Good work will al­ways find a mar­ket

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Career One -

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.’’

in­spi­ra­tion to

Pic­ture: Gra­ham Crouch

Hard fact: Any­one want­ing to write fiction should not be think­ing of mak­ing a liv­ing, says Irina Dunn

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