Part 1 ~ So You Want To Be A Modern Day Author

Welcome to the world of self harm and mental torture…

O.K. so it’s not that extreme, but you do have to be a little crazy to become a modern day author. I’m enjoying a quiet patch during the promotion of my second book and taking a little break from writing my third, so I’m passing on some experience to those staring out.

What Does It Take To Be A Modern Day Author?

I scoured the Internet, cruised around writing blogs and read loads of books concerning the author gig. When I say research, not all the boring practical stuff such as purchasing desk, laptop, thesaurus and a machine to mainline coffee. The actual steps of getting published. What does it take to create a successful novel? Does effective marketing assist in a book’s success? How I can get involved in the whole getting paid part? This research took several months.


I tell you, it’s a massively dull read.


Talk about eyes rolling back into my head, sleep drool and pinching myself to stay focused, but it is mandatory reading for any modern day author. I’ve read the stuff, made a few mistakes and put it all to the test. Albeit, I’m still seeking representation. After self-publishing two books, I’m still sending query letters off to literary agents – but more on that later.


The Basics for all Modern Day Authors


The next logical step to landing any job is scoring an interview. Even an author has to go through the usual processes starting with the job interview. All employment interviews require the same things, on a basic level, even the job of being an author.

The three basic requirements of every job interview:

1.    Resume

2.    Appropriate appearance 

3.    Confident smile



Transferring these to the job of an author:

1.    Query letter

2.    Manuscript

3.    Ability To Handle Rejection


 You’ve typed your resume – query letter (we will go into detail and an example in a later blog post). This one page letter introduces you as an author and your book. Basically, it tells a publishing house or literary agent what your story is about, who it is for – target audience, and how great you are. The ability to upsell and overstate capabilities and experience are useful here. Hyperbole is your friend. I’m not advocating going to town on the truth and flat-out lying, rather tweaking it. Agents are not particularly interested in inexperienced new authors, so overstating your credentials gets your tootsie in the door. Big fat lies gets you thrown out.


Next, complete your manuscript, (yes it must be finished) and then plaster a smile upon your face – the ability to handle continuous rejections.


That’s the basics for any aspiring author: query letter, a manuscript – completed and revised and professionally edited… and nerves of steel.


Every modern day author needs a healthy dose of fortitude. If you’re channelling delicate blossom, every criticism and rejection will result in you summoning the cold compress, the smelling salts and a family sized tub of chocolate chip ice-cream. You don’t want to become an author to end up as a burnt-out, obese nut-case.


 To guard against the downward spiral into insanity…


I recommend picking up a few extras:

1.    Perseverance

2.    Over Confidence

3.    Self Delusion


Purchase this little commodity called Perseverance early, as the business of being an author involves bruising knock-backs and crushing criticism. Perseverance will help you continue on when times get tough. These two can be relied upon to remind you that you’re the greatest and able to achieve anything. Over Confidence and Self Delusion will assist you through rejections, shield you from criticism and most importantly, protect you when Self Doubt arrives to mess with your head.


The fact of the matter is if you don’t believe in your work, and think you’re the modern day incarnation of Shakespeare, you’ll eventually give up. Being self deluded and overly confident keeps an author in good spirits and pursuing goals. I’ve read some modern day marvels of mediocrity and wondered how on earth they got published. I put it down to the overly confident, deluded authors who just wouldn’t accept no for an answer. So it works. Allow Self Delusion and Over Confidence to continually prop up your confidence and feed your ego.


That’s a good start.


Next post, we will bust the myths about authors. Delusions have that nasty habit of blinding people to the obvious. Let’s avoid that palaver and get the reality checks on before you start..



Another Win For The Independent Author

 The Bunbury City Library Has My Books!


Another Total Yayness moment!

Debra, the Senior Library Officer obtained my books and gave me a big smile for my forthcoming website.

Thanks Debra.



Now the citizens of Bunbury can have a giggle at my novelty book.

I then took a stroll down to the local book store and I’m currently having a chat about them stocking my Funny Australian Letterboxes book… this could be a good opportunity.

Fingers and tootsies crossed. I’ll keep you posted.

Author Stardom Is Awesome!


I have my first genuine fan!

…So, he’s ten. I’m not an ageist.


My first fanjpg

Meet my little buddy, Jacob.

His mum purchased three Funny Australian Letterboxes book as presents for friends (good on her) and her son was quite taken with the novelty book (showing superb literary taste).
Jacob rushed up to me on Sunday telling me how much he loves my book and how he took it to show and tell at school.


We are total BFFs now. We then discussed school yard politics and which Tiny Teddies have the best flavour.


Stardom is Awesome.


Independent Author Book Promotion

Hello Libraries!

I purchased another twenty copies of my Funny Australian Letterboxes book for promotion and publicity. After a few newspaper and radio promo’ spots, it’s time to hit the libraries.

The promo’ sign is completed ~ 

Letterbox book flyer

With sign and books, I visited Australind High School Library and they were really pleased to receive a few copies of my novelty book. The library assistants enjoyed a few chuckles at the pics and captions – (we’ll see if the teenagers get a giggle from it).

Thanks ladies … now onto the next library.

Australind High

Writers Groups And Critique Groups ~ Reasons Against Joining

 This is an unusually long post… so grab a coffee.

