I did a course with you many years ago in Byron Bay, during the festival, which I think was a real turning point for me. You were very encouraging about my story idea, and I got lots of great ideas from your workshop. I came home from your course, set up a blog, and after a couple of years of blogging (and lots of synchronicity), I was approached by Hardie Grant Egmont to submit my children’s book manuscript. My first book Too Busy Sleeping, was published a couple of years later with Little Hare, and my second book is released next August. Too Busy Sleeping is a CBCA Notable Book. I feel I have a lot to thank you for!
Zanni Louise 2016
IRINA DUNN’S advice was to make overall structural changes, pay attention to sentence structure and use appropriate tenses, add two additional chapters to bring the reader up to the present and a whole lot more. With this in mind, I was able to improve the manuscript and see it published as Girl on the Edge (Impact Press) in early 2016. Thank you, Irina!
Kim Hodges 2016
After much waiting and hoping, I have been offered a two-novel deal with a major commercial publisher. The advance should just about cover what I spent on your services but it was obviously worth every cent. Thanks so much for your professionalism and insight in helping me get my manuscript up to scratch and finding a publisher for it.
I am also mentioning you at every 'writerly' opportunity as I truly believe I may have thrown writing away if I hadn't been recommended you by someone else.
Esther Campion 2015
I want to thank you for being such an inspiration. Whenever I think of my novel Changing Tides I think of the encouragement you gave me for that—encouragement which truly helped me complete the novel. Can never thank you enough. You also inspired me regarding my autobiography—The Nowhere Man. All power to you—please keep on encouraging writers.
It’s difficult when you’re just writing for an audience of one. Familiarity makes it hard to recognize what needs to be fixed. IRINA DUNN read my whole fiction manuscript and provided a Manuscript Assessment Report. She made general comments on the work as well as a page by page analysis which enabled me to make essential revisions. Irina then did a copy edit of my manuscript and again I found her advice, support and professional skills invaluable.
Irina is constructive, efficient and immensely knowledgeable about the writing industry. With Irina’s assistance I revised my manuscript to a publishable standard. Irina then showed my work to a wonderful Australian agent who took me on and secured a two-book contract for me with a commercial publisher. I completely trust Irina’s judgement and would definitely choose to seek her advice again. My only regret is that I didn’t consult Irina sooner.
Lesley Truffle, The Hotel Du Barry (HarperCollins 2016)
IRINA DUNN provided me with a perceptive and exacting assessment of the first draft of my manuscript 'Troppo'. It was critical, there was no fluff, and after a first read of the assessment I was gutted. I remember downing three gin and tonics in quick succession, alone, in a dirty bar in Jakarta. Then I read it again. Let it sit. And a month later I got back to work. I went through the assessment line by line, incorporating almost all of Irina's changes. It was a top to bottom rewrite and the outcome was a much more powerful manuscript, with better characters, more believable plot twists and no inconsistencies in the narrative. The amended manuscript won the TAG Hungerford award in March 2015 and will be published by Fremantle Press in 2016. Irina's assessment was absolutely invaluable in its success. When my next manuscript is ready, I'll be contacting Irina first!
Madeleine Dickie, Troppo (Fremantle Press 2016)
They say, when you are ready, the teacher will come. I found this to be true when a friend suggested I contact IRINA DUNN for a consultation. From the onset she was casting light on new possibilities. Her detailed assessment of my YA novel, "Bro", was stimulating, her support, knowledge and advice, inspiring, and her professionalism in particular was admirable. I’m glad I committed to following Irina’s directions because the outcome was a polished manuscript, publication and a wonderful literary agent. Every step of this journey has been a rousing experience, and with Irina leading, it has also been an education. Her guidance and expert services has jump-started my much desired professional writing career. And for that, I will be forever grateful.
Helen Chebatte, Bro (Hardie Grant Egmont 2016)
Nearly four years before Mister Townsend’s Lion appeared in print as a finished book, while searching the internet I came across IRINA DUNN’s name as Director of ID Editing and Publishing Consultancy, providing “services for individual authors seeking help with their publishing projects” and Director of the Australian Writers’ Network. This service was exactly what I was looking for. From that point, throughout a long journey through early assessments, editing, discussions and shaping, Irina was there at every step. Mister Townsend’s Lion is finally available in book form and I can truthfully say that it owes a great deal to Irina’s input and encouragement. Without Irina’s unwavering encouragement, Mister Townsend’s Lion would never have been published.
