Tag Archives: lisa heidke

Let Me Proposition You… With a Self-Publishing Festival

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SELF-PUBLISHING AVENGERS ASSEMBLE! It is time to be seen. #SelfPubIsHere

I think self-publishing needs greater recognition from Australian Festivals and Awards. I think self-publishing deserves its very own day at one of the larger Australian writer festivals, or even it’s very own self-publishing festival. We have kids days and YA days at major festivals (check out the one at Sydney Writers’ Festival, it is AMAZING), why not a self-publishing day? It is absolutely booming at the moment with more and more people not only buying self-published books, but wanting to become self-published authors.

Publisher Weekly has reported that self-published ebooks represent 31% of ebooks on Amazon and this trend is increasing. Not only do they account for around a third of ebooks, they are also dominating sales. Self-published authors are surpassing traditionally published authors on Amazon in crime, speculative fiction and romance. They also have a big share of the market in all other genres. The big five traditional publishers only account for around 16% of ebooks on the Amazon bestseller list, all the rest are self or indi. And let’s face it, ebooks are big business now and are here to stay.

Many readers have no idea if the books they are reading are self-published or not. As publishing houses laid off inhouse editors and designers in favour of a freelance system, self-published authors were able to snap them up. As such, the self-publishing route is becoming increasingly popular and destigmatised not only amongst up and coming writers, but also those already traditionally published and seeking to take greater control of their work.

Despite this increase in popularity and quality many Australian literary festivals and awards have either ignored the self-publishing market or given it a one off panel. Often in Australia the panel discussion is merely about if self publishing is ruining the industry or not. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ The interest in self-publishing however is growing and has moved far beyond festival goers wanting to hear a simple discussion on if self-publishing is good or evil. They want in. Publishing your own book can be hard work and getting it into people’s hands can be even harder. This is a process that the increasing number of readers wanting to turn into writers are curious about. And honestly, readers also want the opportunity to see these self-published authors in person to get their books signed.

A self-publishing festival or day would be unique from other festivals in that self-published authors have to have a hand in all areas of their book development. They need to be able to source or become their own publicist, designer, formatter, bookseller, etc. Literary festivals often focus on authors and publishing houses, a self-publishing event would highlight self-published authors along with editors, cover illustrators, designers, and publicists. It would bring the often hidden side of publishing to the forefront. The part that happens behind closed doors that writers and readers are increasingly curious about. The parts they are willing to pay to find out more about. And I don’t mean in just one genre, I mean across all of self-publishing rather than a genre specific festival. Romance has traditionally been quite accepting of self-publishing and has on many instances lead the way but it’s time for other organisations to step up.

Below I will outline some of the awesome feature a self-pub fest would provide readers and writers hungry for something new.

Unique Guests:

Writers-

Self-published writers are essentially split into three groups, those that started self-published and get picked up by a traditional publisher, traditionally published authors who have turned to self-publishing (some vow never to return to the trad-pub model, others happily flit back and forth enjoying the hybrid life), and those that have started as self-published and never looked back. Each of these groups bring unique insights and appeal to the curiosity of readers and fellow writers. We would hope to attract presenters from each of the group, with examples of the types of authors listed below.

Self-published authors picked up by traditional publishers include authors such as Matthew Reilly, CS Pacat, Bruce McCabe, and Mitchell Hogan. People want to know how these guys made the conversion. It’s the dream for many starting out. Self publish, get picked up, and then have a movie trilogy made, I’m looking at you E. L. James.

Authors who started out as traditionally published and have then experimented with self-publishing include people such KERI ARTHUR (I’m putting this in capitals and bold because I somehow missed Keri’s name and am editing it in!), Lisa Heidke, John Birmingham, Ellie Marney, Maria Lewis, Ciara Ballantyne, Kim Kelly, and Alison Croggon. Everyone wants to know why they broke ranks. What is so fantastic about self-publishing that it attracted them? How did they do it? Is it more profitable? What are the benefits? Hybrid or abandonment?

