Kids and YA Festival Top Tips

2 rooms, 6 sessions in each, 20+ informed and interesting panelists and real live writers everywhere! The #kya2022 was a fantastic day and here are my top takeaways from the day and terrible picture of me with my much more photogenic friends

Me, Fiona Lloyd, Dannielle Viera at the end of a long, but happy day. Photo credit: Sarah Lenthall

Panel One – Deb Abela and Belinda Murrell

1. Character is KING! Know both why you love this character AND why others should love this character.

2. Chapter One MUST get your readers in, MUST be the best- BE THE BOOK or they may not read on.

3. If/when an editor gives you advice, really think about it, even if it means losing chapters or characters. Trust them… they’re really good! (at what they do)

Amazing Curator and Bestselling Author Belinda Murrell

Panel Two- Katrina McKelvey, Jane Godwin, Matt Cosgrove, Kate Temple, Charmaine Ledden-Lewis

1. Editors are conjurers of illustrator’s storytelling and conjurers of author’s storytelling (and this is why they often keep them apart)

2. PBs are little bits of theatre, perform them, read them aloud.

3. Perfect is the enemy of awesome.

Panel Three- Publisher Panel

1. Can my book be sold by a sales rep to a bookseller in 30 seconds because that’s all they’ve got- that and the book cover.

2. Publishers love same, but different. What is the difference, that should make them spend 10s and 10s of 1000s on your book? More often than not it is your Voice.

3. Absence of information is very powerful- think ‘Who Sank the Boat?’ Leave your audience wanting- arrive late, leave early in your story.

Panel Four- A.L. Tait, Kate Forsyth, Oliver Phommovanh, R.A. Spratt

1. The idea that won’t let go, that seems too hard is likely to be the one that will sustain a story/series

2. If someone tells you the stakes aren’t high enough, believe them.

3. No matter how amazing your world is and how incredibly built, a great character needs to walk through it or it won’t work.

4. Don’t save your best stuff till last, you might get cancelled.

5. If you’re happy to do huge structural edits, then allow your first draft to be a discovery draft, if not- plan!

Just a few of the wonderful new books available through the super friendly staff at Better Read Than Dead, Newtown

2022 and Beyond with Zoe Walton, Clare Hallifax, Pippa Masson and Kristin Darrell

1. Story and books are resilient. They have been through world wars, the self publishing… Sure the Pandemic has slowed things down, but they are still strong and doing well.

2. Agents can expect to see 1000s of submissions at a time and will only take on 1% of these.

3. A first print run will pretty much what they know they’ve sold through preorders or what they anticipate will sell in the first, but they will of course reprint if these sell quickly.

4. Best sellers used to be 10,000 now on average 3000-6000, can be anywhere from 2000-15000

And the biggies- EDITORS FACE REJECTION TOO! 😱 Who knew?! Whether this is at submissions after championing a book, auctions where another publisher wins or even when Big W don’t take on a book they were certain Big W would.

ONCE YOU HAVE YOUR CONTRACT SIT BACK AND ENJOY IT! Don’t micromanage, trust your team, write your next book.

Yet again, I’m battling the flu this time with a delightful ear infection and his friend conjunctivitis along for the ride. Ah the joys of the journey, for the writing journey does of course occur in tandem with the journey of life, so I apologise that this isn’t the prettiest post with as many images as much formatting as planned. Still as always all we can do, dear writing fellows and friends is Savour the Quest,

Farwell until next time,


About Artelle Lenthall

Hi Fellow Children’s Writers and Friends, I am a published Picture Book author as well as a wife, mother and Primary School teacher. I am loving the new 'sites' on the continuing road to publication. I belong to the Fellowship of Australian Writers(FAW) Creative Kids Tales(CKT) Jen Storer’s The Scribblers and although I'd love to belong to more writing related organisations, I have found friends, support, critiquing and general encouragement with these, for which I am truly grateful. I also subscribe to Tara Lazar's specialist Picture Book website; How to Write For Kids While Raising Them, Buzz Words and The Duck Pond where I am one of the moderators. These inspire me in the development of my craft. Worth a look if like me, Picture Books and Children’s Writing are your passion.
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4 Responses to Kids and YA Festival Top Tips

  1. Gail Turnham says:

    Great valuable information, thanks for sharing. 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome Gail, other people sharing highlights of events I couldn’t attend in person helped me in my creative journey and I’ve always believed in giving back (or paying it forward) and helping others


  2. Thanks as always for your wonderful support Gretchen 😊


  3. Fascinating fuel for thought and I liked number 4 ” Don’t save your best stuff till last, you might get cancelled” which is true for a lot of things in life 🙂 Get well soon!

    Liked by 1 person

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