P. Robinson Dunn, Mister Townsend’s Lion (Books Unleashed 2015)
It was my lucky day when IRINA DUNN was recommended to me. Even though I was a first-time writer, she saw potential in my manuscript and worked closely with me to hone it to publishable standard. Her report was specific and inspiring, and with her encouragement I completed the final draft. Her constant reassurance and responsiveness was invaluable in reaching the end point when she gained me the best agent in town who in turn secured me a publishing contract!
Gwen Wilson, I Belong to No-One (Hachette 2015)
Just want to say thanks again for a very informative workshop on publishing and a great one to one session. I didn't want to abandon my project but I was stuck, and your suggestions have given me a way forward.
This time last year I had a pile of half finished stories and drawings. Then I met IRINA DUNN. Her honest discussion and encouragement of my strengths gave me the confidence to get it together and go for it. With an additional assessment from the NSW Writer's Centre, I have now written & illustrated my first picture book 'Found You!' to be released later this year by Ford Street Publishing. Thank you Irina Dunn, for putting me on the right path to publication.
Mardi Davies 2014
IRINA DUNN is a well-prepared, confident and skilled interviewer who asks relevant and interesting questions and makes the authors feel at home on the stage. She also brings the audience closer to the writers and their concerns. The 'Debut Fiction' session set a great standard for the sessions to come, and one of the authors sold out her books shortly afterward – testimony to how involved and engaged the audience became with her work during the session.
Brian Purcell, Program & Promotions Co-ordinator, Varuna & the Sydney Writers' Festival 2014
IRINA DUNN was without doubt the hardest working guest at this year’s Beaconsfield Festival of Golden Words in Tasmania’s Tamar Valley. Over four days Irina chaired seven marquee sessions, from intimate conversations with leading novelists to panels featuring up to four writers, across a variety of genres and subjects, and was a panellist in an eighth. She also ran two well-attended writers' workshops and conducted a dozen one-on-one workshops. A consummate writing industry professional, Irina came impeccably prepared for every session, and led conversations which sparkled with wit, wisdom and the joy of the literary craft. I would recommend her as the glue to hold together any literary event.
Stephen Dando-Collins, President and Convener, Beaconsfield Festival of Golden Words 2014
When I engaged IRINA DUNN to assess my manuscript, she tapped into the story immediately and her assessment and edit helped me take it to another level. Irina recommended my work to agent Selwa Anthony, which led to a publishing offer from Pan Macmillan. What more could an unpublished writer ask for?
John Ahern, On The Road…with Kids (Pan Macmillan, 2014)
I pitched my story to a panel of publishers and agents at a writers' seminar organised by IRINA DUNN, and Irina immediately saw the potential in it. Irina took it on, firstly by providing an insightful assessment and then giving it a thorough copy edit. When it was polished to her satisfaction she offered it to Allen & Unwin and they liked it! Irina then secured me THE top literary agent in Australia to manage my contract. I am deeply appreciative to Irina not only for her structural and copy-editing prowess but also for her guidance and willingness to make all this possible for me. I could not have achieved publication without her.
Geena Leigh, Call Me Sasha (Allen & Unwin 2014)
I am delighted to be working with IRINA DUNN. I trust her judgement on manuscripts and am pleased to have found publishers for several of her clients whom she has referred to me in the past year.
Writers' agent Selwa Anthony 2014
Although I only met you once, I must say you were an inspiration, and as a result, after several re-writes, I managed to complete my sea novel. Your suggested changes and driving inspiration helped make the book possible. I have also just published a bio of an ex-chief of police called Top Cop so it proves that even one visit with IRINA DUNN can produce results. All power to your influence and may you continue to inspire authors—even obscure ones like me. Thank you again.
David Nicholas 2013
Just thought I would write and let you know that meeting you and talking with you was very valuable to me and I did take your advice. My dream of my novel being published one day doesn't seem so out of reach now.
