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.