Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Between The Covers ~ Emerging Writer's Festival 2016 Recap

This afternoon Macquarie University (in Sydney, Australia) hosted and presented the Between The Covers event with the Emerging Writers' Festival.

 What does a career in editing and publishing look like today? 
This event will offer industry insider sessions exploring the work that goes on between the covers of book production. From acquisitions and editorial process to sales and marketing strategies, you’ll be shown through the production process of a book while meeting authors, publishers, and editors throughout – gaining invaluable insight into to help you with your next career steps. 
Perfect for aspiring authors, editors and publishers, you’ll have the opportunity to engage with the broader editing and publishing community – this is an event not to be missed!
For an overview of the event and event details click here.

I cannot stress enough how informative and entertaining this event was.

We all adore books. We love engaging with thrilling new plots and characters, and being swept away by talented authors to far off lands. But what's just as interesting is the process by which these books end up in our local bookstores and on our ever-growing bookshelves.

Read on for my recap of the event and my top take-away tips...

Arriving at Between The Covers I wasn't sure what to expect. Questions raced through my mind at a fast and furious pace:

What would the environment be like? Would I actually learn anything that I could apply to my own writing journey? Would there be long, awkward silences filled with the tentative chirping of crickets?

Well, I can assure you all that there were definitely no crickets or awkward silences. In fact, Between the Covers was well-organised, ran smoothly, and was both informative and fun.

The first thing I did upon arrival was signing up at the front desk for the writing assessment session later in the event. Then my friends and I went looking for seats which was a fun process involving a silent game of musical chairs. 


Panel: Alice Grundy, Alyx Gorman, Benjamin Law and Rebecca Giggs

The Editing Essentials session provided a deep look into the ins and outs of the editorial process.

Top Tips
  • Don't send editors cupcakes, glitter, or photos.
  • In regards to magazines and newspapers, lots of people have the title 'editor' & that can mean very different things. Research editors beforehand.
  • Editors can be either hands-on or hands-off but the relationship between author and editor should be based on trust. #Allies
  • Make sure your editor is a good match for you. 
  • When pitching, do your research on the publication you are pitching to. This not only showcases your qualifications but shows respect.
  • For more pitching information and tips, follow the #PitchClinic tag on Twitter.

 PanelRobert Watkins (Hachette Publisher), Kate Stevens (Hachette Commissioning Editor) and Jane Messer.

The Process of Publishing session gave us a behind the scenes perspective of publishing. Panel members provided details ranging from how publishers find new talent, to what the best pathways to publication are.

Top Tips
  • Authors don't necessarily need agents. However authors with agents are more likely to have their manuscripts picked up by publishers.
  • A publisher needs to have a thorough understanding of the market and what readers are looking for.
  • If you can't sell your book to a publisher how can they sell it to anyone else? Your book pitch matters.

BONUS: The Future of Print Books
(A look into the future with publisher Robert Watkins)
  • Anyone who says writing and books are dying is clearly an idiot (that is a direct quote and I wholly agree!)
  • Publishing programs are growing every year which = more opportunities to publish.
  • New publishing ventures are opening up, especially to people of unique and different backgrounds. The minorities need to have their voices heard.
  • Work out what people like to read and what you like to write. Put the two together and you have a recipe for success!
  • Print sales do decline due to ebooks...but the money from the ebooks sold supports the publishing of the print books.
  • Digital books are great and are just as valuable as reading an actual print book. All reading is good!
  • Support your independent booksellers.

Calling all the writers in the house!

Attendees were given the chance to receive one-on-one assessments of a single page of their work in progress (e.g. a novel synopsis or a book proposal) by industry professionals.

The feedback was priceless. I got some amazing insights and tips regarding my current WIP from the lovely Rebecca Giggs. If any of you guys ever get the chance to join a session like this one, I highly recommend it!

Professionals on hand: Rebecca Giggs, Marcelle Freiman, Kate Rossmanith, Fiona Wright and Michaela McGuire.

Summary: delicious food and great company.

 To finish off the event, Susie Anderson gifted us with powerful readings about 'home'. Her memoir poem was beautiful, and I can honestly say I felt - and still feel - incredibly fortunate to have been there to experience it.

A massive thank you to both Macquarie UniversityEmerging Writers' Festival, and all the guest artists for organising and hosting this incredible event.


  1. this was extremely informative! i liked how you were simultaneously giving tips and giving a little look into your day. this looked like it was so much! i'm glad you enjoyed it :)) <3

  2. This sounds so great! As an aspiring writer, the editing and publishing process seems really daunting to me but these tips help :) I didn't even know these kinds of events were out there but now I'll definitely keep an eye out for them in my area!

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks

    1. I had no idea they existed either until I became a part of a creative writing course at my university. The lecturers and tutors are great at letting students now about festivals, panels, and other opportunities for students to improve their writing, gain credentials, and to get it their writing there/eventually published. I loved the event and I hope you get the chance to experience something similar! :)


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