Interview with Cindy Tonkin

How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I subscribe to a series of blogs and newsletters from my own favourite authors and readers I trust. I non-fiction, my favourite authors include Seth Godin, Dan Pink and Malcolm Gladwell (doesn't everyone's?). Readers I trust include Eric Barker, Shane Parrish, and Maria Popova.
In fiction I love anything by John Irving and Marge Piercy, NIck Hornby and a hundred others I can't remember right now!
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first story I ever wrote which was noteworthy went for 11 hand written pages, which was enormous at the age of 7! It outlined my day when my Nana and Pop took me to Roselands, a very new shopping centre, to see the Christmas excitement. I still have it somewhere!
What is your writing process?
I am a little obsessive, and very busy, so I like to write obsessively.
When I wrote my first 3 books I hired a house in the country for three or four days at a time. I wrote one hour on, one hour off. That way I'd get a first draft of around 12,000 words per day.
Being extroverted by nature, 3 or 4 days alone was a major difficulty. So the reward was I went down mid-week, and convinced friends to join me for the weekend!
It was such a great way to reward myself: Dorothy Parker was right: "I hate writing. I love having written".
Then of course there is the proofing and re-proofing process. That I like to do in cafes. I order a nice peppermint tea, turn off my phone and get absorbed for 2 or 3 hours. Since I tamed my dictation software I can then come back to the office and sit down and make the changes while what I mean is fresh in my mind. Certainly I have to proof from a paper copy and I have to proof away from the computer!
Final proof reading I leave to a pro!
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My favourite e-reading device is my kindle, which is now quite old technology.
I do read a lot in the bus and train, and smartphone is the best for that (one less thing to carry in my handbag).
I recently considered buying another kindle, not because I have to but because I just wanted to have one by my bed, one in the lounge room - so a good book is never more than 3 steps away!
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was born in Sydney, NSW, Australia, where I lived till I was 6 or 7.
Then we moved to Lithgow, on the other side of the Blue Mountains from Sydney. Lithgow was a coal-mining town, it was cold in winter and even snowed. In the 5 years we lived there we lived in a half a dozen houses, so I guess being flexible came with the territory!
Then was I was 12 we moved to Tweed Heads, a seaside country town in northern NSW. The weather was always warm and the beach very close. Didn't quite suit my pale irish skin. It was not a town for being smart, so I felt a little isolated. Reading (and now writing) books was a great thing to do to keep myself company!
When did you first start writing?
My first book was published was in 1999.
It was the Australian Consultant's Guide, and more than 5000 people bought it in the first year (it was reprinted 4 times!).
I began writing that book in earnest in 1996.
It took so long then to publish anything - I spent more than 18 months getting it together, and then the publisher took more than 12 months to get it onto bookshelves!! I did learn a lot from the process, though.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book is a series.
I took my 1999 Australian Consultant's Guide and updated the information, put it into an e-friendly format (fewer tables, complimentary material to download from the web). People come back to buy the original Consultant's Guide because their friends tell them it's the one they used when they set up, so I owe it to people to make it up-to-date!
What are you working on next?
I have a half dozen other books which need to get onto smashwords... so I'll get right onto that!
Who are your favorite authors?
Seth Godin, Malcolm Gladwell, Daniel Pink, John Irving, Marge Piercy, Anne Tyler, Paullina Simons, Lionel Shriver, Robertson Davies, Mordecai Richler, Alice Munro
What do you read for pleasure?
I'm a big reader. When I was a kid I would go to the local library and borrow three books and have them read within the day. I used to walk home from the library with my head in a book. Now I have more limited time, but I still read a book or two each week. John Irving, Marge Piercy, Paullina Simons, Robertson Davies, Mordecai Richler, Nick Hornby, Peter Carey, Jonathan Franzen, Lionel Shriver: all of these authors keep me involved and transported into a new world!
Published 2015-10-07.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Consulting Mastery: The Ability Myth: Being Good is not Enough
Series: Consultants' Guides: setting up and running your consulting business profitably and painlessly. Price: $4.12 USD. Words: 65,380. Language: Australian English. Published: October 18, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Consulting, Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Business administration
You know you’re good at what you do, so why aren’t you the hottest property in town? Consulting Mastery teaches you the secrets that set Master Consultants apart from the merely competent. Whether you're just starting out or been in the game for a while, there's plenty in this book to make you reflect on what makes you a great consultant, and help you make sure clients know that you are too!
Making Your Consultancy a Business: Not a Job
Series: Consultants' Guides: setting up and running your consulting business profitably and painlessly. Price: $5.74 USD. Words: 8,860. Language: Australian English. Published: October 18, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Consulting, Nonfiction » Career Guides » Business Management
With a job you sell your time. If you don't work, you don't get paid. With a business you have a lot more freedom to come and go. Income doesn't rely on your time. Leverage your talents and turn your consulting job into a business! Learn from the mistakes and successes of consultants who've done it before. Learn what to do, and avoid the pitfalls through the examples, stories and worksheets.
