wild colonial girl

A freelancer moves to Castlemaine

just_a_girl: upcoming talks, bits ‘n’ bobs

Walter Mason, Destination Cambodia

Walter Mason will be appearing with me at the NSW Writers’ Centre seminar: Open Access – Selling Your Book in the Digital Age

Just a quickie.

Now all the excitement of Friday Night Fictions has died down (for a month or so), I’m doing some housekeeping and sorting out a few just_a_girl items. It seems that the life of the published writer is really geared these days to heading down the talking track and making public appearances (and you know how much I love that) — but the good news is it seems to be getting easier.

If you are in Sydney or Melbourne, come along. Would love to meet you.

Debut Mondays – Wheeler Centre, Melbourne

On Monday 23 September, I will be doing a reading from just_a_girl at the Wheeler Centre, in Debut Mondays, with Fiona McFarlane and Briohny Doyle. It’s at the Moat, a cosy little bar underneath the State Library. I met Kate Holden there once. Angela Savage and I first laid eyes on each other there. The bar and me, we’ve got a history, that’s all I’m saying.

Can Self-Promotion Be a Creative Act? – NSW Writers’ Centre, Sydney

Well, I do my best. It seems writers do have to be entrepreneurs these days. On Saturday 21 September, from 3 to 4pm, I’ll be talking at the Open Access: Selling Your Book in the Digital Age forum in a panel of authors who will discuss what they have found works and whether promoting yourself can be as creative as writing your book. I’m thrilled to be featured with Walter Mason (Destination Saigon), Andrew Nette (Ghost Money) and Jenn J McLeod (House for all Seasons). I’m looking forward to sitting in on the whole day and getting some tips from digital experts like Anna Maguire.

just_a_girl Goes Digital

It’s been news to me that sometimes getting your hands on an ebook can be more difficult than buying a paperback copy. For small publishers, getting ebooks onto Amazon and iBooks can be tricky and can take a loooonnnngggg time (for excitable people like me). The good news is that the just_a_girl ebook is now available on Kobo and is recommended  in the ‘Aussie Reads’ section.

Jenn M McLeod

Jenn J McLeod will be appearing with me at the NSW Writers’ Centre seminar: Open Access – Selling Your Book in the Digital Age

Ratings, ratings, ratings

I’ve never been too sure of the star system when it comes to rating books and music. On Goodreads, I agonise when I have to rate books. There seems to be such a gap between three stars and four. I’d rather read reviews without the stars, but maybe that’s just me. There’s no denying though that the wider publishing world likes stars and ratings. It really helps writers if you give them feedback. If you have read just_a_girl and if you love it (or hate it — I won’t track you down, I promise), it’s good to know people are reading it. It’s like a little security blanket. And if you review it on your blog, even better. Did you know that sales teams for publishers use blog posts to continue arguing to booksellers that the book should remain on the shelves (months after the book has been launched). You can review or rate the book at Goodreads, Amazon or Kobo.

Goodreads competition

One of the best ways to promote a debut novel is to have a giveaway on Goodreads. It’s a way to highlight your book, get people interested in what it’s about, without spamming them. Goodreads does all the organising; writers and publishers just have to mail out the copies. As an added incentive, I asked those who won (and those who entered — who missed out but still read it) to do a little review, and I promised I would include it here on my blog. So here goes:

Thanks to SOPHIE:

just_a_girl is a gritty Puberty Blues-esque novel for the modern age. It is referred to as an adult text however I would recommend it to teenagers as well. The novel is separated into three narratives, in which the interrelated characters develop. The first is Layla, a fourteen year old girl discovering her sexuality and self identity through interactions online. Layla is forced to deal with her fathers homosexuality at a young age, a factor which I believe influences her future relationships with her boyfriend, Davo, and her illicit relationship with an older man, Mr C. Ironically, Mr C is also linked to the second character, Layla’s mother. Margot, struggling to cope with losing her husband for another man and now her daughter to adolescence, turns to the Riverlay Church seeking solace. Here, she meets ‘Mr C,’ or Pastor Bevan, a leader of a new-age Christian Church. Margot finds comfort in Bevan, believing him to represent God in earth, an ironic twist to his actual role. The novel also focuses upon Tadashi, a young Japanese man who seeks affection in the form of a doll after the death of his mother. I was unsure of his overall contribution to the plot. He seemed to be a minor character yet the text kept referring to him. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It is honest and gritty, and I often found it confronting. It represents accurately what teenagers are forced to encounter in modern society, something authors often struggle to represent.

