Our super profitable side business & Irma Gold on putting your heart into the world.

In this episode, Katherine and Kate provide an update on their super profitable side business. Which, it turns out, is a Patreon page.  I know, right?  Innovative.

Here’s the video that explains all.

If you want to contribute, check it out here.  Proceeds go towards paying our technical team to do the editing and production work for Season Two. That’s right, we’re not flying to Bali with it, unfortunately.  (Unless we make a million dollars then all bets are off.)

The hosts also chat about procrastination, something they’re both great at, and an article by Bram Presser (The Book of Dirt) entitled ‘Second Book Syndrome‘.  Whatever could that be?

Then Kate talks to Canberra writer and editor Irma Gold.

Irma Gold is an award-winning author and editor. Her critically acclaimed debut collection of short fiction, Two Steps Forward (Affirm Press), was selected from over 450 manuscripts to be published in the Long Story Shorts series of six short fiction collections. Irma’s short stories have also been widely published, and she is the author of three picture books for children, most recently Megumi and the Bear (Walker Books), with a fourth, Seree’s Story, forthcoming with Walker. Irma is Ambassador for the ACT Chief Minister’s Reading Challenge.

As an editor Irma has worked both in-house and freelance. She is currently Editor at Melbourne publisher Inkerman & Blunt and Convener of Editing at the University of Canberra.

In our interview, Irma talks about Two Steps Forward came to be. While a number of the stories had been published previously, a number were written at Varuna, the Writers’ House. If you haven’t been to Varuna, definitely think about applying, if only for Sheila’s cooking, which is amazing. Listeners wanting more on short story writing, check out our Mel Cheng episode).

Did you know Two Steps Forward was originally rejected by Affirm? Then in a crazy turn of events, Irma got her second chance! Second chances are a recurrent theme in this podcast. To hear more, check out our Jacinta di Mase episode).

Though Irma worked in publishing herself, there were still things she didn’t expect that first time around, including:

  • How much energy it takes to talk about yourself and your book.
  • How weird it is when people conflate your characters with you. Irma says:

Even though it’s fiction they think it’s autobiographical. Of course, this happens less with children’s books… With Megumi and the Bear, no one would ever say to me, when did you ever go in a forest and play with a bear? We know that’s a product of my imagination.

Irma talks about the differences between marketing and publishing children’s books vs. fiction for adults. A lot is similar but the audience is different. Young fans are the best! Irma talks about doing school visits with her children’s books, including how she set these up.

Check out this post on Irma’s blog about the things she wished she knew the first time she got published. One of the main things was:

Your heart is published along with your book… There’s this idea that the book is not you and you are not the book so any criticism of the book is not a criticism of you but actually, it’s such a personal thing… You’ve created this thing and suddenly it’s out in the world.

Listen to what our resident counsellor and coach for writers Alison Manning says on this idea.

Kate and Irma discuss also reviews. What is it like when you get a bad one? Or not even a bad one, but one that you can’t even interpret?

Irma says that one of the things that’s become harder over time is the waiting. She is so much less patient! When (children’s book) Seree’s Story comes out this October it will have taken six years from writing to publication. Part of this is because great illustrators get booked up… She’s waited three years for Wayne Harris! No pressure, Wayne.

Irma was involved with the ACT Writers Centre’s Hardcopy program in 2016, assessing the manuscripts selecting who would be involved in the program. Interestingly, that was the year Katherine was a participant. Next year’s program is non-fiction. APPLY, PEOPLE.

Irma’s advice for Katherine or anyone else about to be published is three-fold:

  • The publicist only has a short amount of time for your book, after 4-6 weeks they will move on. Maximise that time because after that, you’re on your own.
  • It’s a rollercoaster so take some time to step back,  read a book, drink a cup of tea.
  • Enjoy it!

Because really, what an achievement.  Irma says that 20,000 books are published in Australia each year but also, only 1% of all books submitted to publishers make it to publication. So your book is one of two million.  That’s amazing. (Astrid Edward’s The Garret podcast has a great stats episode, (the one with Louise Adler) if you want more of this kind of info.)

Quick 5 – The first time

Agent or no agent – No agent

Advance or no advance – Advance

International rights of just ANZ – ANZ.

Festival invites or no festival invites – Festivals invites

Do you know how many copies of Two Steps Forward were sold? – No.

Irma’s favourite debut? Lucy Treloar’s Salt Creek.

Find out more about Irma and her work on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

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