An author, 20 years in the making. Trust me, there’s still time for you.

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Dear (as yet) unpublished writers,

I realised recently that this year it is has been 20 years since I declared I wanted to be a full-time career author. Twenty years! That might have made me feel the teensiest bit old.

(Do you know what else made me feel old recently? My six-year-old came home from school and told me he’d joined the junior choir and they were learning John Mayer’s song, Waiting on the the World to Change. I was thrilled. When I was six years old, I also joined the junior choir and do you know what was the first song I was taught? God Save the Queen!!! I’m not even joking. The second song was Advance Australia Fair. Yep.)

Anyway, back to the writing thing…

I still remember that moment well. It was 1999 and I was in my first year teaching. I had gone to a weekend workshop with the Queensland Writers Centre. I was so inspired that I had a ‘full body moment’ where I decided this is it. This was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I wish I could remember who the teacher was that day. Clearly, she was so inspirational that she changed my life.

I’ve been writing ever since, short stories, poetry, flash fiction, contemporary novels, kids books, non-fiction, newspaper and magazine articles, online articles. Not all of it has been published. Not all of it is good. Most of it didn’t make any money. Sometimes it was exhilarating and sometimes heartbreaking. I made friends, a community. I won some prizes, was shortlisted for some, and on one memorable occasion was ranked in the last (i.e. considered ‘worst’) twenty-five per cent of entries.

It all changed in 2012 when I was signed by an agent. My first book, The Tea Chest, was published in 2014, but it was actually the tenth full-length manuscript I had written.

Sometimes, you’ll hear about a writer who just decided to write a book and it got published. If you’ve been slogging away for years and years at your craft, this can be deflating. But everyone’s journey is so different. A writer might publish one book and never publish another ever again. Another writer might publish a book and it’s a runaway hit, only to never have another book live up to the first one’s sale ever again. Another writer might write twenty books and make the same amount of money as the one with the mega hit, just over a longer time period. Another writer will start with modest sales and then build, and build and build.

There’s still time and space for you too. Perhaps you just haven’t truly found ‘your voice’ yet–that important but difficult to describe quality to your work. Perhaps you’re just not writing in the genre that’s right for you yet. Perhaps the timing of the market just isn’t there to support your work yet. Yet. Most writers I know slogged it out for years before they were published. You’re definitely not alone.

This year, I am blessed to have two books hitting the shelves (fiction, with The Gift of Life in April, and non-fiction with Buddhism for Meat Eaters in July), bringing my list of published books to seven. Seven doesn’t sound like a lot, I know. But writing is a slow game, a long game, and you’re going to need stamina to turn it into a career. There’s no one path to publication and no guarantees of outcomes after publication. It’s a game of luck as much as skill. The thing that keeps you going, the thing that must be there to keep you going, is passion. You write because you have to. You write for love. You write for the bliss moment, the moment when the real world falls away and it’s just you racing to keep up with the story your characters are telling. There is no other way.

Write on!

p.s. the story of my little red typewriter is here

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 Michael Trant

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The next of our wonderful Australian authors who has donated his time to raise funds for Buy a Bale and help an aspiring writer at the same time is debut author Michael Trant. Here is some information about Michael and what he 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 Michael’s attention!

Michael’s offer will be on eBay in the FIRST round of auctions, starting 15 October, 6pm.

Welcome, Michael!

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Bio: Michael Trant is a WA country boy now based in Perth, having grown up on the family farm at Eneabba, before moving to Geraldton and then out to Yalgoo. He writes contemporary Australian fiction and his debut novel Ridgeview Station was released in June 2017.

Why are you excited to do this? I received a lot of help from established authors and look forward to be able to do the same for others

Genres: Outback/rural themed works would be my strong point, but I read a lot of fantasy, thriller and horror, though I wouldn’t feel confident offering advice on works where romance is the main plot.

 Length: 50 pages. That seems to cover what most agents/publishers ask to see first.

Communication: Email. Face to face would be great if it is practical.

 Time: One month. Nothing worse than a long wait for feedback.

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.)

 

Authors for Farmers: 100 Books for $100,000. Final List of Books.

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I’m setting the bar stupendously high and aiming for $100,000 for our farmers. Think we can do it? We’ll never know if we don’t try!

Get your tickets here!

