Australian Writers’ Centre- How to create and sell your eBook & How to get your book published & Self-publishing: How to do it & and many more writing courses.

  • Australian Writers’ Centre– How to create and sell your eBook & How to get your book published & Self-publishing: How to do it & and many more writing courses.
17 July 2014
Last week was the Southern Highlands Writers’ Festival in Bowral. I was thrilled to speak on a panel on “How to Get Published” along with fellow panellists Carol George(Commissioning Editor at Penguin Books) andLaura Greaves (author of Be My Baby). Moderated by journalist and author William Verity, he suggested that the title of the session was a misnomer. After all, these days anyone can “get published” when you consider that self-publishing has become very easy and is also extremely affordable.  

The more pertinent question then is “how to get book sales” and that brings in a whole raft of questions about marketing your book and yourself. The bottom line is that you might have the best book in the world, but that’s a moot point if no one knows about it. It may as well be still sitting in your bottom drawer! 

The first step is to consider what your options are when it comes to publishing. Do you pitch your book to mainstream publishers? Do you go for the self-publishing option? Or do you forget about a printed book altogether and embrace the world of ebooks from day one? Luckily for you, our excellent publishing seminars can help shed light on this modern author’s dilemma.

When: Monday 28 July 2014
Time: 6.30–8.30pm

How to Get Your Book Published with Geoff Bartlett

When: Monday 4 August 2014
Time: 6.30–8.30pm
Self-publishing: How to do it with Geoff Bartlett
When: Thursday 13 November 2014
Time: 6.30–8.30pm
Oh, and thanks for sending me (from last week) your other spots in the world that come to mind when you think “literature”. Yes, Paris is a favourite – no wonder our writing tours there are sooo popular! 

Have a super week!

What our students are saying


Did you know that “feedback” is the shortest word containing the first six letters of the alphabet? It also helps us to know if we’re getting it right. Here’s this week’s feedback selection: 

“I knew within the first three minutes I had already made my money back… and then some.” 
– John Myer (Self-publishing: How to do it) 

“Jeni was enthusiastic, knowledgeable, easy to listen to, encouraging – bloody fantastic actually!” 
– Greg Byers (Creative Writing Stage 1) 

“I gained a very strong understanding of the essential aspects of thriller writing and now know what publishers would be looking for when presented with a thriller manuscript.” 
– Belinda Williams (Thriller Writing)

Q&A: There’s no need to obsess about it…


Q: Hi AWC, last week you wanted us to email what we have an obsession with. I’m obsessed with the little plastic ties on bread packets, while my friend is obsessed by those teeny tiny forks that you stick into corn cobs. Which of us is right? 
A: Well, neither of you seem quite right, but I think you’re after the grammatical side of things, yes? 

Q: Indeed. Am I correct saying “obsessed with” or is my corn-lovin’ pal correct with “obsessed by”? 
A: Both of these adjective forms are found in English usage. And there are many cases of them being used interchangeably without too many eyelids being batted. It’s not an American/English thing, it’s often a context and preference thing. However…

Q: Yes? 
A: The verb “obsessed” leads a double life. When it’s not off galavanting about as the simple past tense and past participle of ‘obsess’, it’s lurking in the shadows as being influenced by evil spirits (kind of a lite version of ‘possessed’). The latter is less common these days, but could be the reason we’ve got two options.

Q: So would I be right in this case? 
A: In terms of being “really into something”, we think “obsessed with” is the way to go. Because you are the active participant doing the obsessing. As for “obsessed by”, you play more of a passive role in things – much like being possessed, entranced etc – and so it’s something else doing the obsessing. This CAN make sense and sound right, especially in spoken English, but here, go “with”.

Q: I knew I was right! 
A: Yep, you’re the best thing since sliced bread (in a packet, tied up).

Podcast: Episode 20


In Episode 20, Valerie and Allison (let’s just call them “Vallison” shall we?) discuss cashing in on Stephen King in an unlikely way, the lost art of writing to pen pals and how to kickstart your creativity. Also in this edition, Valerie speaks with daddy-blogger Clint Greagen on his new book, Reservoir Dad. Clint talks frankly about the challenges of turning his award-winning blog into a book and what lies ahead.  

You can listen to the podcast here or find it on iTunes here. If you don’t use iTunes you can get the feed here.

Courses starting soon

You’ll find a course starting soon to suit your writing goals:


Enrol now!

Your course is on:

Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 July 2014 
Are you ready to create her story?

#Trending: “Offensive”


We all know the adjective “offensive” – as in something displeasing, disgusting, or frequently describing a radio host’s behaviour. But the news this week has been littered with its less common form, relating to an attack.


