David McCooey

Tell us a bit about yourself (education, career, hobbies/personal interest, etc.) 

I have worked at Deakin University in Geelong since 1995. I grew up in Perth and did my PhD at the University of Sydney. As well as being a poet and critic, I am a sound artist/composer. I am also a keen hobbyist photographer.

What is your involvement with Verandah? 

I am one of the Geelong-based staff reps on the Verandah Industry Board. I have been a member of this board for a number of years.

What are the steps that you took that lead you into being involved with the publishing community? 

I started publishing poetry and reviews in the late 1980s. That was no doubt largely a consequence of the degree I undertook at the University of Western Australia. From there, I became involved in academic publishing (my PhD thesis was published as a book) and various editing projects.

What are your favourite parts about the publishing world? 

Seeing new work being brought into the world is terrific. I also like the connections that you can make with other writers, publishing professionals, and readers.

What are your least favourite parts about the publishing world? 

Hmm. Tricky. I guess I’m not a fan of things being in train for months or years, and then being asked to get proofs back in a couple of days!

What do you think are the important to-do-lists that an emerging writer should do to start their career in the industry? 

Read, and get to know the people and the market/s you are aiming for. Don’t be in too much of a hurry to get published; generally speaking, you only get the chance to make a splash once. 

Do you have any tips to cope with common writing problems such as writer’s block/lack of motivation/etc?  

Reading always helps me. Deadlines and commissions (if you can get them) are great. If someone else is relying on you, then you will come up with something.

In the current climate, especially throughout the pandemic, digital realms are thriving more than traditional means to publish our work. How do you think this will affect the writing and literary industry? 

It’s hard to say. Digital spaces are becoming more and more important, but I think that it’s also pretty clear that print isn’t going anywhere.

Where do you look for inspiration when starting a project? 

It depends on the project. For scholarly work, once you know what you are researching you get on with the reading in the first instance. Creative projects are not so different. I find that if I’m engaged in reading (or watching or listening to) things, then I will be more productive at writing.

Are there any projects that you are currently working on? 

I’m trying to finish my next collection of poems. As part of that, I am trying to find a way of bringing my interests in writing and photography together.