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Community Writing and Publishing Forum

JK Rowling’s Harry Potter was turned down 12 times before it was picked up by a publisher, and Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind was dealt 38 rejections.

For most writers, the path to book publication is an arduous one, full of re-writes, rejection and long waits in the slush pile.

But before the publisher calls and the bidding wars begin, is there something else you could be doing to get your book published?

The NT Writers’ Centre’s (NTWC) Community Writing and Publishing Forum is presenting a weekend of workshops and information sessions on all the ways to get your work into the readers’ sphere, starting with self-publishing.

“We get a lot of questions about how to get published, including self publishing, which is moving very fast, so we’ve got a self-publishing expert coming to let people know about their options. Whether they want a printed book or an e-book,” says Writers Centre executive director, Sally Bothroyd.

E-books can be a pathway to getting print published (Fifty Shades of Grey, anyone?) or be publications in their own right and Euan Mitchell is an expert in both. He’ll guide writers through the costs and benefits of traditional, digital and hybrid publishing models at a workshop at Darwin City Library.

“It’s all very well to self publish these days, but that doesn’t get it noticed,” says Bothroyd.

“Anna Campbell is a romance writer but she is also doing a workshop on marketing your book. No one’s going to do that for you unless you have a publicist. If you want to do it yourself, she’ll have tips on using social media and writing pitch letters.”

As well as workshops, the forum has free information sessions at the NT Library with Tara Wynne from bigwigs Curtis Brown Literary Agents, and children and young adult publisher, Clair Hume, from Affirm Press.

There’s also one-on-one 15-minute feedback sessions available with Wynne and Hume for 20 people (NTWC members will get first dibs). To apply for this, contact the Writers’ Centre. 

Sat 14 – Sun 15 Oct | Various Locations | Various Prices | All about self-publishing: workshop | Selling and marketing your novel | The building blocks of romance fiction

Q&A with romance novelist Anna Campbell

Anna Campbell writes historical romance and is holding workshops at this month’s Community Writing and Publishing Forum. She spoke to Off The Leash about the bestselling biz of romance fiction.

Why is historical romance such a popular genre?
People have many reasons for picking up a historical romance – there’s that fairytale element, and I think you can get away with a larger-than-life story in a historical romance that might be a little more difficult to carry off in a contemporary romance. I write Regency romances set in England and Scotland in the first quarter of the 19th century, and a major attraction for me is the elegance and formality of the time. Contrasting passionate love stories with the polite world (at least in public) gives the stories a definite zing.

How did you get your first novel published?
I decided very early on in my life that I wanted to be a writer and finished my first novel (a historical romance, naturally!) when I was 17. It took me 27 years after that to get a publishing contract so I was definitely a late bloomer. In 2006, my book No Ordinary Duchess went to auction with several publishers in New York and was eventually bought by Avon, the romance division of HarperCollins. Since then, I’ve been a full-time writer. As you can imagine after all those years of working towards this goal, it’s a dream come true.

Is digital-only publication going to take off ?
I think digital publication has well and truly taken off. The question is how far will it go. You just need to see how well many digital-only authors are doing. Some readers still prefer print (I’m one!) but I suspect that’s a generational thing – younger readers are used to getting their entertainment from a screen. 

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