Women, Submissions and Self-Publishing

How to publish a book, how to publish an ebook, book writing software, formatting an ebook, self publishing, uploading ebook, selling ebook,

Feature image from CESMAGAINE

For six years Kelli Russell Agodon worked as a co-editor and chief for a literary magazine.  In her piece for Medium, SUBMIT LIKE A MAN published May 2015, she writes about what she learned during that time, and what she knows about how men and women submit their work from consideration.

If I had to make one general statement about what I most learned at the press as an editor, the big revelation was that men and women submit their work differently.

More here – While aware of the generalisations being made, Agodon cannot ignore the overall trends between men and women.  When a rejection letter is sent to a man with the following, ‘We would like to see more of your work,’ a man will tend to actually send more of their work. She puts it done to

When the same rejection letter is sent to a women, she will generally wait 3 to 6 months before resubmitting, if at all.  She puts it done to

She puts it done to the classic problem of women over thinking things, reading too much into the words, not wanting to seem pushy or being happy to settle for an ‘almost.’

I am guilty of this too.  If I am really honest with myself, it is my fear of utter rejection that drove me towards self publishing my work instead of subjecting it to the ridicule of rejection I was certain it would have recieved.

This is stupid I know, as rejection letters are vital to improvement as a writer, self reflection and challening ourselves to work harder and go beyond what we thought.

It seems I am not the only one.

I a survey published by the GUARDIAN in March 2015, it seems self-publishing allows women the chance to circumnavigate their fear of rejections and break the book industry’s glass ceiling.  The number of women selling best sellers through self-publishing is almost twice that of men.

“More and more female writers are seeing success in self-publishing,” said Monique Duarte, chief executive of FicShelf, which released the results to mark International Women’s Day on Sunday 8 March. “It’s a level playing field.”

While men are still dominating traditional publishing it is the ladies who seem to be making self-publishing work for them.

While mainstream publisher are known for playing it safe, it is the self-publishing market that is allowing female writers to step out of these preconceived norms and break the template of what women should be writing about.

AMANDA HOCKING has made millions selling her novels online through self Publishing.

Why Do I Only Get Queries From Dudes?

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Feature image from TIMEWALKERII

So, I review books.

My details are on a number of different websites, including this one, outlining how indie authors and writers can get in contact with me about reviewing their work.  Authors send me queries, which include details of their novels, and they ask me if I would be interested in reviewing their work.  I say yes to as many reviews as I can.

I receive one or two requests each day.  Many of these I turn down due to time restrictions or a disinterest in the blurb of the book.  But I read every request, consider it and respond.  I have a REVIEW POLICY that helps me choose the books I will consider for review.

I decided that I would always give preference to Indie Australian Female writers as that is my community, and you need to support your own.  The only thing is, they never write to me – Ever.  Since I started receiving queries for book reviews I have only ever been contacted by male writers. Continue reading

How to Get A Book Review

There is one very simple way of getting your book reviewed.  It is so obvious that lots of people actually overlook it, searching for more complicated and intricate ways of sneaking a book review from an unlikely suspect.  Ask.

The first three book reviews I received for my book arrived in my email because I had asked for them.

Unless you are a major author with the backing of a big publisher, you are probably going to struggle to get a review in mainstream media.  this also means that the people who are going to be reviewing you book will be doing it for free in their spare time.

So be kind, and gentle and give your reviewer sometime.

The best way to try and get a book review is to ask for one.  There are many people who read you book who would not think to give the book a review online.  So ask them, perhaps at the end of the book if you feel so bold. Continue reading

EWF15 – Inside the Publishing House

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Feature image from MEGHANBREWSTER

On the 29th of May 2015, I went inside a publishing house, metaphorically speaking.  As part of the EMERGING WRITERS’ FESTIVAL, I was able to attend a Publishing Masterclass with one of Australia’s largest and most successful publishing houses, HACHETTE AUSTRALIA.  Here’s what I learnt, straight from the Hachette’s mouth.

Submitting Your work

When submitting your manuscript to a publisher, be clear, direct and slightly business like.  You need to convey an awareness of what you’re selling.  ‘This is the book, this is the type of book it is and this is the hook.  That’s all we need to know.’

