Tag Archives: Australian

The Journey Begins

Following several rides on The Giant Drop, I took a rather giddy step back. It felt as though the manuscripts I’d submitted were starting to turn on me. ‘Oh, you think we’re so good. You think you’ll be turning publishers away with all the attention we’ll bring. You think your books will be up in literary lights… think again! We’re nothing, but wish-wash! You’ll never have your name on a book if we’re all you have to offer!’

Ah, the old seed of self-doubt, angrily sprouting away. Wondrous, isn’t it?!

I needed to view the bigger picture. As difficult as it was, I decided to put those pesky manuscripts aside and start something fresh. My morale yearned for it. In early 2014, I created a character; a curious, young boy on a quest to problem-solve, using his active imagination. I had hopes of turning his adventures into a picture book series. I drafted the first story and within a few months of daily rewrites and edits, he was ready. I knew it this time. This little guy was not going turn on me!

I submitted my manuscript to Kids’ Book Review for assessment and was delighted with the feedback. My idea was unique, entertaining and picture-book-appropriate. The one thing letting it down was that I had written the story in rhyme and the meter was inconsistent in most parts. The irony of a musician failing to write rhythmically, but I later realised my struggle may be because there’s no musical accompaniment in a book! No instrumentation to fill gaps and complete phrases.

Although there were many positives to my creation, the manuscript still needed work.

A highly experienced and professional author and editor, from the KBR team, saw promise in the story idea and my approach to improving it, and offered her services to work with me. How grateful I was, to have her knowledge and expertise helping my story (and me as a writer)! I’m thankful every day, for this experience.

Seeing my story take much better shape, I decided there were to be no ‘giant drops’ with this one. I knew it shone and my editor agreed. I showed the complete manuscript to fellow creatives and they also agreed. All signs were pointing the same way, urging me to transform this story to book. Following thorough research, I decided to self-publish. A 100% guarantee that my work would see the light of day and 100% creative control over its publication. I like having control. Some say, I need it. I’m relieved and thankful that I followed those signs because it was the beginning of a long and wonderfully rewarding (and challenging!) journey.

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Catch you next month for the next leg. 🙂

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Filed under Author Business, Book News, Publishing Tips, Renee Price

The Giant Drop

Many times, I’ve been told the writing game is an emotional roller coaster ride. Ups, downs, hill climbs, racing downhill, loop-the-loops… From my experiences, I’m more inclined to match it to The Giant Drop; one of Dreamworld’s ‘Big 9 Thrill Rides’, particularly the vulnerability of submitting manuscripts to publishers.

Note: If The Giant Drop is unfamiliar to you, please click here. 🙂

Stage One: Emotional preparation AKA plucking up courage
Six months in the making and my story is complete. I’ve had it professionally edited and it shapes up really well. I’ve researched a list of publishers accepting manuscripts and cross-checked that my story meets their submission criteria. I’m pumped, confident, ready-to-go. I even get my friends and family involved in the pre-ride excitement. This book is going to be the next best-seller. Hurry! Let’s get on the ride!

I submit.

Stage two: The waiting line
All pepped and ready, I approach the line-up. Ugh… The long, tiring, mood-busting wait. Honestly, do these hundreds and hundreds of people all want to be published authors, too? Hopefully, my hidden gem will pop out of the pile and the editors will call me to the front of the line. Quick! I’d better refresh my email account. Inbox = 0.

Oh…

The wait continues.

Stage three: The lift
After three (sometimes more) agonising months of waiting, I finally arrive at the front of the line. The publisher’s email has arrived (this example is a fortunate occasion where I’ve actually received a response).
I stare at the unopened message that blinds me with its bold font and confronting subject line; ‘Re: Your manuscript submission’. My finger hovers over the mouse. Do I really want to open this?
The bars come down over my shoulders and across my lap. I’m bolted in and the rise begins. There’s no turning back now. I feel sick, my breathing is rapid. If I close my eyes, will that make it easier to deal with? As I look down at how far I’ve travelled, slight confidence hits. I really am excited by this. I can do it. It’s going to be okay.

The ride locks in place and I anticipate its release.

Click.

Stage four: The drop
My stomach slams into my throat and it’s difficult to catch my breath. I want to scream, but can only manage a gasping shriek. ‘Thank you for your manuscript. Each year, we receive hundreds of submissions, but are only able to publish a select few. Unfortunately…’

When am I going to stop falling? Who can I blame for encouraging me to endure this horrid feeling? I’m doomed. Going on this ride was a BAD decision. How foolish must I be to think this would end well?

Never again!

Stage five:
The recovery

The ride pulls up and comes to a ‘gentle’ stop. Despite my doubts, I survived, and although I’m left with a slight feeling of nausea, I feel accomplished. I challenged myself and I was brave. Now, I’m left with no regrets. Although the drop was scary, it’s shown me I can do it, and next time, I’ll have a more experienced approach.

The bars are lifted and I feel free and a little more confident. I did it! I am okay. After a few deep breaths (and maybe a nice, warm bubble bath and some ‘me’ time), I’m ready to go again.

And, so, it begins once more…

Q: If you were to compare your writing journey to an amusement ride, which would you choose?
Q: Which ‘stage’ of the ride are you on right now?

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Filed under Renee Price, Writing Tips

CBCA Statistics

Book Week is amongst us and there are schools around Australia enthralled with the Children’s Book Council of Australia awards books.

