International research: it’s enough to give you a nosebleed

When I was in Japan earlier this year I tried to interview a local friend of mine. I’d hoped to capture her story on audio for later use in some kind of podcast or radio documentary. She’d already spoken about her experience in English (her second language) with great depth and lucidity. When I asked […]

A voice from the future

‘Cliff hanger’ and ‘conference’ are words that don’t often play in the same scenario. But when Malcolm Neil was cut off mid-presentation at last week’s Independent Publishers Conference these words came to mind. Neil is Director, Content Acquisition and Publisher Relations, APAC at Kobo Inc. Kobo provides e-reading services (including e-readers and e-books) to over […]

Mini-magazines and long form distribution

There’s a session at the NonfictioNow conference that couldn’t be more appropriate for this blog: ‘Longform Nonfiction and Online Distribution’. Four emerging practitioners of the non-fiction form will, ‘explore the role that reading and writing online have [in influencing their] work, while engaging in a form of cultural activism, in which writers are found fighting […]

Reading and writing are social acts

‘One of the things that’s most annoyed me about the present debate [in publishing is that] it’s boiled down to one between techno-evangelists and technophobes,’ says Mark Davis Associate Professor (University of Melbourne) and non-fiction writer (Gangland: Cultural Elites and the New Generationalism). ‘We get caught up in that divide all the time and it […]

If you want to be a writer, you have to be a reader

Are you reading as much as you’re writing? And if you are, what are you reading? Are you reading – and buying – the kinds of publications you want to be published in as a writer)? ‘So many people want to write, and less want to read,’ says Amy Espeseth, writer (Sufficient Grace, Trouble Telling […]

Writing tight and loving hard arses

Revise your work. Write tight. Kill your darlings. Schya! I believe in these tenents. I do. But actioning them can be easier said than done. When I’m at the tightening phase of my work I check against Sol Stein’s ‘Solutions for Writers’, ‘Liposuctioning Flab’ chapter. This chapter has helped to surgically remove some baaad writing […]

Make way for long form

I have two TVs in my garage. They sit near the door, one covered in an old blue and white striped sheet. They’ve been there on two years now. A thick lick of dust has formed on the sheet. Every time I open the garage door – just after I feel its cool air on […]

Robin Hemley on breaking rules

‘I write what I want to write,’ says Robin Hemley, author of eight books, winner of a Guggenheim Fellowship, Director of the Nonfiction Writing Program at the University of Iowa and Editor of Defunct Magazine. ‘I tend to break the so-called golden rule [of knowing where you’ll pitch a story before you write it] all […]

Yes, but did you ask?

‘One of the primary joys of being a writer comes from the people you meet and the situations you get in.’ Sarah Marshal, Portland Review (April 2012). Getting into these situations takes a little chutzpah. Personally I’m an advocate of the ‘don’t ask, don’t get’ philosophy. If I’m really interested in a topic or a […]

Do you have a Kindle alternative?

A book is a book is a book is a book. But an e-book? If only it were that simple. Once you’re ready to send your long form non-fiction into the new media galaxy, you will be presented with a smorgasbord of publishing choices – each with benefits and limitations. Eventually you will choose from […]