The noun form, as we have seen in the Middle East, describes “launching a powerful offensive” (which in itself can certainly be offensive to many) or taking a position such as “going on the offensive”. Back with adjectives, sports teams may have an “offensive set piece” (i.e. when they have the ball) or a fighter jet will have “offensive capabilities”. And finally, despite it being universally spelt “offensive”, there are spelling differences with offence (“offense” in US) and defence (“defense” in US).

Competition winner


Wow, some great entries for things that you’re “obsessed with” (or “obsessed by”!). We were told about typewriters, vintage buttons, coffee (your sensual cappuccino “love letter” was great, Stephanie!), Stephen King novels, world travel (wow Rosina!), even Stockholm Syndrome!


But the winner of Karen M Davis’s new novel, Deadly Obsession, is Jessica Zoch from Victoria who is totally obsessed with her very large collection of chip-and-crack-free teacups, from around the globe. Apparently if her house was burning down, she’d grab all of them and run. (If that’s true Jessica, we really hope there’s never a fire… we’re not sure you’d make it out!) Well done… the book is on its way to you.

NEW (EASY) GIVEAWAY – win tickets!


Launching in selected theatres today is the film Reaching for the Moon, starring Miranda Otto and Gloria Pires as a poet and architect caught up in a love affair in 1950s Brazil.


We have 10 double passes to give away and we thought we’d make it easy this time. Simply give us an adjective that you think best describes Brazil. To enter, simply reply to this email by midday next Tuesday 22 July 2014 and change the subject to “BRAZIL”. Don’t forget to include your postal address. Good luck!

I’m on the blog!
New Year Resolutions


This week, check out Valerie’s timely post on getting your act together for the new financial year. Being a writer means that you effectively run your own business, but running it effectively isn’t always easy for us creative types! Valerie’s tips will help you start the year off as you mean to continue. 

Check it out right here.

TIP: 180 or 360?


Brazil used to be really good at soccer. Now they can’t win a game. They seem to have done a complete ____.


Which is it? 360 or 180? 
We often use phrases involving 180 or 360 degrees (or just the numbers) to talk about someone’s change in behaviour etc. In basic geometry, a circle/compass has 360 degrees. If you spin around once and end up facing the same direction, you’ve gone a total of 360 degrees (one circle) and are back to where you started.


People often confuse this with explaining someone who has “turned their life around” – what they mean is that they are no longer going in the direction they were headed. They are facing the other way – and have turned half a circle, or 180 degrees.


To explain a situation as opposite from what it was, use 180 (degrees). 
Based on the example above, Brazil has done a complete 180.

Plan Ahead: Magazine Mondays!
Enrol now!

Monday nights can be so dull. If only there was a way, for a couple of hours a week, to meet a bunch of inspired kindred spirits, all keen to dive into the truly limitless world of freelance writing. Well, there is! Consider this is your golden, shrink-wrapped opportunity to finally tick something off the 2014 bucket list… 

Over five practical and inspirational weeks, you’ll learn secrets and skills to being a freelance writer for newspapers and magazines. Presenter Alexandra Spring will show you how to come up with ideas, find a good angle, interview like a pro, pitch to editors and get published! By the time Spring (Alexandra) is done, spring (the season) will be here and you’ll be ready to hatch into a confident, awesome freelance writer! 

“Being surrounded by motivated and like-minded people was inspiring and motivating” 
– Tracey Markos

What, are you still here? Sign up today! 

Course: Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1 with Alexandra Spring
When: Every Monday for 5 weeks from Monday 4 August 2014
Time: 6.30–8.30pm
Picture This

Sign up today! 
You may have seen this one, by cartoonist Tom Gauld, doing the rounds. We’re excited to add this to our list of courses. Just need to find the right font first (Times New Roman or Cambria?), and buy some pens, and do some laundry…


WEBPICK: Word Crimes

“Weird Al” Yankovic is back in the parody spotlight this week. And we thought this would be a nice way to finish the newsletter – with a bit of music!

Listen here!

Upcoming course dates

Online courses


Online course: Advanced Fiction Writing Techniques with Cathie Tasker/Pamela Freeman 
Week beginning Monday 21 July 2014 for five weeks


Online course: Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1 with Allison 
Week beginning Monday 21 July 2014 for five weeks


Online course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Cathie Tasker/Pamela Freeman – NEW DATE 
Week beginning Monday 28 July 2014 for five weeks



Online course: Writing Books for Children and Young Adults with Judith Ridge/Cathie Tasker 
Week beginning Monday 11 August 2014 for five weeks


Online course: Writing Picture Books with Cathie Tasker 
Week beginning Monday 11 August 2014 for five weeks