Australia has an incredible array of self-published authors that have started that way and remained true to the form. Melissa Pouliot had a cold case reopened because of her debut book. Heidi Farelly was picked up as a regular guest on A Current Affair to speak on finances on the strength of the popularity of her self-published ‘How to…’ books. Lisa Fleetwood became an Amazon bestseller with her debut travel memoir. I myself have been picked up by bookstores for my memoir about postnatal depression and my book is even being used by some postnatal depression support networks. Lola Lowe was listed as a “Must Read” by Cosmopolitan Magazine for her debut novel. A.B. Patterson, a former detective Sergeant, has won three awards for his debut crime fiction novel, and been short listed for two others. Dionne Lister is a speculative fiction author who is an outspoken advocate of self-publishing and has been short listed for three awards. Elizabeth Cummings has been invited all around the world to talk about her picture books, in particular The Disappearing Sister – an important book that deals with speaking to and helping siblings of children with anorexia. There are many more self-publishing success stories amongst the Australian public eager to share their story and people want to know how they did it and how they can replicate it.

Of course along with writers it’s time to make the previously invisible members of book creation visible, the people that people interested in self-publishing want to find and hire but are largely ignored by Australian festivals:

Book Artists and Designers

Formatters

PR People

Editors

Representatives from printers such as Ingram Sparks and Publicious.

Representatives from self-publishing consultancy services such as Critical Mass Consulting, Bookends Publishing, and The Author Whisperer.

Logistics:

We need a location or a festival to give us a venue for a day.

We need an organiser / convener that people respect.

We need a publicist, although, many self-published authors are their own publicist and do a damn fine job.

Volunteers, we need people pointing and smiling. Trust me, it helps a lot.

We need all the food.

We need a dynamic bookseller who loves us.

We need those guests that represent the full gamut of the self-publishing experience.

And, without question, we need all the wine and cheese.

And don’t just take my word for it, read Pauline Findlay’s thoughts here. She strongly advocates for more self-publishing recognition.

So, what do you think? Are you with me? Do we need this? Are we going to create the pressure to make this happen? (I did send a proposal to a friendly writers’ centre but 10 months later I still haven’t even heard crickets in response) Some big name literary festivals overseas are already making the space, can we make it happen here? I vote yes! Chat about making space for self-publishing on social media with Pauline Findlay and I using #SelfPubIsHere

Ellie Marney also thinks a #SelfPubIsHere Festival would be great, read about it here.

Find out what Lisa Fleetwood has to say about this here.

Find out what Rebecca Chaney thinks here.

Also, cough-cough, find my book at Booktopia or anywhere.

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Dianne Blacklock: #Robinpedia

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In a Robinpedia first, I’m adding the mother of an already existing Robinpediaed entity. Please set your hands to applause for Australian author Dianne Blacklock. 

Dianne Blacklock is a Sydney writer and has published 9 books through Pan Macmillan. She writes about people and relationships. She also hosts “A Conversation With…” authors series on her blog. Authors such as Liane Moriarty and the Robinpediaed Lisa Heidke have been interviewed in this series.

If you’re a slush pile swimmer in need of inspiration look no further than Dianne Blacklock. At 39 her unsolicited manuscript was fished out of the bog of eternal slush at Pan Macmillan. A year later she had a book contract. It can happen. You can break out of the slush. It’s too late for me, but just keep swimming. SAVE YOURSELVES!

I was lucky enough to have Dianne Blacklock as a special guest star at Emily Maguire’s Year of the Novel through the New South Wales Writers’ Centre. She is incredibly generous with sharing her words of wisdom with aspiring writers. Dianne Blacklock emphasised that whatever approach you wanted to take to writing you would find experts who vehemently disagreed with it…. BUT you would also find experts that agreed with you, so just do what works for you. If it works, it’s right.
Apparently when not writing Dianne Blacklock has a love of cleaning and inventing chores. And she’s got enough to go around. You get a chore, you get a chore, everybody gets a chore…. So…. like…. don’t visit when she’s not writing?
Find Dianne Blacklock’s website here.

Face Dianne Blacklock here.

Tweet with Dianne Blacklock here.

Read Dianne Blacklock’s blog here.

If you have any info that you believe would enhance this entry, please leave it in the comment section.

Read more about Robinpedia here

Read about my thoughts on being a dyslexic writer here.

Read about my thoughts on author branding here.

Buy my shit here.


Lisa Heidke: #Robinpedia

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Lisa Heidke is an Australian author, writing teacher and lover of colourful language. Like many writers her inspiration to write came from the bottom of a “writers’ juice” glass. It has been speculated by some that it was a Fluffy Duck, but I firmly believe that it was a white wine spritzer. Regardless, “writers’ juice” has proven it’s worth and value as a tax deduction yet again.

