Helen Scheuerer

Master of Publishing (2014)

Did you know what you wanted to do for a career when you enrolled in the Master of Publishing program at the University of Sydney?

Yes, definitely. I had already started Writer’s Edit - The Online Literary Magazine, and was determined to expand this platform to include a small press. I was also in the midst of submitting my first novel to publishers, and thought that a Masters in Publishing would deepen my knowledge of the industry, and help get me to where I wanted to be – both as a publisher and as an author.

What would you say to people considering studying the same program?

I’d advise having a rough idea of what aspect of publishing you’d like to get into, be it book production, or marketing/publicity, or a particular genre.

The people who did really well within my year, were those who had a focus in mind from the start – they knew where they wanted to intern, and they knew what kinds of questions they wanted to ask.

It also made the assessments easier to get passionate about, if you knew you were getting experience in the field that you wanted.

Tell us a little bit about Writer's Edit – what prompted you start it?

Writer’s Edit is an online magazine for creative writers (publishing writing advice, publisher and author interviews, opportunities, etc). It is also a small press that has so far published two creative writing anthologies Kindling Volume I and Kindling Volume II (with our third and final volume due out later this year).

I started it in 2013 to find a community of like-minded writers and as an avenue of publication for emerging writers. Writing is often such a solitary venture, and to have a supportive community of people who understand the highs and lows makes the journey all the more bearable, and indeed enjoyable.

Additionally, I had always wanted to start a publishing company – to be able to put books out into the world, starting Writer’s Edit was a way of ‘testing the water’.

What have been the biggest challenges of running Writer's Edit?

There have certainly been many different challenges along the way, the hardest of which I think is just managing everything in general – the emails, social media, the writers, the editorial assistants, and then there’s the production of Kindling and my own creative writing and freelancing. Time management and discipline have been vital to keeping this train going.

What does a typical day for you involve?

I love routine, and really thrive on it, so the first thing I do each day is make a list of tasks for myself. These usually involve: providing our editorial assistants with tasks for the day, checking my Writer’s Edit emails, editing and scheduling any articles that have been submitted by our writers, checking our social media interactions, and managing submissions for Kindling.

I’m also currently creating online courses for an academy we’ll be launching later this year on the site, so this involves writing, editing, formatting and designing accompanying workbooks as well.

What is the most rewarding part of your work?

I love hearing the success stories from our Writer’s Edit contributors and Kindling authors. So far, we’ve had numerous authors go on to publish full-length books, win prestigious awards and receive arts grants. It’s such a thrill knowing that we may have contributed to emerging writers achieving their dreams.

In addition, the inspiring people I’ve met through Writer’s Edit and our talented team make my job incredibly rewarding.

What, or who, inspires you?

People who are able to identify that books are as much business as they are art. Authors and publishers are business people, and they have to work hard to understand their readers, the market and the opportunities before them. I admire anyone who makes a real go of this industry, and takes a risk to enter the playing field.

I especially admire independent authors who have chosen self-publishing as the best option for themselves, and who are treating their writing as a business and themselves as a brand. I’d really love to give that a shot one day.

What are your aspirations for the future?

Just recently I signed a contract for my debut novel with Inkerman & Blunt (Melbourne), which is something I’ve been working towards my whole writing life so far. My goals are to see this book hit the shelves at the end of this year, and then help others through Writer’s Edit achieve similar goals.

As an author, I plan on writing and publishing a great many books over the course of my career, and have started work on a trilogy, which I’m considering publishing independently a little further down the track.

As for Writer’s Edit, although 2016 is the final year for our Kindling anthologies, we have big plans to continue publishing both print and e-books. I’d love to see us publish novels and writers’ reference books in the near future.

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