#illo52weeks – October’s illustrations

Week 40: Carnival

Copic markers & Artline pen

I am not really pleased with this illustration. I had limited time this week and it showed in the outcome but I still participated and stuck to my goal of entering on time each week regardless of the standard of work.

Week 40- Carnival

 

Week 41: Sweets

Copic markers & Artline pen

As you can see I had the event of Halloween in my mind. I enjoyed doing this illustration and am pleased with how it looks. ūüôā

 

© Ramona Davey 2015
© Ramona Davey 2015

Week 42: Instrument

Gelli printing & Acrylic paint

I felt the need to use a different medium again and gelli printing felt perfect for this weeks challenge. I don’t play the saxophone (which may show in the detail or lack of) but it was fun to use the rollers again. As you never really know how the print is going to turn out the element of surprise makes this an enjoyable and challenging medium to work with, which is what 52 Weeks is all about, challenging yourself!

Week 42- Instrument

Week 43: Monster

Copic markers & thin textas

Well it is Halloween to day and what a perfect way to finish the month then with a monster themed illustration.

Week 43- Monster

 

Events:

Yesterday I visited Hachette Publishing House. They had opened their doors for paid visits. It was a great opportunity to see the inside of a publishing house, listen to the editors and marketers explain how the process of commissioning and promoting a book goes.

Inside Hachette Oct 2015
#insidehachette

 

 

 

 

Seated from left are the host from the Emerging Writers Festival (sorry no name), Suzanne O’Sullivan (Children’s publisher), Robert Watkins (Fiction and Non-Fiction publisher) and Rebecca Saunders (Fiction publisher).

Suzanne O’Sullivan likes you to be on social media, likes your pitch to be brief and often reads on her e-reader, so likes to see the full manuscript.

Robert Watkin’s said about your story that … “There has to be natural lows and peaks to maintain a reader’s interests.”

Rebecca Saunders said that to her… “the title is important,” and she “wants it to be commercial.” She also wanted to know what your USP (Unique Selling Point) was.

 

 

 

Writers festivals and Conferences 2014

The last few weekends have been extraordinarily busy for writers. They have consisted of the following events:

Children’s and Young Adults Writers Festival hosted by Aleesah Darlinson

IMG_4295
Hachette editor Suzanne O’Sullivan talking to illustrator Sarah Davis

CYA Conference 2014 which I have written about here: CYA Conference 2014

Me
Me very proudly collecting my First place certificate for a rhyming preschool picture book manuscript

SCBWIAus/NZ 2014 of which I was lucky enough to be a Roving Reporter. You can read my report on Pitching to Publishers here: The Art Of Pitching To Publishers

The publishers
The publishers

It has been a jam packed couple of weeks, filled with useful tips and advice for published and aspring writiers. It’s a great time to network, to catch up with old friends and meet lots of new ones. Now it is time to buckle down, read the feedback from the the manuscripts assessments I have had recently and polish my work to my best ability!

CYA Conference 2014


Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 4.23.38 pm

 

All through last week my fingers were tightly crossed. I had received an e-mail to say I had been shortlisted for the CYA CONFERENCE  Aspiring (Unpublished) Competition ~ 2014.

This was exciting news and with support and encouragement from my other half I decided to fly up to Brisbane where the Conference is held. The winners were announced very early in the morning. The winner of third place was announced. I thought to myself, ‘Wow, I must be second!’ The winner of second place was announced. I panicked and thought, ‘Oh my god, how embarrasing, I hadn’t been shortlisted at all, it was a mistake!’

Winning had not occured to me at all, but I did, much to my surprise!

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 4.12.37 pm

 

Goodnight Gorgeousaurus is a rhyming manuscript that takes you through the busy, adventurous and hungry day of a young dinosaur (or a child dressed up as a dinosaur. I have left it  up to the illustrator to decide how the text can be interpreted.)

This was a great start to the day that was jam-packed with workshops. Here are just a few:

Slashings Of Editors

This was a great insight into what a selection of editors would like to see, including: professionalism, a great hook and stories with heart. They also mentioned how they often read manuscripts in their own time, after a busy day and therefore your work must stand out and make them want to read on.

Structuring a story with Pamela Rushby

Pamela highlighted 9 questions you should ask about your story, as well as asking us ‘were we a plotter or panster?’ I decided I was a bit of both.

