Advice for new writers in Australia.





Q1. What equipment do I need to write a book?

Q2. How long does it take to write a book?

Q3 Where do you get ideas?

Q4. I've got a wonderful idea, but I'm not confident about writing. What can I do? 

Q5 What if people steal my ideas?

Q6 How long does it take for a book to be published?

Q7 Where can I find a publisher's address?

Q8 I can't find a publisher for my book. What do I do now?

Q9. What sort of education do I need to write a book? Do I have to be a university graduate?

Q10. Is there anything I can do to improve my chances of publication?

Q 11. How much money will I make if my book is published?

Q12. Is it possible to earn a living from writing in Australia?

Q.13. How old do I have to be to write a book?

Q14. I've never written a book before. How do I start? - Twenty-two questions to help you answer this for yourself!



Q1  What equipment do I need to write a book?

A.                                                     That depends on the kind of book you plan to write and also on what you plan to do with it.

If you're writing a book for fun, or for your own satisfaction, you can get by with pens and paper.

If you plan to pass it around family or friends, you will need a typewriter or word processor and printer.

 If your aim is publication, you will need (at the very least) a typewriter, some good typing paper and new typewriter ribbons. Most people these days use word processors.

 You will need a place to write - a room with a desk or table and a comfortable chair.

TOP TIP! Remember; a professional look will help get your manuscript read.

Other equipment that is useful, if not essential -

Library access - either your own or a public library. Books that are useful include good encyclopaedias, an Australian dictionary, a thesaurus and a directory of publishing companies. Telephone books are good resources, too, especially if you are doing extensive research and live away from a capital city.

You may also need subject-specific materials. For instance, if you are writing a historical novel, you may need books on costume, inventions, social history, currency, transport, etc.

Internet access can be a wonderful help with research.


Q2. How long does it take to write a book?

A. That depends on the book! A book demanding research will take longer than a book written using information the author already has. Once research is done, time must be allowed for planning, pacing, drafting and editing.


Planning time is the length of time an author needs to decide what will happen in the book and to write that down. Imagine you have read a good book, and that you write a letter to tell a friend all about it. You would explain the important points in the plot, beginning at the beginning and following through to the end. Such a letter might run from one to ten sentences, depending on the length and complexity of the book. Allow a week to plan an average novel, to write down the plan and to edit it so the pacing is correct.

 TOP TIP - Don't ever depend on a mental plan! You're a writer, not just a thinker!

Pacing needs to be planned as well. This should take only an hour or so, once the plan is written. Simply make sure the story moves along with plenty of action and events.

     TOP TIP! Correct any sagging patches at this stage!

Writing or drafting time. Once the book is fully planned, begin writing the first chapter. Choose a time when you will be undisturbed, and make a start. Write continuously until you have two to five pages or, possibly, 1000-5000 words. Then multiply the time this has taken you by the appropriate number to gauge the length of time it will take to write your first draft.

 Don't know how long the book will be? You should! That's part of the planning. If your book is (say) a romance aimed at the Mills & Boon market, it must be around 50,000 words. Therefore, if it takes you two hours to write 1000 words, it will take around one hundred hours to write 50,000. That is; a little less than two months if you write for a solid two hours a day.

 Longer books take longer to write, not only because the actual number of words is greater, but because more complex plots take more concentration to "drive". A very short book, such as a children's picture book, may take longer than you expect because every word must count.

 TOP TIP! Write at a steady pace. Set a schedule and try to stick to it.

 Editing time and second draft. If you've made sensible use of your planning time the editing and second draft time should run out at less than a quarter of the time it took to produce the first draft.

 Add these projected times together to come to an idea of how long it will take to write your book.

*This time-scale is based on a writer using a word processor. A typist or penpusher will take longer because editing and rewriting will involve complete typing or retyping.


Real life experience; Novel - 100,000 words. Ten weeks from plan to print-out. This from an experienced professional writer. Other equally experienced professionals may write at a very much slower pace.

