Authors for Farmers: It’s a Wrap!

Screen Shot 2018-10-30 at 8.43.49 amWell, what a whirlwind that was! All the Ebay auctions have now finished and every single manuscript assessment on offer sold! Ten lucky writers out there are getting themselves one-on-one manuscript assessment with a leading Australian publisher or author.
 
I want to say a HUGE thank you to the publishers and authors who put themselves up for auction! As I was putting those profiles together and listing them I thought, wow, this would be really scary! To put yourself out there like that takes great courage and I am so grateful so many people did it. THANK YOU, Sophie Green, Ali Watts, Annette Barlow, Lisa Ireland, Michael Trant, Louise Allan, Melinda Tognini, Annie Seaton, Katie Rowney and Jenn J McLeod!
 
Books are still flowing over to the winner of the giant book raffle, who is in turn sharing her books with her friends. Thank you to all the authors who contributed books (far too many to list out here). You helped make this the biggest book raffle around and raised nearly $20,000 for Australian farmers in need through Buy a Bale (Rural Aid).
 
The auctions raised another $8,000, though I’m still waiting for ebay to calculate the fees before I can get a final figure and do the transfers.
 
But whatever the final value is it is a big win for our farmers and I’ve no doubt will be much appreciated when it gets into their hands.
 
I’ve decided I will do this again next year, for a different charity and I can’t wait to see what turns up then.
 
THANK YOU ALL for buying tickets and bidding on auctions. You are STARS!!!!
 
Jo x

Manuscript Appraisals for Aspiring Writers, Starting Monday, 6pm!

Calling all writers!

Your chance to win yourself a RARE opportunity for feedback on your work in progress from a leading Australian publisher or author is nearly here!

Round 1 bidding begins on ebay, Monday October 15 at 6pm!

This round includes:
Publisher, Sophie Green:
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To find the auction you’re interested in, just search ‘Authors for Farmers’ and the person’s name.
This is a fundraiser initiative with proceeds going to Buy a Bale (Rural Aid) to assist Australian farmers experiencing hardship through drought.
I can’t wait to see what talent is unearthed in this process.
Best of luck!
Jo

Win a Manuscript Assessment with Author Louise Allan

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The first of our wonderful Australian authors in this third and final round who has donated her time to raise funds for Buy a Bale and help an aspiring writer at the same time is debut author Louise Allan. Here is some information about Louise and what she is offering.

If you have been working on a manuscript and want the chance to win first class feedback and maybe even find your work in front of the right people who can make your dream come true, then make sure you keep following along and bid, bid, bid to win Louise’s attention!

Louise’s offer will be on eBay in the THIRD round of auctions, starting 19 October, 6pm.

Welcome, Louise!

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Bio: Louise Allan is a former doctor who turned to writing in her forties. Her first novel, The Sisters’ Song, was published in January 2018 by Allen & Unwin. Louise was awarded the 2018 Tina Kane Emergent Writer Prize at the Mildura Writers Festival and her novel was shortlisted for the 2014 TAG Hungerford Award and awarded a Varuna residential fellowship.

Why are you excited to do this? I like the idea of helping farmers and fellow writers at the same time!

Genres: My preference is for literary, commercial literary, historical and women’s fiction. I also don’t mind a bit of crime.

Submission length: Maximum 25 pages

Communication: Email is probably best and I can use Track Changes.

If the author would like a Q&A session, I’d be happy to chat for an hour face-to-face (if they’re in Perth), or via Skype if elsewhere in Australia.

Reply time: Two weeks

Auction reserve: $99

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Interested? Of course you are! Stay tuned by following me on Facebook, Twitter or here on this blog to make sure you get all the news in the lead up to this exciting event!

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AUTHORS FOR FARMERS is an initiative by Australian author Josephine Moon (www.josephinemoon.com) to band together fellow authors from around the country to help with drought relief fundraising for Australian farmers. All money raised goes to BUY A BALE (registered charity, http://www.buyabale.com.au).

(Please note: Ebay charges fees for using its platform and these will be will be deducted from the total donation amount at the end.)

Win a Manuscript Assessment with Publisher Annette Barlow

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Our third and final generous Australian publisher who has donated her time to raise funds for Buy a Bale and help an aspiring or emerging writer at the same time is none other than Annette Barlow from Allen & Unwin. Here is some information about Annette and what she is offering.

If you have been working on a manuscript and want the chance to win first class feedback and maybe even find your work in front of the right people who can make your dream come true, then make sure you keep following along and bid, bid, bid to win Annette’s attention!

Annette’s offer will be on eBay in the THIRD round of auctions, starting 19 October, 6pm.

Welcome, Annette!

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Bio: Annette has worked at Allen & Unwin as an editor and a publisher for over 25 years. She includes many wonderful fiction writers on her list, for example, Kate Morton, Kirsty Manning, Alex Miller, Louise Allan, Julian Leatherdale, Holly Throsby, Fleur McDonald, Tony Jones and Karly Lane. Annette teaches at Faber Academy at A&U and is in charge of the annual Australian/Vogel’s Literary Award.