Here is the final list of books in the prize pool:

Josephine Moon Three Gold Coins + The Chocolate Promise
Nick Earls Analogue Men
Monica McInerney Trio of Quinlan novels: The Alphabet Sisters, Lola’s Secret, Trip of a Lifetime, signed
Rachael Johns Talk of the Town + The Greatest Gift
Katherine Howell Web of Deceit (US hardback), signed
Nicki Edwards The Peppercorn Project
Liz Byrski A Month of Sundays
Karen Viggers The Lightkeeper’s Wife
Michael Trant Ridgeview Station
Louise Allen The Sister’s Song
Annie Seaton Come Back to Me + Her Outback Playboy
Sandie Docker The Kookaburra Café
Eleanor Limprecht The Passengers
Nene Davies Distance
Aoiffe Clifford All These Perfect Strangers + Second Sight
Elise McCune Castle of Dreams
Monique Mulligan Writing the Dream
S.D. Wasley The Seventh
Emily Madden The Lost Pearl
Pamela Cook Close to Home + The Crossroads
Tess Woods Beautiful Messy Love
Fiona Palmer Sisters and Brothers, Secrets Between friends, The Road Home, The Family Secret & The Saddler Boys, The Family Farm
Vanessa Carnevale The Florentine Bridge + The Memories that Make Us
Christine Wells The Juliet Code
Love Sabre (Kristine Charles) Love Sabre Anthology
Helene McCarthy A Quiet Hero
Katie Rowney Front Page News
Louise Guy Everyday Lies
Nadia L. King Jenna’s Truth
Amanda Knight Situation Critical
Sally Hepworth The Secrets of Midwives, The Family Next Door, The Mother’s Promise, The Things We Keep
Kylie Ladd The Way Back
Susan Johnson The Landing
Elizabeth Foster Esme’s Wish
Adele Dumont No Man is an Island
Cassandra Austin All Fall Down
Jennie Jones The House at the Bottom of the Hill
Shirley Patton The Secrets We Keep
Beth Prentice Dangerous Deeds
Phillipa Nefri Clark Jasmine Sea + The Station Master’s Cottage
V.P. Colombo A Little Bite of Happiness
Laura Sams Crazy Busy Guilty
Lisa Ireland The Shape of Us
Kelly Rimmer Before I Let You Go
Melissa Schembri How to Find Your Dream Job in 21 Days
Susanne Bellamy et. al. Hearts of the Town
Anna Daniels Girl in Between
Reba A Booth Hosts of Erravilla
Jane Gillespie Journey to Me
Joanna Nell The Single Ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village
Kate Forsyth Beauty in Thorns
Racel Watts Survival
Margareta Osborn Mountain Ash
Ellie O’Neal The Right Girl
Michelle Endersby Awakening Around Roses
Darry Fraser Daughter of the Murray + Where The Murray River Runs
Amanda Hampson The French Perfumer + The Yellow Villa
Maddison Michaels The Elusive Earl + The Devilish Duke
Andy Muir Something for Nothing
Claire Varley The Book of Ordinary People
Fleur McDonald Fools Gold, Suddenly One Summer, What Does a Horse Say?
S.L. Mills GOM’s Gold
Alicia Gilmore Path to the Night Sea
Melinda Terranova Bequeathed
Ben Hobson To Become a Whale
Mark Brandi Wimmera
Liane Moriarty Nine Perfect Strangers
Anita Heiss Tiddas
Kirsty Manning The Jade Lily
A.L. Tait The Book of Secrets
Benjamin Law The Family Law
Christian White The Nowhere Child
Dervla McTiernan The Ruin
Brooke Davis Lost and Found
Jessica Rowe Is This My Beautiful Life?
Sophie Laguna The Choke
Tim Winton The Shepherd’s Hut

1st prize: 75 books

2nd prize: 15 books + $30 Dymocks voucher

3rd prize: 10 books

Open to Australian postal addresses only. Books will be posted directly to the winners from the authors. Prize drawn 2 October 2018.

So You Want to Be a Writer, podcast

Want to know my top three tips for writing? Or how I manage characters and setting? Or maybe how to manage the light and shade in a story? I share all of this and much more on episode 231 of So you Want to Be a Writer.

Have you listened to the Australian Writers Centre‘s podcast series? It’s full of great information, tips and advice, as well as a regular guest speaker.

And this time around, I’m delighted to announce that it’s me! Click this link to hear the podcast.

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The first part of the podcast is a conversation with Allison Tait and Valerie Khoo and covers how to avoid the query stage with agents and publishers, then my interview comes after that at around 27 minutes. Happy listening!

Win a Book Club in Box set of Three Gold Coins + Wine + Snacks!

Screen Shot 2018-04-18 at 8.22.23 amDo you have a book club? Want to start one right now?

Here is a wonderful opportunity to have your next meeting’s event delivered to your door, with 10 copies of Three Gold Coins, two bottles of wine and quality snacks, as well as reading and discussion notes and advice on how to start a book club if you need it.

Good Reading Magazine says: “Three Gold Coins packs a mountain of heart, an abundance of tortured soul and a banquet of mouthwatering food.”

To enter, simply follow this link.

Good luck!