Even at the rate of 500 words per day, a 50,000 word novel would take one hundred days, or five months to write - and that's allowing for weekend breaks!


Q3  Where do you get ideas?

A. Ideas come from all sorts of places. Most books have their genesis in something the author hears, sees, or experiences. For example; a chance remark about the effect the Aurora Australia has on radios led one writer to write a science fiction novel about an alien whose UFO's guidance system was knocked out by the Aurora. Another author speculated on the wide open spaces "wasted" at night by big car parks and the like - and invented a use for these. Many ideas are generated by taking a fact and saying; "What if???"

 FACT; two elderly sisters move in together.

SPECULATION; What if one murders the other? What if the house is sited over a gold mine? What if one decides to marry? What if one is a hypochondriac? What if one is murdered and the other is traumatised and can't remember what happened? What if one sells the house without consulting the other?       

 Odd Spot snippets in newspapers are a rich source of ideas, so are family documents. Ideas can be jotted down whenever they occur to you but remember, an idea is not a book any more than a seed is a plant or an egg is a turkey.


 Q4 I've got a wonderful idea, but I'm not confident about writing. What can I do?

 A. There are several things you might do. You could go ahead and write your book and then offer it to a manuscript-assessment service for a candid opinion. This will cost you money, and may hurt your ego, but you might also gain valuable advice.

 You could advertise in a writers' magazine or newsletter for a co-writer or ghost-writer. Some writers do work in collaboration. This will also cost you money. Of course, you can offer a share of the book's profits, but many professionals prefer an up-front payment of some kind first.

 TOP TIP! If you do enter any kind of partnership agreement with another writer, make sure you have a clear, written contract.

If you don't want to collaborate, you might consider taking a writing course and developing your idea as one of the exercises. You might hire a freelance editor to work through the manuscript for you. You might buy one or more books on writing. Or take advantage of my mentoring programme.

Confidence can be boosted by writing small pieces before you begin your great idea. Send some short works to competitions - the kind that offer feedback. If you've written your book, you might like to offer it to a friend whose judgement you trust, but be careful. Unless your friend is a bookseller, librarian, reviewer or editor, his/her opinion might not be of much intrinsic value.


Q5  What if people steal my ideas?

A.                                                     This seems to be a common worry among first time or inexperienced authors. The professionals will almost all tell you they don't worry at all. Most authors have more ideas than they know what to do with, and most dislike using other peoples'.

Ideas tend to be as individual as fingerprints, and even if two writers have the same experience and use it in a book, it will probably be treated in two entirely different fashions.

But - maybe you have had a book rejected, and then, a year or so later, you've read another book that's so like yours you think someone must have stolen the idea from you? The chances that this has really happened are very low. For instance, don't forget it takes some writers six months or so to write a book. A publisher may consider the work for another six months, then, if it is accepted by the first publisher, it will be another eighteen months to two years before the book is released. So, if the "stolen" idea surfaces less than three years after your book was rejected, you can be pretty sure it wasn't stolen at all. And then - there is such a thing as coincidence. In one year three books concerning the wreck of the Batavia were published. It's highly unlikely any of the writers knew about the others before they were in print.

 Still worried? Then don't show your work-in-progress to anyone. If you want to submit it for publication, you could get a Justice of the Peace to sign and date a copy and lodge it with your bank. That way you'll have solid evidence of the date by which your book was written.


 Q6 How long does it take for a book to be published?

A. Most publishers will keep a manuscript for somewhere between six weeks and two years before coming to a decision. About six months seems to be average, but some may take more or less time, depending on the time of year, the size of the workload and the number of manuscripts on hand.

If the first publisher who sees your work accepts it within six months, you will then face a further wait of about twelve to eighteen months until your book is in the shops.

If your manuscript has to be sent to three or four publishers before acceptance, the time-lag will multiply.

