Ep 28 Stunning writing studios, a ridiculously priced comic book, extreme reading and we talk to doctor turned bestselling author Nick Earls.

ep28

Every week I co-host the podcast So you want to be a writer with fellow journalist and author Allison Tait.

This week we talk about a beautiful poem of the same name, stunning writing studios, the most valuable comic of all time, the extreme reading experiment, the book ‘From Unknown to Expert’ by Catriona Pollard, Writer in Residence Nick Earls, chromecast, how to manage your ideas and more!

You can listen via:

iTunes, Stitcher, or find the transcript, show notes and listen via our blog here.Read more ...

Ep 27 Famous writers’ rules on writing, best blog post length, can you make a living as a writer? And actor/director Lex Marinos on his new book.

ep27

Every week I co-host the podcast So you want to be a writer with fellow journalist and author Allison Tait.

This week we talk about how long should your blog post be? The rules of writing, why you should write love letters, finding your ‘discomfort threshold’, the secrets for blogging your way to a six-figure income, Writer in Residence Lex Marinos, the best (free) app for scriptwriting, making a living as a freelance writer and more!

You can listen via:

iTunes, Stitcher, or find the transcript, show notes and listen via our blog here.Read more ...

Ep 26 Bizarre niche blogs, self publishing sensation Unbroken, how fan fiction can land you a book deal, and the future is bright for bookshops. We also talk to crime author Michael Robotham.

ep26

Every week I co-host the podcast So you want to be a writer with fellow journalist and author Allison Tait.

This week we talk about inspired by Jane Austen, how fan fiction can land you a book deal, find freelance writing jobs on twitter, bizarre niche blogs, good news for Australian bookshops, The aitch Factor by Sue Butler, nine apps bloggers need, Writer in Residence Michael Robotham, what to do when your case studies fall through and more!

You can listen via:

iTunes, Stitcher, or find the transcript, show notes and listen via our blog here.Read more ...

Ep 25 Write for your goals, become a productive freelance writer, agents behaving badly and New York Times bestselling author Liane Moriarty.

ep25

Every week I co-host the podcast So you want to be a writer with fellow journalist and author Allison Tait.

This week we talk about why it’s important to write for your goals, the best suggestion I ever got from my editor, the difference between editing features and editing fiction, how to become a productive freelance writer, the book No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty, agents behaving badly, Writer in Residence and New York Times bestselling author Liane Moriarty, a new social networking app for authors, should you advise editors if your pitch is accepted elsewhere, and more!

You can listen via:

iTunes, Stitcher, or find the transcript, show notes and listen via our blog here.Read more ...

If you love Offspring, creativity and entrepreneurship…

clarebowditch15f

I’m aware that I’m possibly the only woman in Australia who doesn’t watch Offspring. When I browse my social media stream while the show is on, I can confirm this to be true. Everyone in the world seems to be getting their Nina Proudman fix.

But that’s ok. There is still time. I can get the DVD. I’m on to it.

So why am I talking about Offspring? Well, one of the show’s characters has been played by muso Clare Bowditch, who is not only a singer and actress. She has also parlayed her talents into speaking about creativity in business. And Clare is just one of the many wonderful speakers at Small Business Festival Victoria.

I wanted to highlight this awesome festival because:
(a) I think it’s fantastic that the State Government in Victoria is behind this event
(b) I want to highlight that the short-sighted New South Wales government has canned its equivalent event, which used to be called Small Business September. The NSW state government scrapped several significant small business programs in 2012 including Small Business September, MicroBiz Week, the Young Entrepreneurs program and the Women in Business mentoring program.… Read more ...

How to find a consultant who will help transform your business

vk feature

You’ve been there. Your business is growing and you just can’t do everything. It’s time to call in the experts – consultants who can help take you to the next stage of your business.

This is be hard for control freaks. But if you want your business to grow it’s important to accept that there are only 24 hours in a day and you can’t actually be an expert in SEO, sales, operations, admin, customer service, accounting, strategy and human resources. Well, you can try – but you’ll go crazy!

Handing over the reins to consultants can be both liberating and filled with danger. Some consultants can truly transform your business. Yet some consultants can charge you a tonne of money but you end up with little to show for it.

So how do you determine of a consultant is right for you?

Well, if I had a magic formula that could give us all the answer for this, I would already be retired and sipping pina coladas on a tropical island.

Nevertheless, over the years, I’ve learnt a few things – often, the hard way.… Read more ...

Ep 24 Contact your fave author, how to find time to write, show don’t tell, and blogging sensation Nikki Parkinson’s new book

ep24

Every week I co-host the podcast So you want to be a writer with fellow journalist and author Allison Tait.

This week we talk about Kurt Vonnegut’s beautiful letter, how to find the time to write, why writing no longer buys a champagne lifestyle (or does it?), how to get ‘show, don’t tell’ right, Writer in Residence and blogging sensation Nikki Parkinson, why you need name dice, what to do when you hear nothing from an editor and much more!

