MDP's 2013 Post Mortem

I find writing the year in review is a bit like a meditation, so I hope it doesn’t bore you too much while I relfect and wonder.

Professionally, this has been the year of me regrouping and seeking renewed enthusiasm to write. By the middle of 2012, I was burned out and finding my writing and the industry in a head-bashing and brick wall relationship. I stepped into this year with a fresh perspective and thought far less about selling books and far more about writing them. When Angry Robot made an offer on PEACEMAKER I was thrilled to be finally writing the book I’d long been itching to complete (but kept being told wasn’t commercial enough). WIN!

I did some writing teaching, judging competitions and took a bit of time putting in a PHD application to Curtin Uni. The workshops kept a little bit of cash coming in (thank you Redlands Council), and the PHD app was only partially successful – I got in but didn’t get the living allowance scholarship. I’m forced to make some new choices for the future now and I’m taking the Christmas break to consider what they might be. Partial WIN!

In an attempt to supplement this year’s meagre income, I launched my own social media consulting business which has been a bit of a financial failure. The reality is that no one in the writing industy wants to pay for anything. In fact, I spent some time looking for freeleance web content work, and almost 90% of the jobs advertised were voluntary/interns positions. Writing is very devalued. No WIN.

The end of the writing year had some highlights though. The cover for Peacemaker turned out to be sensational (IMHO), and my first children’s picture book was released – see SERIOUS SAS and MESSY MAGDA. Both these events were golden moments in the year for me. WIN.

Personally, I began coaching a junior girls basketball team. I’ve long put off coaching sport for many reasons, but the time finally felt right. It’s been one of the most stimulating and enjoyable projects I’ve embarked on in a very long time. Great team, great parents, great manager and co-coaches.

I’ve also connected with Lauren Galley from Girls Above Society. Lauren is an extraordinary young woman who it is well worth your time getting to know. WIN. WIN. WIN. WIN.

I could spend hours talking about my family but I won’t! Suffice to say they are all well and getting about their lives, leaving me to enter the next stage of mine. I’m working through the desolation of empty nest and thinking about the future. Long term WIN; short term sadness.

2013 in Entertainment is better summed up but the Guardian than me, so check this out.

On the world stage, we lost Nelson Mandela but Obama is still president and gay activism reached an all time high. On the down side, there was way too much talk about Miley! I’ve found it fascinating how social media allows us to obsess on a subject/object for a very short hyperreal moment or two before we’re hauled inexorably onto the next thing. How we think is most definitely being shaped by how we communicate.

The Escape Club website continues to be a labour of love, putting together fun content for teens and young at hearts, and I want to publically thank my team – Bel, Mandy, Joelene, Krista, Lisa, Jamie, Bec, Diana, Amy, Chris and Phil for everything they do. Without them my life wouldn’t be nearly as rich or as much fun! Next year I hope to be welcoming Kylie back to the bunch.

On this website, I’ve blogged mainly about the TV series I’m enjoying, but next year I will extend that to include reviews of music videos as well. MDP On MusicVids.

So, in closing, I just want to say thank you to those of you who actually read this blog and especially those who comment. You gotta know that a hello from any of you always makes my day! 

I’m leaving you with some music – love the energy and honesty in this remix. There is so much talent in this world!

Merry Christmas!

Marianne xx







  • Amra Pajalic

    What a great post and a great year you’ve had. I found this sentence really interesting: ‘I stepped into this year with a fresh perspective and thought far less about selling books and far more about writing them.’ It’s interesting how the only way to be a writer is not to think about that side of it because we have no control and it’s kind of heartbreaking that the income is non-existent, regardless of where you are on the writing spectrum.

  • Hi Amra, thank you for your lovely comment! Yes, its a weird thing …. the expectation is for writers to be market and publicity savvy these days – but the more time and focus you give to those things the less satisfying the whole process becomes. At least that’s my experience. Of course finding a balance is the key, I suppose. Merry Xmas! MDP

  • Chris Kneipp

    Thanks for letting me tag along for some of it Marianne, and look forward to what next year has to bring.

  • Mandy Wrangles

    (Mandy Wrangles)
    As I said on FB, Marianne, you forgot to mention here how much advice and time you spend helping new writers in this industry. I LOVE being part of the Escape Club team – we are a very fortunate few.
    Here’s to a fabulous 2014 for you and yours.

  • Thanks for your great reviews Chris! Glad to have you on the team. Merry Xmas. MDP

  • If you only knew how much I look forward to your cooking posts!!! Thanks for sharing that part of your life with us. LOVE your new website MDP x

  • Amy

    Love you, Marianne! <3

  • You too, Ms Amy!

  • Liz

    I found this post quite sobering, Marianne. To me, you appear so successful – you’re productive (loads of books out there), marketing-savvy, and you’re a really good writer, and I assumed you would be doing fine out of it financially given you tick all the boxes. I hope Peacemaker does really well for you. And congrats on the coaching – that sounds great. :)

  • Hi Liz, thanks for your comment! It is a very sobering time in the industry, and on top of that I’ve found I can’t write quickly enough to put out numerous books a year like some prolific authors do. It is one of the hardest businesses that exist to make a decent (that’s the qualifier) living from, especially if your publishing base is in Australia where the reading population is quite small. Even with international sales, becoming known is just damn hard. Of course, I have been writing SFfor many years – so that marginalise me as a writer straight away :) But that’s OK … nothing like a challenge! best Marianne

  • Krista

    You know we all love what you do and support you. I think that it’s great you found an outlet with your coaching of the basket ball team. It’s always great to take time off to think of something else, if even for a few hours. ;) Hope you have a happy holidays and new year!
    xoxo Krista

  • Lisa Smith

    Everyone has rough times, and that’s why we have friends and family to help support us through. I couldn’t imagine, not blogging for Burn Bright, I don’t think my life would be the same. While I love blogging for myself, blogging for a team is much more rewarding! Thank you

  • Awww, thanks hon. Love having you as part of the team and seeing you growing up!

  • Hi Krista, thank you for your message. Enjoy your break. Can’t image life without you! Marianne x

  • Joelene

    Sounds like you’ve had a really busy and worthwhile year! Mine’s been much the same. I’m feeling really fulfilled personally; not so much financially. Looking forward to BurnBright and Peacemaker next year though. I expect great things :)

  • Looking forward to more of your wonderful reviews Joelene! *loveyourwork M x


davitt-award  aurealis-award   logo-curtin-university

Peacemaker - Aurealis Award
Best Science Fiction Novel 2014

Curtin University Distinguished Alumni Award 2014

Transformation Space - Aurealis Award
 Best Science Fiction Novel 2010

Sharp Shooter - Davitt Award
Best Crime Novel 2009 (Sisters in Crime Australia) 





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