Shannon Garner, 2013
IRINA DUNN has an incredible breadth of knowledge of the writing industry and Australian writing. As a highly skilled facilitator, mentor and teacher, Irina was an asset to Write Around the Murray 2013. Her versatility, experience and understanding of what makes a writers' festival work, saw her facilitate a fascinating panel discussion on women’s stories and identities, run a pitching and publishing workshop, a writing workshop for high school students and provide a full day of one-on-one mentoring sessions to writers. We received a high degree of praise for Irina from festival participants and indeed her contribution at all levels of engagement in the festival was greatly appreciated.
Ann-maree Ellis, Coordinator, Write Around the Murray Writers' Festival 2013
It was most enjoyable yesterday. I like how you connect with everyone and how you know when to close as well without offending anyone. Although the subject was the same as with our group, I still learnt things. It was a lovely group too. How about Josh the 10 year old. My writing seems so ordinary when you read some of those opening chapters we went through yesterday. Well done.
Desley Polmear, Kempsey Writers' Group Workshop on "Beginnings", 2013
IRINA DUNN guided me towards publication through a combination of encouragement, support and expert advice. She possesses an enviable network of industry contacts, some of whom she introduced me to, and an amazing knowledge of what works, and what doesn’t, in the literary world. Then when I signed with Odyssey Books, Irina offered to launch my young adult fantasy A Wicked Kind of Dark. She suggested a great venue and put me in touch with the event manager there. It’s difficult to express in words the immense gratitude I feel for this amazing woman. Irina is an insightful, intelligent and witty mentor, and I recommend her to any author seeking to develop their career.
Jonathan Benton, A Wicked Kind of Dark (Odyssey Books 2013)
I took an axe to my manuscript along the lines IRINA DUNN suggested – I changed the title and got rid of nearly all the meta stuff at the beginning – and the results are a much improved and more accessible manuscript with cleaner lines and shape.
Martin Ford 2013
I was very lucky to be put in touch with IRINA DUNN. She took my manuscript from a cathartic, emotional first draft to a professional, polished final copy. I achieved success by following her advice to the letter and as a result she engaged a first rate agent for me, and the agent then secured a contract with Pan Macmillan. In particular, I found Irina’s structural advice made the difference between it being a book only my family would read to being a commercially viable read. Thank you Irina.
Lisa Venables, Saving Zali (Pan Macmillan 2013)
IRINA DUNN was highly recommended through a contact from the NSW Writers’ Centre. I presented my edited manuscript to her around mid 2012 for an assessment. Several weeks later Irina advised that the manuscript needed considerably more work before it could be presented to a publisher. She advised that the story needed a stronger storyline to draw the reader on and that I should consider being much more reflective and introspective. She supplied me with a detailed report by chapter where and how this could be undertaken. Over several months I did another two edits under her guidance and the work was deemed ready. The book was sent out to Irina’s network of publishers towards the end of 2012. Within eight weeks of her sending my manuscript out we had interest from a Melbourne publisher and the contract was signed on 3 April 2013. I found Irina great to work with and she excels in keeping her clients informed. Thanks to the efforts of Irina Dunn Online Dating after sixty: One woman’s journey of love, lust and losers was published both as a pBook and an eBook.
Carole Lethbridge, Online Dating after sixty: One woman’s journey of love, lust and losers (Hybrid Publishers 2013)
IRINA DUNN: where do I start singing her praises, as sing I must do? Others have spoken of her support for emerging writers and skill at picking the pearls from a manuscript and editing out the dross. I will confine myself to extolling her virtues as a Festival Chair and Director's support. Irina has chaired and participated in Festival sessions since 2001 and it is hard to imagine a program without her at its centre. She prepares meticulously, settles her writers in their places with care and efficiency and can turn her gaze to any topic and every genre. I can also vouch for her skill as a workshop and seminar presenter across publishing, self publishing, preparing a publishing proposal and anything to do with the business side of writing. I am fortunate to count Irina as a friend and can attest to her integrity, heart and generous spirit. Irina is an asset to our industry.
Jeni Caffin, Director Byron Bay Writers' Festival 2007-2010, 2013
I am so pleased that I contacted IRINA DUNN. She assessed my manuscript as being of a publishable standard and then found a publisher prepared to take it on. I cannot thank her enough for her professionalism, expertise, experience, interest and support, and I highly recommend her to anyone who has a dream of becoming a published author.