Consultant's Companion: Improve your consultancy 30 minutes a week
Series: Consultants' Guides: setting up and running your consulting business profitably and painlessly. Price: $7.38 USD. Words: 11,300. Language: Australian English. Published: October 18, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Consulting, Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Careers
We're all busy consultants. While we work on other people's businesses and other people's problems we don' t always have the time to work on our own. This handy companion acts as your weekly coach, so that you can focus on your business and improve your consultancy 30 minutes a week. Begin with an audit, set some goals and work through to improve your consultancy 30 mins each week
It’s Official: Setting up your Australian Consultancy Practice Properly
Series: Consultants' Guides: setting up and running your consulting business profitably and painlessly. Price: $6.39 USD. Words: 16,220. Language: Australian English. Published: October 18, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Consulting, Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Small business and entrepreneurship
It can be overwhelming to start a new consultancy business. This book outlines all you need to know to set up your practice in the Australian context. When you start your business you need to make a lot of decisions about how you'll work, let official know you exist, set up the entity you'll pay tax through, make sure you're insured, let clients know you're around (essential!)... and more.
Eight (more) ways to Market your Consulting Business: Without Cold Calling
Series: Consultants' Guides: setting up and running your consulting business profitably and painlessly, Book 7. Price: $6.99 USD. Words: 9,700. Language: English. Published: October 9, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Consulting, Nonfiction » Career Guides » Business Management
The Australian Consultant's Guide helped more than 7000 Australians get consulting work without cold calling. Eight (more) ways to promote your consultancy business follows on from there. Take these ideas and get your consultancy out there without making a single cold call. Clients need to know you're there so they can buy! So here are 8 ideas to get you going and get your consultancy known.
Stay Cheerful!: 89 Things to do Between Consulting Assignments
Series: Consultants' Guides: setting up and running your consulting business profitably and painlessly, Book 9. Price: $4.32 USD. Words: 14,060. Language: Australian English. Published: October 9, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Consulting, Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Careers / job hunting
Inspired by a client question: “how do I stay cheerful between assignments”. Here are 89 things you can do between assignments to improve your business, keep your brain active, stay in touch with clients, and make up for lost time culturally, scientifically and socially! Categorised so you can find what you want, filled with stories and examples. Priced so you can afford it between assignments.
Keep Your Consultancy Business Running Smoothly: Systems and Templates you need
Series: Consultants' Guides: setting up and running your consulting business profitably and painlessly, Book 6. Price: $3.00 USD. Words: 17,470. Language: Australian English. Published: October 9, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Consulting, Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Careers
Tips and templates for selling your services, putting together proposals, understanding your needs in contracts, getting your accounts together, getting the right advice. We’ll also look at ways you can keep up the maintenance on the greatest asset in your consulting business (you!). Bonus templates (with downloads so you can customise them yourself). Part of the popular Consultants' Guide Series
Market Your Consultancy Without Cold Calling: Get More Business More Easily
Series: Consultants' Guides: setting up and running your consulting business profitably and painlessly, Book 5. Price: $7.88 USD. Words: 38,490. Language: English. Published: October 9, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Careers, Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Consulting
If you want to sell your consulting services, but you are really afraid of cold calling, then this is the book for you. You'll find 14 ways to promote your consulting business without cold calling. There are methods which rely on your existing contacts and ones which build new contacts, fast, cheap and easy methods, and some which are longer term "investments". You get good ideas and first steps.
How Much to Charge for Consulting: Profitable and Painless Consulting
Series: Consultants' Guides: setting up and running your consulting business profitably and painlessly, Book 4. Price: $4.81 USD. Words: 16,350. Language: Australian English. Published: October 9, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Consulting, Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Careers / job hunting
There are three ways to find out what to charge: What the market is charging; What you want to charge or What you can afford to charge. This book takes you through each of those, guides you through a series of questions and checklists to determine what you can really afford to charge. Then you can project where your expenses will be to work out your cashflow, and when to take holidays.
Set up your Consultancy Office: Where To Work And What You Need To Start
Series: Consultants' Guides: setting up and running your consulting business profitably and painlessly, Book 2. Price: $5.15 USD. Words: 17,370. Language: Australian English. Published: October 9, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Consulting, Nonfiction » Career Guides » Business Management
Do you need an office? Will a home office do? Is it worth separate premises? What do you need to make the office run? Printers, phones, tablets, hard drives, what's essential and what can wait? This is the book for you if you're just setting up your consultancy. Complements the other books in the Consultants' Guides series.
I Want To Be A Consultant: How To Get Clear On Your Business Purpose
Series: Consultants' Guides: setting up and running your consulting business profitably and painlessly, Book 1. Price: $4.05 USD. Words: 17,970. Language: Australian English. Published: October 6, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Consulting, Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Careers
Thinking about becoming a consultant? Already a consultant but wanting a clear direction or clarify what you're doing? Here's step-by-step how to set your direction. Checklists and questions help you decide what you want from your business. Define success with the personal business planning format. Download all the forms and checklists to use over and over. Get clear on why and how you're working.