Getting Rejected

There are a number of reasons why a publisher will say no to a manuscript.  Firstly the manuscript might actually be very bad or nowhere near publication.  Alternatively, it might have potential, but the publisher is already working on a similar manuscript.  The manuscript might be in direct competition with a writer the publisher has already signed.  It might also have a lot of potential, but the publisher simply does not have time to get the work ready for publication. Continue reading

Understanding the Industry, Why you should write a series

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It is so important for writers to know and understand the market that they are in or about to enter.  It is common sense and good business strategy to know your competition, your situation and the climate of the industry.  So lets pull it apart a little and have a look at the cycle of sales and some dependable trends.

Why do people buy books

Why do people keep buying books?  Despite the many times you’ve heard that the publishing business is dead, it just doesn’t seem to lay down and die.

People don’t need to buy new books, they can get books for free or very cheaply second hand.  Instead of buying an book people can borrow them from libraries, download them from torrent sites, or they can steal them from a friend.  Secondhand book stores a full of 50 cent bargains market stalls always have great books.  In a question posted on Quora about why people continue to buy books, the responses were interesting but certainly not surprising.

Firstly, people keep buying books because they love them.  They buy books to have them and to hold them.  They buy books to write in them, take notes and underline passages.  People buy books to keep as souvenirs, to remember events and holidays, and as gifts for loved ones.  People buy books because they love to collect them, lend them to friends and fill their houses with them.

One response even went so far as to say, ‘I buy books that I want to own.  There are books that I find so interesting and beautiful that I want them to be a part of my life.’

But people are not just buying books for themselves.  A huge percentage of publishers and book sellers revenue comes from the Book Gift Market.  The Book Gift Market makes a lot more sense when you start to look at when people buy books.  

When do people buy books

In an article by Anthony Wessel titled, The Cycle of Book Sales he breaks down a few of the trends in book selling.  It is interesting to see that for most of the year (approximately 46 weeks) booksellers sell the same amount of books.  That means that week to week, and year after year, the same number of books are being sold.

When trying to sell your own book, you are not trying to persuade a buyer to purchase your book, but rather, you are trying to influence them to buy your book instead of another book.

The remaining 6 weeks of the year is the holiday season covering the lead up to christmas and into the new year (also thanks giving in the USA).  During these six weeks, book sales increase.

‘What we can see from this is that marketing and promotion of a book does not increase the over all number of books sold that week, but only influences the buyers choice.’

Christmas period is the time that accounts for the gift market.  The gift market is an area of sales that Ebooks and online readers just can not compete with.  People do not give each other file downloads for christmas, they give real life printed books.

they give beautiful books, with inscriptions on the inside cover, they give inspirational books and cook books and coffee table books, and people have continued to do this through the online book selling storm and the rise of self publishing.

meghan brewster, Ebooks, ebooks online, book, gift ideas, buy books online, download ebook, how to publish a book, self publishing, how to publish an ebook, self publishing ebooks, australian authors, young authors, female writer, female writer australian, People Will Buy a Series’

After looking at the top selling books for 2014, one thing is clear.  Series’ Sells!  More than half of the top selling books from 2014 where from a series.

12 of the Top 20 books sold online from Amazon and 11 of the Top 20 books sold in stores from the bookseller Barnes & Noble where from an established series of books.  Four of the books made up the complete Divergent Series by Veronica Roth.

What is it about a series that compels people to keep going, to read the last book anyway when they didn’t really like the last one.  to keep going.

Thinking of a series reminds me of the Bronze Horseman series.  So many of my friends read the third book when none of us even like the second.  Why?  something enticing about the completed set, about knowing what happens, finishing, finalising everything.

 

Before You Name Your Book – Read This

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NAMING THE BOOK – Before you name your book…

Think about what you want to call your book and then Google it.  

Check how many books have the same name.

Type your potential book name into Amazon and talk to your friends about the title.

If there are already a number of books (or 21 books on the first page of Amazon) called ‘Hope’ then consider calling your book something else.  It is hard enough to sell an original novel with an original title.  Don’t make it hard to find online.  You will be making your life very difficult if you are going to use a title that is already in use.  You will be at the bottom of the search results on Amazon, and you will rank on page 5 of Google search results.  The URL for that book title will probably be taken.  The back link profile online for that title will be directed to other peoples books.  The website domain name of that name will be taken.

