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CTWF Wrap-up


As you know, I spent two days last week at the Tropical Writers Festival in Cairns. Leading up to the event, I was excited and enthusiastic about the opportunities an event of this nature could create.


I had the privilege of meeting and listening to an assortment of influencers, entertainers, filmmakers, publishers, and celebrities, all linked to the literary profession in some way, and all sharing their experiences; lessons learned, and challenges shared.


I had several ‘uh-huh’ moments, with the most powerful lessons exposing areas I perhaps didn’t know were lacking.


From Cathi Lewis, founder of Wild Dingo Press, I could relate to so many of her publishing ‘dilemmas.’ Like me, Cathi runs a small publishing house and is passionate about what she does. I read every manuscript that is submitted and find merit in each one. However, with 6000 books being published monthly in Australia alone, it’s a tough market to break into; little own stand out in.


I, like Cathi, would love to publish more authors, but even the ones that pass the ‘sleep test’* sometimes just aren’t the right fit. From Sandy Davies (author, Femtrepreneur, and founder of Soothing HappyPause Balm), “my successes are a failure unless I reach down and pull others up with me.” I needed to hear this! I am so passionate about helping other writers that I often struggle to treat my business like a business and acknowledge my value as a publisher.


I felt validated by Cathi’s reminder that it’s not always about the book for the publisher. It is, however, all about timing, genre, and audience, so it’s common for publishers to turn down an author, even when their work carries merit.


So where does this leave the writer?


In a world where empowerment can be found through stories shared, I encourage the storytellers to keep submitting their manuscripts. Weather you get a book deal or decide to self-publish, publishing is a lot to do with project management and self-promotion – which is not often what authors are willing to do! From Taryn Brumfitt (current Australian of the Year, author, director, and body image campaigner), “polite persistence wears down resistance.” In other words, never give up!


I’m so grateful for the event and for this rural business owner to be able to actually meet people face to face. So many of my professional relationships have thrived virtually for a couple of years. Still, it was so nice to shake a hand and give a hug to those who’ve helped me immensely with Bowerbird Publishing.


My ‘6 Steps to Self-publishing’ handbook sold out over the weekend, which is a testament to how many writers it’s helping. My next print run is due to arrive this week, so please continue to order via my website www.crystalleonardi.com so I can notify you when your order arrives!


*The sleep test was not something Cathi taught me; it was actually something I already do! Reading manuscripts before sleep is a great way to test whether the work is captivating, engaging, and a ‘page-turner.’ Only the ones that keep me awake at the end of my hectic days get a second look.



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