Tag Archives: robin elizabeth

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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All Your Mother Wants is Books and Booze

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It’s coming up to that time of year again, the highest book selling time of year, MOTHER’S DAY. Well, at least it is in my corner of the world. Everybody knows that the ladies love books so the lead up to Mother’s Day is often met with a mad dash to the bookshop, shrieking hysterically at the store clerk that you need that book that was blue and they recommended on that show about books. Unfortunately, there are a lot of blue books and that show has been cancelled. But never fear, I am here to bring you something even better than yelling at bookshop employees, I’m bringing you the perfect pairings for your mother, books and wine.

Let’s kick off this list with The Sisters’ Song by Louise Allan. This is a book about family, hardships, and learning to accept life whilst damning the man. It is set in 1920s Tasmania, Australia. It looks at the differences between siblings, the strengths and flaws of motherhood, and music. It has been praised by critics and readers alike. Given that this is a book proudly set in Tasmania I would recommend that you pair it with a Tasmanian wine. Try Devil’s Corner Pinot Grigio.

Find The Sisters’ Song here.

Find Devil’s Corner Pinot Grigio here.

A rapid change of pace to some non fiction. I think many mums will love The Women’s Brain Book. It’s full of information about women’s brains throughout childhood, puberty, pregnancy, motherhood, menopause and old-age. It is written by neuroscientist Dr Sarah McKay who has dedicated her life to understanding the human brain. This is more of a book about biology and hormones rather than psychology and feelings, it really is a refreshing change of pace. Given that red wine is frequently touted as being good for your health, I’d recommend you pair this book with a red wine such as Rabbit Ranch Pinot Noir.

Find The Women’s Brain Book here.

Fund Rabbit Ranch Pinot Noir here.

Where’s the Romance, Robin? My mother wants to remember what it was like to be young, and sexy, and in love, and what it was like to sleep in! Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. A Letter From Italy by Pamela Hart is the perfect gift for the mother who loves love. It contrasts war torn Europe in 1917 with the battleground of the heart complete with a sexy Italian love interest. Given that this book is set in Italy and the gorgeous lemon on the cover I’m recommending a slightly stronger pairing, Villa Massa Limoncello.

Find A Letter From Italy here.

Find Villa Massa Limoncello here.

Another romantic foray is A Kiss From Mr Fitzgerald by Natasha Lester. I recommend this one simple because it had me squealing at the end and screaming, ‘Oh my God, they’re totally gonna kiss!’ It follows a woman in Manhattan 1920s who wants to be a doctor. From the outset we can see what she’s up against with the suffocating expectations from society. Although this book has tragedy and struggles it also has joy and will put a smile on your mother’s face. Given that this book is set in the 1920s and infused with jazz, I recommend pairing it with Tanqueray London Dry Gin.

Find A Kiss From Mr Fitzgerald here.

Find Tanqueray London Dry Gin here.

Bonus: A Kiss From Mr Fitzgerald is in the Booktopia’s Mother’s Day Book Guide so if you order it through then before May 13th you’ll be in for a chance to win $1000 worth of books.

Let’s move away from romance and onto magic. Kate Forsyth The Wild Girl tells the story of Dortchen Wild. Dortchen Wild was the neighbour of the brothers Grimm, good friend of their younger sister, and in reality one of the major sources of the fairytales they are so famous for. This is a fictional retelling of Dortchen’s life, but the characters are based on real people and the integrity to original source material is incredible. For the mother that loves history and fairy tales. I would recommend pairing this magical book with aromatic Kracher Beerenauslese Cuvee.

Find The Wild Girl here.

Find Kracher Beerenauslese Cuvee here.

Have a mother that loves history but wants some grit? I’d recommend Half Wild by Pip Smith. This is another based on a true story novel but this time it is of Eugenia Falleni, a transgender man born in Italy in 1875, raised in New Zealand and spending their adulthood in Australia. Falleni did not cope with restrictions placed on them being assigned female at birth. They would often dress as a boy and try to undertake activities that were only designated for males. This was met with cruelty by Falleni’s parents. Falleni eventually fled family life and assumed life as Harry Crawford. Crawford rose to notoriety in 1917 when the burned body of his wife was found, later Crawford would be accused, reveal that they were born Eugenia Falleni and ask to be put in a women’s cell and tried as a woman. This novel looks at the lives of Eugenia Falleni both before and after the trial. The first 100 pages that cover Falleni’s childhood are particularly gripping. Pair Half Wild with Piave Grappa for an intense experience.

