The Art of Publishing

by Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Art of Publishing, with Annette Barlow of Allen & Unwin.

Since going through the process of writing my book ‘A Grandmother’s Wisdom’, I’ve been fascinated by the role of The Publisher. In my case, it’s Annette Barlow of Allen & Unwin and i can hand on heart say “there’d be no book, if it wasn’t for Annette”.

Some books take 12 years to write Catriona
It was Annette who came up with the idea for the book. I always thought Id do another travel book, but Annette had always been intrigued by the relationship i shared with my Nan and how i often mentioned her in interviews…I’d never noticed, but it was the kernel for this Publisher.

I had no idea how to write what ended up being a memoir, Annette guided me all the way.

Half way through, when I’d lost all my spirit to continue writing, when it was just too emotionally and physically impossible to move forward…Annette gave me hope. ‘Some books take 12 years to write Catriona. It doesn’t matter how long you take,I’m here supporting you, I have absolute faith that you’ll finish your book’. Having that faith, that one person believe in me, had a weird, reverse psychological effect on me. I was determined to finish, just to make her proud. Do Publisher’s take some kind of course, to guide their Authors over the finish line? I’m fascinated by the whole process.

They are so vitally important to everything. From ideas, to emotional support. I thought you may be interested too, so I asked my beloved Publisher a few questions for you..

1.What’s the best advice you can offer someone wanting to be Published?

I think the best advice is to be persistent. Publishing is a relatively small industry and the opportunities to present your work to publishers and/or literary agents are limited. When you do have an opportunity, make sure you’ve worked on your draft to make it the best it can be.

2.When you go through the many manuscripts that are sent to you, what jumps out at you, what are you looking for?

An interesting, engaging voice and a fresh way of presenting ideas and themes. It’s very hard to be original in plot but your voice is entirely your own. Find your style and your voice will follow.

3. Do we all have a book in us, can you teach someone to write?

We all have an interesting story to tell I think, be it fiction or non-fiction. The next part of your question is one that’s often asked. I believe you can definitely teach someone the nuts and bolts of the craft of writing; you can teach them how to refine ideas and research for content; you can teach them how to play around and experiment with the various pieces of creating a draft manuscript, eg plot, structure, dialogue, etc. But I don’t think you can teach voice.

Dear Reader, I think we all have a story to tell. I’d encourage you to be disciplined enough to write yours down, in your most authentic voice and see if anyone may be interested in your tale to tell.

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