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

The World Without Us, Mireille Juchau

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THE WORLD WITHOUT US by Mireille Juchau

I knew nothing about The World Without Us when I first picked it up.  To be honest, judging from the cover, I thought it was going to be a science fiction novel.  I had just finished reading James Bradley’s novel CLADE and thought The World Without Us looked very similar.

I had not read a review on the novel or ever heard of the author, Mireille Juchau.  It was a funny choice, but I was stuck in Sydney for a week without a book and just took a chance.  I’m so glad I did. Continue reading

Rush Oh, Shirley Barrett

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RUSH OH! by Shirley Barrett

In the place where I grew up, Rush Oh! needs no advertising campaign.  Here it has received a great deal of traditional Eden gossip and word of mouth advertising.  Everyone has heard about the book about our whalers.

I am from the Eden, the town in which RUSH OH! is set.  Well, I went to high school in the whaling town of Eden, I watched the Whale Festival Parade meander down Imlay Street year after year.  I walked up the hill to the Whale Museum for science lessons.  I touched the bones of Old Tom on display in the museum and scratched whale oil from the carpet where it drips lethargically from whale bones bolted to the ceiling.

I knew this story.  I knew it well. Continue reading

Mothers & Others, Collection

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Feature image MOTHERS & OTHERS

Mothers & Others is an anthology of short stories and non-fiction essays from twenty-eight different Australian women; many of which are writers.  It was edited by Natalie Kon-Yu, Christie Nieman, Maggie Scott, Miriam Sved, Maya Linden and published on 1st May 2015 by Macmillan Australia.

Each ‘chapter’ is a meditation on parenting, children, and mothers.  The anthology includes stories about infertility, choosing to remain childless, adoption, step-children and pregnancy.

The contributors are amazingly different and their experiences so diverse, Alice Pung, Brita Frost, Deborra-Lee Furness, Simmone Howell, Maggie Scott, Brooke Davis, Cate Kennedy Celeste Liddle, Rosie Waterland, Christie Nieman, Shakira Hussein, Miriam Sved, Debra Adelaide, Dianne Blacklock, Emily Maguire, Estelle Tang, Frances Whiting, Rosie Batty, Kathleen Mary Fallon, Liane Moriarty, Maxine Beneba Clarke, Geraldine Brooks, Melina Marchetta, Maya Linden, Natalie Kon-yu, Jessica Rudd, Enza Gandolfo and Sue Gillett.  These women formed a well-rounded read on the topic of motherhood, in all its forms.

The flap copy of Mothers & Others promises unflinching honesty and clear-eyed wisdom.

A work that holds a mirror up to the most romanticised, demonised and complex roles women play; those of mother or non-mother, and daughter.’

Twelve Years of Looking After Luke, by mother Rosie Batty, as told to Maggie Scott, was a standout of the collection.  Rosie Batty’s harrowing journey as a parent through domestic violence, paternal mental illness and, of course, the very public death of her son Luke at the hands of his father, is told with warmth and calm. Continue reading

Australian Women Writers Challenge

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This is probably me being very ambitious, but I’m going to join a reading challenge seven months too late.  The AUSTRALIAN WOMEN WRITERS’ CHALLENGE is part of a worldwide movement to raise awareness of Australian Writing by women.

The Challenge is primarily intended to challenge subconscious stereotypes that govern our choice of books to read.  With that in mind, I just agreed to read and review 20 books by Australian Women by the end of 2015.

Ok.  If you’d like to join in the challenge, SIGN UP here.  I better get cracking.

I wonder how this will go?

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EWF15 – Inside the Publishing House

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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

EWF15 – A Discussion About Interviewing

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I had never really thought much about what makes a good interview; never mind what makes a good interviewer.  I thought interview skills were for journalists and police officers.  I was wrong.  Being able to interview a stranger is a wonderful skill that most writers and bloggers don’t know they need.

As a writer, interviews are a wonderful way to flesh out characters, delve into unknown areas and accurately portray various professions.  Interviewing skills help when writing profiles and long-form articles for publications.  Many novelists even recommend conducting interviews with your own characters as a means of getting deeper into their minds.

As a blogger, interviewing skills are also wonderful.  Interviews are a refreshing way to cover the content you might not be proficient in writing about yourself.  Interviews with other bloggers, who are also experts in your niche make wonderful articles and give your readers a break from your ‘voice’. Continue reading

The Waterfowl Are Drunk! Kate Liston-Mills

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THE WATERFOWL ARE DRUNK! by Kate Liston-Mills

How I came to be reading The Waterfowl Are Drunk! is a long story.  In short, I received an advance unedited proof for reviewing purposes.  The long answer starts eighteen years ago when KATE LISTON-MILLS and I walked into the same English class.

From the first page it’s clear why Liston-Mills was awarded WRITER OF THE MONTH from the South Coast Writers Centre for her poetry.  The Waterfowl Are Drunk! is a poetic treasure consisting of seven short interwoven stories.Kate Liston-Mills, kate liston, waterfowl are drunk, kate liston mills writer, Emerging writer, emerging writers festival, what is an emerging writer, young writer, your writers, australian writers blog, blogger or writer

The opening story Bound sets a quiet, chilling tone as a fox stalks a nest of hatching swans.  Immediately the reader is initiated into what will become recurring motifs in the work; loss, the bonds of family and the lasting effect absence can have on a community.

Hey Porter, Hey Porter deals with the difficult issue of a child’s diagnosis with Down syndrome.  Parents, Edward and Hazel, sit with their three year old Lottie and listen as the doctor explains the term.

After a few moments of stares and throat clearing, Hazel shakes her head and stands, “Rubbish! Lottie’s normal… just a slow learner, that’s all.” Her eyes are glazed. Ed tries to squeeze his wife’s hand, but shaking, she lugs Lottie out of the room, leaving him with the mongrel doctor.

How does a diagnosis change the child?  While Edward is driven to find answers, for Hazel it changes nothing.  Disability or issues of difference is another recurring theme in The Waterfowl are Drunk!

Time is marked by historical events; war, cricket, technology and changing attitudes of disability.
Continue reading

Publishers and Literary Gatekeepers

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What are Literary Gatekeepers?

In the writing world, I am sure you have heard the comment that publishers are the literary world’s gatekeepers.  Gatekeepers control passage through a certain gate.  This gate may be literal or metaphorical.  In literature, gatekeepers are the people who decide who and what gets published when.

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FIGURE A

Let’s take this metaphor further.  To be a gatekeeper, one must have a gate.  And for this gate to be successful in it’s function, it must be firmly attached to a wall or fence.  The gatekeeper remains at their post until a person wishes to pass through this gate.  The gatekeeper is in charge of deciding wether said applicant meets the necessary criteria to access the other side of the wall/fence.  See Figure A * Continue reading

Burial Rites, by Hannah Kent

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BURIAL RITES by Hannah Kent

The first time I saw Hannah Kent was on AUSTRALIAN STORY when she was profiled for the episode MORE THAN A GHOST.  All I remember from the show were these words, ‘No one’s really a monster’.  I thought, maybe this chick is the smartest woman alive.

It was not very much later that an interview with Hannah Kent appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald.  The story of Hannah Kent and her first manuscript was a fire feeding itself.  Suddenly everyone was talking about how everyone was talking about her. Continue reading