Friday, 17 May 2019

Some Writing Lessons

I've been doing quite a bit more writing-focussed work lately, and I've learned a few lessons along the way. I thought I'd document them here.

ARRA Romantic Rendezvous
I went to my first Book Signing with ARRA in Sydney. It was fabulous. I met lots of new-to-me authors, chatted to readers, and learned so many things for the next book signing.
  • When someone is going to buy your book, don't be shocked! And for goodness sake, don't say, "Are you sure?" 
  • People come to book signings to buy books and meet authors. So have some of your books, sell them, be proud of them, talk about them to readers. They're there to find new authors too.
  • Try to make the table look nice. Doing a dodgy brothers set up is awful. You have to make it attractive.
  • Have something to give to people, it draws them in. This can be swag, chocolates, a bookmark, or someone else's free book (thanks Ainslie Paton!)
  • READ the instructions for the day! I missed reading some important info about having stickers on my books (and Ainslie's). Lucky the wonderful Debbie from ARRA was prepared for vague, newbie authors.
Self Publishing
My cover
I've done a little bit of self-publishing. I popped up a small book of short stories, A Pocket of Pebbles. It had been online for a while with a dodgy-brothers cover that I did myself. I know I'm not good at cover design, but my day job is working with the programs that make covers, so I just did one being a cheapskate.

Patti's cover
When I published Untamed Destinies with Kim and Beth, I met Patti Roberts who does book cover design and formatting. She is amazing. Out of the blue one day, she sent me a cover for Pebbles, with a lovely note that said she thought it might need a spruce up. See how lovely she is, she didn't say my cover was crap!! So I updated the cover and it got some sales. What a shock :)

And then I thought I should turn it into a print book and put my money behind my work, and try to sell it face-to-face. And, with thanks to IngramSpark, I now have some copies coming to me to onsell. The whole setting up for print was a new experience (even if it is my day job!). But I'm glad I did it. Now I have to put what I learned at ARRA into action and not be shocked if someone wants to buy it!

Guest Blog Post
And I'm being brave and linking my two writing selves together a little more. So this post on Kim Petersen's blog, is my becoming whole (outing my wild writing self). If you're interested in reading about the wild me, you can go here.

Author Talk
Kim, Beth and I were honoured to be guests at the Shellharbour City Library as speakers during lunch at the beaming in of the Sydney Writers Festival. Kim and I were in-person, and the library beamed Beth in so she was with us too. I felt like I was on the Jetsons :) We had a lovely audience who asked some fabulous questions. I was thrilled to learn that one lady had heard me speak on Radio National, and was happy to meet me in person. How exciting and unexpected!

The wonderful Shellharbour Library is hosting Kim and I for a workshop on June 1.We're going to talk about Self-Publishing and Collaboration. So we've been busy pulling together information for this session. If you're around, we'd love to see you there. And I'll have books to sell and I promise I won't be shocked if you want to buy one (I hope!).

Friday, 5 April 2019

AFLW Grand Final

Did you watch the AFLW Grand Final last weekend? I was glued to my TV for it. It was an incredible game by the Adelaide Crows, but I think the complete sportsmanship in the game won it for me.

If you need a catch up, there's a great article here summarising the sportsmanship and women's sport.

Just in case you don't know, 53 034 people attended the game in Adelaide.

The entry was free (I think from Twitter discussions) but I don't think that detracts from the fact that 53 000 people got off their backside and went to the game.

During the game, Erin Phillips, the best player in the AFLW competition, was injured. She's 33, so a serious injury (which this was, a knee, ACL) could mean that she wouldn't play again. She was taken on the ground in the Medi-Cart. But as this was occurring, not only did her Adelaide teammates come up to give her a pat on the back, a hug, or quiet word, the Carlton players did too.

I watch a lot of NRL and have done for years. When a player is down injured, very few players even acknowledge the injury. Often the other team walk away. I can think of a few players who check on someone, have called for a trainer, have held their shoulder, stayed with them. In 40 years of watching NRL, I can think of maybe a handful of players who've shown this level of care or concern for an injury - teammate or not. Even in lower grades, I don't see this in male footy. And with kids, I've see it discouraged because it doesn't seem 'manly' or 'it'll distract you from your game'.

Women do this. And they still go back and play the game with the same intensity they did before.

I love the sportsmanship.

In the article I linked to, Richard Hines speaks of young girls who chat while the ball is at the other end of the field. And this is my experience of female sport. I played a lot of different games and I always chatted in quiet times to my opponent. Often I was in trouble for this, but I'd shrug it off and do the same the next week. I mean, you're both standing there waiting, you may as well say hi!

I played mixed sport too, and I'd still chat. Some guys chatted back, some didn't. I used to always say that I played mixed sport to see the true calibre of a male. Some were pigs to play with - so I stood clear of them. Some were too gentle and condescending to female players - so avoid them too. Others were fair, took you as an equal even if they went a bit softer on you - I liked those guys.

In Long Game, my Women of W.A.R. book, I wanted to include this friendliness between competitors as a part of my story. So I linked to Nicola Marsh's character, Angie, through a friendly rivalry on the field. Cress and Angie marked each other, played tough games, but they also helped each other off the ground, chatted and swapped details after the game. This part of the story was really important to me.

And speaking of the Women of W.A.R. books, did you know that Amy Andrews' book Fair Game was nominated for a RITA Award? That's an award in the USA for books in the romance genre. It's fantastic that women's sports heroines are being recognised in a country other than our own. Fingers crossed for the ceremony in July!

My Recently Read List

  • Eliza Henry-Jones - Ache
  • Catherine McKinnon - Storyland
  • Sarah J Maas - A Court of Thorns and Roses
  • Anne Gracie - Marry In Haste
  • Emily Larkin - all her books
  • Sarah Schmidt - See What I Have Done
  • Lisa Ireland - The Shape of Us