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 ...

Ep 15 Ask questions to writers, what writers really earn, why you need Canva, and meet split personality author Kim Wilkins/Kimberley Freeman.

ep15

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 take a break to write, Goodreads launches ‘ask the author’ section, old writer’s notebooks, author earnings: established vs debut, Amazon and Hachette to decide future of book publishing and what this means for you, the comprehensive book blogger list, Writer in Residence Dr. Kim Wilkins (aka Kimberley Freeman), why you need Canva in your life and those famous last words: “I’ll write when…”

You can listen via:

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

Ep 14 Interviewing your heroes, how write to get a house, and should you use Scrivener? And meet author/columnist Mark Dapin.

ep14

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 is the Internet an enemy of writers’ creativity? Huffington Post and Techcrunch establish a presence in Australia, how to make story time count with your kids, free homes to dedicated writers, the book ‘Everyone can write’ by Howard Gelman, build your following before your book deal, Writer in Residence Mark Dapin, is Scrivener right for you? And why you need to treat your writing as a business.

You can listen via:

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

Join me for a Tweetchat: Thursday 29 May 12 noon

WriteYourOwnBook-FB-400x400

I love Twitter. So when Suzi Dafnis from the wonderful Australian Businesswomen’s Network asked me if I wanted to be involved in a Tweetchat, of course I said yes!

This is a chance for anyone to ask me questions in real time (via Twitter) about writing your own book. You’ll have to be succinct – because your question will need to fit in 140 characters.

If you’re interested in participating:

Date: 29 May 2014
Time: 12.00pm – 12.30pm
Price: Free
The details
If you’ve always wanted to write your own book and haven’t known where to begin, join us on 29 May at 12.00pm LIVE on Twitter at @suzidafnis and get your questions answered in real-time from author and founder of the Australian Writers’ Centre, Valerie Khoo.

How to take part:
Tune in to @suzidafnis at 12.00pm on 29 May. Valerie will be our guest on a 30-minute live chat facilitated by the Australian Businesswomen’s Network’s Suzi Dafnis. Valerie will answer your questions live.

Ask Your Questions:
You can either email your questions ahead of time, here.… Read more ...

Honoured to be featured in Foundr magazine

VK Feature
I was recently interviewed by Nathan Chan from Foundr magazine. As someone who is usually asking the questions (I’m constantly interviewing people in my role as a journalist), it’s different being on the other side of the fence. Being interviewed but someone who has truly thought through their questions – as Nathan did – and who isn’t afraid to dig deeper, is refreshing. The process makes you think and helps crystallise your stance on various issues.
If you’re interested, you can get the magazine on your iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch/ Android Device using the following links: www.foundrmag.com/itunes or www.foundrmag.com/androidRead more ...

Ep 13 Authors who’ve disowned their books, Scarlett Johansson’s bizarre law suit, advice from book publicists, and Writer in Residence Kristen Hammond

ep13

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 great authors who’ve disowned their books, why is Scarlett Johansson suing an author? Australian Gourmet Traveller and Harvey Norman announce the Gourmet Institute, advice from a former book publicist, grow your blog one reader at a time, Writer in Residence and senior commissioning editor at John Wiley & Sons Kristen Hammond, our Web Pick, our Working Writer’s Tip and more!

You can listen via:

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

Ep 12 Secret libraries; ‘The Novelist’ computer game; how to stay published; and interview with author Fiona McFarlane

ep12

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 are journalists miserable, over educated and underpaid? The Best Australian blogs are announced, the secret libraries of New York city, write a novel… in a game, how Reading Australia are making a difference to Australian schools and universities, the importance of staying published, Writer in Residence Fiona McFarlane, our Working Writer’s Tip, our Web Pick and more!
You can listen via:

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

Ep 11 Tablet magazines, fake Twitter followers, awesome writing blogs, the difference between goals and dreams and author Alexa Moses

ep11

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 if you are reading tablet magazines, we discuss the periodic table of storytelling, fake twitter followers, the difference between goals and dreams, the top 10 blogs for writers, how to write a blog post in 15 minutes or less, Writer in Residence tween author Alexa Moses, our Working Writer’s Tip, our Web Pick and more!

You can listen via:

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

Sticky beak: Infusionsoft offices in Phoenix, Arizona

INFS Cereal Bar

Last week, I trekked over to Arizona in the US for a conference for about 3000 small business owners, boldly coined #ICON14. Run by US-based software company Infusionsoft, the company invited the Aussie contingent to tour its offices in Phoenix. So I thought I’d give you a sneak peek as well.

Infusionsoft is a classic startup success story. It was founded in 2001 by Scott and Eric Martineau and Clate Mask and now has over 500 employees in a Google-type building. While there are no slippery slides or sleep pods, there are lots of brights colours, quirky touches and countless proclamations like “We help small businesses succeed” plastered all over the walls.

I first explored Infusionsoft back in 2008 and decided it definitely wasn’t for me. But it appears that a lot has changed in six years. I decided to give it another go earlier this year and have been happy with the results so far. So it was great to be able to go behind the scenes to check it out. So here is my visit in pictures …


Placed prominently in the entrance of the building is a large sculpture of an animal balloon.… Read more ...

