On Writing

Writers, editors, agents, publishers and more share their thoughts, experiences and stories.

‘The Government supports the removal of parallel import restrictions on books.’ –The Australian Government response to the (Harper) Competition Policy Review


When the Turnbull Government published this statement in late 2015, it rendered hollow all its claims about being proinnovation. Indeed, it signed the death warrant of a globally envied local publishing industry and of new Australian writing.

Jacinta di Mase asks creators to reflect on their experiences with literary agents.

As agents, it may seem obvious to us that one of the most important aspects of our role is to provide insights into the publishing industry for the creators we represent.

At conferences and panels budding writers in the audience frequently ask: ‘How can I get my YA/Children’s novel published?

The Australian Literary Agents’ Association (ALAA) represents more than one thousand established and emerging authors and illustrators across all sectors of the publishing industry. Along with many others in the publishing community, our members were shocked to hear that the federal government is considering the repeal of existing parallel importation restrictions (PIRs) on books. These restrictions prohibit booksellers from importing books from overseas when a local edition is available.

Sarah Vincent investigates why it’s important to know what level your writing career is at.

Why does everyone want to know what stage you’re at as a writer? Does it matter? Some days I’m at “Wohoo!”; some days it’s “Who am I kidding?” and some days it’s “Throwing my computer out the window, why didn’t I become a nurse like my sister cause she gets double time on Sundays.”

In an agency that represents 65 creators across literary and commercial fiction, non-fiction, YA, series fiction and books for younger readers, as well as picture books, the work is varied and always interesting.

What are some of the key, important differences between an agent you would regard as great at her/his job, and an agent who is not-so-great?

For authors who are seeking to sell overseas publishing rights to their work (especially US rights), do you recommend going through an Australian agent (who might use sub-agents) or seeking a separate agent who is local to that territory? 

Headshot of Cate Kennedy in front of a tree

Cate Kennedy is an accompished author throughout a variety of genres, having just published her most recent work 'New Australian Love Stories'.

Here Cate discusses her knowledge and observations on short story writing and editing with Sharona Lin.

‘I have looked at lists of agents accepting Australian writers and most seem to be fully booked and not taking new clients. I am now faced with the option of self-publishing on Amazon with the additional requirement of self-promotion. Whilst I would have happily worked with an agent, is there any advice for writers unable to gain access to agents regarding this necessary part of the publishing process?’