Some books take longer than others. An illustrated book may take longer because the publisher will have to tee up an illustrator, who will then have to slot in the job.

A highly topical non-fiction title may well be produced within a few months; but only if the publisher considers it highly topical.



Q7  Where can I find a publisher's address?

A.                                                     You can buy directories of publishers' addresses. (The ABPA Guide put out by the Australian Book Publishers Association is a good one.)

Ask a writers' organisation if they know of any that are up to date.

Apart from that, you could try looking up "Publishers" in the telephone book or search the internet. Many publishers have web sites now with guidelines listen on-line.


TOP TIP! One of the best sources is your local book shop. Find modern Australian books that appeal to you, and look inside the front covers for the addresses of the publishers that produced them.


Q8  I can't find a publisher for my book. What do I do now?

A. You have several choices.

 If you believe your book is good, and will find a market, you might consider self-publishing. You take your manuscript to a variety of printers and ask for a quote. You may also need to find an editor and a designer. There are some good books available that will explain exactly what you need to do.


           You could try a subsidy or vanity publisher. This is generally not a good idea. You might end up paying a lot of money for an inferior product. Even if the product is good, some (or even most) book sellers won't stock books published by subsidy publishers.

By the way, this is quite different from self publishing. In subsidy publishing you hand over the whole thing. In self publishing you retain control.

 You could approach an e-publisher. There are several good ones on-line now. Choose one that pays royalties and doesn't charge a reading fee. Be aware, however, that you're not likely to make much money from sales. Many readers are still prejudiced against e-books, and some just don't know they exist!

Top Tip! Check out e-publishers who offer POD (Print on Demand).

 You could hold on to your manuscript and try again in a few years' time. Editors come and go, publishing lists change.

 You could do some market research and try to work out why your book didn't sell. Is it poorly written? Is it too unusual? Is it a non-standard length? Is it old fashioned? Read recently published Australian books in the same genre. How does your book differ from them?


Q9. What sort of education do I need to write a book? Do I have to be a university graduate?

A. You need to be able to read and write fluently. You need a sense of pace and a sense of structure. You need a comfortable command of the English language (if you're approaching English language publishers in Australia).

 Any education can help in so far as it will have added to your sphere of interest and knowledge. However, you don't need a university degree to write a book (unless it's an academic text, perhaps!).


As long as you have the above standards of education, plus some talent for creative writing and a suitable temperament, it doesn't matter much if you are a professor, a BA or a plain left-school-at-16 - or even a current secondary school pupil. Your age, sex, and race don't matter. What matters is your ability to write a saleable book.

What matters is the quality of your writing and the suitability of your subject matter, genre and style to Australian publishing as it is now.

Your age might appear on the imprint of your book, but apart from that, your readers will know only what you choose to tell them. You can hide behind a pseudonym if you like - as long as you don't do it for fraudulent reasons.

Writing must be one of the last bastions of the self-educated ... so whatever your education, just make the most of what you've got. Make use of research skills, contacts, interesting people you've met, libraries, schools. You should never stop learning.


Q10.      Is there anything I can do to improve my chances of publication?

A. There is one thing you can do that will certainly improve your chances - that's if you've written a good book. It's very, very simple, and it doesn't cost very much.

Go to a book shop, and buy a book.

How's that going to help you? Well, it will - if you buy the right book. I can't give you the specific title you should buy, because it differs for different people. I can give you some clues, though.

For a start, the book must be Australian. That's right. It must be written by an Australian writer and published by an Australian publisher.

Next, the book must be new. Not just a new edition, but a new book, published this year.

Next, the book must be similar to your own book. For example; if you've written a historical novel, buy a historical novel. If you've written a book on dogs, buy a book on dogs. If you've written a children's poetry book, buy a children's poetry book.

Next, take the book home and read it. If you enjoy it, mention the fact to the book seller next time you're in the shop. Write to the publisher and/or the author of the book, and tell them you enjoyed it. Don't mention your own book, just comment on the one you bought.

