Perth Writers Festival (unlike the Sydney Writers’ Festival, the Perth Festival doesn’t feature the plural possessive) is part of P I AF… no, not the French singer but the Perth International Arts Festival. Being part of it is always a blast, and this year was no exception.
On the Friday of the festival I appeared in an all-day session called the A –Z of Getting Published with such luminaries of the publishing world as, Meredith Curnow, publisher at Vintage and Knopf, part of Random House, http://www.randomhouse.com.au/ and Mandy Brett, senior editor at Text Publishing http://textpublishing.com.au/ Also on the platform was Clive Newman of Fremantle Press http://www.fremantlepress.com.au/ , talking about the trials and tribulations of being a smaller publisher.
I was on the platform straight after morning coffee (always the best slot of the day) along with Lyn Tranter the doyen of literary agents, We talked about manuscript appraisals and what the literary agent is looking for.
In the afternoon people on the platform included Terri-Ann White, Director of UWA Publishing http://www.uwap.uwa.edu.au/ Amanda Curtin, who is a freelance book editor and also a novelist and Emma Morris a publicist with Scribe http://scribepublications.com.au/
All in all it was great day although the temperature outside the marquee was thirty-eight degrees and the air-con, immediately behind the platform, was at full blast. It was a bit like sitting in front a couple of Boeing aircraft engines at take-off. Without it, though, the audience would have been stifled to death.
The only person missing on the platform, in my opinion, was a bookseller. The day covered most of the important elements in the process of writing and getting published, except the vital element of how books are sold once they are out there. Writers, if they have any sense, keep a close connection with booksellers, yet it’s surprising how often organisers miss booksellers out of the mix. Which is a shame.