Is there anything better than a new writing book to inspire, motivate, inform and entertain?
I’ve written before about my favourite books about writing – heck, I’ve even written a book about being a writer myself – but I’m always happy to discover a new one, and particularly when they’re written by Australian authors.
Because who better to help shape the ideas, words and careers of aspiring Australian writers than those who have trodden a successful path before them?
Fortunately for me, we seem to be experiencing a halcyon moment for writing books of this kind, with four arriving in the mail for me in recent weeks. Here’s a little round-up for you (click the titles to find out more and buy the book at Booktopia).
New writing books by Australian authors
Graeme Simsion is the author of the internationally bestselling Rosie trilogy, and he draws on his own experiences through each stage, while also offering universally useful tips and advice.
From basic writing principles, such as explaining three-act structure, to the thornier questions every writer must tackle, such as choosing a point of view, this is an accessible and readable guide.
I also like the fact that Graeme points out that the processes described in the book are what’s worked for him (and worked well), but that every writer needs to work through and figure out their own process along the way.
Having made some notes, I’m going to give this one to Book Boy (18), who loves a book about writing, and who, I think, will benefit a lot from this one.
Angela Slatter is one of my co-presenters at the Australian Writers’ Centre and, frankly, I love her work. She is funny and sharp and infinitely sensible as a teacher, brilliant as a writer and well worth a follow on Twitter.
I read Angela’s gothic fantasy novel All The Murmuring Bones last year ahead of our interview for So You Want To Be A Writer podcast and was blown away by the spare luxury of her language. I was completely unsurprised when it was recently shortlisted for the 2021 Aurealis Awards.
But I digress. We’re here to talk about writing books, right?
Angela recently released the latest in a series called Writer Chaps, through Brain Jar Press. The series consists of short, specific collections of essays, no thicker than the average book chapter. But packed full of information.
What To Do When You Don’t Have A Book Coming Out is a collection of essays about sustaining your writing career after your book has launched.
I loved it because it is full of the same things that I have been banging on about on this blog for years – the importance of networking for writers, using blog posts and social media to put yourself in front of people, how to use your ‘waiting’ time wisely.
There’s also a very useful section on applying for grants, which is, I admit, an area I haven’t explored much but… why not?
Angela’s first Writer Chap called You Are Not Your Writing & Other Sage Advice is also well worth checking out.
Anna Featherstone describes the book as a comprehensive guide for Australian writers, and at 360+ pages, I think the claim is supported.
Covering everything from how to work out what you’re going to write to researching, writing, editing, formatting, publishing and promoting your book, it also goes beyond the creation of the product into … well, everything else that a self-publishing writer needs to know.
And that’s a lot.
I think one of the biggest mistakes writers often make is in thinking that the major work in self-publishing (or, in fact, publishing at all) a book is in the writing.
But the writing is just the beginning and the hard graft of self-publishing (or, in fact, publishing at all) is in finding an audience for that book and then actually getting the book into the hands of people who want to read it.
Anna has been on my radar on social media for many years, and has self-published several books herself, focussing on non-fiction. This book is the book that she couldn’t find to help her along the way.
The one that she hopes will answer the questions an aspiring self-publisher might have before they get to them.
It’s specifically for authors of non-fiction, and the advice within is a nuts-and-bolts overview of the entire process from start to finish. Find out more about it here.
Part memoir, part craft book, Kofman deep dives into some of the most difficult-to-pin down aspects of a writer’s life – unearthing your true voice, bringing searing honesty to the page, stilling your mind enough to find space for creativity – as well as the bare, practical truths of the discipline of writing, the need to look after your body as a writer, the ability to fail with grace.
This is a literary approach to writing craft, weaving in the voices and advice of other authors, past and present. I plan to spend some time with it.
It’s that kind of book.
In exciting news, I’ll be interviewing three of these authors in coming months in my brand-new online writing community, opening on 2 May 2022.