Friday 28 June 2019

So You Want to Be A Writer

So You Want to Be A Writer by Allison Tait & Valerie Khoo (Australian Writers Centre) PB RRP ISBN 9780648555902

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

This book is co-written by two authors; Khoo is founder and CEO of the Australian Writers Centre based in Sydney while Tait publishes under the name of AL Tait. Its sub-title is ‘How to get started while you still have a day job’ so it’s aimed at those who are thinking about becoming writers. Its chapter headings include ‘Finding your tribe’, ‘dealing with other people’, ‘how to go on a creative date’ and ‘finding time to write’.

The book has a breezy and wordy personal approach with examples drawn often from the author’s real-life experiences in the book industry. For example, it tells how Tait and Khoo found ideas for their various books, with a fifth of the book (‘don’t just take our word for it’) being advice given by many authors (fiction and non-fiction, commercially published and self-published) and editors and publishers. It also shows how to build an online profile and how to use technology such as Scrivener, Trello and Google Drive and includes information such as how to find a writing mentor.

Don’t expect to get advice on the craft of writing with this book. Its main pitch is to show aspiring writers how others managed to break into print. As such it should prove to be very popular, in fact (in the words of Pamela Hart, award-winning historical fiction author), ‘it is perfect for the person who wants to write but doesn’t have the confidence or the know-how to start.’

Tait and Khoo also host the top-rating podcast ‘So You Want To Be a Writer’ for Vivid Ideas, in which they expand their dialogue into a panel discussion with audience participation to help aspiring writers determine the exact steps they need to take to get into their chosen writing field.

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