You can listen via:

iTunes, Stitcher, or find the transcript, show notes and listen via our blog here.Read more ...

Ep 23 Do cliched books covers sell? Writers talking money, and Joanna Rakoff – author of My Salinger Year

ep23

Every week I co-host the podcast So you want to be a writer with fellow journalist and author Allison Tait.

This week we talk about book cover cliches – do they sell? Why writers are opening up about finances, 37 books every creative person should read, how to become a prolific writer while holding down a day job, Writer in Residence Joanna Rakoff (and a giveaway!), the Qwerkywriter, author trademarks and more!

You can listen via:

iTunes, Stitcher, or find the transcript, show notes and listen via our blog here.Read more ...

Behind the scenes at Zappos

Zappos Feature

Ever since I read Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh (CEO of online store Zappos) in one sitting, I’ve wanted to visit their offices in Las Vegas. So on my recent trip, I did just that. Here’s a quick tour.

Apparently, it’s a tie-free zone at Zappos. Anyone who wears a tie has it promptly cut off and this practice is proudly displayed at the front desk.

Tours of Zappos are free. Just book in – they even send a shuttle bus to pick you up from you hotel and can also drive you to the airport.

They’re really big on creating T-shirts to celebrate milestones.

In fact, slightly obsessed with T-shirts for any reason.

There are kitchenettes everywhere featuring snacks, coffee and fruit.

And if you want to have a nap, this is what they did to an unused internal walkway. Zappos is housed in the former city council building. They didn’t know what to do with this dead space so they held a competition among staff and the best idea was implemented.

It’s not exactly Vogue Living decor. But each team is encouraged to decorate their own area.… Read more ...

Ep 22 Creating character names, libraries in pubs, and why Newsmodo is a service set to disrupt journalism

ep22

Every week I co-host the podcast So you want to be a writer with fellow journalist and author Allison Tait.

This week we talk about what not to say when you’re a writer, stop using character names as a crutch, the future of libraries, the book Port Out, Starboard Home by Michael Quinion, why we write, Writer in Residence and founder of Newsmodo Rakhal Ebeli, unique story prompts, how many pitches you should send to a writer at once and more.

You can listen via:

iTunes, Stitcher, or find the transcript, show notes and listen via our blog here.Read more ...

Ep 21 Ghostwriting, Crime writing, tips from HarperCollins editors and should you ditch your agent? And we chat to best-selling author Kate Forsyth.

ep21

Every week I co-host the podcast So you want to be a writer with fellow journalist and author Allison Tait.

This week we talk about we chat about ghostwriting: what it’s like to be a writer for hire, crime writing, 10 writing tips from HarperCollins editors, Stephen King’s tips for all writers, should you break up with your agent? 10 tips on blogging from Darren Rowse, bestselling author Kate Forsyth, why you should write 750 words per day, why you need to shift your thinking on pitching and more!

You can listen via:

iTunes, Stitcher, or find the transcript, show notes and listen via our blog here.Read more ...

Do you want to grow your business and raise your profile?

KPI_Brand_Accelerator_Poster Feature

If you want to grow your business and become a leader in your industry, then it goes without saying that you need to raise your profile. I’m passionate about helping people do just that. There’s nothing I love more than seeing a business owner thrive because they are being recognised as leaders in their fields.

The reality is that you’re probably already an expert in what you do. You just need to ensure that people – specifically your potential customers – know about it so that you become their number one choice when they finally decide to buy.

That doesn’t happen from taking out billboards or bursting onto the entrepreneurial scene screaming “Look at moi! Look at moi!” (Well, not if you want to do it with your dignity intact anyway).

If you want to raise your profile, you need a strategy that will build your credibility and showcase your expertise directly to your target market. And that’s what I mentor people on in the Key Person of Influence program.

If you haven’t heard of Key Person of Influence (KPI), you can find out more here.… Read more ...

Ep 20 Cashing in on Stephen King, writing to pen pals, how to kickstart your creativity and we chat to daddy blogger Reservoir Dad.

ep20

Every week I co-host the podcast So you want to be a writer with fellow journalist and author Allison Tait.

This week we talk about we chat about the writer spending Stephen King’s money, how you can make 50k a year without hitting the bestseller list, writing letters to strangers is making a comeback, Fiona McFarlane writes about her journey to being published, how to revive your creativity, Writer in Residence and daddy blogger Reservoir Dad, tracking your writing expenses, what you should charge for content marketing and more!

You can listen via:

iTunes, Stitcher, or find the transcript, show notes and listen via our blog here.Read more ...

Ep 19 Is the book industry living or dying? Why journalists are less trusted than lawyers and author behind the Marika Hartmann series, Greg Barron.

ep19

Every week I co-host the podcast So you want to be a writer with fellow journalist and author Allison Tait.

This week we talk about we chat about why Valerie makes people cry, is the book industry living or dying? Why journalists are less trusted than lawyers, how to become a wildlife journalist, should you consider a career in technical writing? Books That Changed the World by Andrew Taylor, blog naming woes, why bloggers need to do more than just trademark their name, Writer in Residence and author behind the Marika Hartmann series Greg Barron, writing on a green screen, how to tell if a publisher pays and more!