Why are you excited to do this? Jo’s desire to support Australia’s farmers spurred me on into thinking what concrete action I could take. I’m very happy to offer my skills in this way.

Genres: I look forward to reading chapters of commercial, literary, rural or contemporary fiction but fantasy, sci-fi, and YA are not my areas.

Submission length: Please send 3 chapters (max 50 pages) and a synopsis.

Communication: Phone and/or email

Reply time: within a month of receiving pages

Auction reserve: $390

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Interested? Of course you are! Stay tuned by following me on Facebook, Twitter or here on this blog to make sure you get all the news in the lead up to this exciting event!

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AUTHORS FOR FARMERS is an initiative by Australian author Josephine Moon (www.josephinemoon.com) to band together fellow authors from around the country to help with drought relief fundraising for Australian farmers. All money raised goes to BUY A BALE (registered charity, http://www.buyabale.com.au).

(Please note: Ebay charges fees for using its platform and these will be will be deducted from the total donation amount at the end.)

Manuscript Assessment Opportunities for Aspiring Writers

I have exciting news! Are you an aspiring writer? Now you have a chance to get your work directly into the hands of someone who might be able to help you make your dream come true!

As part of the ‘Authors for Farmers’ fundraising that I’ve been doing for Buy a Bale (raising funds for farmers affected by drought), I have been overwhelmed with generous offers from top Australian publishers and and authors, who are donating their time to look at partial or full manuscripts and offer feedback on its development.

Yes, that’s right, you could get your manuscript in the hands of an actual real life publisher! Aside from three top publishers (Annette Barlow (Allen & Unwin), Ali Watts (Penguin Random House) and Sophie Green, there are half a dozen or so published authors who are also offering their time to look at your manuscript. All these authors have agents and publishers and you just never know… they might decide your manuscript is worth passing onto their people. But at the very least, you can get valuable, personalised feedback on your project.

This is an incredible opportunity!

The manuscript assessment opportunities will be auctioned off via eBay, starting on 15 October, auctioned in three rounds, beginning…

Round 1: 15 October, 6pm

Round 2: 17 October, 6pm

Round 3: 19 October, 6pm

More details to come on each of our wonderful publisher and authors and auction reserves.

Auction reserves start at $99 for a manuscript assessment from an author with one published book, $149 for a manuscript assessment from authors with multiple books published, and $390 for a manuscript assessment from industry publishers.

Stay tuned!

Getting published: There’s no reason it can’t be you

In February 2009, QWC published an article I wrote called ‘The Power of the Positive’ in their WQ magazine, and I’m betting more than a few people thought I was a little nutty and ‘woo woo’. 

I started off by saying, “It seems to me that there can be a tendency in writing circles to dramatise the negatives… the main message is all about how difficult writing is, how it’s nearly impossible for a first-time writer to get published, how the annual salary for full-time writers in Australia is ridiculously low, how you ‘shouldn’t give up the day job’, how you ‘shouldn’t get your hopes up’, how everything is so competitive and how the slush pile is so high and the editor’s time is so short.”

 
Sound familiar?
 
An excerpt from my article, 'The Power of the Positive'

An excerpt from my article, ‘The Power of the Positive’

The rest of the article goes on to talk about the importance of believing the positive, visualising success, and channeling all that creative energy you have into something useful, rather than something that’s going to tear you down and bring others down with you–incorporating some sports psychology and some new age theory too.

But most importantly, it poses the question, ‘Why can’t it be you?’
 
Now, my first novel, The Tea Chest, has finally made it out into the world. And I am living proof that you can rise above all that negativity out there that will shoot down your dreams before they’ve even started. I’m not saying it’s easy to face more than a decade of writing books (10 manuscripts in 12 years for me before I got a publishing deal) and literally hundreds of rejections. It’s emotionally hard going when you’ve put your soul into a piece of art that other people criticise. And then it just sits silently and invisibly on your laptop with no where to go (which is why I’ve turned some of my manuscripts into books via http://www.lulu.com, just so I could see the completion of the project). 
 
And just for the record, The Tea Chest was submitted to every mentorship program and manuscript development program out there and not picked up.
 
You’ve got to do the work. Of course you do. I guarantee your book won’t get published if you don’t write it. But there is no predetermined expiration date or outcome on this. The sky truly is the limit (or maybe not even then).
 
Having said that, I do actually want to ‘ground’ this notion in a larger philosophy: that of art for art’s sake. Because I’m not saying you WILL achieve all those things you dream of. Sometimes, good work just won’t get published. This is not about bulldozing your way into perceived success via milestones and paycheques. The most important thing of all is to write. Just WRITE. 
 
If you are going to become attached to anything, become attached to being a writer, not to your manuscript. Then you will be able to move on from the wonderful manuscript you’ve worked so hard on for so many years and write a new one, or indeed something else entirely.
 
