Workshop inspires dozens of authors to get published

New Zealand’s bookshelves have been graced by more than a hundred books published as a result of Fraser High School’s adult community education programme.

Dozens of successful Waikato authors have attended one-day workshops – called How to Get Published – since they began 10 years ago.

Hurricane Press publisher Josh Easby leads the workshops – usually two or three a year – on Saturdays, enabling attendees to immerse themselves in the subject in a single workshop. They are held at Hamilton’s Fraser High School.

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Easby shares his inside knowledge of the publishing process so others can find the best ways to complete their own projects.

“The formula has worked well as it enables the students to decide in a day the best way forward,” he says.

And the proof is in the publishing pudding, he says, with more than a hundred books successfully produced as a result.

“The best part for me is when I am sent a copy of a book by someone who has followed the steps in the workshop.

“I keep a box full of them and start each workshop by showing them to the next group of students. It’s really inspiring to see the range of books that have been published.”

The workshop takes participants through two options – how to find a commercial publisher for their book project or how to self-publish.

“It’s getting increasingly difficult to find a traditional publisher but the ways to self-publish are continually opening up, as long as you understand what you’re doing,” Easby says.

Workshop attendees vary in age and backgrounds, ranging from young writers wanting to make a career from books to retirees who now have time to put together their family history or satisfy their passion for a particular subject.

“One retiree wanted to put together a history of caravans. Through the workshop, he found a commercial publisher and they have now produced a series of beautiful hardback books covering everything from caravans to boats.

“He also self-published a novella and passed on his knowledge to his wife who is now a published author herself.”

A number of attendees have wanted to publish children’s books and these have ranged from a grandfather who wanted to create a book of stories special to his grandchildren, to writers who have developed children’s characters and series of books.

Even attendees who do not go ahead with a publication say they benefit from the workshop.

“One woman said the workshop had opened her eyes to what was needed for the book she had daydreamed about for years. She had decided not to go ahead with the project but was glad she had made the decision for the right reasons rather than to never get around to finishing her book.

“I considered that to be a success, too, as many put hours into starting – and never finishing – a book. The workshop gave her closure.”

Photo: Easby with some of the books published by authors he has helped.