Your readers will be confused and you may end up selling a whole lot of someone else’s work.

Also – Dont make your title incredibly difficult to spell or remember.  Word of mouth is a very powerful marketing tool for novels.  If the title of your novel is hard to pronounce, hard to spell or difficult to remember, people will be less inclined to tell their friends about it.

My mother always tells me the book she is reading.  My friends and I discuss what we are reading when we chat.  If you want to call your book ‘We are one.‘  Don’t spell it …. ‘Oui R won‘.

Things that are hard to find – Are hard to find.

Quick tip – Don’t use the word LavenderLove or Time – they are taken.

See the whole article on Self Publishing Click Here –

Self Publishing 101

download ebook, how to publish a book, self publishing, how to publish an ebook, self publishing ebooks, australian authors, young authors,
emerging writers, emerging writers festival, meghan brewster, Ebooks, ebooks online, book, gift ideas, buy books online, download ebook, how to publish a book, self publishing, how to publish an ebook, self publishing ebooks, australian authors, young authors, female writer, female writer australian,ATTITUDES TOWARDS DOING IT YOUR SELF HAVE CHANGED

When writers talk about self publishing, they are no longer discussing the biggest mistake of their career.  Self publishing is no longer a dirty word.  Attitudes towards self publishing have changed and so have the available technologies that make it happen.  Success stories in self publishing have helped to de-marginalise the self publishing industry and give creative control back to the writers.

emerging writers, emerging writers festival, meghan brewster, Ebooks, ebooks online, book, gift ideas, buy books online, download ebook, how to publish a book, self publishing, how to publish an ebook, self publishing ebooks, australian authors, young authors, female writer, female writer australian,  Writers now have a plethora of information, resources, technologies, software programs and e commerce plugins to make the process easy and professional.  Just Googling ‘Self Publishing’ will bring up over 40 million results.  That’s enough information to bury you for the rest of your life.

The following article is a collection of what I have learnt, information from various festival panels, tips from other writers, information from fellow bloggers, a lot of research and a secret chat with an SEO expert. 

So if you are interested in Self Publishing –  Go fourth & publish!

WHY SELF PUBLISH?

What you need to ask yourself before you begin, is why you want to self publish.  No really, why?

Knowing why you want to self publish will get you through the difficult times.  Self publishing is a long and difficult process, and while it can be incredibly rewarding, establishing your intentions early one will help you nagivate this huge industry.

When Guy Kawaski, from Author Publisher Entrepreneur was interviewed about why people self publish, he had this to say.  ‘If you’re writing a book simply as a means to an end – to get rich, or to get the word out about your expertise, or to attract more consulting or coaching business – forget it.  Stop what you’re doing right now.  If you’re thinking just about what you can get out of it, you’re probably writing a “crappy” book (Guy’s word), and your “crap” will be forever immortalized in black and white.  Something you definitely don’t want. (2)

how to publish a book, self publishing, how to publish an ebook, self publishing ebooks, Karen Andrews from Misc Mum was in the process of sending her children’s fiction to publishers when she decided to self publish instead.  ‘Bugger it, I’ll do it!’  She had a feeling it would work and took the risk.  She admits it was a big risk, deciding to use her personal savings to fund the project.  ‘The whole process took about a month,’ she says,   ‘Employing an illustrator, getting a professional logo and learning about the business. She ‘took a risk and it paid off.’ (1)

IT TAKES A COMMUNITY TO RAISE A WRITER

Andrews told the audience at The Emerging Writers Festival, Melbourne, that deciding to self publish was scary.  ‘It is a daunting spot to be in when you are deciding what to do, but you have to back yourself.’

When Andrews added that, ‘the best advice I can give you is to not do it all your self,’ the other panelists nodded in agreement.  Getting professional help is the difference between people connecting with your work and it looking like a big piece of crap.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PROFESSIONALISM AND COMMERCIALISM

Putting your best work forward does not mean you need to sell out.

When you are self publishing, seek the advice and services of professionals through every step of the way.

Self Publishing does not mean ‘Free Publishing.’

When Torre DeRoche decided to self publish, she set about educating herself.  What she learnt very early on was that she really needed to build an audience first.   She was told that publishers weren’t publishing memoirs ‘at the moment’ decided to do it herself.

