A Print Book Out There

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Last Tuesday the print version of where the heArt is was launched at LILAC, Wellington’s lesbian library, quite possibly the only one of its kind. It’s a subscription library and describes itself as “for women-oriented women.” Find out more at its website at: http://lilac.lesbian.net.nz I had been asked to say something about writing and about publishing and to read from the book.

“The best training for writing is reading’ I said; not an original statement, but one I believe to be true. I talked also about content—as in feelings, experience, imagination, thought—and craft, the “how to” of good writing, using Elements of Style, which I mentioned in my last blog entry, as an example of a useful resource.

Deciding what piece from a novel to read to an audience involves considerations of the plot of the book and not giving too much away. So I read the first chapter.

In talking about publishing I referred to the range of ways you can publish, from chapbooks, which are hand made and usually given away to friends and family to publishing by an established publisher with all their weight of expertise, marketing and distribution to bring to your book. The latter, of course, is accomplished by a tiny percentage of people who write.

So I identified a whole bunch of other ways of getting readers, from posting short pieces on Facebook, or your own blog, or entering competitions. Publishing an ebook requires less outlay than publishing a print book, though it’s a mistake to omit editing and design from the process, and it requires time and commitment.

Getting an agent I referred to in passing; it’s not something I’ve ever done myself. Join the New Zealand Society of Authors (www.authors.org.nz/‎), I suggested, for reliable, New Zealand-based information. Poking around on the internet for writing that relates to your own was another idea, you never know who or what you will find.My final piece of advice was to follow this blog.

An option I had forgotten about until my partner mentioned it after the event, is serialisation on the internet. Renée is publishing her book Once Bitten a chapter a week at her website www.wednesdaybusk.com

However anyone decides to seek readers for their writing it takes some effort, you can’t just plonk your story/ poem/ essay/novel on the internet and wait for people to find it. The good news is that there’s plenty of ‘how to’ information out there, just be wary of anyone who wants money before they’ve done anything.