Find Half Wild here.

Find Piave Grappa here.

Is your mother a criminal mastermind? Then I’d recommend some Crime Fiction, especially Resurrection Bay by Emma Viskic. This book is set in a rural town with a social outsider as the main character. Profoundly deaf Caleb Zelic has been picking up on people’s tell tale signs since childhood, when murder comes to his doorstep he needs to use all of his skills to prove his innocence. This book won a lot of Crime Fic awards and has a sequel so I highly recommend it for the mother who can’t stop at just one murder. Pair this book with Innocent Bystander Pinot Syrah.

Find Resurrection Bay here.

Find Innocent Bystander Syrah here.

Here’s a book for the mother who has lived through or is currently living through online dating, Out There by Kerri Sackville. It’s all about in being that magical place ‘out there.’ Or at least all your partnered up mates insist you put yourself out there if you’re single. This isn’t so much a book about how to get a man but how to enjoy online dating in midlife and keep your sense of humour and sanity. Think of it as a David Attenborough style guide to dating but funny. So very funny. I recommend pairing it with good old fashioned Passion Pop so that your mother can have a hilariously nostalgic drink to accompany her reading.

Find Out There here.

Find Passion Pop here.

Bonus: Out There: a Survival Guide for Dating in Midlife is also one of Booktopia’s Mother’s Day recommendations.

Know a mother who suffered the baby blues, postnatal depression (postpartum depression across the pond) or postnatal anxiety? Then I think they’d get a lot out of my book simply subtitled Postnatal Depression Sucks. Because it does, it really does. It is direct, real, written in conversation language, containing both insights and practical advice and is also filled with humour. Motherhood is great, but sometimes life is hard and being able to reflect on it and have the odd laugh is quite cathartic. I recommend pairing my book with some soothing tea from High Tea With Harriet such as Duches of Bedford. Indulgently relaxing, and trust me, mothers are worth it.

Find Confessions of a Mad Mooer: Postnatal Depression Sucks here.

Find High Tea With Harriet Duchess of Bedford here.

Consider yourself now fully prepared to conquer Mother’s Day and take out the coveted Best Child status with these perfect pairings.

Find last year’s perfect pairings of books and pyjamas here.

#RUOK 2017: I Challenge You To Do More

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R U Ok Day is upon us soon. It’s a day that has people divided. Some say it’s fantastic and saves lives, others say it reminds them just how much people really don’t care about them because they only ask on R U OK Day as if it is some glib game. I’ve asked, I’ve done my bit, I’m a good person, give me cookies.

Love it or hate it, I challenge you to open yourself up and learn more about different mental illnesses this R U OK Day. Go to the library, or a bookstore, or online, and get a memoir that focuses on a mental illness. Really engage with lived experience, find out what real people went through, what they are still going through. And then when it comes to ask R U OK you might have something more specific and meaningful to say to a friend than a simple catchphrase.

Here are some recommendations:

Madness: a Memoir by Kate Richards

This is a memoir about living with depression and acute psychosis. In the memoir Dr Kate Richards also includes notes that she wrote during episodes which puts you directly into the mind at the time of turmoil. A compelling read.

Eyes too Dry by Alice Chipkin and Jessica Tavassoli

This is an innovative, dual person, graphic-novel memoir. It explores depression and suicideal ideation. It is essentially the conversation between someone in deep depression and their friend as they try to navigate through depression together. Very unique.

Bloodletting by Victoria Leatham

Cutting has recently been much covered in the media, but often sensationally and with little understanding gained. Victoria Leatham talks about her own experiences with self harm and how it is related to anorexia and bulimia. A truly eye opening read.

An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison

When it comes to bipolar few people have more experience than Kar Redfield Jamison. She both treats it as a psychiatrist and faces it personally. This book looks at bipolar from both the side of the doctor / patient equation.

The Good Greek Girl by Maria Katsonis

This is the memoir of the brilliant Maria Katsonis. Havard graduate, world renowned theatre producer, obedient daughter and sometimes rebel. It explores how this incredible woman found herself in a psych ward fighting for her life.