DeRoche learnt all she could about self publishing, seeking professionals to edit and review her work.  As a professional designer she was able to do a lot of the graphic work herself.  DeRoche told the crowd at the Emerging Writers Festival that she spent a lot of time making her book into a product that she was proud of.  She focused on the art work, book design, packaging and overall image of the book.  

She als0 learnt how to build a community online.  DeRoche started her own blog The Fearful Adventurer and got very involve in social media.  She spoke about her book on Facebook and Twittteas @fearfulgirl – ‘I was obsessed.’ (3)

For more information on Building an Audience online Check out Self Publishing 202 – Marketing.

Screen shot 2014-06-12 at 12.06.13 PM

WRITE THE DAM BOOK!

The most important process in the whole process is to actually write the dam book.  This is very crucial.  Write it!  Make sure you have something that you believe in and that you are proud of; it will make marketing and advertising your self published work a lot easier.

NAME THE DAM BOOK

Think about what you want to call your book, then Google it.  Check if there are other books with the same name.  You might be surprised.  Type your potential book name into Amazon and talk to your friends about the draft title.

If there are already a number of books (or 21 books on the first page of Amazon) called ‘Hope’ then consider calling your book something else.  It is hard enough to sell an original novel with an original title.  You will be making your life very difficult if you are going to use a title that is taken.  You will be at the bottom of the search results on Amazon and you will rank on page 5 of Google search results.  The website Domain name for that book title will probably be taken.  The back link profile online for that title will be directed to other peoples books.

You may confuse any potential readers send them off to by someone else’s work by mistake.

Also – Dont make your title difficult to spell, remember or pronounce.  Word of mouth marketing for novels is very important.  My mother always tells me about the books she reads and my friends and I discuss what we are reading when we chat.  If I dont feel comfortable with the pronunciation then I tend to mumble it.  If you want to call your book ‘We are one.‘  Don’t spell it …. ‘Oui R won‘.  Things that are hard to find – Are hard to find.

Quick tip – Don’t use the word Lavender, Love or Time – they are taken.

EDITING

No matter how good you are at proofreading and editing, never edit your own work.  Editing your own work defeats the whole purpose.  Find someone that you trust, who is good at their job and get them to edit your book.  Once they have finished, pay them.

If you are struggling to justisfy paying an editor, think of it this way, an editor is not an outgoing cost but a business investment.  You need an editor for your self publishing business to survive.  An editor will not only make your work better than it was, it will help you to shift  into the mindset of a professional writer.

With my latest book, I went all out. I hired two copy editors to go through the basics on spelling and grammar. Then I hired Command Z Editing, run by Nils Parker, to help me structurally edit, i.e. do the job that editors used to do (example: Maxwell Perkins in the 1930s) but have been sorely lacking in the past 20 years from traditional publishers. Nils has previously edited bestsellers from Tucker Max, Kamal Ravikant, Ryan Holiday, and a dozen writers, as well as written screenplays, books, etc.

I am not saying “hire Nils” by the way. I’m just saying this is who I used (and paid). Nils and I went back and forth on more than 15 different rewrites for my book. The difference between the original version and the final version is like the difference between chicken shit and chicken salad.'(4)  James Altucher 

Where do you find an editor?

Editors are everywhere, you just need to ask the right people.  Editors are online, editors are using Linked In, editors are members of Facebook groups and editors go to Writers Centres.  There are a lot of editors working as freelancers on websites such as Freelancer and Odesk.  Editors also sometimes hang out at the Institute of Professional Editors.  They can be found on websites such as the Society of Editors. Editors are on Facebook and Twitter, they go to writing festivals and present at the Emerging Editors panel. Editors are not cheeky, they are not hiding from you, you just haven’t started looking yet.  Some editors can charge up to $10 000 to edit your work, though most of them will charge a lot less.  It is a matter of whether you believe in your work enough to find the money to spend on it.

Google Editor and see what comes up.

PRICING YOUR BOOK

How do you price your work?  This is a very difficult question.  How do you price creativity?

Darrell Pitt always wanted to be a writer.  He sold his first self published book an hour after is was posted – for 99 cents.  Pitt is an advocate for selling a lot of stories for less, and is his own success story.

The issue with having a low cost novel is that people may perceive it as a low cost publication.  It all depends on who your audience is.  It would make sense to have a lower priced book if you want to catch the attention of Young Adult readers.

