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Sydney Writers’ Festival: (My) Day One

Well for me anyway! Hooray I’m in Sydney! For Sydney Writers’ Festival!

Currently, I’m snuggled under my sleeping bag in the dorm in the hostel I’m staying at: a dorm which I have to myself I might add! Another hooray for room & ensuite to myself!

I must admit I won’t be uploading any photos as my mini laptop, as much as I love it, is very slow, and I don’t have the time nor patience currently to wait!

However, you can hit LIKE on my Facebook Fan Page as I’ve been putting photos up there, and will continue for the rest of my time here.

(Side note: in extraordinarily good timing on Facebook’s behalf, when I checked Facebook on the way to the airport this morning, a thing flashed inviting me to download a new Pages app – how awesome! I’ve been on there all day. So much easier to update, interact and monitor Pages. Big win!)

I took the flight this morning as an extremely good omen as when I stuck the headphones in during take-off (ie when I can’t listen to my own music), guess what I found while flicking through the channels? The director of SWF talking about the festival! I was very excited and listened to the entire interview.

I knew I was going to miss the first part of today’s session: The Forest for the Trees: Writers & Publishing in 2012.

As Sophie Cunningham said at the end, it had been a dense day, but informative and interesting.

Six 45 minute/hour panels on different aspects of the publishing industry, and I’m still a little confused why the price was only $35/$25. They could have easily charged that per session.

It was a long day, no denying, and it was obvious as the room slowly dropped off towards the last few sessions. Which was a shame, as the last session was one of the most fascinating.

As I said, due to my flight I missed the first session, which was a real shame as I really like Sophie Cunningham.

During the second, she made an off-handed, almost joke comment, which I really loved. She said that writing – if you’re still working a 9-5 –  is often like having an affair. You have to steal secret moments, keep on going. 

I have some random notes I took, I apologise if I don’t have a speaker associated with said comments:

  • You can keep going back to research until you feel that you’re ready to write, but you have to draw a line somewhere
  • ‘You don’t know what you can survive til it comes at you’ – Elliot Perlman
  • On getting bad reviews: ‘I understood the process so I thought it would protect me, but it didn’t’ – Sophie Cunningham
  • Write everyday, it’s hard to get back on the wagon if you miss a day or two (side note: completely agree! I feel the same way about this website: if I miss a day or two, it’s a hell of a lot harder to drag me back to it – thus why those sort of gaps often stretch into a few days rather than one or two)
  • Is the state of the publishing industry natural progression or a revolution?
  • Panel agreed revolution
  • Last year, 200 books closed down (Borders, Angus and Robertson etc) and another 40 opened (independents)
  • It’s a growing trend for self-published e-book writers to approach publishers, saying that they have this e-book and could they publish it?
  • ‘The sooner you lower the price, the sooner you’re devaluing books’ – Paul Baggaley
  • Paul also suggested that the physical book is becoming a collector item, something for those with a book fetish
  • In terms of the new wave of social media and how to navigate it from the perspective of both publishers and authors, here are the top five social networks in Australia (ie to help you select which ones you should join for marketing purposes):
  1. Facebook
  2. YouTube
  3. Blogger
  4. LinkedIn
  5. Twitter

This surprised the audience, and also the rest of the panel - on the position of Twitter in fifth spot, and of the inclusion of LinkedIn. Interesting indeed…

It was held at the State Library of New South Wales, just lovely, and was an intense day of all things writing and publishing. It was like a mini festival in itself.

I over-heard a rumour that SWF might do it again next year, and I would hope they do!

Meanwhile, I’m also looking for activities to do between sessions: granted, this time is extremely limited as I’ve jam-packed myself with sessions and a few friend catch-ups, so any such activities will have to be centrally located and fairly quick. Any ideas?

And now, I have to drag myself out of bed as I’m off to see Jeffrey Eugenides - again. So excited!

He joked to me the other night that I’d already heard all his good material, but whatever. He’s worth it!

I don’t think I’ll be taking many notes if the session is basically the same as the last one I saw, but I will direct you to not only my wrap, but also Jo Case’s wrap on The Wheeler Centre’s website. Just lovely.

What are you up to tonight? Anything half as exciting as my Eugenides event? :P

8 thoughts on “Sydney Writers’ Festival: (My) Day One

  1. ooo sounds like you are having a great time, I’m looking forward to reading more posts from you.

    In the meantime, re looking for places to visit, have you read Anita Heiss’ recent online article on seeing Sydney in two days? Definitely worth a read…

  2. Glad you had a great time at the panel on Thursday. While I DID attend the first sessions I missed the last due to having a catch up with a publisher friend. I’m planning on blogging about it (soon, soon) so maybe you can catch up on it that way!

  3. Pingback: The Wrap: Sydney Writers’ Festival | Website of Megan Burke

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