My Life as a Side Effect by Milissa Deitz

A memoir that helps demystify depression. It gives details from Milissa Deitz’s journey, including self harm, relationship breakdowns, medication and therapy.
The Green Bell by Paula Keogh

A memoir about Paula Keogh’s own experience with schizophrenia. It has been described as a coming of age story that takes a lifetime.

Tell Me I’m Here by Anne Deverson

This has become a classic text to read on gaining some understanding around schizophrenia. It is written by Anne Deverson and explores her relationship with her son and her efforts to get him appropriate treatment and the horrors they both endured. It does not hold back on catastrophic episodes.

Under Siege by Belinda Neil

Belinda Neil is a former police negotiator and homicide detective. Under Siege explores PTSD and its effect on not only work but also on her personal life. It is a very generous sharing of living with trauma.

Me and Her: a Memoir of Madness by Karen Tyrrell

This memoir appealed to me greatly because it looks at how a teacher was brought to the brink and how she managed to come back. As a former teacher who has witnessed and been on the receiving end of workplace bullying this really hit home for me. This book is very thought provoking into our own actions and what we dismiss and turn our backs on.

Woman of Substances by Jenny Valentish

The nature of substance abuse and addiction is explored in this compelling memoir/investigation by Jenny Valentish. From underage drinking to adult use of hard drugs, Jenny Valentish uses her own story and others to explore the nature of addiction, who is most susceptible, and what both treatment and mistreatment look like. Her skills as an investigative journalism are on display in this book as she draws information from experts and sufferers alike.

Well Done Those Men by Barry Heard

Australian Vietnam Veteran Barry Heard shares his life before and after the Vietnam War. It explores how young mean were sent off to war inadequately prepared psychologicaly. It also gives an earnest and gut-wrenching look at his post-war breakdown.

Crying into the Saucepan by Nikki Hayes

The incredible memoir of someone who had battled with mental illness for most of their life only to be repeatedly ignored or misdiagnosed. Nikki Hayes had received many diagnoses such as depression, postnatal depression and anorexia before being diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. This memoir delved particularly close to my heart, because even though I don’t have BPD, I also had begged for help from various professional only to be fobbed off.

Small Acts of Disappearance by Fiona Wright

This is a collection of ten essays about Fiona Wright’s experience with an eating disorder. The essays cover different phases of her illness including life threatening anorexia nervosa. Heartbreak and humour are combined in this moving memoir from a well known and respected Australian poet.

Things That Helped by Jessica Friedmann

This is a collection of essays about Jessica Friedmann’s experience with postnatal depression after the birth of her first child. Jessica Friedmann has achieved honours in creative writing and it shows. The prose is beautiful to the point of poetic. Fans of Fiona Wright will LOVE this.

And of course there is always little old me.

Confessions of a Mad Mooer: Postnatal Depression Sucks by Robin Elizabeth

A direct, not holds barred, earnest telling of my time in a psychiatric hospital with postnatal depression four months after the birth of my second and third children, twins. It is conversational, injected with humour, and includes practical tips.

So, on this R U OK Day, the 14th of September, I challenge you to go further than repeating a preprepared question. I challenge you to use the day to truly engage. Grab a memoir, bunker down, and find out what lived experience is like without interrupting.
Add your favourite memoirs about mental illness in the comment section.

If you or someone you know has mental health concerns you can find good resources on the following sites:

Black Dog Institute http://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/

Lifeline https://www.lifeline.org.au/

Beyond Blue https://www.beyondblue.org.au

Head Space https://headspace.org.au

Relationships Australia https://www.relationships.org.au

National LGBTI Health Alliance http://lgbtihealth.org.au

The Children of Parent’s With a Mental Illness http://www.copmi.net.au

Mental Health in Multicultural Australia http://www.mhima.org.au/portals/consumer-carers

Some postnatal depression specific sites are:

Gidget Foundation http://gidgetfoundation.com.au/

PANDA http://www.panda.org.au/

PIRI http://www.piri.org.au/

Nice Things People Have Said About My Memoir

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I am feeling so lucky that people I have never had the pleasure of meeting in real life are connecting with my book about postnatal depression. I could use #blessed right now without being ironic. The list even includes authors and bloggers who I have admired from afar, which utterly blows my mind. I went for a deliberately conversational tone, that tired minds could soak in, and dumped any highbrow existentialism in favour of being awkwardly and messily me. I am so glad it worked and people are able to connect so easily with my book. I’m going to share some of the comments from people… I’m not crying… okay, maybe I’m a little misty eyed.