Online course: Travel Writing with Julietta Jameson – NEW DATE  
Week beginning Monday 11 August 2014 for five weeks




Sydney courses 
Course: Editing Essentials with Deb Doyle 
Thursday 17 July 2014 (one-day course) 

Weekend course: History, Mystery and Magic with Kate Forsyth 
Saturday 19 July and Sunday 20 July 2014 (2 consecutive days) 

Weekend course: Write a Chick Lit Novel with Lisa Heidke 
Saturday 19 July and Sunday 20 July 2014 (2 consecutive days) 

Course: Business Writing Essentials with Kate Hennessy 
Tuesday 22 July 2014 (one-day course)


Course: Thriller Writing with L.A. Larkin 
Starting Tuesday 22 July 2014 for five weeks 

Course: Writing Books for Children and Young Adults with Judith Ridge 
Starting Thursday 24 July 2014 for five weeks 

Course: Life Writing Masterclass with Patti Miller 
Starting Friday 25 July 2014 for eight weeks 

Course: Food Writing with Carli Ratcliff 
Saturday 26 July and Sunday 27 July 2014 (2 consecutive days) 

Seminar: How to Create and Sell Your Ebook with Anna Maguire 
Monday 28 July 2014 (two-hour evening seminar) 

Seminar: Blogging for Beginners with Kim Berry 
Wednesday 30 July 2014 (two-hour evening seminar)


Course: Professional Business Writing with Kate Hennessy 
Thursday 31 July 2014 (one-day course)


Course: Plotting and Planning with Kate Forsyth 
Saturday 2 August 2014 (one-day course)


Course: Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1 with Alexandra Spring 
Starting Monday 4 August 2014 for five weeks


Seminar: How to Get Your Book Published with Geoff Bartlett 
Monday 4 August 2014 (two-hour evening seminar)


Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Jeni Mawter – NEW DATE 
Starting Wednesday 6 August 2014 for five weeks


Weekend course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Claire Scobie 
Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 August 2014 (2 consecutive days)


Course: Writing for the Web with Grant Doyle 
Monday 11 August 2014 (one-day course)


Course: Grammar and Punctuation Essentials with Deb Doyle 
Thursday 14 August 2014 (one-day course)


Course: Writing Picture Books with Cathie Tasker – NEW DATE 
Starting Tuesday 2 September 2014 for five weeks 

Course: Screenwriting Stage 1 with Tim Gooding 
Starting Thursday 4 September 2014 for five weeks


Seminar: Blogging for Beginners with Kim Berry 
Saturday 13 September 2014 (two-hour morning seminar) 

Weekend course: Fantasy, Science Fiction and More with Pamela Freeman 
Saturday 13 September and Sunday 14 September 2014 (2 consecutive days)


Course: Advanced Fiction Writing Techniques with Jeni Mawter 
Starting Thursday 9 October 2014 for five weeks 

Course: Introduction to Novel Writing with Pamela Freeman 
Starting Monday 13 October 2014 for six weeks


Weekend course: Travel Memoir with Claire Scobie 
Saturday 1 November and Sunday 2 November 2014 (2 consecutive days)


Course: Writing About Interiors, Style and Design with Nigel Bartlett 
Starting Wednesday 5 November 2014 for two weeks


Course: PR and Media Releases That Get Results with Catriona 
Pollard – NEW DATE 
Thursday 6 November 2014 (one-day course)


Course: Screenwriting Stage 2 with Tim Gooding 
Starting Monday 10 November 2014 for five weeks


Seminar: Self-publishing: How to do it with Geoff Bartlett – NEW DATE 
When: Thursday 13 November 2014



Course: Life Writing with Patti Miller

Starting Friday 16 January 2015 for six weeks


Course: Write Your Novel with Pamela Freeman 
Starts Monday 2 February 2015 (6 month program)




Overseas writing tours – 2014

Writing in Oxford with Kate Forsyth 
When: Sunday 7 September to Monday 15 September 2014


Memoir Writing in Paris with Patti Miller 
When: Thursday 23 October to Saturday 8 November 2014



Overseas writing tours – 2015

Writing in Vietnam with Carli Ratcliff – NEW DATE 

When: Friday 11 September to Saturday 19 September 2015


Memoir Writing in Paris with Patti Miller – NEW DATE 
When: Thursday 22 October to Saturday 8 November 2015 

Best wishes, 
Valerie Khoo 
National Director


Australian Writers’ Centre 

Sydney and Online: (02) 9929 0088 
Melbourne: (03) 9005 6737 
Perth: (08) 9468 0177
Australian Writers’ Centre | National office: Suite 3, 55 Lavender Street Milsons Point, New South Wales 2061 Australia 02 9929 0088


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