Andrew Nette, Ghost Money

Andrew Nette will be appearing with me at the NSW Writers’ Centre seminar: Open Access – Selling Your Book in the Digital Age


This book took me a little while to get into at first, but then I was hooked. Highly recommended for young adults!


Who have posted reviews at Goodreads including Annabel Smith, Ellie Marney, Anna, and Mandee.


To my husband who rated it five stars. *awwwwwwwww*




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8 thoughts on “just_a_girl: upcoming talks, bits ‘n’ bobs

  1. Hi Kirsten, congrats on your hyperactivity. There’s no other way methinks of engaging attention for your work in this indifferent, modern world. (And your book deserves attention.) My own book (Straight Jacket) was officially out this week but still just straggling into bookshops, with a handful of notable exceptions. It is a second print publication for me, and I realise now I was way too passive last time. I have been much more active this time and have several events organised, but I also have a fulltime responsible grown-up’s job which rather curbs my availability for such things.

    A word on Goodreads and ratings. I’ve already got 5 ratings on Goodreads and only know 2 of the raters. There are a couple more people who have marked the book ‘to read’ (neither of whom I know) so if you consider that success in publishing is inevitably contingent on people you don’t know buying your book, this can only mean that there is some benefit in having your book available for ratings and discussion in any forum possible.

    • Congrats on Straight Jacket – it’s such a great read! Yes, it’s amazing the things you learn, and vow to do differently next time (if there is a next time!). Yes, I see what you mean re Goodreads. It’s just that reductionist idea I struggle with – but understand it’s a way for punters to have their (our) say.

  2. Louise Allan on said:

    Just a girl is sitting on my bedside table and I will get to it, after I’ve attended to my four kids, written some of my own novel, attended whatever sport practice is on, supervised music practice and homework, cooked dinner, got the kids to bed, fed the dog, … you get my drift! I hope to read it before 2014!

  3. As a reader these days my recommendations virtually all come from blogs I’ve come to trust. I gave up on Amazon and Good Reads a while back because it seemed too easy to “game” those outlets and you never really know who’s behind different accounts. So I’ve got a selection of about 80 or so blogs that I subscribe to and I probably get about half of my reading from their collective recommendations (the other half comes from me trying to read as much Australian crime fiction as I can for reviewing myself).

    I do try to read at least one únknown’ book each month – though I admit I don’t always manage this. I do acknowledge though how hard it must be for new authors to get themselves noticed. However, as a reader and book blogger I do tire of the never ending bombardment from new authors to read their book. It’s all very lovely that the barriers to entry are lower than ever for writers but some of what is getting ‘published’ is utter garbage (I was on a judging panel this year and for the first year they accepted self-published titles – all three of the SP titles submitted were awful, one of them was so riddled with typos and continuity errors I wouldn’t even have called it a manuscript – it made me angry I had to consider this equal to the other books submitted).

    I do read mostly crime fiction – I don’t know if the problems I encounter are the same for other genres or more literary stuff.

    • Good on you for reading one ‘unknown’ book a month – that’s an amazing achievement! I understand re the bombardment. I feel compelled to do it as a writer – but it doesn’t sit right a lot of the time. There are some terrible self-published books out there – but I’ve also come across some terrible work published by big and mainstream publishers in the past year – no excuses there! The difficulty is targeting your audience. I think authors who self-publish often lack the funds or knowledge to pay an editor to read the manuscript. Let’s face it, all manuscripts need an editor. I did so many drafts for my first novel before I showed it to someone, and it still needed a hearty edit. Where do you blog? You might like to tell other readers here about your blog?

  4. Hi Kirsten,
    Lovely meeting you yesterday at the NSW writers’ centre and hearing your talk. As a bookseller I’m spoiled for choice. I use to review books but now I just Goodreads, adding a star rating, sometimes a review.
    My book group forces me to read books I might not pick for myself. It’s a hit and miss as to whether I like them but at least it gets me to read something I wouldn’t otherwise.

    • I was so impressed with your talk, and lovely little bits of advice that I have taken to heart (the hand written note asking for recommendations is a beauty). I’ll be in touch, and great that you have bookstores opening in western Sydney. I’ll planning to find you on Pinterest, and read your books too…

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