Pamela Rushby CYA 2014

Let Your Pictures Do The Talking By Peter Carnavas 

Peter’s workshop was interactive which was great. I am always happy to be taught a few tips and tricks to help me develop my illustration skills. He also discussed storyboards and how they work:

Peter carnavas CYA 2014

The whole day was great and the cherry on the top was meeting fellow aspiring writers, current winners, like Elizabeth Kasmer and Catherine from Squiggglemum:

me and catherine CYA 2014

and previous winners like the lovely Kat Apel:

Kat Apel CYA 2014

 

Editor meetings were available and these are extra helpful in getting feedback on your work. I came away with a head full of useful information and heartful of new friends.

Well done to all the team at CYA!

 

4th International SCBWI Australia & New Zealand Conference

Highlighted sessions I hope to attend!

Tomorrow afternoon I will be nervously on my way to my very first writers conference which is jammed packed with author talks, writing workshops, book launches and pitching opportunities for 4 days. It is the¬†4th International SCBWI Australia & New Zealand Conference, and you can read lots about it at their very useful blog here: The SCBWI Australia & New Zealand Conference Blog. The great thing about this conference is that it is combined with the 7th Children’s and Young Adult Literature Festival on Saturday. I went to this last year and it was great!

In preparation I searched the internet for any useful advice and tips about attending writers conferences. Here are a few a found that helped answer a feww questions, worries and concerns I had floating around my head.

Over at kidlit.com:

Talking to Agents and Editors at Conferences 

Adjusting Expectations for Conferences and Critiques

Over at Cheryl Reif Writes:

Things to Love in the Writing Life: Conferences

Ten Keys to Your Best-Ever Writing Conference!

Over at La Vie En Prose:

Conference 101: Know Before You Go

Over at Picture This:

A Better Critique Story

So, my checklist is as follows:

  • Don’t be shy – agents and editors expect to be approached in a friendly fashion – just don’t pitch to them unless asked (save your pitches for the organised pitch sessions)
  • Know your needs – Do know what I need to get from the conference – what are my current needs as a writer?
  • Be prepared – practice your ( 2 min) pitch,
  • Research¬† – check out the editors, agents, authors, and other speakers who are attending

But most importantly of all the resounding advice is to have a good time – get to know the agents and editors and other writers – put a face to a name – make connections and have fun!

Rate Your Story

Get a free critique rating on your manuscript

A while back I discovered this blog called Rate Your Story and have recently submitted two different manuscripts to their services. It is a brilliant free way of getting someone from their panel of judges to read your picture book manuscript and give a rating from 1 Р10 (1 = the best mark) and  a bonus extra little bit of feedback. Most of all it gives you some kind of indication of wether or not you are on the right track.

Many of my fellow participants of Julie Hedlunds writing challenge 12 Picture books in 12 months in 2012 have also submitted their work and it is great to see all their  feedback and delight at how their work is developing.

I know I must be improving because I have sent two manuscripts so far. Last weeks story about a zoo, had a rating of 7, so it either needs a lot more work on it or maybe needs to be put at the bottom of the pile for now, so I can focus on others that read better.

The second manuscript about a tooth fairy had a rating of 5. An improvement, even if it is a small one! Do I feel a sudden need to give in and decide that maybe this isn’t for me? Not a chance, I feel more determined than ever to see those ratings get closer to number 1!

The closing date for the latest lot of submissions is 7th Febraury 2012, so you have got to be quick to get in by tomorrow if you are interested.

Of course this is not the only thing I do to give me an indication of the standard of my work. I also send my manuscripts to professional editors and assessors, my critique group, publishing houses and writing competitions. I have written about this before in my post about the importance of Participating. Having some kind of deadline is good for you, it stops you procrastinating and wasting valuable writing time!

Anyway Good luck with your work, wherever you submit it!

Participating

Write a 'To do..' list to help you get started and keep on track!

Once the last of my Christmas visitors have left I will be able to get down and back into my writing and drawing. Polishing, revising and rewriting manuscripts. Some I have recently received back from professional editors and manuscript assessors, and now have lots to read and think about.

Once I feel my many stories are up to scratch they will be submitted to a variety of competitions, publishing houses and critique groups.

Here are some things you might like to participate in:

Manuscript Monday with Pan Macmillan Australia

January Contest with QueryTracker.net blog

Children’s & Young Adult Writers and Illustrator’s Contest with CYA Conference

Frustrated Writers 2012¬†with the The Children’s Book Council of Australia

Don’t forget to join some groups yourself!

SCBWI Australia & New Zealand have just got a facebook page up and running, check it out:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/SCBWI-Australia-and-New-Zealand/239873816092316?ref=ts&sk=wall

GOODLUCK!