Good work will always find a market
IRINA Dunn, executive director of the NSW Writers’ Centre, says 90 per cent of its members are published. Dunn is also the author of TheWriter’sGuide:aCompaniontoWritingforPleasureor Publication . Dunn oversees some 3000 members and 70 courses the centre offers annually.
‘‘ Firstly, anyone wanting to write fiction should not be thinking of making a living, it’s completely unrealistic,’’ she says. ‘‘ The average Australian author earns around $13,000 a year and so most will supplement this with other work, be it driving a cab or teaching.’’ Even so, she cautions against signing a contract without having it checked through the centre’s contract advisory service.
Encouragingly, income aside, Deb Callaghan, director of odd reasons will never see the light of day.’’
Valerie Khoo, of the Sydney Writers’ Centre, says, ‘‘ Always do some research and find out if there is a market for your idea. You need to look at the competition and see if you are filling a gap.’’
with The Sydney Writers’ Centre which offers a variety of courses and a free newsletter to established and up-and-coming writers.
‘‘ A popular SWC seminar is How To Get Your Book Published,’’ says Khoo. ‘‘ It’s a two-hour Callaghan Literary Management, says that good fiction, fiction that people really want to read, will always find a market. Callaghan believes that there is more opportunity to be published in writing non-fiction, ‘‘ partly because in non-fiction there are hundreds of genres and topics, whereas fiction solely lies on the quality of the writing’’. overview of the book publishing process and gives information, such as why book proposals are vital and the other important steps.’’
More than 800 people have attend courses since 2005.
Along with talent, Khoo says discipline is the key to success.
‘‘ You can be as creative as anything, but you have to have the discipline to sit down and write, to actually write.
‘‘ Some people think just because they write fiction, that they can wait for strike.’’
Sophie Hamley, literary agent at Cameron Cresswell, agrees that writing can be a tough gig: ‘‘ My books are closed at the moment because we have such a backlog.’’ Hamley looks for writers who don’t reinvent the wheel. ‘‘ It always comes back to the writing . . . if you are a great writer and can write a good story well told, a story with a strong narrative voice that also, hopefully, illuminates some aspect of life.’’
Hard fact: Anyone wanting to write fiction should not be thinking of making a living, says Irina Dunn