When you are publishing your own work, you are receiving all of the profits.  When you are in charge of your product you can set the price.  If you are still not sure what to charge, Publishers Weekly have an online article that may help guide you through the pricing delema How to Price a Self Published Ebook?

 

ADMINISTRATION

Once you have written your book, edited it and think you have it ready to publish, you are still only halfway there.  What comes next is a whole lot of boring administration.  If something happens to your books, it is your responsibility, even if it’s not your fault.  As a self published writer you are a self employed small business owner.  Who is going to print it?  Are you just going to have an Ebook?  Where are you going to keep your stock?  Andrews spoke of receiving her first print run of books and then realising she needed somewhere to store them all.  Do you have space in your garage for all your printed books?

How are you going to monitor online sales?

How are you going to keep track of your stock?

Where are you going to keep your stock?

Are you going to get insurance for your work?

Who is going to distribute the work?

How are people going to know the book exists? 

TOP BORING ADMIN TIPS

  • Remember that once you begin to self publish you are officially a small business owner.
  • Learn about small business and get control of you taxes.
  • Know you responsibilities as a self publisher and be informed.
MISTAKES

Darrell Pitt’s advice, ‘You can’t break the internet.  If the cover is not working, change it.  If you find a typo or spelling mistake in your finished book, upload a better version.  You can keep updating and improving your work for as long as you like.  It is yours.  So don’t be scared to get it wrong the first time.  You can have a few go’s at it.’

…And don’t worry about connecting with everyone

Think about how many people are on the internet right now.  Don’t get carried away trying to connect with everyone online, you don’t need them all.  Just focus your attention on getting your book into the 1% of people online who are really going to get something out of your work.  Aim to get your book into 1% of the internet readership, you will have just found yourself about 50 000 000 readers.

RESOURCES 

Jenny Blake is an amazing lady with a strong mind for organisation.  She has kindly shared her 15 tab Book Marketing Master Spread Sheet online.  It is a great resource for getting your head around marketing your book.

Euan Mitchell has writen a number of non fiction books about self publishing including ‘Self Publishing Made Simple and Your Book Publishing Options.

Ja Konrath has sold more than 3 million books in over twenty countries.  He is a prolific self publisher and online writer.  He has a great blog about writing, A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing.

The science fiction writer Dean Wesley Smith blogs at ‘The Writings and Opinions of Dean Wesley Smith.

 

 

If you enjoyed this article there is more!  

Click here for Self Publishing 201 

And here for Self Publishing 202 – Marketing.

 

 

(1) Karen Andrews appeared on a DIY self publishing panel at the Emerging Writers Festival 2014.

(2) Considering Self publishing – Don’t bother unless… By Kathy Caprino, Forbes –

(3) Torre DeRoche appeared on a DIY self publishing panel at the Emerging Writers Festival 2014.

(4) James Altucher from The Altucher Confidential has published many articles on Self Publishing

 

Scrivener – Self Publishing is Easy

I have just started using Scrivener as my word processing software.

I love it.

I was looking for Software to convert my writing into an Ebook…

I found it when I started to search for software that could format my work into an Ebook available for Kindle and E Readers.  A couple of blogs recommended Scrivener for the formatting process – but what was really interesting is that Scrivener was recommend for drafting, planning your book, storing research and character outlines, saving images and setting writing goals – writing editing proofing and formatting.  It does everything.

I have used it for far more than just converting my writing into an Ebook.

Below I have included a couple of the features of Scrivener –

To give you an idea of how it looks and what it can do.

book writing software, book writing software free, planning a book, formatting an Ebook, Self Publishing,

Characters – Planning Board

Characters & Casting

Collect all your character profiles in one place.

Using images of real people, you can go through the process of casting your characters and keeping the images with your character’s profiles.

I love using old actors for Casting my Characters as there are lots of pictures of them through every stage of their lives.

Also – actors tend to have lots more photos of themselves in various moods, situations and styles.

Scrivener, book writing software, book writing software free, Planning a book

Location Planning Board.

 

Setting & Locations

Locations settings have always been difficult for me, as my novels tend to spand quite a lot of time and in doing so my locations age and change and develop.

Scrivener has a whole location setting to help you with mood boards, images, notes and consistency while writing.

