Adventures of a self-publishing author

Michelle Morgan - Tuesday, September 27, 2016

I've taken the first steps towards self-publishing my new novel - Flying through Clouds - a sequel to Racing the Moon. After attending an excellent two-day self-publishing seminar at the NSW Writers' Centre in August, I put together a project plan and launched straight into it. I'll be sharing my experiences on this blog over the next few months.

I've hired a professional editor to copy edit my manuscript - to check for consistency of style, grammar, spelling, sentence structure and punctuation, and make recommendations for appropriate changes. They will also look for consistency of voice, characterisation, narrative and format. When they send the copyedited manuscript back to me, I'll systematically go through the Word Track changes and comments, accepting or rejecting them and making further changes where necessary. Based on my previous experience working with editors at Allen & Unwin on my first book, I'll be accepting almost all of the track changes, and taking on board the advice to make further changes to the manuscript. I estimate this process will take me at least a month. I also had a structural edit done about a year ago with a different editor who advised on structural aspects of the manuscript, and as a result, I made significant changes to the manuscript - deleting some chapters, writing new ones, moving a few chapters around, developing voice, the characters and narrative, and a sense of time and place.

While the copy editor is working on my manuscript, I have been busy buying ISBNs, a barcode and QR code from Thorpe Bowker. As I intend to publish Flying through Clouds in different formats, I need more than one ISBN - one for the paperback book and one for each different eBook format. I bought a set of ten ISBNs, one barcode of the ISBN for the paperback, and a QR code, which links to the Books page of my website:

There is no information about Flying through Clouds on the Books page yet because I need to hire a book designer to do the cover. I recently put together a book design brief and contacted a few book designers whose book covers I liked and obtained quotes. My book designer is working on some concepts at the moment.

In my next blog post, I'll  give an update on the copy edit and new book cover. I also have to put together a media list and investigate printing and distributors.

So much to do but one step at a time.

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Another fun Children's Literary Lunch

Michelle Morgan - Friday, August 12, 2016

It was a privilege to be one of sixteen guest authors at the 2016 Children's Literary Lunch organised by CBCA Illawarra South Coast Branch. The 120 local school students and their teachers / librarians were an enthusiastic audience. I was lucky enough to be on a table with eight amazing students and their Teacher-Librarian from St Columbkille's Primary School in Corrimal.

After signing booklets and handing out bookmarks, postcards and other publicity material, the authors gave three minute presentations about their books. In my presentation I talked about Racing the Moon and billycart races, and then read an excerpt from Chapter 3, which is all about the Glebe Billycart Derby.

Tony Flowers entertained the kids after lunch with his amusing stories and simple illustrating techniques.

Many thanks to CBCA Illawarra South Coast Branch for organising and hosting this special event at the newly renovated Fraternity Club in Fairy Meadow.

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Byron Writers Festival 2016 highlights

Michelle Morgan - Thursday, August 11, 2016

It was a wet and windy three days at Elements of Byron in Byron Bay for the Byron Writers Festival 2016, but what an amazing program and range of authors.

So many sessions to choose from with six concurrent sessions from 9am to at least 5pm every day, not to mention two literary dinners.

Annabel Crabb was in fine form in her conversation with Chris Hanley. Her witty insights into political shenanigans brought gales of laughter and tears to the eyes. Annabel was joined by other political journalists, including Kerry O'Brien, Sarah Ferguson, Leigh Sales, Nikki Savva and Paddy Manning, all of whom have written books on political subjects in recent years. Their forensic discussion of recent events and players was fascinating.

Being a YA author, I was keenly interested in what authors such as John Marsden, Anna Feinberg, Nick Earls, Damon Young and Tristan Bancks had to say about their novels and writing process. Other authors that contributed to lively literary discussions, include Thomas Keneally, Debra Adelaide, Charlotte Wood, Anna Funder, Kathryn Heyman, Emily Maguire, Drusilla Modjeska, Kate Forsyth, Louise Doughty and Dominic Smith, all of whom gave thoughtful insights into their books and writing.

Something completely different was Archibald Prize Unwrapped, in which Rosemarie Milsom did a great job keeping the loquacious barrister, Charles Waterstreet in check while encouraging her introverted and talented artist brother, Nigel Milsom, who won the Archibald in 2015 with his stunning portrait of Charles Waterstreet.

My favourite sessions were Feminism Now and Indigenous Lives through Women's Eyes. Anne Summers did a brilliant job as chair of Feminism Now, allowing the younger feminist writers, including Yassmin Abdel-Magied, Melanie Joosten and Emily Maguire, to voice their concerns and individual viewpoints. You couldn't help but be impressed by their lively discussions and thought-provoking arguments.

The Indigenous writers were just as impressive, with Melissa Lucashenko chairing and contributing to the discussions with Delta Kay and Tara June Winch. Their love of Aboriginal culture, story and writing was inspiring. After hearing Tara read from her beautifully written novel, Swallow the Air, I went to the bookshop marquee and bought the book.

Mary Ryan's Books did an amazing job selling books at the festival. The bookshop marquee was often busier than the food and coffee stalls.

