Meet The Publishers Day Kidlitvic2016

Me (in the stripy dress) with my fantastic critique group.
Me (in the stripy dress) with my fantastic critique group.

This time last weekend I was returning from a fabulous day down in Melbourne at the very first Meet The Publishers Day organised by the highly wonderful, friendly and talented authors Alison Reynolds and Dee White.

What to pack:

  • layers – no one could figure out what the weather was going to do in Melbourne – after all it is the city known to have four seasons in one day. Thankfully the weather turned out to be quite warm which was great for the evening meal in one of the many wonderful restuaurants in Hardware Lane.

At the airport:

  • I bought an ipad cover for protection – but I never got around to using it. Instead I prefer to write straight into the booklet you are given next to the name of the presenter who was speaking – much more practical if you want to quote someone.

At the Brady Hotel:

  • what a great little hotel, perfect location, friendly staff, loved the brass accessories in the bathroom and of course, a whole room to myself with no snoring husband or sleep walking sleep talking kids!

At the event:

  • Again, the location of the State Library of Victoria was perfect – what writer doesn’t like to find themselves in another library!

There was so much to take in. So many new people to meet and old friends to catch up with. Here are a handful of the comments made during the many presentations throughout the day:

  • write about characters that the reader can relate to
  • can your character be marketed in a series proposal?
  • do you know who the market will be for your book?
  • if you are writing a series can the readers come back for more and be surprised?
  • the series descriptor has to be ‘punchy’
  • if you are an illustrator can you draw from different perspectives?


During the event I had the opportunity to have a manuscript consultation with Clare Halifax from Scholastic. I was nervous and excited at the same time. It is so hard to act normal when you are like that. 🙂 Be prepared for how quick the time goes. Don’t forget to take notes. Lastly, enjoy.

Here are some of the presenters likes:

Maryann Ballantyne (Black Dog Books) likes Australian history

Suzanne O’Sullivan (Lothian/Hachette) likes Lauren Child’s style of  illlustration

Marisa Pintado (Hardie Grant Egmont) likes to see concise hooks, easy to grab hooks and concepts

Lisa Berryman (Harper Collins) likes to see whole story arc

Michelle Madden (Penguin Young Readers) likes the series descriptor to be punchy

Clare Halifax (Scholastic) likes humour and mystery

Miriam Rosenbloom (Scribe) likes wonder, surrealism and darkness

Melissa Keil (Five Mile Press) likes something that stands out, a little bit different



So if you want to check out other feedback from the event either check out #Kidlitvic2016 on Twitter or Facebook

Thanks goes to the rest of Alison’s and Dee’s team that helped make the day such a great success: Nicky Johnston, Jacquelyn Muller and Coral Vass.


The next event I am looking forward to is this year’s SCBWI Conference on 4th – 6th September where I will be acting as ‘Roving Reporter.’ I hope to see you there! 🙂

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

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!