Back in the Writing Seat

Logo_no_lamp_text_sampleThis blog has been sadly neglected In the last few months, but being involved in the organising of the KidLitVic2016 Meet The Publishers conference has taken up a huge slice of my time.

It was an inspiring event at which I got to connect with so many wonderful writers and illustrators and publishing professionals.

So here’s what happened. Alison Reynolds, Nicky Johnston, Jacquelyn Muller and I organised an event at the State Library of Victoria that was attended by 11 amazing publishers and one fabulous literary agent, and 160 wonderful authors and illustrators. Michael Wagner was our warm, funny and thoughtful panel moderator, Ian Robinson kept us entertained and informed as MC, and Coral Vass was a dynamic, very competent and welcome addition to our team on the day.

Thanks to our amazing faculty including:

Elise Jones Allen & Unwin
Maryann Ballantyne Black Dog Books/Walker
Suzanne O’Sullivan Hachette
Lisa Berryman HarperCollins
Marisa Pintado Hardie Grant Egmont
Jacinta di Mase Literary Agent
Michelle Madden Penguin
Kimberley Bennett Random House
Clare Hallifax Scholastic
Miriam Rosenbloom Scribble/Scribe
Jane Pearson Text Publishing
Melissa Keil The Five Mile Press

With writerly friends, Christina Booth and Sheryl Gwyther

To be honest the whole day was a whirl. There were four panels at which publishing professionals discussed picture books, illustrations, chapter and middle grade books and YA.

A highlight for me was meeting Clare Halifax, the wonderful publisher of my new book for kids aged 9+ due out next year.

I also loved hearing about what publishers were looking for and what authors and illustrators need to do in order to get noticed/published.

Thanks to my writerly friends, Bren MacDibble, Candice Lemon-Scott, Sheryl Gwyther and Kelly McDonald who took notes for me. So here are some tips from the conference:

Wonderful to finally meet Kelly McDonald.

Wonderful to finally meet Kelly McDonald.


  1. Humour, weird off-centre.
  2. Picture books with girl characters.
  3. Stories that tell a child something about themselves.
  4. Authors should find out what publishers are publishing and target those who best suit your work. This information can be found by looking at the books on a publisher’s website, in libraries and bookstores.
  5. 5-7 year old characters need to simply overcome an obstacle, but they must get more complex as character and readership get older.
  6. Be specific about the role of each character and what they are trying to achieve.
  7. Books where the author is in touch with their inner child.
  8. Always room for a good book, no matter what the trends.
  9. Voice is what hooks publishers and readers in.
  10. The story that you had to write … that comes from the heart. Not written to meet a ‘trend’.

Now that the conference is over, I’m right back into writing, and I’ll be posting regularly again.

If you were at the KidLitVIc2016 conference, feel free to share your tips and experiences in the comments section of this blog.

See you back here soon.

Happy writing 🙂






Happy 2016

I hope your new year is off to a good start.

Unfortunately, I’ve been a little preoccupied, which is why I haven’t been posting here lately.

Logo_no_lamp_text_sampleMy crit buddy Alison Reynolds and I have been organising a conference for Kidlit and YA writers and illustrators.

Our aim is to help people get published.

There will be publisher panels discussing what’s hot and what’s not in publishing.

We’ll also have an illustrator panel to provide information to help illustrators find their way in Australian Publishing. Our Illustrator Liaison is the the fabulous Nicky Johnston, Creative Director of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge and a published author/illustrator.

The conference will take place on 7 May 2016 at the State Library of Victoria.

Our fabulous lineup of industry professionals includes:

  • Black Dog Books/ Walker
  • Hachette
  • Hardie Grant Egmont
  • HarperCollins
  • Penguin
  • Random House
  • Scholastic
  • Scribble/Scribe
  • The Five Mile Press
  • Jacinta di Mase Literary Agent

As well as the panels, there will be manuscript and portfolio assessments and a cocktail party.

We’re organising this not-for-profit event for Australian authors and illustrators

You can find out more at our website.

Hope to meet you there 🙂