Book Review: Flames by Robbie Arnott

Evocative. Intriguing. Compelling. Flames is a wonderful novel, and Arnott is a terrific new young voice in Australian fiction. In this assured debut, Arnott immerses the reader in the Tasmanian landscape, in weird and often uncanny ways. At a superficial level, we follow the story of twenty-three-year-old Charlotte McAllister. Charlotte's mother has just died and returned (briefly) from the dead, her father is absent, and her brother wants to build her a coffin. In her grief, Charlotte flees southwards to an isolated, and improbable, wombat farm where she discovers more [...]

2018-07-16T18:26:20+00:00 July 16th, 2018|Book Review|6 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

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

How to edit a manuscript

So the manuscript is returning to me gradually, a few chapters at a time. My editor at Text, Jane Pearson, met with me before sending any of it back. For over an hour she walked me through the first few chapters, explaining what she'd done and why. It looks pretty confronting on the page but really, that's because she's thorough. If two sentences need to be joined into one, she marks up all the relevant punctuation - delete that capital letter, delete that full stop, add a comma. Nothing [...]

2018-03-25T00:52:17+00:00 September 15th, 2017|Writing|12 Comments

Had a coffee with my publisher yesterday…

Wow. It feels unbelievably good to say/write that out loud. After much deliberation and a lengthy discussion with my agent (ok, yes, it was over lunch but we both drank water - honest!) I decided to go with Text Publishing. In the end I was lucky enough to receive seven generous offers for the manuscript. I can't imagine that will ever happen again so I was careful to enjoy every minute! And speaking at length with the wise, intelligent and enthusiastic editors from each of those houses has been a [...]

2018-03-25T13:15:49+00:00 August 12th, 2016|Life, Work in Progress, Writing|25 Comments