Anne Naylor, Art from Adversity: A Life with Bipolar (Glass House Books 2013)
You may or may not remember me as the 14 year old girl at your Writing a Publishers Proposal workshop at the Byron Bay writers festival in 2010. I would just like to let you know that I have finished my first manuscript and that, as it stands, newborn and in much need of development, it is just short of 118,000 words. It is my pride and joy.
Whether or not it is ever accepted by publishers, and no matter how many gruelling hours I am to spend editing it, I would like to let you know that it was that short time I spent with you that, I believe, helped encourage me to write a full manuscript. At this point, I can't even think as far as this book reaching the shelves, I am just glad I have made it this far. In short, I would like to thank you for the words of wisdom you imparted upon me and to let you know you have made a world of difference for me.
Maya Moses 2013
Your explanation of “show don’t tell” was the best I’ve seen. Your definition enabled me to transform slabs of prose into a character’s thoughts or words or actions.
Michael Beashell 2013
I've learnt so much from your report and will work on the main character as you suggested. I'm also going to summarize each chapter to see if it works in with her growth and direction. I know I'll be cutting many of the chapters. World-building is something I never considered. I have so much to learn. Thank you again Irina, you have given me so much to work on.
Alison Renee 2012
IRINA DUNN read my raw manuscript, provided an insightful assessment report which lifted it to a professional level, edited it to perfection, found a publisher who offered me a contract and then secured one of Australia’s best-known agents to look after my interests. Could any writer ask for more?
Nikki Stern, Not Your Ordinary Housewife (Allen & Unwin 2012)
Thank you IRINA DUNN for your work in editing my first children’s story "The Crikey Creek Cup". I appreciated how positive, prompt and professional you were. The alterations made at your suggestion brought a more logical flow to the work without changing the humorous tone I had tried to strike. Early responses to the story have been positive and thanks to your contacts, several possible publishing opportunities have opened up. An added bonus is that I am able to apply your important advice to future writing.
Belinda Thompson 2012
I found IRINA DUNN to be a gift to those people facing the bewildering world of book publishing. Her thorough knowledge of everything from writing through to publishing was underpinned by her positive helpful attitude. Her expertise was such an encouragement to me and instrumental in determining a successful outcome in finding me a US publisher.
Dr Norma Jean Duncan MB BS FFARCS, Feet on Earth Head in Heaven (Resource Publications Oregon 2012)
I was very grateful to receive your report and it really has given me everything that I needed to do create another draft. I always wanted to rewrite the book but without the kind of guidance that you have given me it would have been impossible as I just could not see the issues on my own clearly enough...Thank you again and it has truly great to receive this kind of support.
Carolyn Fettes 2012
From her first reading of my manuscript, “A History of War Surgery”, IRINA DUNN was enthusiastic about its possibilities. Her perception has been proven correct. She found publication with a major international publisher.
Her expertise, energy and editing suggestions made the presentation fit for submission to large numbers of publishers in Australia and overseas. This determined endeavour attracted interest from a number of international groups, one of which seems ideally suited to the title and seeks a contract for international rights as soon as possible.
Irina’s contribution to this thrilling outcome cannot be underestimated. I commend her unconditionally to all those seeking sophisticated guidance towards a similar outcome.
Dr John Wright, A History of War Surgery (Amberley Publishing 2011)
IRINA DUNN's report galvanised me into action by providing a much-needed dose of market reality. Anyone can criticise a manuscript, but it takes skill to provide the kind of feedback that can kick-start new ideas and opportunities for a story — and drag a writer out of her rut.
Deborah Biancotti 2011
Having come to writing (relatively) late, I've been 'running to catch up' in most respects, setting unrealistic goals to motivate myself to keep at it. Your feedback in our original super-session has convinced me that I do have some degree of writing talent, while lacking the experience and working knowledge of writing.
Recently, however, I had felt sort of 'lost' or as if I had gone into a backwater, stagnant, if you will. I still believed I could write but was unable to see what steps or direction I needed to take to move forward, to take the next step up. Yes, I admit, the 'misunderstood, never will be understood, anguished writer' response kicked in and I had talked with my wife about going back to debt collecting.
So, I hope you understand how grateful and overjoyed I was to get your report. It is everything I needed and so much more than I expected. You have told me what I needed to hear about my writing, rather than the generalised platitudes others have offered. While you no doubt bring the same level of professionalism and effort to everything you do, I do want you to know that it feels as if you have made a very special effort with this.
