With Hazel Edwards, Laurine Croasdale, Libby Gleeson, Susanne Gervay
Chair: Meg McKinlay
Hazel and Laurine spoke representing the Australian Society of Authors (ASA):
Why would you want to belong to the ASA?
To find out what other authors/illustrators are doing and to meet with your peers. It is an investment. It is a strategic decision, especially when you work for long periods on your own – people want community so socialising and networking is important. ASA deals with a lot of important issues such as contractual and accessible legal advice. Mentoring is another important area that ASA covers. Finally you have a group lobbying on behalf of you (such as Public Lending Rights and Education Lending Rights) so you need to support these organisations.
We are "authorpreneurs" – it is not just about writing and we have to accept that.
The ASA is a group of 5 or 6 who work part time. They are an organisation to support you, not publishers or agents. Their primary focus is for authors and illustrators to be able to work as professionals in the industry. This is particularly important with the changing publishing landscape.
Libby Gleeson added, 'If you are going to be a writer you NEED a professional organisation working for you. If you receive a PLR and ELR cheque and you are not a member of the ASA you should give it back!!'
Libby spoke on behalf of Copyright Agency Limited (CAL)
With CAL joining is free! You just need to have copyright on a piece of text or image. You are then eligible to be paid if anyone copies your work. This last year CAL paid out $140 million dollars in copyright payments. Recently the organisation has changed the system so as of this year all payments go directly to those eligible and authors do not need to on-pay to illustrators or publishers. This is a much better system. The other big change is CAL is merging with Viscopy (the visual arts equivalent). On Tuesday CAL will become CAL and Viscopy. The website has great information about the author industry, as well as information about relevant workshops and seminars.
A certain percentage of the funds collected go towards The Cultural Fund, devoted to developing the cultural sector and providing opportunities. There are fantastic programs funded through this (check out the website). There is a professional development fund (covers things like sending individuals to conferences etc for further development). Zoe Rodriguez at CAL will talk you through the process of applying. Easy to apply.
Susanne spoke, representing both the NSW Writers' Centre and the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI)
The NSW Writers' Centre run great programs. Julia Tsalis is the programs manager and authors/illustrators should contact her whether they wish to run workshops, or attend.
SCBWI now has regions operating for both authors AND Illustrators:
Corrine Fenton & Claire Saxby (VIC, SA, TAS); Frané Lessac (taking over from Dianne Wolfer), Meg McKinlay (WA), Sheryl Gwyther (QLD), Francis Plumpton (NZ), Deborah Abela (NSW)
ILLUSTRATORS: Sarah Davis for Australia East and New Zealand
James Foley for Australia West
Get to the main website and check out all the information there. There are great international conferences that are really worthwhile attending. You get great access to people you wouldn't otherwise get access to. Sign up for the international newsletter to keep abreast of what is happening all over the world.
Every two years SCBWI has a stand at the Bologna Book Fair, which gives authors and illustrators a great base in what is a massive event.