The Essentials of Publishing 2018

Joel Naoum

Saturday 24 March & Sunday 25 March, 10am–4pm

Who: Joel Naoum & guest speakers including Ber Carroll, Brett Osmond, Louise Thurtell, Meredith Drake, Nada Backovic, Nicola Moriarty, Tara Wynne

What do you need to know about publishing a book and when do you need to know it? What do agents, publishers, editors, marketers and designers bring to the process? And how has the traditional model of publishing been affected by the growth of digital, small presses and self-publishing?

In this two-day course you will meet publishing experts and veterans – and get a sense of what it takes to get your manuscript from the bottom of your desk drawer to a reader’s bedside table.

Schedule Day One

10am-12.30pm:  The Publisher Joel Naoum

Introductions and overview

What do publishers do all day? Who does what, what are publishers looking for, and are they all the same? What is a list, how is it put together? What have been the big changes and how do they affect you as a writer? Which publisher is right for you? Who are the other key players in the publishing world – agents, editors, assessors, mentors?

12.30-1.15pm – Lunch

1.15–2.00pm: The Agent Tara Wynne

I’ve got this manuscript I’ve been working on…

Approaching an agent: at what stage should you do this? How do you find the agent who is right for you? What are agents looking for and what will they do for you? Do you always need one – or can you go straight to a publisher? What questions will an agent or publisher ask? What about money? Fiction and non-fiction, fantasy and romance; which one are you writing? The pitch: what works and things to avoid. Doing your research beforehand.

2.00–3.00pm: The Editor – Louise Thurtell

When you send your manuscript to a publisher, is it in the best shape? The difference between getting a call back and going straight to the reject bin can depend on a few basic things. Get some tips on the essentials of editing.

3.00-3.45pm: The Marketplace – Meredith Drake

Where books sell and what that means for authors. How does a book get into a bookstore? What are the different markets for a book? We discuss the changing nature of bookstores, online stores and bookselling.

3.45–4pm: Day one wrap up and questions – Joel Naoum

Day Two

10.00-10.30am – Intro and a brief overview

10.30–11.45am: The Publishing Landscape – Joel Naoum

There are a lot of different publishers out there. Find the one that’s right for you and your manuscript.

11.45am-12.30pm: The Book Designer – Nada Backovic

The perfect package… Don’t forget that people read and take in information visually. The cover, the font, typesetting, layout are vital to a good book. Too often they are misunderstood or overlooked. Get a lesson on what works – and what doesn’t.

12.30-1.15pm – Lunch

1.15-2.15pm: Marketing Brett Osmond

If a book falls in a store and nobody hears it, does that mean it exists? Reviews, extracts, posters, word of mouth campaigns, Twitter, facebook, social media, creating platforms – how to make sure your book gets the attention it deserves.

2.15-3.30pm: I’m an author Nicola Moriarty and Ber Carroll

Hear from people who have been published: what they did right and what they wished they’d known starting out.

3.30-4.00pm: Wrap up and questions – Joel Naoum

About the speakers

Joel Naoum is the director of Critical Mass, a consultancy for authors and publishers. He previously established and ran Pan Macmillan Australia’s digital-first imprint Momentum.

Ber Carroll was born in Blarney, County Cork, and moved to Australia in 1995. She worked in finance until the publication of her first novel in 2004. Ber is now the author of eight novels, two of which were self-published. Her most recent novel, The Missing Pieces of Sophie McCarthy, will be published by Penguin in July.

Brett Osmond is the managing director for Leading Hand, and is a results oriented professional with a strong record at developing and implementing high-performance strategies in the fields of digital marketing, graphic design and book publishing.

Louise Thurtell has worked in publishing for over 25 years, starting out as an editor at Harper Collins before moving to publishing positions at Harper, Transworld then Random House. In 2005, she was the recipient of Australia’s premier award for editing, The Beatrice Davis Editorial Fellowship. Louise’s most recent in-house publishing job involved setting up the Arena imprint at Allen & Unwin, with a focus on commissioning commercial fiction and narrative non-fiction. During her time at Allen & Unwin she set up Friday Pitch, which was the first electronic submission system at a major Australian trade publisher. Louise is now a freelance editor and publishing consultant.

Meredith Drake is the head of book buying at Big W, and was described in The Australian as the most influential person in the Australian publishing industry.

Nada Backovic is a book designer and illustrator with more than 20 years experience in the publishing industry in Sydney and in London. After graduating from the University of the Arts London, Nada started her career at Random House UK, going on to become the design manager at Allen & Unwin. Nada currently operates her own design business working with a variety of mainstream publishers and self-publishers. She is based in Sydney.

Nicola Moriarty is a Sydney-based novelist, copywriter and mum to two small (but remarkably strong willed) daughters. In between various career changes, becoming a mum and completing her BA, she began to write. Now, she can’t seem to stop. Her latest novel, Those Other Women, is being published in Australia, the UK and the USA, while her previous novel, The Fifth Letter, was translated into several languages and has been optioned for film and television by Universal Cable Productions. She blogs (occasionally) at her website here:

Tara Wynne joined Curtis Brown UK in 1998, and moved to Curtis Brown Australia as a literary agent in 2002.


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