View Your Shopping Cart 0Cart

Our Blog. We like to write...

Don't Call Me A Writer

Blog Post

Each year I receive a variety of submissions from budding authors and writers already published.

They come from everywhere – the US, England, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Russia, Pakistan, you name it.

My impulse is to publish everything I get. Alas, I lack the time and energy to fulfil my impulse, which on reflection is a good thing. I’d probably be stone broke.

Often I’m asked about publishing and how one gets published. I may own a publishing imprint, but I’m no expert on this matter. All I know is that you can self-publish, approach a publishing house or hire a literary agent. So far I’ve taken the first two options; why anyone would do the third is beyond me.

Which brings me to the point of this post.

If it’s not publishing, it’s fielding questions about being a writer. How do I become a writer? Who do I write for? Will I get paid?

These questions always beat me. I never have an answer. But I do have suggestions.

You see, I’ve always thought of myself, not as a writer, but as someone of a writerly kind.

As context, here’s a brief personal history...

At high school, I won a literary award sponsored by a regional newspaper. That led to a contributor’s role with Rip It Up, New Zealand’s trail-blazing rock magazine, and other miscellaneous music press across the globe. It was the heady days of punk and new wave. I was nineteen, I had a press card and I could see any band – local or international – that came through my town.

Over time, my passion for music writing dimmed. Instead, I found myself placing articles for broadsheets and magazines on everything from the Los Angeles gang scene and Burmese rebels to film criticisms and interviews with William Burroughs and Dan Fogle, the guy who wrote Drugstore Cowboy.

In a brief but particularly creative period in my twenties, I produced my own e-zines, co-opting friends to fill content and provide design work, and getting sponsorships from journalism schools.

I worked out fairly quickly that writing and self-publishing didn’t buy a champagne lifestyle.

After being sacked as a receptionist (my day job) for satirising a well-known Sydney institution in The Sydney Morning Herald, I began working as an editor – initially for legal publishing houses and then for some of the world’s largest travel publishing brands.

Editing bored me.

I threw in my job and travelled to Cuba, which became the subject of my first travel book. More travel books followed. With a family to feed, I then fell into the corporate world, working for some of Australia’s biggest companies writing media releases, speeches, staff communications and online content.

I got good at being an organisation man. So good, I stopped writing and started “managing”.

Long after I established a communications consultancy firm, still going strong after almost twenty years, I launched Germinal Press, a fledgling publishing venture that struggles for my time.

Through all these fits and starts and eventual consolidation, I never saw myself as a writer. Sure, “writing” was involved, but mine has been a career of spurts and gushes, never one thing or another.

Call it an eclectic career. Call it a writerly career (I do). Call it what you will.

Just don’t call me a writer.


On Tuesday, October Oct 2014 D.B.Tarpley said...

“Anyone who is writing to make money is in it for the wrong reasons. There are a million people out there giving it away for free so the odds of you striking it rich with your life's work spec novel are akin to winning the lottery. I am about to release my fourth book and the only advice I can give any author wishing to self-publish is the following. 1. Pay someone to create a professional cover. It is not only an extremely important thing, it may be the only thing. Everyone judges a book by... 2. Make sure your work is professional in the sense it is properly edited and formatted and spell checked, etc. No one wants to buy a great story if they have to wade through a jarbled text. 3. Take the time to develop a sense of style. I know you think you have a great idea but if this is the first thing you have ever written regardless of how proud you think you are of it chances are you are not ready. Take the time to hone your craft. Sorry for the polemic. Who am I? I am nobody. Who is Germinal Press? He's a man with a passion for writing and writers that is rare to find these days. He may not like to refer to himself as a writer but if you are lucky enough to get the chance to work with him you had better listen to what he has to say because the man knows his shit. It's people like him who give people like me the hope necessary to keep going. Cheers mate. May you only find peace, happiness, and satisfaction in all the days to come.”

On Tuesday, October Oct 2014 Steve Townshend said...

“Thanks D.B. If I can reciprocate in kind, the great thing about having an imprint is the opportunity to work with people like yourself, real writers who take chances, who break rules, who work hard, who meet deadlines, who don't treat commerce as a bad thing, who take the knocks and the plaudits with equal grace, who share a vision through their story telling. For me, that's one of life's great pleasures. And it makes me a lucky man. All the best with your new book. And cheers back at you mate!”

Post a Comment


Are You A Writer?

Germinal are always on the hunt for new and interesting publishing concepts.

More Info...

Learn More

Learn more about Germinal Press and the Indie Publishing World... Learn More