New Beginnings – Namaste 2017

Namaste 2017. I bow to the divine in you.

Blaise by the river – image by Kev Howlett

For many, 2016 was a hellish year. Not so for me, it was a year of recovery after the hellish year of 2015. But now we can look forward to new beginnings. I’m a big believer in energy and probably use more than I have, hence the need sometimes for downtime to recover. I have a good feeling about the energy of 2017. In numerology terms it equates to the number one (2 + 0 + 1 + 7 = 10. 1 + 0 = 1), so I view that as a chance to make new beginnings. To start fresh.

The down time over the new year has allowed me time to reflect and get creative, so I have fresh ideas to implement. I’ll be releasing my childhood memoir, The Road to Tralfamadore in June, as well as working on lots of other awesome publishing projects that we have simmering away.

I’m excited about 2017. Are you? Have you been writing, drawing, reading? Creating something? Don’t beat yourself up about it if you haven’t because you need time to regroup. When you do this, the creative juices start flowing. But always keep in mind that word energy. In order to create something, and finish something, we need to put energy into it. You having nothing to work with if you don’t make a start. And you can’t complete something unless you sit down and do the work.

Yes. I hate to tell you this but it takes work to make your dreams become real. It isn’t enough to manifest them. So stop talking about writing your book and put that butt on the chair and get to it. Start writing words. One word at a time. Eventually you’ll make something. It might not be gold but it’s something that you can polish until it is.

It wasn’t my intention to get all new agey in this blog. Sometimes when you sit down to write, your brain decides for you. Funny how that happens. Maybe it’s my brain telling me what I should be doing because I don’t always do what I tell others to do!

What are some things you can do to help you get your book written? Join a writing group, find an accountability buddy, hang out with other writers, do some writing workshops and get yourself organised with our Australian Writer’s Companion. Yes, all of these things will help but at the end of the day, it’s just you with your computer/tablet/pen and paper.

So. Let’s get cracking for a bumper year.

Blaise, the book chick

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If there’s no money in writing & publishing, why do we do it?

There's nothing like opening a box of newly printed books. The love of stories and ideas is why we do it. Photo by Blaise van Hecke
There’s nothing like opening a box of newly printed books. The love of stories and ideas is why we do it. Photo by Blaise van Hecke

Small Press Network ran another great Independent Publishers Conference this month. It was great to get together with a roomful of writers, publishers, booksellers and library professionals. This is a unique way to look at the book world from all angles.

As we all know, the selling of books is the hardest part of the game and there was a lot of talk about publicity and marketing of books over the two days that I attended. The biggest take home for me was that everything is in the data. Thanks to digital technology, there are many ways to get data for a book out into the world. So be sure to register your book on Title Page (you must be a member of the Australian Publishers Association or Small Press Network to do this) and ensure that any online platforms have as much data as possible. Think key and tag words.

After two days of talking about how hard it is, you could start to think that being in the book game is really not worth it. Too hard. And yet, there are so many people writing books and starting up indie publishing houses. Why is this? Here are some of the things that were cited on the panel (of which I was a panellist):

  • The industry is generous. Where else can you be friends with your rivals, and share industry knowledge with each other?
  • It’s such a rewarding way to spend your work life.
  • The collaborations are fantastic.
  • We are all working to a common goal. To create great books.
  • Humans connect through story, so we feel compelled to get those stories out there.
  • Life is never dull!

And maybe we need to examine the phrase ‘no money’. What does that mean exactly? No money literally means zero and of course this is an exaggeration. To me it means that we’re not all becoming millionaires but many are making a good living from it. This is where we examine the value of working in something that we love versus working for money. I know what I’d rather be doing.

Blaise, the book chick

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