Here is a board that I made for a location I had been struggling to image.  It is a cottage in the forest, that has not been touched or fixed or restored for a long time.

 

 

FORMATTING; Your writing to Ebook –

There are a load of ready made templates in Scrivener including a PhD thesis paper, Short Story formatting and Ebooks.  These templates make it so easy to format and publish everything you write in Scrivener.

There are heaps of tutorials Online about how to format your ebook using Scrivener – Even this one…

5 minute Video Tutorial from the makers of Scrivener – Literature & Lattes.

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 Enjoy!

 

Literary Festivals for 2014

Writing Festivals, Emerging Writers Diary

Its Time to Start Planning 2014!

January is coming to a close and the Holidays Are Over…  Back to work everyone.

Below is just the tiniest morsel of what the Australian Literary Community has to offer.

For a more thorough index of the festivals, including poetry, screenwriting and genre festivals – Go to this great website –  Literary Festivals.

January

January is the relaxing month – where you have time to plan the next eleven months of the year.  There is nothing really happening, which is great because there is a lot coming up you need to organise.

February

  –

Writers Festival, Perth Writers festival, Emerging writers DiaryNational Screenwriters Conference, Mornington Peninsula, VIC.

Perth Writers Week, Perth, WA. General lit.

Write in the Great Southern, regional WA. General lit.

March

Writers Festivals Australia, Emerging Writers Festivals.Australian Festival of Travel Writing, Melbourne, VIC. Travel writing.

 Adelaide Writers Week, SA. Gen. lit.

Tasmanian Writers Festival, Hobart, TAS ( Tassie Writers Centre). Gen lit.

Bellingen Writers Festival, Bellingen, NSW. Australian general lit.

Festival of Speculative Fiction, Sydney, NSW. Spec fic.

April

Writers festival Australia, Emerging Writers FestivalEye of the Storm, Alice Springs, NT. Gen. fic.

Newcastle Writers Festival, NSW. Gen. lit.

May

Sydney Writers FestivalEmerging Writers Festival, Melbourne, VIC. Gen. lit

Sydney Writers Festival, NSW. Gen. lit.

June

Emerging Writers Festival, Melbourne, Emerging Writers DiaryHenry Lawson Festival, Grenfell, NSW. Bush poetry, lit, music

Noosa Long Weekend, Noosa, QLD. Gen lit stream.

Gold Coast Writers Festival, Gold Coast, QLD. Mainstream, General literature expo, Publishing, writing,  indie and self-publishing.  

July

Writers Festival Australia, Emerging Writers Festival.Kimberley Writers Festival, Kununurra, WA. General lit.

New Voices Festival, Eltham, VIC. Gen. lit.

Rose Scott Women Writer’s Festival

 

August

byron bay writersByron Bay Writers Festival, Byron Bay, NSW. Gen. lit.

Melbourne Writers Festival, Melbourne, VIC. General lit.

Romance Writers of Australia conference, Fremantle, WA. Romance.

Sydney Jewish Writers’ Festival, Sydney, NSW. General lit.

Queensland Poetry Festival, Brisbane, QLD. Poetry.

WA Poetry Festival, Perth, WA. Poetry.

 

September

Indigenous literacy day, emerging Writers, Writers festivalCrimeScene, Perth, WA. Crime fiction.

Indigenous Literacy Day, national events. General lit, YA focus.

Big Sky Writers and Readers Festival, Geraldton, WA. General lit.

Brisbane Writers Festival, Brisbane, QLD. General lit.

 

October

Emerging writers, Gold Coast Writers festival, Meghan BrewsterFestival of Australian Children’s Literature, Canberra, ACT. Children’s and YA.

National Young Writers Festival, Newcastle, NSW. General lit.

Queensland Writers Week, statewide, QLD. Gen lit, open source events

Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, Bali

 

November

National Young Writers FestivalFestival of Australian Children’s Literature, Canberra, ACT. Children’s and YA.

Clare Writer’s Festival, South Australia, General Lit

December

No Festivals – Time to have a rest and get ready for the Holiday Season – Even writers need to take time off for Christmas and New Year.

 

 

These dates are brought to you by Literary Festivals .com.au.  For more details including dates and times go to this site – It is great!!

Literary festival in Australia