I've got a lot of work to do and a renewed hunger to do it. You may well have saved a writer from returning to the cold, hard, boring, uncaring, real world.
Thanks also for the positive stuff about my writing, you don't you how valued your opinion is. Strangely I find it hard to believe in my own talent and do not know how to react when told it is, or has a close likeness to, literature.
With you I feel that I 'struck gold' on the first swing of my pick. You've given tremendous direction both times you've reviewed my work with the insight you've offered. You've displayed a real love of the craft and joy in assisting others. Hopefully, one day I will be able to repay your assistance by helping other writers as well.
Sean Greenhill 2011
I would like to acknowledge the enormous contribution made by IRINA DUNN with her professional advice, direction and editing. When Irina first saw it, ‘That Mad Louisa’ was one of those things Henry James called ‘loose baggy monsters’ but with her help, we were able to massage it into shape.
Richard Handley, That Mad Louisa (JoJo Publishing 2011)
IRINA DUNN, Director of the ID Editing and Publishing Consultancy, used her 20 years' experience of advising writers about how to improve their manuscripts, and their publishing prospects, to find a publisher for my biography, Phillip Adams — The Ideas Man: A Life Revealed. She also worked hard and gave me good value, and I thank her particularly for that.
Philip Luker, Phillip Adams: The Ideas Man (JoJo Publishing 2011)
IRINA DUNN, thanks for your support of The Raven's Heart at such an early stage in the manuscript's development. Your encouragement helped me go on and finish the first and epic draft, and then continue the job of bringing it down to a realistic size. It then won the Varuna HarperCollins Manuscript Development Award and I'm pleased to say that it's just reached the bookshops this week (Feb 2011), published by Fourth Estate. It really helped to know that someone in the industry could see some promise in that early sprawling work.
Jesse Blackadder, The Raven's Heart (4th Estate 2011)
I approached IRINA DUNN in late 2008 for help in relation to my autobiography My Past Life: The Soviet Experience. The manuscript covers my life under Communist rule in Odessa, a Black Sea port in Ukraine, which was then a Republic of the Soviet Union, and my subsequent migration with my family to Australia.
Irina became my guide and mentor at each stage of taking my manuscript from its raw first draft state to final publication.
Irina did a brilliant job of editing the manuscript to bring it to a publishable standard, and then provided specific and detailed advice on how to approach a publisher. Then, when a publisher offered me a contract, Irina explained the terms of the contract to me and as a result of her advice I asked for, and was offered, better conditions from the publisher.
I am delighted that my story will finally be published, all thanks to Irina’s professional advice and personal friendship during the gestation of my manuscript. Without her this would never have happened.
Frieda Belakhova, My Past Life: The Soviet Experience (JoJo Publishing 2011)
IRINA DUNN assisted me to develop a publicity plan for my children’s novel and to think about self-promotion in a professional, direct manner. Her recommendations in regards to media releases, mailouts and lesson plans were invaluable and her editing of a proposed e-newsletter to coincide with the book’s launch gave me the confidence to proceed enthusiastically. Irina’s super session is a must for anyone at the stage of ‘what do I do next’.
Thank you, IRINA DUNN, for recognising in me an ability to write, and for suggesting I should tell my story. That seed has now blossomed and I am a published author.
Jacqui Vittles, Dyslexia, An Amazing Discovery (Eloquent Books 2010)
I wish I'd known about you before. You've provided me with a new lease of life in regard to my writing. As for my novel, I was about to close the book and walk away from it. Although I'm a slow learner I am a good learner and I do take notice. I will endeavour to apply the things you're teaching me and can promise you your time will not be wasted. Thank you again and all power to what you're doing. Surely you're Sydney's best kept secret! You really have provided the spark I need. So much bad advice has sent me off wandering along futile tracks. Now you have appeared as my guide.
David Nicholas 2010
The emerging writer’s most valuable asset is IRINA DUNN. Irina read, edited and assessed my writing. She then met with me to explain her comments. Having previously employed the services of a number of editors, along with one of the more reputable manuscript assessment services, I can truthfully say that Irina is the Da Vinci of the editorial stakes. She is skilful, she knows publishers and she delivers everything she promises. She is professional in every sense. I have no hesitation in recommending Irina Dunn to any writer seeking feedback on their work.