How's that going to help you?

Well, by buying a new, Australian book in the genre you prefer, you are improving the market potential of that genre. Not by much, but by a little. If every would-be Australian author bought such a book four times a year, the demand for Australian books would improve. And that's one reason that your book - the one you've written - may not sell to a publisher. Lack of demand.

It works like this. If you buy a cheap, imported book, or a foreign best seller, you're reinforcing the demand for that kind of book. If you never buy a book at all, you're not helping the demand for any books. Book sellers won't stock books if there's no obvious demand. Demand comes when people ask for a book.

Can't find a single Australia historical novel in the shop? (for example). That can mean there aren't any available. If so, it may be difficult to sell your own book to a publisher. Generally speaking, Australian publishers don't want books too dissimilar to the ones they have already. However, the lack of historicals (or sci fis, or gardening books, or books on antiques) in the shop may simply mean that particular book seller does not perceive any demand for such a book.

Go up to the counter and ask for an Australia historical novel (or sci fi, etc). A newly published one. Ask to see catalogues. Do this in several book shops. No joy? Write to publishers' sales departments and ask if they have such a book. Enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope for a reply.

Buy new, Australian books for your friends and relatives. Buy them to donate to raffles or to schools or organisations. Don't blow your budget, but whenever you have cause to buy a book, make sure you're supporting the industry that you want to join.

Q11.       How much money will I make if my book is published?

A. Remuneration varies according to the publisher, the book and the number of copies sold. Below are some broad guidelines that might help you calculate your possible profits.

Payment may be made in two different ways; a flat fee or a royalty.

In the case of a flat fee, you will be paid a certain sum "up front". After that, it doesn't matter (to you) how many copies of your book sell. You have the advantage of knowing immediately what you will earn from this book. You have the disadvantage of being ineligible for Public Lending Right, the sum paid to authors each year to compensate them for library borrowings. You will also miss out on extra money if your book goes into more than one edition.

A flat fee for a small educational reading scheme title may be around $1,000.00. For a mass market "board book" it may be three or four hundred dollars.



For a mass-market novel, you may receive an advance of around $5,000. This will probably be paid in two parts; on signature of contract and publication. After that, you must wait until the book earns back the advance before receiving any more money.

If such a book retails at around $10.00, you will earn approx. $1.00 for every copy sold. Therefore, 5000 copies of the book will need to sell before you make any more money. If the publisher prints 15000 copies of your book, you may end up with around $15000.00 over two or three years. However, it's just as likely you'll earn little more than the original advance.

For a non-fiction title, you will probably earn around 10% of the recommended retail price of each copy sold. Advances may vary.

For a children's novel, with illustrations, you may be offered an advance of $1000.00. The print-run will probably be between 3 and 5,000. You will probably earn about 7 1/2 % of the recommended retail price of the book. If it sells at $12.00, you'll earn about 90 cents per book sold. Therefore, you might end up with around $3,500.00, over two years.

For a children's picture book, if you write the text and an illustrator does the pictures, you will probably be offered an advance of around $1000.00. Your percentage will be 4 or 5% of the RRP. Most picture books retail at higher prices than most children's novels, but may have smaller print runs. If a picture book retailing at $19.95 has a print run of 2000 copies, you can expect to earn about $4,000.00 altogether - if every copy sells.

The book may go into a second or third edition. If so, you will earn more money. Unfortunately, many books fail to sell out even in their first print runs.

For an educational reader in a reading scheme, you may be offered 6% of the publisher's receipts. This works out to a very small percentage, but reading scheme material often sells for several years.

Of course, if your book wins an award or becomes a best seller, you may strike it rich, but the above figures are realistic for most books and most writers in Australia.

TOP TIP! Better to keep your expectations moderate. That way, you're more likely to have a pleasant surprise.


Q12.      Is it possible to earn a living from *writing in Australia?

*writing, in this case, is taken to mean creative writing rather than journalism.