‘The result was a funny, real, and sometimes confronting look at something many women deal with.’ Lauren Ingram, The Daily Mail

‘A potpourri of confessions, wise advice (not just for those suffering PND), hilarious parenting and cleaning tips, and compelling stories. CONFESSIONS OF A MAD MOOER is told with honesty and humour, and will make you want to join Robin’s girl tribe.’ Tania Chandler, Author of Please Don’t Leave Me Here and Dead in the Water, review on GoodReads

‘This book had me laughing out loud, holding my breath, and restarting my heart. The recognition of familiar situations, the descriptions of stereotypical reactions, the responses of well-meaning people…all conveyed in a no-nonsense account that is full of practical advice and suggestions, and most importantly, lots of non-judgemental support.’ Cass Moriarty, author of The Promise Seed, review on GoodReads

‘One might think that as this book covers the very important topic of PND (and I am well and truly out of the ‘post natal’ zone, with my ‘babies’ now staring down the barrel of adolescence), it’s no longer relevant to me. But the tough issues that mothers constantly face: (anxiety, yeh – definitely anxiety), the pressure to be that perfect parent, or worrying that your less-desirable parenting skills are going to outweigh the ones you’re proud of – never seem to go away. This book helped me see with a clarity (which I’ve really only learned to appreciate over more recent years), that those early years can be hard. Really hard. It’s ok to admit that, and it’s ok to ask for help. This book gives permission for mothers to do that, in the most humorous, honest way.’ Marie McLean, blogger and banterer, review on GoodReads

‘Robin’s voice is witty & unfiltered, but she also manages to hit home on some very big, often taboo subjects. I will be recommending this to all my mum friends, if not buying a few copies to share around.’ Kirsty Dummin Smith, blogger and very tired mum of a newborn, review on GoodReads

And can I just give a special shout out to John Hunter Hospital! There are a group of nurses their who bought like 10 copies of my book. You guys are awesome. Let’s all blow a big kiss to John Hunter’s Paediatric Ward. Mwah!

Find out where to grab my book here. OR just ask your local bookshop to order it in. They all have accounts with Ingram Australia / Lightening Source who distribute my book so you can get it anywhere in Oz. And they have deals OS too so check it out.

Confessions of a Mad Mooer: the musical ( #bePNDaware )

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Quick confession, the title is a tad misleading. My blog posts on postnatal depression, which I always start with Confessions of a Mad Mooer, are not being converted into a musical… but I have used them as a basis for a book! That’s right, a book. I have written a book about my journey through postnatal depression mainly focused on my month long stay in a psychiatric hospital with my twins when they were newborns. My first blog entry on this can be found here. And the good news is, that you will be able to get it in both print and e format.

So in honour of Postnatal Depression Awareness Week, which starts today Sunday the 13th of November, I am doing a dramatic cover reveal even though my book is not due to be released until December. TADAH!

Look at her. Isn’t she magnificent? The art and cover design were done by Sally Walsh from Sillier than Sally Designs. I’ve never loved an image containing my own melon so much. I simply showed her the linked blog post, said that the picture in it represented my time in the psychiatric hospital, mentioned that I liked orange and birds, then asked if I gave her monies could she give me a cover. She said yes and managed to create this amazing piece of art.

Confessions of a Mad Mooer will be out in December. Talk about the perfect Cristmas gift for the  hot mammas in your life. 
Keep your eyes on this page for more information coming up about the release of my memoir about postnatal depression and my month long stay in a psychiatric hospital. Excerpts and giveaways are coming your way this week, I promise.

I will be doing a blog post about postnatal depression everyday this week as a nod to Postnatal Depression Awareness Week. Please do check in regularly or all the news.

For more information on Postnatal Depression Awareness Week please go here.

And as always, any women who suffer from any form of depression or anxiety are welcome to join my own FB girl-tribe group which is pro mystical troll but doesn’t allow any nasty trolling.

https://facebook.com/groups/563402577109194

If you or anyone you know is depressed, here are some great links:

PANDA http://www.panda.org.au/

PIRI http://www.piri.org.au/

Black Dog Institute http://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/

Lifeline https://www.lifeline.org.au/