In 1982 I had my first book and first article published as well as my first baby. Much has changed on all fronts since then including a 6’2” baby. I know how to get published (See below) as a freelance but, like all paying endeavours, you can be seduced into following the money trail. I became a freelance journalist and earned a reasonable living but it’s taken me 30+ years to write my first novel. Could I have written a novel earlier? Maybe. Then again a 30+ year writing apprenticeship is a good preparation for a novelist. I can’t tell you what path to follow, but I can tell you how to earn money from writing.
Just a few words on the bitter reality of rejections. After 35 years of writing, you acclimatise, I guess. One time, however, a newspaper editor rejected one of my articles. I heard he was going on leave. So I sent the piece back to the same section of the newspaper. He didn’t go on leave. And he published the piece. What does this mean? Sometimes they don’t read your copy, not even the title or your name before rejecting your work. Keep that in mind the next time you get a rejection.
Signings are hellish. Once I did a bookshop signing in Sydney after tennis great Evonne Goolagong Cawley! She was exhausted. I can only say ‘Heavens be praised! I have a short name’. Kids, however, are funny. At a school talk or a library event they’ll run up to you with a piece of paper torn from an exercise book and ask ‘Can I have your autograph? Who are you?’
I’ve been a professional writer for 30+ years. I have 2 books coming out soon. A satirical novel on American Gun Culture, TARGET 91, to be published 2018. And a non-fiction with Doris Brett next year by a local mainstream publisher. Just some thoughts for younger writers apart from KEEP WRITING!
When you arrived at the old Channel 9 studios in Bendigo St, Richmond, and walked into reception on your way to a morning show interview or live cross, the receptionist would ring through to some studio lackey announcing ‘the talent’s here’. That’s how much the TV studio staff cared about performers. No name. Just THE TALENT. The carpark had a sign that read ‘PARKING FOR STAFF AND TALENT’.
I always imagined the Channel 9 carpark teaming of jugglers, violinists and ballerinas on their way to and from some show.
Working for newspapers, publishers and radio shows I did not come under pressure of having to worry about the ANONYMOUS THEY. This pressure to perform or conform only applied to TV, a visual media. But we are all in the visual (social) media today in some form or other.
I ask again ‘who are you trying to please, impress or entertain?’ I was so critical of myself 30 years ago. Here are some more clips from the vault. And 30 years ago I was so critical of myself because I worried too much about the ANONYMOUS THEY.