Publishing Tips and Tools

Get tips, tricks and tools on the business of writing and getting published.

Photo of Penny Johnson

"Sending your manuscript out into the world is like dressing up for a job interview," says WV tutor Penny Johnson. "Check: clothes ironed, hair brushed, shoes polished."

Penny is a writer, award-winning educator, and accredited editor. She has worked on literary and academic journals, and writes the Nitpicker quiz for ‘The Victorian Writer’. Penny has been an editing teacher for more than 15 years and is a co-director of the Writers Immersion and Cultural Exchange program (WrICE). She manages RMIT’s Professional Writing and Editing programs.

Photo of Alex Adsett

"Always (always always!) make sure there is an exit clause in your contract - after a few years from publication, there should always be a way for the rights to revert back to the author if the publisher is not selling a certain minimum number of copies."

Photo of Marie Alafaci

"If you want your submission to stand out from the others in the slush pile, it has to be like a breath of fresh air," says WV tutor Marie Alafaci.

Marie has publications in non-fiction and fiction, for children and adults. She has taught in the Professional Writing and Editing course at Holmesglen TAFE and teaches grammar and punctuation at RMIT. She has worked for the Australian Society of Authors and assesses manuscripts for Writers Victoria as well as her own manuscript assessment business, Bedlam Books. 

Photo of Shivaun Plozza

"Before submitting your work, refine it," says WV tutor Shivaun Plozza, "And by 'refine' I mean tear it apart, throw it out, cry and start again."

Shivaun is the author of ‘Frankie’ (Penguin, 2016), her first novel. Her short fiction, flash fiction, essays and poetry have appeared in anthologies and journals including ‘Where the Shoreline Used to Be’, ‘Above Water’, ‘Text’, ‘Vivid ‘and ‘The Victorian Writer’. When she’s not writing, she works as an editor and a manuscript assessor.

Photograph of Euan Mitchell

"The digital revolution in publishing during the first decade of this century has made it possible to publish an ebook from your own computer," says Writers Victoria tutor Euan Mitchell.

Dr Euan Mitchell is an author, editor, publisher and lecturer in professional writing. Euan was a senior editor for a major publisher before he successfully self-published his first novel in 1998. Since then he has continued writing fiction and non-fiction books, both published and self-published, while helping writers from all walks of life launch their works into orbit. His latest book, originally...

Photo of Jaki Arthur resting her face on her closed fists

"Be your own best advertisement," says visiting WV tutor Jaki Arthur. "Every time you talk about your book - even if it's well before it is published - you are setting a tone for it and that will carry out into the world".

Jaki Arthur has over 20 years of experience in book publishing in New Zealand, the UK and Australia across retail and publishing sales, marketing and publicity. Jaki is an ex Hachette Australia publicist who now runs successful arts PR agency JAM PR. She has worked and toured with authors from all over the world publicising books across all genres.

Photo of Erina Reddan

"Be able to distill the essence of your work so that it connects with others," says WV tutor Erina Reddan.

Erina was awarded the prestigious Walkley Award for her work as a foreign correspondent. She now runs a media training organisation as well as writes fiction so she brings experience from both sides of the microphone.

Photo of Donna Ward resting her head in one hand

"It takes one person to write a book, on publisher to have faith in that book, and a whole team to bring it into the world," says WV tutor Donna Ward from Inkerman & Blunt.

Donna is the founding managing editor of ‘indigo’, the journal of Western Australian creative writing, was the editor of ‘Sotto Magazine’, and is now publisher at Australia’s newest press, ‘Inkerman & Blunt’. She has past lives as a psychotherapist and in community and welfare management. She is the author of many research reports and her creative...

Photo of Veronica Sullivan

"Be natural, appropriate and creative on social media," says WV tutor Veronica Sullivan, "but most importantly, don't overthink it."

Veronica is Online Editor for ‘Kill Your Darlings’ journal and Prize Manager of the Stella Prize. She has written for publications including ‘Right Now’, ‘The Lifted Brow’, The Wheeler Centre’s website, ‘The Victorian Writer’, ‘Books+Publishing’ and ‘Archer’ online.

Photo of Courtney Miller-Callihan in front of a garden fence

You’ve finished your novel. It’s been fact-checked, spell-checked, proofread, edited and polished to the point of perfection. Now you are ready to find an agent. You know that in these days of the global village and Internet frontiers it is possible to go international. After all, Australia’s own genre Queens and Kings have proved that, from bestselling romance writers Anne Gracie and Anna Campbell to thriller megastars Michael Robotham and Matthew Reilly, to name just four.

In Australia it is helpful to...