 A. It is possible to earn a living by writing in Australia, but most writers have a second occupation or a partner in paid employment.

There are at least three ways to make a living by writing in Australia - apart from journalism, which is beyond the scope of this site.

The first way, which is open to very few writers, is to write a best seller every couple of years. Unfortunately, this is not something you can set out to do, and very few writers achieve it. To write a best seller takes a combination of factors; skill, talent, luck, and good judgement by yourself and others.

 The second way of earning a living by writing is to write a lot of books. That is, write full time and turn out consistently good, saleable work. This works for some writers, but it can be dangerous because it can earn you the unfair appellations of "pot boiler" and "prolific". It's useless to protest that a full time writer will obviously produce more work than a part timer and equally useless to point out that you can't live on the proceeds of one book every five years. A way to alleviate this problem is to use a pseudonym - or two.

 The third way to earn a living is to be versatile. Don't write just one kind of book; write anything and everything. Think wide - scripts, verse, novelisations, children's books, educational reading scheme material etc. etc. This tends to keep you very busy, and it can be interesting, frustrating or just plain exhausting.

 TOP TIP! Treat writing as a career or a job. Plan ahead (as much as you can) and keep records of your progress.


Q13.      How old do I have to be to write a book?

A. Anyone old enough to be fully literate can, in theory, write a book. Few children or teenagers actually do it because (a) they lack the experience and the opportunity and (b) their time tends to be taken up with homework, school, sports etc.

Writing a publishable book is another matter. Children and teenagers have been published by ordinary (not specialist) publishers on occasion, but the odds are heavily against it.

 Below are some of the stumbling blocks.

 Young writers often write books that are poorly planned or derivative.

 They are often unable to handle characterisation adequately - especially characterisation of adults.

 They often lose interest or change their minds part way through.

 Editors are concerned with books that sell, not especially with encouraging writers. Manuscripts are judged on their general merits as saleable books, not on the basis of work that is good for the author's age.

Young writers whose books are published by general publishers usually have one of two attributes - exceptional skill or exceptional circumstances.


 Q14.     I've never written a book before. How do I start?

 A. You start by asking yourself the following questions. Write down your answers and assess them honestly.

 1.      Why do I want to write a book?

(a)      Because I have a story to tell or information to impart.

(b)     Because it's a challenge.

(c)      Because I enjoy writing.

(d)     Because I want to make some money.

(e)      Because I want a concrete record of my life/my thoughts/my recipes etc.

These are all valid reasons for wanting to write a book, but if (d) is your only reason, think again. You could well end up with months of work and no money. In every other case you will gain something of value to yourself, even if your book is not published.

2.       What makes me think I am a writer?

(a)      My friends love to read my letters.

(b)     I got good marks for writing at school.

(c)      I'm a natural storyteller.

(d)     My kids/grandchildren love my stories.

(e)      I have sold some stories/articles/verses and/or been placed in competitions.

Responses (c) and (e) are probably the most hopeful here. (a) and (d) depend on the opinions of people who know and love you, and (b) may have given you a false sense of your own skill and talent. What a school teacher calls "good writing" may differ from what an editor calls "good writing".

3.       Did I enjoy writing at school?

(a)      I loved it.

(b)     Only when we got to pick our own subjects.

(c)      Only when we were given a subject.

(d)     I hated having to write at a set time.

(e)      I enjoyed writing at school and at home.

Responses (a) and (e) are hopeful. If you responded to (b), (c) or (d) you may not have what it takes to be a professional writer. To make it on the Australian writing scene, you may have to write to set themes, or choose your own, or write to a deadline.


4.       Have I written anything since school?

(a)      Constantly.

(b)     I stopped, but I've gone back to it.

(c)      No, but I miss doing it.

(d)     I think I've lost my touch.

(e)      Teachers put me off at school. I hated being criticised.

