Monday, September 30, 2013

Buddy Franklin and a Million Dollar Book Deal

Sometimes when I see the news reporting an athlete being offered exuberant amounts of money makes me wonder what the book industry would be like if we could get millions of people every week to go out and spend 20 dollars on a book instead of a football game.

I am not saying football players earn more than what they are worth, as an athlete myself I understand the rigors and hard work they have put in. They are not meatheads told to kick balls in between posts. It takes an instinct for decision making, athletic prowess and strategic knowledge to be a successful football player.

To be a successful writer requires the same kind of skills, besides the athletic prowess. Football players are paid what the market can handle. If millions of people are turning up and paying all that money to watch them play, if the players are the ones drawing the crowds in they should receive a fair share of the profits. If you sold a work of fiction that sold a million copies, wouldn't it be fair to expect a cut of profit from the publisher in the form of royalties?

What we as writers need to do is form a full contact version of writing. Maybe have authors read their works against each other, in a battle with fireworks and light shows, in an arena with beautiful women holding up cards with the page numbers on them.

This is obviously an unrealistic expectation. Football is a national culture in this country, books don't draw in the same kind of crowd. While we wait for this to happen though, I am here at my desk writing a novel a medium amount of people will enjoy, maybe one day the GWS Giants or the Sydney Swans will offer me 12 million dollars to write a novel, until then, back to the keyboard I go.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Big W opens Ebook store

Big w story

Retail giant Big W has entered the ebook market. The retailer who claims to already be the biggest seller of hard copy books in Australia has opened an online store in which customers can download ePub or PDF files of Australian autho. 

 Big W said that the store was to complement the already large amount of e-readers and iPads it sells. 

According to Big W the store is to foster the growth of the Australian book market. If it becomes popular it could certainly open up new avenues for Australian authors into the hard to crack US market. 

 As an author I would love to have my books available to such a wide audience within Australia. But we shouldn't veil ourselves from the truth. 

Australian authors already have the option to sell on Kindle and iBooks and on multi-platform sellers like Smashwords. The internet is already worldwide, so why sell on an Australian site?

The upside is the Australian dollars earned on sales. 

When selling on Amazon Australian authors are paid in USD of which some is taken by the IRS. Lessening the already small amounts independent authors typically earn. 

Sure we would have to claim income from the AUD earned on Big W's venture but the paperwork isn't as frustrating and the rate won't be as high because of the lack of international transaction fees. This means, should sales be similar, Australian authors would likely benefit from their books being available on Big W's ebook store. 

Big W has stated they will be supporting emerging Australian authors. There is no author portal on the site as yet. 

Friday, September 27, 2013

David Gilmour won't teach female or Chinese writers

University of Toronto Professor and Giller prize long listed Author wont teach work done by women or Chinese writers in his modern short fiction classes. The only exception is Virginia Woolf, but only one of her stories will be included in a syllabus that includes mostly American and Russian men.

Their exists no rule that states he must teach work by women or by Chinese writers, but to exclude them is to deny his students of great learning experiences. His role isn't to impart what he personally thinks is good literature, his job is to teach modern short fiction, not 'modern short fiction as judged by me'. If the unit of study was called 'modern fiction by males' the University would have more of a PR issue than Gilmour does.

Personally my favorite short story writer is Ernest Hemingway, of modern writers I like Tao Lin. The two of my favorites are males but that doesn't mean I don't read women or Chinese writers and i certainly wouldn't exclude them from a syllabus. That is a ludicrous idea. Why wouldn't you include Ann Beattie? Why not include Nobel Prize winner Mo Yan? Surely logic would prevail inside of the mind of a fiction teacher at the University level. What do you guys think?

5 ways to boost your writing productivity

Some of the biggest problems we have as writers relate to our ability to produce. Whether it be creating ideas, making time to write or literally putting the words down on the page. Here are a few tips to boost your productivity.

