Last Friday, Julia Tsalis, Program Manager of the NSW Writers’ Centre hosted the very last First Friday Club for 2016. The trailblazing Lou Johnson Co-Founder of The Author People and newly appointed Publishing Director for Murdoch Books was in residence to discuss the challenges and opportunities that the global publishing industry has to offer. With over twenty five years of experience to draw on, an hour was not nearly enough.
Lou aptly described the publishing industry as an ‘intersection of art and commerce’ and stressed the importance of fostering a publishing culture that maintains its relevance by staying in touch with readers and is able (and willing), to adapt to the ever-changing market. She also gave some great tips on the difficult, but certainly not impossible, avenue of self publishing, stressing the importance of quality editing, great production values and clever marketing.
Another session of note was the September Club, where Jill Eddington and Lina Kastoumis from the Australia Council for the Arts, discussed how they manage to support artists with an ever dwindling supply of government funding. It’s incredibly competitive but definitely worth having a look at the funding avenues available and don’t be afraid to call ahead and get guidance on how to argue your case. You might even consider becoming a peer assessor and participate in deciding where grants are allocated.
The First Friday Club will be back in 2017 but you’ll need to be a member of NSW Writers’ Centre to participate. Visit the membership page for information on this and other member benefits. If you aren’t in Sydney, there are other great writing communities to join and Google should be able to help you find a hub closer to home:-)