And just for once, I won’t quote Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way (I do not work for Julia Cameron or get commission  though the amount I plug her I probably should…), but instead I will quote Australian author, Torre de Roche

Forget the stats, the numbers, the wealth, the prestige, the popularity, the things you imagine to be waiting for you on the other side of ‘success.’ They’re not there, and if they are, they won’t stay long. Instead, work tirelessly to make your soul happy. Keep going until you’re standing before a big, glorious creation made by you, for you. Your baby—made of cells, or paper, or clay, or words. That’s yours.

Be proud. You did it for the simple joy of creating. There is nothing more to life than that.

So don’t quit.” 

What I’m saying here is that we write because we must. We write because it makes us happy. That is why we do it. So do it.

But there is no harm in expecting the best along the way. There is no harm in valuing a financial reward for your art. Imagine your biggest, scariest possibility of whatever you deem to be ‘success’. Got it? Good. File it away somewhere in your heart and mind to revisit at a later date, shrug of the criticisms and the crazy looks you get when you say you’re working on a book (to which someone will instantly say, ‘oh, do you have a publisher?’ and you’ll squirm inside and say, ‘no, not yet’), and go write. It doesn’t matter what anyone else has to say about your ‘chances’ of being published. That’s their reality, not yours. Feel free to invent your own.

The publishing news I’ve been dying to share

I have been waiting a long time to share this news. Not just the past four months since my agent, Fiona Inglis, at Curtis Brown first sent out my manuscript to seven big publishers and quickly began receiving excited feedback. But for years. Fourteen years, to be precise. Fourteen years since I decided unequivocally that I wanted to be a career writer. And in that time I’ve written around ten full manuscripts and received countless rejections. Some of them lovely. Some of them rude. Some of them heartbreakingly close to success. All of them leading to this moment.

footerLogoIn January 2012, a fairy godmother of sorts entered my life. You might have heard of her? The delightful and talented Monica McInerney. Though Monica didn’t know me, something I said must have piqued her sixth sense because she very graciously shared her professional assistance. So began a journey that led to her own agent, Fiona, signing me on as well. One thing led to another and finally, I am very, very proud and excited to say that I have a contract with Australia’s largest independent publishers, Allen & Unwin, for my women’s fiction manuscript, The Tea Chest.

In the past four months, I have received three offers of contract, flown to Sydney and Melbourne, been treated to the most exquisite afternoon teas, and listened to the most insightful and flattering descriptions of my book—a book I wrote because I loved it but one I never really thought anyone else would ever read, but which has been so joyfully received by the publishers who did.

When I went to Sydney to meet with senior editor, Annette Barlow, I had no idea that the entire population of the Allen & Unwin office building was going to join us for afternoon tea. Annette led the way through an empty floor, with office chairs sitting alone in front of cubicle spaces with computer screens that had long since gone to sleep. We walked up a narrow stairway to the enclosed roof space where I could hear what sounded like a party going on above. I said just that to Annette and she smiled at me and said, ‘Well, it is a party.’ I still had no idea until I walked into the room and approximately 60 people applauded. Better yet, they had baked! They had a large row of teapots, all with beautiful teas and little cards with tea descriptions, and piles of home-made goodies of brownies and cakes and slices. Fine bone china teapots. A photographer.

Now, I’m a bit of a wallflower when it comes to parties so I took my lovely cup of Russian Caravan tea and sidled to the side of the room wondering what on earth I should do in this large crowd. Never fear. Many friendly faces came up to say hello and talk about my book. There was great excitement. And speeches. And a presentations from people on ‘what I’ve been reading’ (which, of course, turned out to be me).

To hear other people read from my book and talk about it book-club style was nothing short of an out-of-body experience for me. I was the person who’d been systematically rejected by publishers and agents for fourteen years. I truly couldn’t believe they were now sharing such love for my work.

I wanted to share this story with you because if you are like I was right up until this moment, you might feel that publishers are a bit scary. But I’m thrilled to say that they’re ‘just my cup of tea’. (Come on, who wouldn’t love a group of people who have a monthly in-house competitive bake-off?) And when they love your work, they really love it. And that is the most amazing feeling in the world.

I really want to thank Annette Barlow from the bottom of my heart, as well as all the team at Allen & Unwin who also read my manuscript and loved it, for sharing such a beautiful moment with me, for spending so many hours baking (all gluten free food, which, very sadly, I couldn’t eat because I’d had a bout of food poisoning the day before), for bringing in their own personal collections of teapots and tea doilies, and for reading out my words aloud and teaching me more about my own book than I had realised. It was an afternoon I will never forget. Big love to you all.

Thank you to Fiona for taking a chance on me and listening to my rather inarticulate, sleep deprived mummy-brain-impaired conversational skills (I flew to Sydney to meet Fiona just weeks after I’d given birth) and deciding to represent me anyway. (I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know, Fiona, that I seem to be finally getting my sentence ability and memory back.)

And of course a big thank you to Monica for starting it all by stepping in and changing my life.

Finally, to make my news just that little better, my contract includes a two-book deal. Hooray! I am working on my next novel right now, and I look forward to bringing it to you in partnership with Allen & Unwin in 2016.

My first published book, The Tea Chest, will be out in early 2014.