Industry Overview 3: Cheryl Clark and Euan Mitchell

Holmesglen TAFE: Industry Overview

Week Three - Journal

Speakers: Cheryl Clark and Euan Mitchell

Cheryl Clark the first speaker stated that originally she spoke to poets about poetry. Cheryl Clark (hereinafter referred to as Cheryl) was a poor poet as a child but this changed. As an adult Cheryl came to Melbourne in 1982 after migrating from her native New Zealand. Here in Melbourne Cheryl entered the Women’s Learning Centre in Footscray and joined writing classes. Cheryl also completed a degree at Deakin University part time over nine years in Creative Writing. At Deakin University part of the course was entering your writing and poems in competitions and here Cheryl joined Writing Groups.

Cheryl worked as a volunteer poet and eventually published her works through co-operative press the publishers. The first poetry book published by Cheryl in 1991 was called “Edge”. In 1995 Cheryl started working as a freelance writer and wrote Non-Fiction. Here the editors gave Cheryl a hard time.

Interestingly enough, at present Cheryl makes a living out of teaching people how to write. Cheryl has published twenty-five Children’s books. Cheryl stressed the importance of Networking. This involves talking to people about your work and making contacts. This means doing volunteer writing attending public meetings or even reading your poetry in public.  Go to events that will develop your skills professionally. There are on-line courses you can complete; you can read newsletters or e-mails from your peers.

Remember that publishing your writing is difficult. You must be aware of the legal aspects in the industry and be a professional and articulate writer. You need to try new things. Cheryl went to conferences at universities in the U.S.A. Here Cheryl met publishers and editors. They ran lectures and workshops at Summer Camps.

Locally Cheryl is a member of the Australian Society of Authors. It is a good idea to join such bodies for Networking and to receive lots of e-mails and newsletters from publishers and editors.

Week Three: Speaker II – Dr Euan Mitchell

Dr. Euan Mitchell (hereinafter referred to as the Dr.) spoke about self-publishing. In the past year publishing has become tough. In Australia within one year 99.9% of books fail to get published.

The ruthless publishers say that five to ten thousand copies of a writer’s first book or manuscript must be sold initially to be a good author. Therefore publishers will only give you the options that suit them. The publishing process according to the Dr. has four stages.

Stage One involves preparation. Here one needs to concentrate on planning and research such as Writing and Editing.

Stage Two involves pre-press. This involves bibliographic Data, Text Design and layout and finally permissions and cover design.

Stage Three involves printing. Here you focus on offset or digital printing and of course binding.

Stage Four involves: Sales and marketing. Here one means a book launch, distribution, promotion and evaluation.

A definition of ISBN – International Standard Book Number

To publish your book get onto a community radio. When in Melbourne go onto the ABC Radio at Southbank.

Some important steps to follow:

  1. Do not print too many copies of your book. For the first copy only print one thousand copies.
  2. Avoid Vanity Publishers e.g. “Authors Wanted”.
  3. Do not let your book look self-published.
  4. List your book in a Retail Catalogue. e.g.

i.            book find in Sydney N.S.W. Phone (02) 9986 7084

 ii.            get an Australian Book in print. They are automatic with Evan getting an ISBN.

The publisher is called Thorpe-Bowker. Contact them on: (03) 8645 0385 in Melbourne.

The Australian Bookseller and Publisher is a magazine that tells you about any new books coming up.

Ring up the advertiser to get your book into this magazine. It costs only fifty-sixty dollars and remember to give a synopsis of your book.

There is also a Weekly Book newsletter called “Blue news”. This shows jobs for Evan in the Publishing Industry. The Victorian Writer’s Centre and Holmesglen TAFE have this publication available free of charge. All of this will help Evan’s books to get into shops.

Also consult the Australian Bookseller and Publisher Monthly Magazine at Melbourne (03) 8645 0308 and finally consult the weekly book newsletter in Melbourne on (03) 8645 0301. If Evan wants good Digital printing for his book then go to Griffin and McPherson, for they are good at this!