Last Friday while we were  congratulating the winners, some Australian authors, illustrators and publishers were planning their book for the next year’s awards.

After attending Jane Parsons’ presentation and writing the article, ‘Judging the Judges’ I was left with some fascinating statistics which I thought I would share.

The Books

CBCA                  Entries for 2015

Early Childhood             59

Picture Books             122

Younger Readers       128

Older Readers             77

Eve Pownall                  48

Not eligible                       2

Total entries                   434

Or if you prefer a pie chart

cbca 1

The Publishers

Publishers, authors and illustrators to enter the CBCA awards need to pay an  entry fee of $100 plus copies of the book for each of the judges. It has been good to see an increase in self-published books. Although I am not a self-published author, I love the idea that a self-published author or illustrator could be ‘found’ during the CBCA awards and sky-rocket their writing career during the CBCA awards process.

Allen & Unwin 15%

Five Mile Press 2%

Fremantle Press 2%

Hachette/Lothian 2%

Harper Collins/ A&R/ABC 5%

Little Hare/Hardie Grant Egmont 3%

National Institutions 1%

New Frontier 3%

Other Publishers 10%

Pan Macmillan 2%

Penguin Books Australia 14%

Random House Australia 11%

Scholastic/Omnibus/ Scholastic Press 7%

Self Published 14%

UQP 3%

Walker Books Australia/ Black Dog 9%

Figures are approximate

The four largest publishers, Allen & Unwin, Penguin Books Australia, Walker Books Australia and Random House Australia submitted nearly half (44.06%) of all entries.

Themes

I will leave it up to you, the reader, the writer, the book enthusiasts to analyse the main themes in each of the categories.

Older Readers – book themes

cbca older readers

Younger Readers – book themes

cbca younger readers

Early Childhood – book themes

CBCA early childhood

Picture Books – book themes

cbca picture book

The Children’s Book Council of Australia awards could not continue without the final two groups which I have to mention.

The Judges  

cbca judgesFiction Judges

Michele Huet (ACT)                     Suzanne Thomson (NT)

Cathie Tasker (NSW)                   Kevin Steinberger (QLD)

John Forster (SA)                           Tricia Scott (Tas)

Jane Parsons (Vic)                        Anne-Marie Strother (WA)

Eve Pownall Award Judges

Helen Adam (WA)                        Felicia Harris (WA)

Chloe Mauger (WA)

Awards Co-ordinators – Patricia Montgomery (WA) and Sue Wyche (WA)

Awards Chairs – Angela Briant (Tas) and Margo Hillel (Vic)

The Sponsors

Seventy years ago when CBCA awards began, the winners received a handshake for males and a camellia for females. Government funding supported the awards from 1966-1988. This changed to commercial sponsorship. At the end of 1995 CBCA set up an Awards Foundation in the aim of collecting $1 000 000 to support the Awards prizes.

Awards Foundation Benefactors

Scholastic Australia Pty Ltd            Allen &   Unwin Pty Ltd       Laurie Copping OAM (In memoriam)     Thyne Reid Trust No. 1

Major Donors

Australia Post       Jill Bruce     Sandy Campbell      Era Publications     Five Mile Press       Libby Gleeson AM

Bob Graham      Hachette Children’s Books Australia      Hardie Grant Egmont Pty Ltd     Harper Collins Publishers Aus

Ipswich District Teacher-Librarians’ Network       The James N Kirby Foundation      Kinross-Wolaroi School

Koala Books      Library Board of QLD    Angela Naomi      The Northern Territory Government      Parents and Boys at Sydney Grammar School, Edgecliff Prep        Penguin Books Australia      Random House Australia Pty Ltd        Emily Rodda (Jennifer Rowe)       Gillian Rubinstein       Maurice Saxby AM     SA Dpt of the Arts and Cultural Development    Cathie Tasker

University of QLD Press      Julie Vivas     Walker Books Australia Pty Ltd       Margaret Wild       Sue Williams

And the following in memoriam – Jean Chapman, Max Fatchen, Beryl Moncrieff Matthews, Jill Midolo,  Jan Ormerod, Eve Pownall, Marion E Robertson, Cassandra Weddell and Miss Maisie Williams, Garah.

Thanks to the Judges, the sponsors, the publishers, the authors, the illustrators and of course us readers who enjoy books in all shapes and sizes.

Feel free to share your thoughts on this year’s CBCA winners.

Thank you to Jane Parsons for allowing me to use your presentation statistics in my post, all other information directly from CBCA website.

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Welcome from the Founder of Just Write For Kids

Welcome

 

The Just Write For Kids (JWFK) community of emerging and established Australian writers and illustrators are thrilled to present our new blog for bringing participants in the children’s literature world up-to-date information, writing and publishing tips, education, news, reviews and interviews.

JWFK has a strong commitment to engaging and supporting others in the Australian children’s literature community.

We aim to promote passion and the value of quality books and education for young people around the world. This blog also hopes to raise the profile of book creators and their important role in advocating literacy for children and young Australians.

In doing so, JWFK strives to facilitate an encouraging community for writers, illustrators, teachers and parents to come together to learn and share knowledge.

We look forward to having you join us as a part of our creative team!

 

Romi Sharp – Founder and director, Just Write For Kids.

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