Kylie Ladd recently visited the Melbourne class of the Novel Manuscript Development Program.
Kylie has two novels, After The Fall and Last Summer, published in Australia with Allen & Unwin, which have also been published in countries such as the US and Turkey. Prior to After The Fall and Last Summer, Kylie also had two non-fiction books published and gained a PhD in Neuropsychology.
The writers in the class had the opportunity to ask questions and discuss all sorts of topics with Kylie. The topics discussed emerged from questions within the group and where the subsequent discussions lead.
Business of Writing
Kylie discussed business aspects of writing with the class. Topics on the business of writing for publication covered topics including getting agents and publishers; working with agents and publishers, including working with editors to get manuscripts ready for publication; marketing and publicity; and contracts, royalties and advances.
One thing which came as a surprise to some of the writers in the class was that Australian authors with a major publisher and several novels out are not necessarily making a full-time income from their writing, with many advances from Australian publishing deals being between about $5,000 and $15,000 for a book.
It was much more consoling for these writers to hear that the same book that attracts a $5,000-$15,000 advance in Australia, may attract a further $50,000 from also being published in a country with a larger population, such as Turkey or the UK. If an author gets their book published in 3 or 5 or 10 countries, the total earnings for a book can be very substantial.
Craft of Writing
Kylie also discussed the craft of writing with the class. Topics covered include establishing characters early in a novel; writing distinctive characters; and balancing action and description to both draw readers in and maintain story momentum.
One of the writers in the class, Clint, noted in particular how Kylie’s characters in Last Summer were distinctive and fleshed out characters, so they each seem like a separate, unique character, as opposed to characters with a sameness symptomatic of shallow character development.
Kylie also discussed her writing schedule, which is essentially based on working on her writing three days a week around family commitments.
Everyone remarked that Kylie was an interesting and worthwhile guest author to have along to the class and we all enjoyed her visit.
You can follow the journeys of the writers in the Novel Manuscript Development Program at www.writingnovelsinaustralia.com.
The Australian Literature Review