Out and about, talking about Elizabeth Macarthur

Promoting the book has so far been a very happy, enjoyable process. Talking to interesting people, hanging out in libraries and bookshops, eating scones - seriously, what's not to love? And yes, those scones pictured left were laid on after my talk by the lovely Clare, who owns Aesop's Attic book shop in Kyneton, Victoria. They were homemade, and every bit as delicious as they look. I have finished my run of radio interviews for now and, just as I was getting very comfortable with delivering author talks, I seem [...]

2018-05-14T14:31:48+00:00 May 14th, 2018|Work in Progress|5 Comments

Guest Post and Holidays

Worked like a demon to get the first big edit of the manuscript finished before the end of 2017 - and made it with, at least 48 hours to spare! Then my family and I went to the beach for a week. No wifi. Bliss. Then (thanks to my hard working editor) came back to find the first nine chapters of the manuscript ready to copy edit. So that's what I've been doing, instead of blogging. But if you would like to read a little something, try this Guest Post [...]

SMH – What to read in 2018

Wow! Got a mention beside the big kids in today's Sydney Morning Herald. Jane Sullivan has an article called 'What to read in 2018: a selection of the big books on the shelves next year.' And if you scroll right down (keep going, yep keep going), you might find a mention of me. Huzzah! From Sullivan's list I'm also keen to read: Eleanor Limprecht (The Passengers, Allen & Unwin, March) - because I've enjoyed her earlier novels. Ruby Murray (The Biographer's Lover, Black Inc., April) - because with a title like [...]

Finding images for the book

When you pick up a biography, do you first turn to those glossy pages in the middle? The pages with the pictures, the paintings, the maps. The pages that somehow tell you what it is you're going to be reading about. The pages that the author - a person by definition good with words, rather than images - has sweated blood over. Reader, I know of what I speak! When I signed the contract with Text Publishing, my agent carefully pointed out the clause that says I'm responsible for [...]

2018-03-25T00:36:28+00:00 December 21st, 2017|Work in Progress, Writing|17 Comments

The stories that get left out

What should biographers do with all the wonderful stories - or snippets - they discover along the way but can't include in their books? Many biographers do, of course, include them. But readers often don't like it - for example wonderful reviewer Whispering Gums recently discussed a biography she enjoyed, but felt contained too much extraneous detail. And, I'll confess, as a reader I feel the same way. I just want to read about the biographical subject, please. But as a writer? Of course I want to include all [...]

2018-03-24T23:03:43+00:00 December 4th, 2017|Work in Progress, Writing|18 Comments

Inside the publishing industry

How do books get from the publisher's hot little hands onto the shelves of bookstores? No, I don't really know either but yesterday it became a little clearer. Traditional publishers are part of a logistical chain. From the sale of each book, every player in the chain takes their cut. However online sales, self-publishing and e-books have increasingly muddied the waters. Still, the typical chain - and the typical cut for each player - looks something like this: How do books get from the publisher's hot little hands onto [...]

2018-03-25T00:38:49+00:00 November 10th, 2017|Work in Progress, Writing|17 Comments

Help me with this paragraph?

To set the scene, I'm reading my manuscript out loud, to test for clarity and sense. The dog seems nonplussed but the cat is appreciative. I'm also beginning to realise how lazy my pronunciation usually is. Govvumen. Govvament. Government. Anyway. I'm reading the part where it is 1790, Elizabeth has just arrived in New South Wales, and is lonely and bored. It's the third paragraph (in the second half) where I'd like your opinion - what am I trying to imply? Is it clear enough? Elizabeth ‘filled up the [...]

What do publicists do for authors anyway?

This week I met with my publicist, Alice Lewinsky. A few weeks earlier she'd sent me four pages of questions: about me, my career, my writing experience, and about the background to my book. She also wanted to know about the likely readership, my marketing and promotional ideas, and the names of people who might provide praise quotes about the book. Answering it all was fun, and a little bit daunting. So I asked Alice if we could meet, mainly so I could pick her brains about how it was [...]

2018-03-22T01:59:21+00:00 September 29th, 2017|Work in Progress, Writing|6 Comments

Drafting a Blurb – the craft of catching a reader

Once I started thinking about blurbs, it became clear how little I rely on them these days. I usually choose books to read because I've already read or heard about them - on blogs, in reviews, in articles, on podcasts. It's rare for me to pick up a random book, read the blurb on the back and buy it. Even at the library, whether or not a book takes my fancy seems to very much depend on my mood at exactly that point in time. But that said, when I [...]

2018-03-25T00:51:28+00:00 September 23rd, 2017|Work in Progress, Writing|15 Comments