(a), (b) and (c) are all hopeful responses. (d) may mean a lack of confidence that you will need to work to overcome. If you marked (e), you'd better stop right now! Editors, reviewers, manuscript assessors and competition judges can be every bit as harsh as teachers.


5.       What do I read most?

(a)      Magazines and the newspaper.

(b)     Old favourites.

(c)      Classics.

(d)     Blockbuster best sellers or book club selections.

(e)      Everything.

(f)      Modern Australian books.

(g)      Category romances.

(h)      Glossy "soap" books.

(i)      Literary novels.

(j)      Thrillers.

(k)     Australian non fiction.

(l)      I don't have time to read.

Hmm, I reckon you can assess yourselves on this one. Just a few points; if you prefer classics, or old favourites, you may find your own writing is old fashioned. If you like Blockbusters, soaps, or romances, you may have trouble publishing in Australia; our publishers don't seem to go for these genres. If you don't have time to read you probably don't have time to write. Best answers? I'd plump for (e), (f) and (k).

           6.      How many hours would I have per week for writing?

(a)      One.

(b)     I haven't any time to myself.

(c)      An hour or so a day.

(d)     As many as I like.

(e)      It varies.

Any of these answers may be all right. The thing is not so much how much time you have, as how efficiently you use the time you have. If you checked (b), have a look at Question 8.


7.       Have I a place to write?

(a)      Yes, a study.

(b)     Yes, the bedroom.

(c)      Yes, the kitchen table.

(d)     Yes, a desk in the lounge.

(e)      Not really.

Obviously, (a) is the ideal answer. If you checked any of the others, you'll be prone to distraction and/or family ructions. Try to arrange a time when the family is absent!


8.       What changes would I need to make in my life to write this book?

(a)      I'd need to stop procrastinating.

(b)     I'd need to strike a bargain with the family.

(c)      I'd need to give up another activity.

(d)     None.

(e)      I'd need to reorganise the furniture and my time.


(d) - lucky you! All others will need to consider a bit more. If procrastination is your only problem, finish reading this site then start writing immediately.

(b)     If the family won't leave you alone, you can try reasoning with them, or try finding a window of opportunity while they're away/asleep/otherwise occupied. Consider these;

While meals cook. While the baby has a nap. While a TV show is on. When everyone else is asleep. While they go fishing/swimming/playing sport/to watch the footy.

(c)      You could give up long soaks in the bath, reading the morning paper, cross word puzzles, watching the soaps, watching a movie, sleeping in, watching sport, window shopping, fishing, golf, washing the car, ironing.

If you can't give up any of these, maybe you'd better face the fact that you don't really want to write a book!

(e)      Plan your reorganisation then go ahead.


9.       What is my favourite Australian book?

(a)      I don't like Australian books.

(b)     One I loved as a child.

(c)      The one I bought last week.

(d)     A classic.

(e)      One I bought a couple of years back.

As a writer who hopes to sell a book to an Australian publisher, you'd better hope you checked (c) or (e)!      


10. When did I last read a new Australian book?

(a)      Last week.

(b)     Last month

(c)      Last year.

(d)     When I had to study one at school.

(e)      Can't remember.

The more recently the better!


11. When did I last buy an Australian book?

(a)      Last week.

(b)     Last month.

(c)      Last year.

(d)     I never buy books.

(e)      I only buy imported books.

Again - the more recently the better. Not only for your own writing skills, but for the health of the industry you hope to join.


12.     Where did I buy my last Australian book?

(a)      At my favourite book shop.

(b)     From a book club.

(c)      From a newsagent

(d)     From a book shop.

(e)      From a swap shop.

It doesn't matter where you bought it - but did you know that you, as an author, will never make a cent from books resold at swap shops?


13.     How did I choose that book?

(a)      I saw the author interviewed on a chat show.

(b)     I chose it by author.

(c)      I chose it by genre.

(d)     I chose it by subject

(e)      It was recommended by a friend.

(f)      I read a review.