Lisa Heidke has published six commercial women’s fiction novels. Her works typically address the themes of career, family, rivalry, self efficacy, and love… a bit like life does. Her first published novel was Lucy Springer Gets Even published through Allen and Unwin in 2009. The initial manuscript had been short listed for the Varuna/HarperCollins Manuscript Awards in 2006.  Lisa Heidke then published What Kate did Next in 2010, also through A & U. This had been short listed for the Varuna/HarperCollins Manuscript Awards in 2005. Claudia’s Big Break was released in 2011 followed by Stella Makes Good in 2012, and then It Started with a Kiss in 2015, all through A & U.

The Callahan Split was also released in 2015. It is of special note as Lisa Heidke decided to self publish it. Lisa Heidke decided that if she was to learn about the realities of self publishing she was going to have to do it herself. From hiring editors and cover designers, down to running competitions, she did it all. This has undoubtedly given her unique insights to share when teaching. I offered to design her cover. She turned me down, I cannot imagine why…

Find Lisa Heidke’s website here.

Find Lisa Heidke on twitter here.

Find Lisa Heidke on Facebook here.

If you have any additional information you feel should be added please leave it in the comment section. I’m particularly interested in exactly what she was drinking that fateful New Years Eve that she declared she would become a writer.

Learn more about Robinpedia here.

Brace Yourself; Book Recommendations Are Coming

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The Holiday season is upon us and every mother flipper is in need of gifts, Christmas, Hanukkah, Solstice, and so many more http://www.educationworld.com/a_lesson/lesson/lesson246.shtml . Heck, there are even some birthdays. It’s a gift heavy month in the Western world.  So here are the books I’d recommend… apart from my own, buy it for yourself,  consider it your gift to me.

Let’s get started!

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The Princess Betony books by Pamela Freeman. They are gorgeous. They’re small so the perfect size for little hands with beautifully designed covers. These books take the princess stereotype and subverts it. A great balance for any child that has been over exposed to less progressive princess merchandise.

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Hansel and Rose by Caroline Magerl. The art in this picture book is simply incredible. It’s a book about belonging, loss and hope. So many important lessons and feelings simplified. A great book for your young early-primary aged friend.

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The Callahan Split by Lisa Heidke. Tennis, sibling rivalry, professional ambition, and some romance. What’s not to like. I did offer to design the book cover for her, she didn’t go for it for many reasons  (the book isn’t about Tom Selleck, I’m not a designer… she doesn’t know me. So many reasons) but I still think it’s a great read.

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Tiddas by Anita Heiss. Say you read parts of my serial because you wanted to read about a book club but thought my characters were “unbelievably slutty” and “Neanderthals” then this book probably has the depth you’re seeking. I highly recommend it, even if you’re not an uptight jerk who slut shames characters you’re going to love this book because it is sensational. It explores so many complexities in friendship and personal choice.

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The Beast’s Garden by Kate Forsyth. Combines masterful story telling, the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale, and WWII. If that’s not enough to get your interest then you’re dead to me and I don’t want to know.

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The Little Book of Anxiety by Kerri Sackville. Fuck The Little Book of Calm, this book is the book you want. I don’t care if you swallowed The Little Book of Calm, you need to get this book which shares tales from the author’s own anxious life. If you’re an anxious lady, Kerri gets you.

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Dreamer’s Pool by Juliet Marillier. Full of magic and mystery this is a captivating read for all Fantasy addicts. Juliet Marillier always produces exceptional novels so you can’t go wrong buying anything of hers.

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Peacemaker by Marianne de Pierres. Kickass sci fi by a kickass writer. Get this one and read it. I don’t want to sound like a total horn dog but there are some exciting characters in there. Somebody pass me my salts.

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And as for anthologies, you cannot go past Cranky Ladies of History. It is just spectacular and the name says it all. I cannot recommend this one enough. Get it, get it, get it!!!!! Seriously, look at that cover. The whole thing is gold.

Possibly the best idea of all is to buy all of these for yourself and forget the world for a bit. You deserve it. Happy reading.

Please note that these aren’t all new releases, some are old, some are new… some are borrowed and some are blue.