 If you are wary about joining new things and have a healthy fear about committing to a groups that may not add to your professional development, then read this.


Here is my experience of my local writer’s group:

The local writers group meets once a month on a Tuesday so I gave them a call. Esmeralda, yes her real name, enthusiastically answered my enquiries and encouraged me to join them. I asked if there was anything I should bring – ‘my smile and two dollars to contribute to the tea and biscuit fund’.

This is great! Cheap, convenient and easy. ..You Get What You Pay For.

I hopped into my beast – a twenty year old hatch back held together by rust and drove over to the local centre. The door was covered in a fine curtain of cobwebs and clusters of dried leaves gathered around the faded welcome mat. I pressed the doorbell. It moaned a tired tune while the sounds of approaching shuffling grew louder. An elderly lady opened the door and beamed up at me. Esmeralda warmly greeted me and her cold, aged hand dragged me in. She was surprisingly strong for such a little person.

We walked into the main meeting area where six ladies were seated in a small circle. Five smiling faces and one distinctly displeased one greeted me. I restrained the, “HiYa Peeps! What’s the hapi-haps?” and  went with, “Good morning ladies.” 

Distinctly displeased eyed me. I felt like asking her why her undergarments were in a twist, or enquire to her partiality of lemon juice and was it particularly sour this morning. I restrained myself again.

Esmeralda introduced me to the ladies and handed over proceedings to Gerty. She was the leader of this merry band of scribbling seniors. Gerty obviously liked purple because every garment on her body was a variation of that colour. I was getting all purpled out from looking at her.

“This week we are completing our critique on Winny’ s fifth chapter of her latest manuscript, ‘With Love’s Last Breathe’. Now MJ, Winny has had a few things published in her thirty years of writing.”

I winked at Winny in an obviously ‘on-ya-Winny’ way.

She winked back. I like this old gal.

“How about I make the teas and…” Gerty started.

“And crack open those Monte Carlos, Gerty.” Winny interrupted in a frail, quavery voice that made me want to go, “naaawww, gee, old people are so cute.” Again, I restrained myself.

“I’m jonesin’ for a biccy.” Winny whispered and winked at me. I winked back. We had winked at each other twice now. We were bonding on an unspoken level. I was going to say, “tru-dat”, but I didn’t know how street Winny was.

“Yes Winny. As I was saying, I will make the teas now instead of our usual time. It will give MJ time to look over Winnie’s work, so she can contribute to the critique session.” Gerty responded. She trotted off into the kitchen to clanging crockery and whistling kettles.

As I read Winny’s narrative, my initial warmth towards Winny waned… pretty much disappeared, replaced by a distinct feeling of this-is-awkward-and-you-are-no-longer-my-home-girl.

Dear old Winny, the fragile looking creature, who dressed in what appeared to be an oversized doily was a romance writer. I hate romance novels. This is not the reason why I downgraded Winnie from potential BFF to I’ll-avert-my-gaze-if-I-saw-you-at-the-shops person.

Winny’s romance novel was a euphemism for erotica. I looked up at Winny who was looking at me eagerly and felt the warmth rise in my cheeks. Aware they were colouring, I put my head down and pretended to continue reading. Oh dear! Another vivid recounting of an interaction I’d rather wasn’t written in such graphic detail.

I felt like sitting Winnie down separately and giving her a right talking to. She needed the chat that illustrates the subtle difference between provocative and offensive smut-city. I mean, really, a woman of her age should be jolly well knitting booties for babies, chewing on licorice allsorts and playing Bingo instead of writing filth. I looked around at the other ladies who were already discussing Winne’s lyrical and emotive writing style.


What about the content ladies?

Where’s the outrage? Where’s the elderly public hostility?

Distinctly displeased was the only one not engaged in the analysis. Maybe that’s why Distinctly displeased looked so cranky. Perhaps her puritanical sensibilities had been offended by Winnie’s raunch and not by my arrival. 

I flicked through the rest of the chapter pretending to read it. I had a sneak peek at the last page and it was just as risqué. I handed it back to Winnie, cheeks a flame and muttered, “Boy-o-boy, you’re are a racy little creature aren’t you.”

No demure fluttering of the eyelashes and downcast glances. Instead Winny gave me a cheeky grin and giggled.

“She has a gift for description.” Gerty added as she offered the tea and biscuits around.


 Man! They don’t make old people like they used to.

I endured the critique  and among all the tea sipping and biscuit nibbling, we discussed Winnie’s improper usage of auxiliary verbs. Yawnsville.

“See you next month ladies. The Monte Carlos were awesome.”


I didn’t return.

This lot were too hardcore, and passionate about auxiliary verbs for me, especially Winny. So this is my reason for not joining this writers group… 

And The Winner is…

Laura! The winner of the Free Book Give-Away.


She’s enjoying ‘Funny Australian Letterboxes’ under the shade of a eucalyptus tree, perched on a broken air conditioner, after knocking back a bottle of Beverley bore water.

Thanks Laura for the great pic!

Laura - happy


Radio West’s HOT FM fun guys Cliff and Dougie,

gave my ‘Funny Australian Letterboxes book’ a great shout out this morning.

Check it out~

I missed the intro on the recording but it’s still a great chat.

Have a listen ~

MJ Cope


Now, gotta get back to work. See you soon… hopefully with good news on a Lit agent.