Again - any of these answers will do. Being aware of different sources of information available will help you understand why some books are more successful than others, even if the books are of equal worth.


14.     Do I discuss books with friends and relatives?

(a)      No, there are more interesting subjects.

(b)     No, they're not interested.

(c)      I don't often discuss them, but I do lend them.

(d)     Yes, and/or I belong to a book discussion group.

(e)      I belong to a writers' group.

Discussing books with other people will help you with market research, and will also help lift the profile of books generally. Go to it - but don't let talking take the place of writing!


Now, you've probably established how committed you are to the idea of Australian books and writing. The next few questions look at practicalities ...


15.     What sort of book do I want to write?

Choose a genre you enjoy reading, or the one you find comes easiest. If you have special knowledge, try to tie it in. For example; if you're a police officer, consider crime writing. If you're a historian, consider historical novels, if you're a teacher, consider children's books or text books ...

16.     Have I done my market study?

That is, now you've picked the sort of book you want to write, are you satisfied there actually is a market out there? If you can't find any recently-published Australian books in your preferred genre, think twice.

17.     Are there other books like mine already on the market?

This is a two-edged question. There may not be room for ten books about the blue ringed octopus or dowsing for water, but if there are none at all, the chances are the market doesn't want any. To test the water, try a query letter with a few publishers.

18.     Who would be interested in my book?

You need a big perceived market for a book. If yours is a little-known or narrow subject, you may need to think again. A Western, for example, may be very difficult to sell to an Australian publisher. So might a book about your pet budgie. However, if you broaden the appeal by setting the book in the Australian pioneering days or by writing about parrots, caged birds, or breeding budgerigars, you may do better.

19.     Do I understand the tier system of book buying?

No, it isn't an esoteric term. It's just a handy off the cuff way of describing the way books are actually sold. For example; let's say you have written a book about a pink bunny rabbit. Your grandchild loves it. So do her friends. Isn't that a good indication that the book will sell? Sorry, but no. And the reason is - the tier system mentioned above. An author doesn't sell a book to a child or, indeed, to any reader. An author sells a book to an editor. Or, possibly, to an agent.

 The tier looks like this.


(Agent) - if any


More editors


Accounts department


Booksellers - Reviewers - Book clubs

Libraries - Readers - book buyers - parents - adult readers

(child readers) - if any


So - your bunny story would have to run the gauntlet of about ten layers of hard-headed adults before it reached the children who would (quite likely) love it. Any book might fail at any level, and if it does - its chances of success will be seriously undermined. There's not much you can do about any of this, except create more demand by buying books yourself and encouraging your friends and relatives to do likewise, but you should be aware of it, at least.


20.    Have I ever sent material to a publisher before?

If you have, you've made a start. Perhaps you've had a rejection, perhaps not. Perhaps (almost worst of all) your book has simply disappeared. It's rare, but it can happen. You should have a receipt from the publisher, if not, perhaps your manuscript got lost in the mail. If you have had a receipt but have heard nothing since, look at the calendar. If it's been a year or so, try a polite note. It's possible your manuscript has been lost/overlooked or is simply still waiting its turn.

21. Am I prepared for rejection?

Rejections do hurt, but most writers get them. The best trick is to write another book as soon as you've finished the first. That way you have more baskets for your eggs. If your book is rejected, you will probably never know why. If the editor does give a reason, consider it, but don't take it too much to heart - a different publisher might have a completely different opinion.

 22. Do I still want to go ahead?

 YES? Then go and make a start.


Whatever you've decided - the very best of luck!


FINALLY - if you've clicked the link above for Manuscript Assessment or Mentoring, you will know that I offer both. This small spin-off business is called



I also sell some books directly to readers. To see these, go to CHRISTMAS SPECIALS. The books there are ordinary commercially published books that I can now sell at around half price.

Then there’s - 


To contact me, e-mail sodgers@iinet.net.au

 Background “Goanna2”, by Sallyo's Backgrounds.