An Ode to Vaguebooking: Arguments That Never Happen in the Spec Fic World

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An Ode to Vaguebooking: Arguments That Never Happen in the Spec Fic World

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Dear Fellow Writers,

Recently there was a vague Facebook status on a popular page (a vaguebook if you will), that indicated that writers are not allowed to write about the same topics as each other, especially not if they are friends. The status publicly shamed people who wrote about the same topic as the poster and anyone who dared to say that it isn’t cool to try to publicly humiliate those who write about the same topic as you merely for writing in the same field were called bullies. Ironic. So let’s see how this would play out if it is in fact appropriate to bags topics and deny your friends and others the right to write about the same issues as you… as we all know about six degrees of separation we can’t just leave it to divide topics amongst those nearest and dearest because they’ll somehow be connected to the big players. So let’s see what this would look like on a large scale. Let’s look at the celebrated writers.

I personally would need to throw out a bunch of work because I recently read a wonderful book by internationally acclaimed Kate Forsyth where she recasts an old tale (The Beast’s Garden) so that means I would have to scrap the “Asylum” series that even Garth Nix himself felt had merit (oh yes, that’s a shameless brag, shameless and proud – I did a course with him and he read my first chapter). I really quite liked it… shit, better throw out Snake Song whilst I’m at it. An established writer has already done this kind of thing so I’d just be a “random” or a pretender and never as good, that’s what the vaguebook post stated. I apparently would totally deserve a public dismissal if I ever tried… But then again, Margo Lanagan writes retellings of old folk lore, Tender Morsels, READ IT, it is brilliant. And I’ve heard that Kate Forsyth and Margo Lanagan are friends so I guess Dr Forsyth would have to pull all those books from shelves… but oh wait, Juliet Marillier wrote Daughter of the Forest, one of the best spec fic books of all time in my humble opinion. Does this mean Lanagan and Forsyth would both have to pull work from publication? My brain is about to seep out of my ears now that I think of Sophie Masson. They all breathe fresh life into old tales. And I’m pretty sure they’re all friends. (This assumption is based on hearing them speak at festivals and avidly following them on social media.) I’m pretty sure they all recommend each others books too. Oh my brain.

It’s pretty clear in the Spec Fic world that nobody owns a topic or sub genre or issue or whatever. There is enough unique voice in each and every one of us that we can write about the same things without it being a threat to anyone else because we will all do it our own way.

Thank you Australian Speculative Fiction Women Writers for showing the true spirit of writing comradeship. You are an inspiration to me daily and you do the whole writing community  proud. I’m thankful for your generous spirit towards up and coming, and established authors alike. May we all be more like you and raise more people like you too.

My heart is bursting with Speculative Fiction pride at the moment but…

I’d like to note this same kind of comradary is seen in other genres. To give just one example, both Lisa Heidke and Anita Heiss write fabulous “Chick Lit” novels and are best friends. At least from my cyber stalking they seem to be. And both encourage upcoming writers beautifully.

In the blogasphere there is Kerri Sackville  (also an author) and Lana   Hirschowitz that come readily to mind. They are constantly referencing each other on their pages and even sharing some of the same stuff. They are always encouraging of people commenting and participating. So this encouragement in writers isn’t just in the novel world. It is on Facebook, on Twitter and on Blogs.

Writers by and large are awesome and generous. Don’t let anyone vaguebook you into thinking otherwise.

If you are unfamiliar with any of these women please search them out and follow their pages/blogs/tweets/books. Support those who support others.

Book Review: Stella Makes Good by @lisaheidke #AWW2015

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Stella_Makes_GoodWhat I love about Stella Makes Good by Lisa Heidke is that it is Chick Lit (I do not use that term in a disparaging way, I happen to think there is nothing wrong with reading or writing stories for women and am a little bit “shame on you” about people who think there is something bad about that), that has an older female lead. It isn’t your standard mid 20’s woman coming to terms with finding her way for the first time, it is an older woman who thinks she has lost everything and then gets her groove back.

I do not giver “spoiler” reviews so I cannot go into too much detail. I will say that it has all those feel good and quirky elements that we love and expect when reading Chick Lit BUT it also focuses around older (not so much older, sheebers, they’re not in their 90s) women than usually depicted. It wrote about women in my situation, women with kids, women with husbands, and I loved that. We can still have fun, we can still have tragedies, and we can still pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and ROCK IT!

In short, this was a great read with great characters who were relatable. I’d particularly recommend it to people who love Commercial Women’s Fiction, and in particular women in their 30’s and up. However, there is something in there for anyone with eyes to read and a brain to process information.

So go buy it, borrow it or download it, if you have eyes to read, or ears to listen to an audio version, and a brain to process information, because, I think you’ll like it.aww-badge-2015