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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

TOPIC: New Year’s Resolution: from unpublished to published!

Today, I'd like to welcome first time visitor LOUISE CUSACK to my blog.

Louise is an Australian award winning fantasy author whose Shadow Through Time trilogy is about to be released by Pan Macmillan’s eBook arm, Momentum Books.  She is also a highly successful manuscript developer, writing mentor and tutor.

Take it away, Louise!

Thanks, Kylie. :-)

Most writers will happily acknowledge that there’s never been a better time to be an author.  Opportunities to become published are rife, with new ePublishers opening almost daily. We’re spoilt for choice, and if we’re still not satisfied with what publishers are offering, we can self-publish, which is a viable option for niche-market books or even mainstream fiction if you’ve got the time and know-how to self promote.

But for those of us who prefer the distribution might of a big publishing house behind us (not to mention the editorial and art departments) plus the lure of an advance on sales, traditional publishing is still a good choice, and despite the finger-pointing from successful self-published authors, the big publishing houses are catching up with the fact that we want decent eBook royalties and eBook pricing, along with our editing and great covers.

There are still a few anomalies: I recently heard of a big Australian publishing house that was charging $20 for an eBook by a new author and that’s just not sustainable, not in the current market.

So as an author you have to be savvy and do your research before you choose a publisher to submit to, checking the quality of their editing and covers, and the pricing of their books (both in print and digital formats), as well as scouting around to get feedback on what their advances and royalties might be.

Brenda Hiatt’s Show Me The Money website is a good place to start. But realistically, you also have to have a good quality book to submit, because big publishers are highly discerning.

So how can you achieve that? Well, belonging to a professional writers organisation like Romance Writers of Australia is a great start. If your books have even a sniff of a love story in them you’ll be welcomed into the fold and RWA’s competitions and conferences have helped many Aussie authors across the line to contracts with Avon, Berkley, Harlequin, Random House, Pan Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, Penguin and more.

Having a critique partner (or CP) is also a great start, but as I found early in my writing career, the critique group you’re in is only as helpful as the skill levels of its participants. When I started working with a published author who was also a writing teacher, I went from having short stories published to having novels published.

Now as a writing teacher, mentor and manuscript assessor myself, I offer that service to other writers, so if you think your work could benefit from a professional assessment, do have a look at my Manuscript Development webpage for an overview of how manuscript assessment works.

I’ve helped three clients become published, and many more to wins and shortlists in competitions.  Other tutors as well as myself also conduct teaching retreats with writing groups which can incorporate manuscript assessment and individual mentoring or writing workshops as required.

A quick look in the Australian Writers Marketplace (book and online versions) will offer you a variety of other qualified tutors/manuscript developers as well. So don’t wait for the magic to drop into your lap, go out and find it.

If you’ve been writing for years and not getting published, this might be time to consider that old saying “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you always got.”

Resolve to make the changes necessary to ensure 2012 is the year your writing dreams turn into your writing career!

More information about Louise can be found on her website or Goodreads link, or you can like or follow her blog, Twitter account or Facebook page.

Louise's Shadow Through Time trilogy:


  1. Hi Louise and Kylie
    Some great advice. And the start of a new year is always a good time to think about the way we do things and consider our options. Looking forward to the re-release of your books Louise - my Kindle is fired up and ready to download.
    Great post.

  2. Sound, practical advice for all writers both published and unpublished. Especially like the last quote.

  3. Sounds like a great new year's resolution! Thanks for the article Louise!

  4. Thanks guys. I'm expecting 2012 to be a bumper year for writers, so this is a good time to create resolutions that include big plans and dreams!

  5. Great advice as always, Louise. Here's to a fantastic year!

  6. Nice post Louise, I love to have a clear outline of goals =)

  7. I strongly believe goal setting is essential for any writer, otherwise you just pfaff around and achieve very little! :-)

  8. Thanks Mel and both Kylies! My writing support group (the Bianchin's Babes) do their goal setting each Jan and I'm really looking forward to that in a fortnight. It's great to set the goal, and even better having someone to hold you to it!