You can listen via:

iTunes, Stitcher, or find the transcript, show notes and listen via our blog here.Read more ...

Ep 18 Typewriter obsessions, book recommendations, what it REALLY feels like to write the first draft of a novel and freelance fiction editor Nicola O’Shea.

ep18

Every week I co-host the podcast So you want to be a writer with fellow journalist and author Allison Tait.

This week we talk about we chat about why Valerie can’t go past a good typewriter, author-approved writing implements, student successes, Cory Doctorow’s novel pulled from school reading programme, where to find book recommendations, the eight stages of writing a first draft, Writer in Residence freelance fiction editor Nicola O’Shea, the questions you must ask your editor or proofreader, how to check for plagiarism and more!

You can listen via:

iTunes, Stitcher, or find the transcript, show notes and listen via our blog here.Read more ...

Ep 17 Bookshop towns, writing fears revealed, the Pomodoro technique and bestselling sensation Hugh Howey.

ep17

Every week I co-host the podcast So you want to be a writer with fellow journalist and author Allison Tait.

This week we talk about we ask: what are your writing fears? Towns replacing lost industry with books, how to write a solid press release, a new system for plotting your novel, Reservoir Dad – The Book, Writer in Residence, best selling author and Amazon success story Hugh Howey, how to use the Pomodoro technique, why you need fingerless gloves and more!

You can listen via:

iTunes, Stitcher, or find the transcript, show notes and listen via our blog here.Read more ...

Now tell me what you REALLY want.

What you really want Feature

I have a tendency to make people cry. I don’t set out to do it – and it’s not because I’m being mean to people. The tears are unusually ones of relief – and, sometimes, a little bit of joy.

For reasons I can’t explain, when I talk to people – even total strangers – I have a way of getting to the truth. It’s never from asking private questions. I just seem to have a way of asking the right questions; the ones that make people really think about what they want out of their life. I don’t set out to do it; it’s just second nature to me.

I’ll admit that I don’t have a particular strategy or methodology when it comes to helping people figure out their true desires (and most of the time, they’ve already figured it out, they just haven’t articulated it to anyone, even themselves). I can only guess that I make people feel comfortable or confident enough to express these thoughts for the first time. Or I can see when they are lying to themselves – and I call them out on it.… Read more ...

Ep 16 What is an author platform made up of? Do book launches make a difference? And novelist Deborah O’Brien.

ep16

Every week I co-host the podcast So you want to be a writer with fellow journalist and author Allison Tait.

This week we talk about we ask do you need to give away your secrets to succeed? Why you must know what an author platform is, how book launches have changed, the 14 stages to writing a book, is it time to stop blogging? Writer in Residence Deborah O’Brien, what happens if you lose your draft, and should you call yourself a writer if you’re not yet published?

You can listen via:

iTunes, Stitcher, or find the transcript, show notes and listen via our blog here.Read more ...

The tables are turned: What happens when a former Olympian interviews me

Toby Jenkins

As a journalist, I’m always the ones asking the questions. So it’s quite a change when the tables are turned. Recently, Toby Jenkins from Bluewire Media interviewed me for the podcast he co-hosts with Adam Franklin, “Web Marketing That Works”.

Toby competed in water polo in the 2004 Olympics. While he used to dominate in the pool (that’s him in the picture at the Olympics against Spain), he is now (along with Adam) rocking the world of business with Bluewire Media.

You can find the Bluewire Media podcast here:
http://www.bluewiremedia.com.au/blog/2014/06/wmtw-26-valerie-khoo
Adam and Toby are also former students of the Australian Writers’ Centre. I’ve been thrilled to watch them co-write and release their awesome book “Web Marketing That Works” (published through Wiley).

This book is packed with practical advice. As regular readers will know, I’m a big fan of using the web to connect with my community. If you’re interested in the world of web marketing for your business, this is a wonderful guide on what you need to know.

It’s an honest account of what it takes to succeed in web marketing.… Read more ...

Animal Matters: An executive red carpet business event with a serious message

REX

Many of you know that I have a number of pets. Five to be exact. And judging by the number of pet photos that I feature on this blog, it’s easy to assume that I’ve been an animal lover from way back.

To tell you the truth, that’s not the case. When I was younger, I never had a remote affinity with animals or pets. I was never that enamoured with visiting people if they had a dog. Wasn’t fond of cats. Just not into it.

Then Rex came into my life.

Not only did I fall in love, I suddenly developed a love for animals that simply didn’t exist before. Not just a love, but a deep appreciation for the role their have in our lives and the joy their can bring to people in so many ways.

Yep, my life changed. Having said that, I’m not the sort of person who is going to sit around a moon-lit circle and sing “Kum-Ba-Yah”, waxing lyrical about the presence of animals in our lives.

So I was thrilled to hear about “Animal Matters: An executive red carpet business event with a serious message”.… Read more ...