Industry weekend described above.
  • Another HARDCOPY win – After participating in the writing workshop, and then the Intro to Industry weekend, I was one of ten people selected to take part in the Publisher/Agent Feedback weekend. Seven publishers and two agents read my work, and each spent 30 minutes with me to provide advice and feedback. Priceless.

And if, after all that, you still want to know what happened next? Try these:

I’m still in touch with many of my classmates from 2015. I love hearing (via the Harcopy Facebook group) about the successes and thoughts of other Hardcopiers, from other years. Apart from anything else, as a result of HARDCOPY I’m a member of a community of writers – and that would have been worth the price of entry all on it’s own.

2018-03-25T11:47:58+10:00 February 13th, 2017|Writing|10 Comments


  1. wadholloway February 13, 2017 at 12:06 pm - Reply

    Have enjoyed following your ‘Hardcopy’ journey. There can be no doubt about how much you have got out of it!

    • Michelle Scott Tucker February 13, 2017 at 12:19 pm - Reply

      Thanks! And yes, I’ve benefited enormously. I will confess, though, that some of my classmates have some reservations about the program. It would be difficult for anyone to attend, for example, if they couldn’t afford to get to and stay in Canberra (although one 2015 participant from northern Qld received a grant for just that purpose from his local council, I think). The first weekend of ‘writing workshop’ was less workshopping and more being taught from the front of the room. Some would have preferred that emphasis to be reversed. And some felt hard done by after not being selected within the final ten who attended the Publisher/Agent Feedback weekend. But that’s all to be expected, I suppose. And the organisers have been very open to receiving such feedback.

  2. […] writer Sarah Vincent was one of my fellow-students from the 2015 HARDCOPY program, and I can’t begin to tell you how keen the publishers and agents were to sign her […]

  3. […] Vincent is a friend of mine, one of my fellow Hardcopy participants. And maybe I wouldn’t have read this book if I hadn’t known Sarah, because […]

  4. […] which was where I first met him. (You can find a compilation of all my posts about the program here.) I found him to be friendly, supportive and quietly […]

  5. […] years ago I blogged about Clare Wright’s online conversation with the participants of the HardCopy professional development program. And now here she is, generously blurbing my book. And Brenda […]

  6. […] 4. Michelle’s nonfiction work was picked up by Text. Read this comprehensive rundown of her experience throughout the program. […]

  7. […] Vincent is a friend of mine, one of my fellow Hardcopy participants. And maybe I wouldn’t have read this book if I hadn’t known Sarah, because […]

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  9. […] While attending HARDCOPY doesn’t guarantee writers publication, it does offer a wonderful opportunity to meet with agents and publishers (as well as making writer friends!). The list of writers who have been successful attendees at HARDCOPY is long, and includes Sarah Vincent (read her experience here), fantasy writer Sam Hawke, Bill Wilke (read his experience here), Michelle Scott Tucker (read here). […]

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