Hello fellow Children’s Writers and Friends,
Oh how time flies. I do apologise that this post is late, however, my reason does fit in perfectly with the one of the subjects of this post. I have been focussed on preparations for the KidLitVic Conference at the end of this week, both for myself and my adult children who will be staying home while husband, Daryl and I have an extended stay in Victoria. (Photos and report of Conference to follow.)
As promised today’s post continues the story of my journey to publication of my first Picture Book, The Sorrowful Star (working title) answering the final two questions posed last month. What is the importance of Networking? and What’s been happening since I signed my contract?
What is the importance of Networking?
If you are an aspiring or emerging author like me, I cannot state highly enough the importance of networking. I think my story and the way time brought Kathy Creamer back into my life in a different role, depicts clearly how networking can help an author. In a lot of ways it was pure serendipity, however, had I not first found Creative Kids Tales (via internet search- writing for children in Australia, I had previously found many US sites) and put myself and my story out there seeking assistance to polish it, I probably would have remained nothing more than a name to Kathy Creamer and LPDB. This way she knew me a little and more importantly my work.
The benefits of networking do not end there for me (or you) by any means. As a result of those early days of learning about the Australian Children’s Writing industry, I discovered the world of Aussie KidLit and its people, places and events. I found the So You Want to Be a Writer Podcast, Q and Q Friday’s on You Tube which led to The Duck Pond on Facebook. I signed up to The Scribbles Course and private Facebook group and through them was invited to join, Just Write For Kids, The 52 Week Picture Book Challenge and Aussies Writing for Children. I heard of events at the CBCA, Sydney Writer’s Festival, SCBWI, Pinerolo, the list goes on. This followed hearing of The Kids and Young Adults Festival at The New South Wales Writers’ Centre and CYA Conference and their competition again through Creative Kids Tales so ably run by Georgie Donaghey.
It was at these that I heard about BuzzWords and Pass it On, also where I met Aleesah Darlison who now runs Greenleaf Press and I could go on and on, in never ending increasing circles because the industry is actually quite small and soon you get to know many members, who know other members, who may be authors, illustrators, editors, or know editors or…. you get the picture. In some ways the road is endless, but because it is full of intersecting streets, lanes, arcades and other lovely nooks and crannies, you never know who will pop up where and when, and what they may say about you to someone else.
This brings me to an important point, when dealing with anyone in this industry (or out of it really) certainly be yourself, but be your best self. Be polite, thoughtful, treat people kindly and understand we all have good and bad days so try not to be judgemental, and forgive, most especially yourself. We writers tend to be toughest on ourselves. Try not to, but if you find you are, be sure to mention it to another KidLit writer and I can guarantee these wonderful people will sympathise with you and help you see it from a different, more positive perspective.
So on a different note, What’s been happening since I signed my contract?
Well life mainly. Work, family, tutoring, assisting at church, writing, same ol’ same ol’. However, occasionally the delightful little orange Favourites star pops up in my emails and I see the names Little Pink Dog Books or Peter Creamer or Margaret Dewar (my illustrator). You can bet I don’t waste time opening those. So far, they have pretty much involved a discussion of what will be required of Margaret and I. In my case, this is mainly providing a photo or two, which I’m having professionally done soon, and (lucky for me, as I know this isn’t always the case) providing my input on Margaret’s proposed illustrations. I dare say, it won’t be for all of them.
In Margaret’s case there is a lot more required including tweaking or completely changing a character or scene based on what Peter, Kathy and yes, even little old me sometimes, have to say. Margaret, clearly a very talented illustrator, always rises to the challenge and I cannot wait till October next year (all going well) when I know I’ll be sharing something truly magical and beautiful with you all.
Farewell fellow travellers, but hopefully not for long,
Savour the quest,