On Writing

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

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?’ 

If I had a dollar for every person who has approached us saying, ‘So, I have this really great blog that gets up to X amount of hits per day and now I want a book deal,’ I’d be a rich woman. It’s the new big thing – EVERYONE has a blog and now EVERYONE wants a book to accompany their blog.

Are you hoping to find a publisher for your manuscript? Or considering self-publishing? An editor can help you improve your writing and get it ready for submission or publication. A good editor is like a great coach – they will inform, encourage and inspire you to make your writing the best it can be.

‘Writing a picture book is like writing “War and Peace” in Haiku.’ – Mem Fox

‘Social media does not constitute a marketing plan.’

- Judith Curr, President and Publisher of the Atria Publishing Group.

Many Australian publishers now have a direct-to-digital imprint, whether for genre fiction, such as the romance imprints: Escape (Harlequin), Destiny (Penguin Random House), or HarperImpulse (HarperCollins). Other companies such as Momentum (Pan Macmillan) and Xoum publish almost exclusively in digital format across a range of genre and age groups.

Advice for new writers of novels: