PRESENT: Jenny Argante, Gillian Cook, Loretta Crawford, Bill Hamilton, Gaye Hemsley, Kinsa Hays, Diane Hume-Green, Robin Lee-Robinson, Jackie Martin, Sam Woodward and Joy, a visitor our session. (Did anyone get her phone number? She left a notebook and biro behind.)

So less than a dozen people turned out for this, and there should have been many more to take advantage of the depth and breadth of Aaron McCallion’s expertise as he explained the most popular formats now available for on-screen texts, and how you can ‘add value’ to eBook, iBooks and apps. For instance, by linking externally to other websites, enhancing with sound and pictures, adding QR codes, etc.

Those who did come were in for a treat. Aaron is one of the three founding directors of Waka Digital Technology in our Central Business District, and he kindly consented to be our in-house expert for the day, explaining what we can do and answering all manner of questions.

Aaron emphasises we must not only be print-ready, but also eBook ready. Print won’t go away, but print-on-demand will become the norm, and there will be rapid change, requiring our constantly developing expertise. He defined platform as the market where people read their books, so a first decision any modern-day writer must ask is, “What is my platform?” That affected everything else, especially format and layout. Find the program first because when you are both writer and publisher you always begin with the marketplace.

Digital technology is increasingly important in the book trade and one thing that surprised us was how prominent Apple has been in schools with its iBook, now the most popular format in primary and secondary schools, where the Apple computer holds sway. This is important to writers of junior books who hope to sell to school libraries and as what used to be called ‘classroom sets.’ For the indie author the challenge is that Apple is a ‘closed standard’ while becoming the leader especially among lower schools.

If working with a service provider, it does help that you don’t have to become an expert in the process yourself – you do need to know what outcomes you want for your publication. “Be armed with knowledge,” he urged us, and reminded us all we need to know is somewhere on the Internet already in the form of discussions or tutorials.

At the end of the day Aaron presented us with the Power Point presentation of his talk, with key points outlined and a chart that so logically showed you what different things you can expect to get from the ten most popular retail outlets online, the different formats and programs and how they work together. No. This presentation will NOT be free to Tauranga Writers. Learning, in this instance, took place first at our Sunday Focus Session, and we intend to hold on to the benefit of knowing more than others. What did come up was how much we wanted Aaron to come back as a paid speaker and run a proper workshop for us, one or even two days, which would be open to the general public. This is tentatively in hand for September.

It is important to secure a good turn-out for these sessions, as these speakers give of their time for free and usually provide handouts detailing the knowledge they share so generously with us. And don’t forget we’re always looking for those amongst us with any particular expertise pertaining to the writing itself or to being a writerpreneur.

So what’s coming up next?

Well, June is a closed shop. Only those with a special invitation will be attending this extended ‘focus session’ and the focus is on film. On Sunday June 19th An ton Steel returns, and from 1-5pm will be closely engaged in taking one stage further our project for the 50th anniversary document in 2017 – premiere date our birthday on Sunday June 11th 2017! So the day will start with an informal picnic lunch, and allow for some general exchanges and observations, before Anton gets to work with the eight shortlisted writers and with the directors. Dhaivat, our invaluable liaison with BoP Film Collective and with the directors, and the imperturbable Marcus Hobson, now officially in charge of rounding up stray writers – what an asset that man is!

In the meantime, this Thursday your President will be in Te Puna, down the dreaded toll road that runs as straight as a die and offers no acceptable excuses for unpunctuality, to meet with his financial right-hand woman, Simone Ashton. She dare not let herself think for a minute of how much we’ll be asking for or her pen would waver and her confidence dissipate. Instead, if you have any fiendishly rich relatives whom you heartily dislike, and know you’re in the will, why not bump them off now, they’ve annoyed you too long, and we will keep our mouths shut for a percentage of your ill-gotten gains?

(Try out this website for some inspiring ideas. Hee hee hee.)

In July local quality printer David Reid of realmedia, Papamoa, is coming to talk to us about working with a printer, what is truly meant by print-ready-copy, his partnership with a Chinese printing firm to supply longer print runs competitively, and the novelty forms of printing he is able to offer, like boxed sets, two-way books, folded flaps on the outer edges of illustrations, waterproof paper you can read underwater … Strongly recommended for the small boat safety manuals OSG is now demanding. Man overboard? Throw a copy into the turbulent sea along with the lifebelt!

And in August Loretta Crawford, who manages Internet communications and public interfaces for the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic, is going to take us on a tiki tour of the main forms of social media we should be choosing from.

Tauranga Writers, where writers learn and grow!

Further news: Mayor Stuart Crosby kindly sponsored your President’s attendance at the IBBY Congress this August in Auckland, and now Te Tuinga Whanau have agreed to pay for her accommodation up there. She is driving up with life member Tommy Kapai Wilson, and taking with her the poster designed by Tyler McGrath of in Tauranga with its message of ‘Books from our own Backyard.’ Other TW members are going, and Penny Guy, librarian, storyteller and writer, and a member of our Words & Pictures sub-group, has been invited to do a presentation.

What an exciting three days that will be!

Then the New Zealand Society of Authors, after the sad demise of New Zealand Book Month, has decided to hold an annual Writers’ Forum and the inaugural get-together is planned for 17th & 18th September. The writers’ forum is for anyone who writes – books, poetry, graphic novels, flash fiction & digital & interactive formats. If you’re interested in attending or exhibiting at this event, contact Jackie Dennis (



President: Jenny Argante 

Secretary: Marcus Hobson 

Treasurer: Gun Caundle