Photo: Adventures in Biography

Spring has sprung some surprises

Yikes!  I’m one of the ten writers chosen to progress to the next round of the HARDCOPY program.

That means in late November I go back to Canberra and the ACT Writers Centre to spend precious one-on-one time with agents and publishers, discussing the strengths and weaknesses of my manuscript.

As far as I know the publishers who have agreed to be involved include: Affirm Press; Allen & Unwin; Black Inc; Editia; Finlay Lloyd; Penguin Random House; and Scribe.  Australian literary agent Jacinta Dimase has also confirmed her involvement and Fiona Inglis from Curtis Brown has expressed her interest.

So no pressure then.

In the meantime (and in fact before next Tuesday) I have to revise my proposal.  Mary Cunnane thought my sample (the first 30 pages of the MS) was fine – OK, she might have said excellent – but advised me to tweak my proposal.  She also kindly provided some generic proposal writing guidelines to the chosen ten writers.  Essentially a good proposal might contain most or all of the following sub-headings:

  • Synopsis
  • Overview
  • Why this book
  • Specifics
  • Author Sheet
  • The Audience
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Table of Contents
  • Outline
  • Introduction, Preface or Forward
  • Sample Chapters
  • Writing Samples, Quotes and Press

Nearly all of my HARDCOPY colleagues have stayed in touch online and via email and the reactions of those who were not selected has been extraordinarily generous and supportive.  One of the best things to come out of this program has been the collegiality and the friendships.  It feels like the beginning of something lasting.

As Mary Cunnane noted in  her feedback to us all:

To say that nothing is certain in publishing is an understatement, including the fact that it may well be that some projects that did not make it into the final round will go on to achieve commercial and critical success if their authors don’t halt their efforts at this stage. That is the nature of the publishing business we are all in. I congratulate all twenty-one HARDCOPY participants on their efforts and urge all – including the finalists – to live by the motto ‘Persistence pays’.

Wish me luck!


I’ve written before about the HARDCOPY program:

The ACT Writers Centre is supported by the ACT Government.  HARDCOPY has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.