‘Alibrandi, Francesca, You and the Productivity Commission’ from Melina Marchetta
Award-winning Australian young adult author Melina Marchetta has penned a powerful piece for her blog, Alibrandi, Francesca, You and the Productivity Commission.
‘If a publisher here has managed to survive the bleak scenario, things are still dire. Because Aussie publishers are not going to be able to take a chance on a manuscript written by some unknown girl from the suburbs, who didn’t go on to do her Higher School Certificate, but had something to say about cultural identity and growing up in this country. Looking For Alibrandi was rejected more than seven times. Most publishers could see the potential, but couldn’t financially take the chance. Even when my publishers accepted it, I remember being told it may have to be printed overseas because of cheaper paper. That’s how much scrimping had to be done to ensure that a novel written by a first time writer could be published. There was no advance paid, and hardly a budget for the book, but there was a line in a letter sent to me by my publisher, Julie Watts. She believed what I had written was important, and that if I was willing to work hard on the edit, people could still be talking about the novel in years to come. That was over twenty three years ago.’