1. Go on a Holiday

When my characters are stuck and when I am stuck in a story I send them somewhere else. This is a tip I picked up during completion of NaNoWriMo last year. They suggested sending your characters to the circus, I sent mine to Paris and I found myself with another 10,000 words of ideas in no time and I found a great way to finish my novel.

2. Interview your character
Ask them five or so questions to find out what they are like, what is their favorite movie? What kind of music do they like? Do they like Orange juice? It could literally be anything, try and ask them their opinion on the events that are happening in your story, you may find your imagination knew the answers already.

3. Set an easily achievable word goal
There is no point saying "I'm going to write 1,000 words a day" if you don't think you can write that much. I set mine to be between 400-500 words a day, because I know I can get to 400 easily. Once I get to 400 I can stop and sometimes I do but most of the time I find myself hitting 500-600 even 1500 on days I feel productive. Writing isn't about writing a novel a day. You don't have to finish everything everyday, take it one step at a time and don't stress about the pressure of word counts.

4. Make an appointment
I set 11 am as my writing appointment, I schedule it as if it is a class I have to attend. I have to be there at my desk or I am going to be late. Knowing what time I am going to write makes me feel more comfortable with the other things in my day. I am not as worried about finding a time because I include writing in my day planner.

5. Experiment
I just rearranged my office so my desk faces another way, it gives me the feeling of being in a new office. I feel more productive because the computer looks newer (even though it is 4 years old) a different view may even give you a different perspective on your writing. I even tried writing standing up like Hemingway, for a couple days I was exceeding my word count goals but eventually I got tired. 

It is okay to try something and not like it because the most important aspect is the trial. "I'll do it one day" writers don't get anything done today. What do you guys think? What are some of your techniques?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Christopher Koch and an Asian Australia.

One of Australia's greatest novelists Christopher Koch died in Hobart on Monday. His best known work "The Year of Living Dangerously" was even better known worldwide as a film. He was 81 and the cause according to his agent Margaret Connolly was cancer.

The book was loosely based on his little brother Philip and his reporting for the ABC on Indonesia in the 60's. The novel was published in 1978, the film starred Mel Gibson. The book was credited with showing a greater connection and shifting focus from the western history of Australia to a more intricate connection with our neighbors in Asia.

The fact of the matter is that in recent years, especially since 1978, Australia has maintained strong alliances with Asian countries. Most of our trade agreements are with Asian countries and we rely heavily on economic powers like China and Japan for our exporting and importing efforts.

Financially, Australians are more likely to holiday in Asia because of cheaper flights and your children are more likely to have Asian friends in Australia than in any other western country. If not for a chance discovery by British discoverers hundreds of years ago we would more likely be an Asian nation.

Growing up in an area with a large Asian population I can't help but be drawn to the places my school friends have told me about, I can't help but be drawn to Asian culture and food and it shows in my writing. My creative writing involves aspects of Asian culture, I am drawn to books like Taipei by Tao Lin and Growing up Asian in Australia edited by Alice Pung.

I wasn't around when Koch published "The Year of Living Dangerously" but the connection it made between Australia and Asia creates an appeal that I am aware of today. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Man Booker Prize open to United States.

So the Man Booker Prize is open to the United States now. I don't really know how I feel about this, it is kind of negative thing from my personal point of view being Australian, I now have less chance of being nominated but on the other hand I wasn't getting nominated anytime soon anyway.

The US market is so large that the inclusion of those writers creates a distinct disadvantage to commonwealth writers who will likely now be pushed out by bigger and badder publishing and marketing budgets.

A different kind of prize would be more appropriate, a non-commonwealth award would suffice, in a population of over 350 million you are just more likely to find great writing talent. If 1 in 500,000 people are published authors (completely made up stat) then the US would of course be statistically more likely to have more competitors than little old England or Australia.

What do you guys think?

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I'm a Taekwondo and MMA athlete. I also write novels and screenplays.