On writing and publishing

Suzie Eisfelder

I’ve been a little slack with writing over the last few months. I’m part of a writing group and we meet online every two weeks to catch up and discuss each other’s writing. When I say ‘discuss’ I really mean ‘pull it apart and give each other ideas on how to make it better’. I sometimes nod sagely and say ‘it’s good writing, but it’s not for me’. They laugh and talk briefly about me not loving romance. Somehow they know this about me, I’m sure I haven’t mentioned it too often.

But it’s very exciting. I get to join in the fun when they publish. This link is to the author page for Kaydence Snow. She self-published her first book two weeks ago. Watching the excitement ramp up to a feverish pitch and then further still as her selling numbers went beyond expectations was very thrilling. And then there’s Carleton Chinner. He’s published three books but sales have had a difference trajectory. I want to examine the different approaches to marketing one day, with their permission, with a view to seeing which one is more likely to be best.

And the question there is ‘what is best’?

  • Best for the author
  • Best for sales
  • Best for getting into the market long term.
  • Lots of different questions I have for them.

Last fortnight one of the things we did was to examine a piece of writing I wrote for uni. I was going to write it with a view towards publishing and decided to reduce my workload by writing it for uni first. Now that the subject is over and done with I can publish it outside. Which meant getting it up to snuff. Which meant getting the group to look at it. Most of them don’t know me apart from the group and there’s a lot they don’t know about me so showing them my piece was totally the thing I needed to do. During discussion one lady gently asked me a question and that’s when I realised what was totally missing from the entire 3,000+ words. I’m not going to spoil the article by telling you what it was but making sure I put this little bit of information in will go a very long way to making the entire piece of writing much more emotional than it is.

The last question is where do I send it with a view to publishing? And that’s where I’m at a loss. I feel it’s a piece that needs a wide readership. I have two magazines on my desk, both from The Age, each published on the weekend but different days. I think this writing will pass muster for either of them but will they even look at a piece from a virtually unpublished author? Will they want a piece from a virtually unpublished author who may not be able to deliver another one? To get the answers I need to either ring or email and I haven’t taken the plunge on those yet. I do have some friends I can ask to see what they think but I kind of want to do some of my own research first.

It’s very exciting and very nerve wracking at the same time. I’m beginning to see why there are so many authors who only write one book. It’s really easy to get bogged down in the ‘what ifs’ or other type of nervous questions. And that’s where writer groups come in handy. They will ask questions and push you to make sure you actually get something done. Some authors can live in their own little bubble but many of us need help and that’s where writer groups can be absolutely magic.

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