Hello again fellow Children’s Writers and Friends,
I hope you hadn’t given up on me, I know it has been quite some time since my last post for which I do apologise. If I’m totally honest there was a degree of poor prioritising, which had I avoided may have resulted in perhaps one extra post before now. However, the main reason I haven’t posted in this blog is that being new to writing for publication (in some ways, I have dabbled for about 20 years) I didn’t really have anything new to say that wasn’t generic and already being covered by everyone else. I was determined not to post simply for the sake of posting.
Today, however, I have a couple of important things to share. One being new publishing opportunities! The other, a summary of my experience of meeting Kate DiCamillo at the Sydney Writer’s Festival about a week and a half ago. I know many others took the opportunity of meeting her and I may indeed double up a little, however, I’m sure I have some new insights to offer from the SWF talk as Kate spoke at several different events and venues while she has been here in Australia.
The publishing opportunities first though! Anyone like me who would love to have a Picture Book published these are especially good news for you. Firstly there is a relatively new, say in the past quarter or so, Publishing House accepting children’s manuscripts, with a particular interest in Picture Books. It is backed by Wombat Books and run by Ann Marie Finn previously of Dragontales Publishing. ‘The name, give me the wretched name!’ Oh alright then, it’s called Yellow Brick Books and can be found at yellowbrickbooks.com.au As well as this there is also a very short window of opportunity to submit Picture Book manuscripts to Scribble Kids Books (https://scribblekidsbooks.com.au) for the month of June only. So polish those PBs and hop to it travellers!
The other truly exciting time for me recently was hearing the wonderfully perceptive and talented Kate DiCamillo speak on Connecting People Through Stories at the Sydney Writer’s Festival. She spoke about two experiences which have stood out in her many experiences of finding or skating enticingly close to connection. Moments of connection or near connection to others and to some universal yet ethereal truth. Kate spoke about her early experiences in a glass-bottomed boat as the epitome of such moments, where she was somehow able to grasp that which seemed out of reach; another world which was yet still of this world. A time where another human being reached out to her and this ‘perpetually terrified child’ was able to reach back. Another such insight came a little later when through their shared moment of being entranced by a story their teacher was reading to them, she was able to see and never again unsee ‘the bully’ as someone with a connection to the story and no matter how briefly, to her. He was not the monster she imagined. To her a story needs to be just like the opportunity to take a trip in a glass-bottomed boat where one is able to see an unknown world hidden within our known world.
Kate told us that her ideas come from eavesdropping on others and paying attention to the strange things that go on in her own mind. She also mentioned two things which are at once equally heartening and daunting. One has been mentioned by others of course, but still bears recalling here, namely that she received 473 rejections before she was accepted for publication and the reason for her resilience, ‘What if I had stopped at 471?’ Priceless. The second, on editing and more specifically rewrites, of which she does 7-8 before even sending her work off to an editor, fully expecting there to be 1-2 more if they accept her manuscript. So count them people, we’re talking 8-10 rewrites!
A week after this amazing experiences where she wished me luck with my own writing and encouraged me to just keep writing and submitting, as I got her to sign my newly purchased copy of Raymie Nightingale, I was able to learn from another expert, local this time. You can read all about Pamela Freeman’s workshop with my FAW branch here in the next fortnight.
I hope you found this post beneficial, maybe even a little inspirational and I thank you for your patience.
Farewell for now fellow travellers
Savour the Quest