Ep 10 Editing nightmares, JuNoWriMo, travel writing boo-boos, author Gabrielle Tozer on ‘The Intern’

ep10

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 should you dump your agent and focus on self publishing? The Best Australian Blogs finalists are announced, JuNoWriMo is here (are you in?), the Australian Financial Review apologies for ‘World is Fukt’ front page, the most hated travel writing cliches, the book Youtility by Jay Baer, Writer in Residence Gabrielle Tozer chats about The Intern, our Web Pick, our Working Writer’s Tip and more!

You can listen via:

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

Ep 9 Work here! Shaming publishers to pay you, Pulitzer Prize, should authors have websites? Writer in Residence Jennifer Smart and more!

ep9

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 an ex-writer creates an app to redefine the way you read fiction, we ask should you name and shame publishers to get paid? Donna Tartt wins Pulitzer, when Doris Lessing rescued Jenni Diski, would you watch someone write a book?, The Writing Book by Kate Grenville, Writer in Residence Jennifer Smart our Web picks, the Working Writer’s Tip and more!

You can listen via:

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

My life in a minute: My number 1 podcast! Clever kitty Rex; and my new fave gadget

Rocky

It’s been a whirlwind over here with lots of planning, travelling, systemising and recruiting for new team members at the Australian Writers’ Centre. So here is my life in a minute!

Grateful for: The wonderful support from listeners of my podcast “So you want to be a writer” which I co-host with the wonderfully talented Allison Tait. I’m absolutely loving producing this podcast with Allison. I’m so grateful for all the positive feedback. You’ve helped us get to #1 in the Literature category. And we’ve reached #50 out of ALL podcasts in Australia so far!

Thrilled to: Host our recent meetup in Sydney with the wonderfully talented Tristan Bancks. Tristan shared his wisdom about writing to our community. I’m still in a bit of shock that he can write 2000 words just using his thumbs on his iPhone while walking on the beach in the morning! Tristan’s latest books are Two Wolves and My Life and Other Stuff That Went Wrong.

Speaking at: Business Blueprint conference at Australian Technology Park, organised by the talented Dale Beaumont and his team.Read more ...

Ep 8 Puberty Blues got it wrong, journalists on twitter, self-publishing awards and Writer in Residence Scripted.com

ep8

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 journalists should use twitter when fired, the Children’s Book Council Book of the Year Shortlist, the 2014 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Shortlist, The Guardian’s Self-Published Book of the Month Competition, Bob Carr’s diva demands, the ideal length of everything online, plotting vs. pantsing, our Writer in Residence Scripted.com and more!

You can listen via:

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

I’m looking for two fantastic people to join my team

Careers featured image

My business is expanding and evolving constantly. I have big plans for the Australian Writers’ Centre. We’re growing, increasing our reach and helping more students across the country – and around the world. Every single day, we receive emails from happy graduates who have changed careers, been promoted or scored book deals as a result of our courses. It’s busy!

There is nothing I love more than watching students bloom and reach their potential. And I want us to be able to help even more people achieve their writing goals. So I’m looking for two fantastic people to join our growing team.

1. An Amazing Operations Manager
You’ll manage the day to day running of the Centre. You’ll work with a team of 40 amazing world-class presenters and core group of five staff. You’re a stickler for professionalism and systems – and you’re happy to represent me when I’m not around. You’ll find details on that role here.

2. A Brilliant Content Manager/Subeditor
We produce a lot of content. In fact, we’ve been named by Expermedia as one of the “best content marketers in Australia”.… Read more ...

It’s true. I yell at my friends.

It's true. I yell at my friends.

I have a tendency to yell at my friends. I know this is not ideal. But, I confess, it’s true. Typically, this happens when I can see how amazing and talented they are – but they won’t believe me. Worse, they simply don’t believe in themselves, in their own capacity to kick their own goals or follow their dreams. It drives me totally bonkers.

I end up yelling: “But can’t you see how amazing you are?” “Can’t you understand that people will definitely buy from you/hire you/download your app? You just need to get out there and tell people you exist!”

I know that I shouldn’t yell at them. But after months – sometimes even years – of gentle encouragement, they still can’t see how talented they are, or how truly viable their business really is.

This is what I hear:
“I feel like a fraud.”
“I don’t think I’m good enough.”
“Why would anyone hire me? I don’t have the credentials.”

The reality is that they DO have the credentials, skills and talents to achieve their goals. And the only person they need to convince … is themselves.… Read more ...

Ep 7 Julia Gillard on GOT, Real Housewives, “American Blogger” doco, blog to book successes and Writer in Residence Kylie Mason

ep7

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 talk about Julia Gillard’s obsession with Game of Thrones, the train wreck that is the Real Housewives of Melbourne, the new documentary “American Blogger”, more blog to book successes and our Writer in Residence Kylie Mason.

You can listen via:

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

Ep 6 Russell Brand, Julian Assange, will The Hoopla survive? And Writer in Residence Jack Ellis

ep6

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 Hoopla’s new paywall, the myth of creative inspiration, Russell Brand’s new children’s stories, inspiring Pinterest boards for writers, Julian Assange’s new book, we speak with author Jack Ellis and more! 

You can listen via:

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