12 January 2009

Barry Jonsberg - author guest post #2

Remember we said we were looking forward to advance copies of the books we toiled over late last year? Well, the good news is they are landing at the House - hurrah!

And the one that landed today is A Croc Called Capone

by the always entertaining Barry Jonsberg.


Barry made a big splash in the YA world with his very first book (known in the House simply as Kiffo). Since then he's been busy, writing three more terrific YA novels, a great Girlfriend Fiction and the fast and funny The Dog that Dumped on My Doona for younger readers. So in celebration of The Croc, we have a guest post from Barry. Take it away Barry:


A keen sense of audience is important for a writer.

So I would like to say at the outset that book editors are, in my opinion, the most talented, charming, brilliant, gifted, diplomatic and wonderful people I have ever known.


This self-evident truth was brought to my attention immediately after my first book, The Whole Business With Kiffo and the Pitbull, was accepted for publication by Allen & Unwin. Given that I live and work in Darwin [“somewhere up there”], personal meetings were impossible, so the whole editing process was conducted primarily by email. I was thrilled to be informed, in the first email contact, that my manuscript was ‘brilliant’, ‘hilarious’, ‘immaculately written’ and ‘the greatest work of fiction in the English language’ [okay, I’ve lost that email, but it was words to that effect]. My ego inflated to the size of Uluru, I read on to the second paragraph which hinted there were just one or two, very minor, hardly-worth-bothering-about, teensy-weeny, minuscule areas where the manuscript could be marginally improved. As it turned out, these areas were:

  1. the beginning
  2. the middle
  3. the end

and involved eighteen months of re-writing.

Some writers have a reputation for being unreceptive to criticism [“Take out the word ‘the’?. I chose that word after months of agonising over alternatives. Remove it and you might as well rip my heart out.”], so this diplomacy is both practical and generous.


I just think it’s fantastic.


If I’m feeling bad about myself, I only read the first paragraph. If I want to get something done, I go straight to the second.


Words and editors, editors and words. I love ’em both.


Barry and his books. We love 'em all.

1 comment:

RoboFillet said...

From Darwin eh? I'm (originally) from Darwin too! I went back there to live in 2007 and worked in a book store for a while... I probably served you and never knew we sold your books (because we did; I recognise the covers). Anyway, congratulations on your new one!