If you’re writing a book, or just writing for fun,
There’s a name you should know, it’s ‘Irina Dunn’.
She reads and she edits, then meets you to tell
What’s good, what’s bad, what’s needed to sell.
She’s precise in her comments, leaves no room for doubt,
‘Needs more detail here, change this phrase or leave out.’
She poses the questions a reader might ask,
Then sets you a challenge, ‘are you up to the task?’
She gives you direction on where you should go,
She’s been in the business, knows who you should know,
So if you’re really serious in your writing quest,
I speak from experience, Irina’s the best!
Robert Cullen 2010
I first met IRINA DUNN in her capacity as Executive Director of the NSW Writers’ Centre. She was on a panel of judges that, at the time, nominated my self-published book, Quizzical, as joint winner of the 2006 Best Self-Published Book in the Children’s category. I flew to Sydney to accept my award at the Australian Authors and Publishers Bookshow, one of Irina’s many well-run events that she organised to help give writers from all walks of life the opportunity to get themselves known to the public.
As well as presenting me with my award, Irina helped set up my books on a table, spoke to people about me, and made me feel very comfortable in my totally foreign capacity as an emerging writer. Afterwards, Irina contacted me again in relation to an article she wanted me to write for the NSW Writers’ Centre’s monthly magazine Newswrite as a follow-up to my award win and to give me further exposure. When Irina was Editor of Newswrite it was one of the best magazines around for writers.
Irina has instigated many advantageous programs for writers over the years that remain ongoing and successful. She has also helped many people like me to realise their dreams of being published.
Leanne Davidson, Quizzical (www.quizzicalbook.com 2009)
I would like to say how very happy I was to have the help of IRINA DUNN when I sought her professional advice concerning my lengthy manuscript on Pain Management. I had been unable to attract the interest of publishers but Irina looked through the contents and immediately spotted the problem.
Irina then found me a publisher within five days. Subsequently the book was also taken up by a medical publisher in the UK and won the Bronze Award in the Living Now Awards – a contest judged internationally but awarded in the USA. The book is now published and widely distributed in both Australia and the UK.
Renée Goossens, Pain Management: Enhancing Your Life to the Fullest (Anshan 2009)
The faith you expressed in my book at your advisory session has been vindicated by it becoming a Finalist in the Historical Fiction category of the 2009 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.
Decima Wraxall, Black Stockings White Veil (2009)
It was only after I followed your advice to a "T" that I was offered a contract from a commercial publisher. A big thank you! It was one of the most worthwhile meetings I've ever had.
Louise Austin, Journey to Tobruk (Pier 9 2009)
On researching the book and publishing industry to seek advice on how to get a manuscript published, I was told by many people that IRINA DUNN was one of the most knowledgeable in the business. On booking an appointment I was certainly not disappointed. I was truly impressed by her wealth of knowledge, attention to detail and interest in what I wanted to achieve. My time with her was invaluable and the best money I have ever spent.
After following Irina's advice to a tee, she then opened up the doors to secure a spot with one of Australia's most sought after literary agents, who then four weeks later secured a publishing contract with one of the largest publishing houses in the world.
Thanks to Irina my dream of becoming a published author came true when my book was published. I recommend that all aspiring authors consult Irina and tap into her expertise and knowledge, because she truly is a walking encyclopaedia for all writers to achieve their dreams and have their work published.
Tania Hayes, Love Has No Limits (Harlequin Enterprises 2008)
Tania received an Order of Australia on Australia Day 2011 for her services to carers & their families.
I was looking for a publisher for my memoir and IRINA DUNN was the key to my quest. Her in-depth understanding of the publishing world and her skill at judging the suitability of a manuscript for this market led her to recommend that I approach East Street in Adelaide. Within hours of receiving my synopsis, they requested the whole manuscript and after a few days, they offered me a contract. I believe that Irina Dunn’s sharp eye, her straightforward honesty, and her years of experience as Director of the NSW Writers’ Centre, make her an invaluable asset to writers and publishers alike.
Cecile Yazbek, Olive trees around my table: Growing up Lebanese in the old South Africa (East Street 2007)