The sky was blue and the sun was shining when I left Byron Bay, inspired by all the wonderful authors I'd met.

Many thanks to the organisers, sponsors and volunteers who did an amazing job.

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New review of "Racing the Moon"

Michelle Morgan - Tuesday, August 02, 2016

There is a new review of Racing the Moon in the latest Historical Novels Review (Issue 77, Aug 2016).

The reviewer, Cindy Williams, writes:

"Racing the Moon is full of boyhood exploits that kids will enjoy. The short chapters and simple, direct language make it a quick and easy to read. However it also touches on the darker side of life, including bullying, domestic violence and sexual abuse. These subjects are handled with subtlety and could prompt some important discussion for children aged 13 plus."

In summary, Cindy states: "I would recommend it as a great book for teenagers studying Australian history."

You can read the full review on the Historical Novel Society's website.

Thank you Historical Novel Society and Cindy Williams.

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SCBWI Bologna Regional Showcase & Digital Catalogue

Michelle Morgan - Sunday, April 24, 2016

I was in good company in the recent SCBWI Bologna Showcase at the Bologna Children's Book Fair held 4 to 7 April 2016.

Racing the Moon was also included in the SCBWI Bologna Digital Catalogue that was produced to support the Showcase.

The Showcase and Catalogue promote Australian and New Zealand authors who are members of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators who had PAL books published between 2014 and 2016.

Thanks SCBWI !!

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Compare book prices with Booko

Michelle Morgan - Thursday, February 11, 2016

Prices for the same book can vary quite a bit between online book stores so it pays to shop around. But searching multiple book stores can be time-consuming. 

I recently discovered a website called Booko, which simultaneously searches multiple Book and eBook retailers using a single search. You can finally compare book prices with one search.

When you search on Booko for my novel, Racing the Moon, you'll find more than 20 online book retailers for the paperback, and more than 10 retailers for the eBook.

For each retailer listed, it gives the price you will pay as well as the delivery charge and availability. At the moment, the cheapest price for the paperback of Racing the Moon is Book Depository ($11.24), and for the eBook is Google Play ($7.65). The retailers listed are all hyperlinked, so with the click of a button or the touch of a screen, you can go to the appropriate page of the retailer's website to buy the book. How easy is that?

Although the differences between retailers for a single book aren't significant, it adds up if you are ordering several titles and/or multiple copies.

I still buy more books from my local independent bookshop. But when it's late at night and I need that book in a hurry...

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Review of "Racing the Moon" on Bookloons

Michelle Morgan - Thursday, February 04, 2016

I came across a recent review of Racing the Moon on Bookloons. In summary, Jessica Maguire (the reviewer) says:

I really enjoyed this novel and how the author handles sensitive and frighteningly dark topics with both sensitivity and humor. That said, the darkness of this novel makes it most suitable for older readers, ages twelve and up.

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A fun Big Book Day Out 2015

Michelle Morgan - Monday, September 14, 2015

It was such fun at Big Book Day Out yesterday. The NSW Writers' Centre was buzzing with kids, parents, authors and illustrators, all celebrating Australian children's / YA books and literature.

I was on the CBCA Illawarra-South Coast stand with authors, Di Bates and Sandy Fussell, as well as Catherine and her daughters, Erica and Freya, who helped Sandy make amazing balloon animals. Jacqueline Harvey, Lisa Stewart, Tristan Bancks, Ted Prior, Yvette Poshoglian and R. A. Spratt entertained the children on the outdoor stage while the younger children enjoyed stories and craft activities inside the story tent. I loved chatting to kids and their parents about books, in particular my YA novel, Racing the Moon. The kids loved the Racing the Moon balloons and were amazed at the large historical photos I brought along to show what it was like living in Sydney and going to school back in the early 1930s.

Thank you CBCA NSW and NSW Writers' Centre for hosting such a fabulous event!

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Big Book Day Out 2015

Michelle Morgan - Monday, September 07, 2015

BIG BOOK DAY OUT, hosted by the Children's Book Council of Australia NSW Branch, is being held at the NSW Writers' Centre in Rozelle on Sunday 13 September 2015 from 10am to 2.30pm.

I'll be one of the many children's / YA authors at this fun event. Bring a picnic, relax in the story tent, enjoy presentations by authors and illustrators or try your hand at one of the many craft activities. There is a book shop where you can purchase books on the day, including my debut novel, Racing the Moon.

See you at the CBCA Illawarra South Coast table between 10am and 12.30pm! Free face painting, craft activities and Racing the Moon balloons.


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Festival of Dangerous Ideas

Michelle Morgan - Saturday, August 29, 2015

Only a few days until the Festival of Dangerous Ideas in Sydney. I booked my tickets weeks ago so I wouldn't miss out. With 34 amazing sessions to choose from, it was difficult to narrow it down to a few. Looking forward to: Capitalism and the Climate, Journalistic Freedom, What I Believe & The Twilight of Democracy. Hoping to be challenged by alternative ideas and perspectives.

Be part of the conversation on Twitter with #FODI this weekend 5 & 6 September.

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