In November I attended two important events for any emerging writer – publishing and bookselling. There is a bonus short story at the end of my report.
The first event I attended was “Pathways to Publishing” at Brisbane Square Library CBD hosted by Kylie Kaden, Carolyn Martinez and David Bobis. Dr Kate Steele was unable to attend but there was much advice to hear and many questions to ask. No trade secrets here. The photos (below) show the tilted windows behind the speakers platform but not a clear view of the Victoria Bridge and the ferries going up and down the Brisbane River.
The Discussion Panel
One hour flew by. However, I’m too lazy to embrace the promotional rigors of self-publishing. I did learn that persistence pays off. Flipside: if you are traditionally published your publisher takes the weight off but the finished product is up to them, cover design and all. Meanwhile I must try to write a completed manuscript.
Got a load of newly minted books in boxes in your hallway?
Congrats, next comes The Bookselling
The second event I attended was GenreCon Night Market held at State Library of Queensland, South Bank. The whole event ran for three days but I was there on Friday evening in my brand-new capacity as Secretary for Society of Women Writers Qld Inc sharing a table with two authors Toni Risson and Mocco Wollert. Further down the room were Australian Authors, FAWQ, Virginia Miranda, Russell Perry and Indrani Ganguly. We were surrounded by authors of every genre hoping to sell their nicely displayed wares. Yes, cash and I were soon parted.
State Library has many rooms but this room is stunning with a mirrored ceiling and one end open to the balmy night breeze. The permanent wall display cases are crowded with valuable antique tea cups and saucers.
The venue filled up and was buzzing from 5pm-9pm but unfortunately nobody knew there was a Meet & Greet in another section with food and wine, so by the end of the night we were famished.
Early on, a cup of hot coffee had spilled across our table. It soaked a lovely tablecloth which had to be discreetly removed. I scored a beverage-damaged book which I shall enjoy reading even if the aroma of caffeine tingles my tastebuds.
No book sales for our table but it was a night of lively conversation and I handed out several SWWQ membership leaflets.
Your Bonus Reading
Being an exponent of public transport on both occasions I travelled to and from the venues in council buses. Waiting at a city bus stop on a Friday night can be an interesting experience.
I saw the drunk staggering along the pavement and I hoped he and his wildly waving bottle of spirits would keep going. No, he lurched to a stop in front of me. To attract my attention, he bellowed “Hey, hey darlin” and leaned forward. His voice dropped. “I jus wanna say that’s a lovely dress ya wearin.” He let out a cackle and stumbled away, only to stop again. I refused eye contact but I knew he was looking back at me. He shouted in triumph “Bet ya didn’t expect that!” I gave a tiny smile then jumped up and practically ran to my bus.
Guess what? The bus driver was new, took a wrong turn and actually got his whole busload of passengers lost! I didn’t notice until I looked up and had not the foggiest idea where we were. Neither did the bus driver. The bus meandered through the night while we muttered to each other. Thankfully a school teacher-type woman gave him directions on how to get back on route. Good old human navigation.
I’ve no complaints because it was an almost magical Harry Potter experience being somewhere unrecognisable, going down steep streets, swerving around wide corners, passing twinkling cafes and glittering nightclubs. The woman who got us back on track left the bus before me. Eventually I arrived at my stop, none the worse for an unscheduled detour. As I alighted I experienced a twinge of regret for not raising my voice and saying “Thank you” to the woman for her calm control of the situation.
♥ Gretchen Bernet-Ward