Category Archives: beersheba

Today’s the Centenary of Beersheba … so where’s my book?

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Updated 2010 ‘mock’ draft cover*

Today’s the Centenary of the Battle of Beersheba, which included the Australia Light Horse charge, so where’s my book … Beersheba: the untold story of how three myths, two units, and one charge captured our imagination you ask?

Last year and early this year, I sent my full draft manuscript to two leading Australian independent publishers, two Australian branches of international major publishing houses, and the unpublished manuscript category of my (then) State-based Literary Awards.

One of the Australian independent publishers said,

‘This looks like an admirable piece of historiography and a significant contribution to the literature on Australia’s experience of WWI, and also our understanding of Chauvel’s life.’

But they couldn’t publish it.

One of the Australian branches of a major international publisher said,

‘You’ve clearly got some very interesting thoughts on this celebrated aspect of Australian history … (however,) your approach isn’t focussed enough on the narrative of the charge and the war to suit our customers … This is not, of course, a comment on the book’s quality or accuracy, just its genre.’

I assume by genre they mean because my book’s a hybrid, that is part biography / my own story / official history. Either way, they wouldn’t publish it.

My plan was to self-publish the book this year in time for today.

The trick as a self-supported person through a full-time day job is that such a project would need to fit in and that work … so when things went ‘off the rails’ at work this year and my health declined, I was then focussed job-hunting which has resulted in an interstate move (from which I’m still unpacking), so I haven’t had the time outside of work to self-publish.

Even though the Centenary is today, given the positive rejections quoted above, and my belief in this book, I will still self-publish … who knows, because of all the media coverage perhaps it’ll reignite interest over coming months so people will still be interested in my book.

I’m looking to do a separate blog post regarding my annoyance at the current media coverage perpetuated the myths relating to the charge’s place within the Battle of Beersheba and Australia’s military history.

Thanks to all of you who’ve stuck with me through this mammoth book journey.

* this cover was produced in 2010 by the small Australian publisher that I was originally contracted to. I’ve hastily updated my surname and subtitle for this blog post, that’s why it’s a mash! Also, this will probably not be the final book cover. What a fun process that will be!

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The Journey Map for my Beersheba book

I really have been bad with this blog. Please know though that I’ve promised myself that once the Beersheba book is out, I will find a regular blogging rhythm.

I’ve used a few things to try and motivate myself into focusing on finishing the adult non-fiction, Australian military history book I’ve begun about the Australia Light Horse charge at Beersheba in World War One, but it seems I’m still struggling.

I promised myself that I won’t work on my first novel until the Beersheba book is published.

I won’t embark on my freelance business idea of delivering workshops, coaching and mentoring.

I won’t do a masters course till the book’s published.

I won’t get my quill tattoo until it’s published.

But it seems the recent, and hopefully the final, motivational trick is that I now need to find a new publisher; and the centenary of World War One is upon us.

So, I thought it was time I tried to bring you along for the journey, hence the post’s title of a ‘journey map’:

  • October 2007As part of a group project for the RMIT University Graduate Diploma in Editing and Publishing I was completing, I presented our group’s idea about a book devoted to the charge of Beersheba. The day after, an independent publisher that one of my classmates worked for approached me to turn the idea into reality.
  • October 2008 — After a year of discussing the proposal, the contract was signed. I resigned from my job in book publishing and spent three months researching full-time for the Beersheba book in Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney, Armidale and Tamworth.
  • January to December 2009 — As my then husband worked full-time as an Army officer, I had the freedom to take time off work to prepare the first draft while in Darwin. I originally thought it would take me three to six months, but it ended up taking the whole year, even though I was working on it full-time. I did have another research trip to Canberra but spent a lot more time using the inter-library loan service of the NT Library.
  • February 2010 — My publisher gave feedback that the first draft needed quite a bit of re-working and I agreed.
  • April 2010 — My husband and I separated. This threw my world into a tailspin and the last thing I could focus on was anything creative.
  • December 2010/January 2011 — Over New Year’s I tried to work on the book, but couldn’t find the voice needed for the second draft.
  • July 2011 — I attended the ‘Million Dollar Expert’ program run by Thought Leaders and was reinvigorated with ideas. Using some of the techniques from the course, I restructured the book and decided to ‘own’ that it wouldn’t be strictly an ‘official history’, but not like the books produced by journalists either.
  • September 2011 — I attended military history workshops conducted by Dr Peter Stanley and Dr Maria Hill at a major writers’ festival. This helped reinforce, for me, my new approach to the Beersheba book.
  • July 2011 to July 2012 — Around the same time I was engaged to freelance publish War in the Valleys : 7th Battalion Battle Group (MRTF–1), Afghanistan, October 2008 to June 2009. This turned out to be quite an involved process, as outlined in my blog post ’10 Steps in Publishing a Book’.
  • December 2012/January 2013 — With the freelance project finished, I revisited my Beersheba book to put together a few pages in the new style of writing I’d come up with 18-months earlier.
  • February to November 2013 — I worked on snippets every few months but didn’t make much headway as I was waiting for direction from my publisher. By the end of the year though, we’d amiably parted ways.
  • December 2013/January 2014 — With the hunt on for a new publisher, I’ve rewritten my proposal and worked out that the unsolicited manuscript process means I need at least the first 50 pages rewritten in the new style.

So, with the centenary of World War One upon us, I’m endeavouring to get the draft sorted so that the timeliness of a publication release isn’t lost. I’ve now also gone public with the process. So, I must get on so that once the book’s published, I’ll be able to do the things I promised myself I wouldn’t do until the book was published. 😉

Cheers

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