Tag Archives: writing

Find Your Tribe – The Writing Secret

Open mic night 60 at Busybird Publishing

My love of story goes back to the mid seventies when I was a barefooted girl living in the bush. Back then, I had no point of reference when it came to my tribe because I had one and was well and truly loved and accepted. I was free to be myself.

When I went to boarding school I was suddenly without my tribe and had to learn how to fend for myself and to navigate the confusing relationships that go with teenage territory. I suddenly had no voice and stopped being myself. I also stopped loving stories – writing or reading them.

This is not a unique story. Just about everyone I know has experienced the slow suppression of his or her true self. We fight against society norms or what we thinkwe should be doing. Unless we find the right tribe early on, it can take a long time to live how we truly want to live. We are always searching for somewhere to belong but at what cost?

About 13 years ago, I was at a crossroads in my life. In hindsight, this was a special situation for me because I was at a point where I could decide where I was going. Luckily I chose what was really in my heart. I wanted to pursue what I wanted, not what I had been doing. I wanted to write.

I saw a flyer about an open mic night for writers. I went on my own. You could say that night changed my life. Not in a big bang sort of way but a dawning of consciousness. I didn’t participate or talk to anyone. I sat up the back and observed, which is my natural way. I went again the next month. I loved hearing people reading their work and I started to write again. At the end of the second night, one of the organisers came up to say hi and chatted to me. He was a teacher at the local TAFE. Within months I was enrolled in a writing course and you could say I was now part of a cult. A good one. I found a tribe and realised that maybe I wasn’t as weird as I thought. Or maybe the things that I wanted were not out of my reach.

When I started my own publishing business I realised that so many writers deal with isolation, depression and anxiety. I searched for ways to create a safe haven. I wanted a place where people could go to feel nurtured and less lonely. Those open mic nights had stayed with me.

Fast-forward 13 years to our own open mic night at Busybird Publishing. As I sat listening to each reader last night at our 60thopen mic night, it struck me how much the writers had grown and improved in their writing. How much fun they were having! Isn’t this what it’s all about? To create, share and have fun?

We have many regulars who have been coming for years, and many who have now been published. And so often the comments after the readings harp back to it’s so good to hang out with like-minded people. To be part of a tribe.

Of course, I’m not saying that coming to our open mic nights is responsible for good writers, but I know it helps on so many levels. People feel safe to share their work and by doing so can get feedback. This can only help them improve their craft as well as confidence. My hope for all writers is that they search out the like-minded people who can help them in their writing journey. It’s too lonely to do it on your own. Stories need to be shared and are pretty irrelevant if they aren’t.

I’d like to thank Barry Carozzi (that TAFE teacher) for those open mic nights. I don’t think he realises that they meant so much to me and I’d like to think that I’m carrying the baton along with my Busybird family.

Busybird Publishing runs open mic night on the third Wednesday of the month, February to November.

Blaise the book chick

The rise of ‘Talking Books’ – do audio books fit your publishing project?

Recording your audiobook will give you another platform from which to offer your book.

If you’re a reader, do you listen to audio books? Or if you’ve published a book, have you converted it to an audio book? It’s worth exploring this as an option for your story so that you can access another platform that allow readers to be exposed to your work.

When I was a child I loved tuning into the radio to listen to serialised stories, especially if the reader had a compelling voice. There’s something special about being read to. I know that people love live readings because of the regular numbers who attend our open mic nights and from library events that I used to organise where a performer would tell stories to a live audience. It feels luxurious to be read to and for some it may remind them of being a child when a parent or grandparent read to them.

While I do like audio books, my preference is to read the printed version but there are many instances where having the audio is useful, like travelling. This is the same for podcasting, which is growing in popularity.

Audio books have been around since the 1930s, they were called ‘Talking Books’ back then and were primarily thought of as a good resource for people who were visually impaired. Mostly these ‘books’ were short nursery rhymes or poems. Whole books didn’t really make it to the mass market until the 80s when it became easier to produce them and they were more commercially viable, but they were still quite expensive for the consumer.

Thanks to digital technology, the cost to produce an audio book has reduced, therefore the cost to consumer has reduced dramatically, to the point where there are apps like audio.com where you can subscribe and get books at varying prices, sometimes free, much like eBooks.

If you’re publishing books, most likely you have created a print book and/or an eBook. While eBooks are not as popular as people think (remember the cries of ‘the book is dead!’ about eight years ago?) it still gives readers a choice. Adding an audio book to the mix spreads the readership further, as well as exposing your name and product to a wider audience.

Many people ask us about creating audio books and to date it has been an expensive option. Now it seems that technology is catching up, so we are looking at ways to produce them.

Enter Studio Four4ty. On a recommendation, I organised to record my own memoir into an audio book through this local studio. Last week was our first session of four hours. It was fun going into the little recording booth and donning the headphones, but I have to say it was also a little daunting. Speaking isn’t my forte and any new experience can be anxiety ridden but I did it anyway. I wanted to experience it for myself and I was curious to see how my stories would come out with my own voice.

The person reading the story should fit the written content. Many people hire professional actors who are used to voice work, but I often think that the actual writer is good if their voice suits the story. If the story has a protagonist (but written by a female) who was a 25-year-old man, it would suit to have a male voice.

I’m yet to hear the full book as a completed audio book but so far, the experience has been positive. I have another recording session to complete and then the sound engineer, Jarred, will edit it (there were plenty of fluffed sentences) and put it together into one file.

If you’re looking at ways to get your work into readers hands, it’s worth thinking of as many ways to do this. Don’t be narrow minded and just think ‘print’.  I’ll report back in a few months to see how my audiobook is received and I’d love to hear opinions about the different ways you like to consume stories.

Blaise the book chick