It was such a joy to officially launch The Sugar and Spice Collection yesterday at Wallsend District Library. The lovely Penny Harrison flew up from Melbourne for the occasion, so the entire 'Team Sugar and Spice' was together for the first time! Talented author Deborah Kelly was a superb MC, and MacLean's Booksellers were on hand to sell books.
Susan Whelan, Gwynneth Jones, Penny Harrison and myself chose hot pink and orange as our colour scheme, to match the slipcase design, and then we went to town with decorations! There was hot pink and orange food, hot pink and orange craft, and hot pink and orange balloons, pom poms and streamers! The perfect backdrop to a wonderful day of fun and laughter.
Thanks so much to everyone who came along to make our launch such a success, and to Luke Arms for these great pics!
Today is the day my first picture book, Patch and Ruby, is published! It's been a long journey to this point — mainly for poor Gwynne, my long-suffering illustrator. (One of the great truths about picture books is that the illustrator does far more work than the author!) And Gwynne's job was made triply hard this time as Patch and Ruby is also available as part of The Sugar and Spice Collection, a boxed set of THREE picture books, all illustrated by Gwynne.
I couldn't be prouder of, or happier with, the end result, and if just one child likes my book as much as I do, then that's all I can ask for. To celebrate publication date, I've put together a little book trailer. Hope you enjoy :-)
It was such a wonderful experience to spend the last three days at the biannual Sydney SCBWI Conference! I got to catch up with familiar faces and meet so many new ones. Book publishing really is a fantastic 'industry', filled with so many great people.
It was a privilege to kick off the conference by participating in the opening panel. Together with EK Books' authors and illustrators Katrina McKelvey, Kirrili Lonergan, Gwynneth Jones and Belinda Landsberry, I spoke about the 'perils and perks' of starting up a children's picture book imprint. We all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and got some lovely feedback from the audience too.
Dimity Powell wrote a fantastic wrap-up of the panel for the SCBWI Australia East & New Zealand website, which you can read here, as well as many more posts on the other sessions at the conference.
I'm already looking forward to the next one in 2018!
It's been a long wait but my first picture book, Patch and Ruby is finally here! Well, an advance copy at least.
Due for publication in October this year, Patch and Ruby will also be available as part of a boxed set, The Sugar & Spice Collection, that includes books by authors Susan Whelan and Penny Harrison. All three books are illustrated by the wonderful Gwynneth Jones and published by EK Books.
I'm incredibly excited, but I'm also incredibly nervous. For over 20 years I've been on the 'other' side of the publishing fence as either editor or publisher. Now I'm the author. Oooh, but that's confronting!
All the advice I give my authors — get out there and promote your book, be active on social media, etc, etc, — is now something I need to take on board. And it's hard. Talking about myself and what I do isn't something that comes easily to me. So, I'm on a bit of a learning curve and pushing myself out of my comfort zone. And I think that's a good thing!
It was an absolute privilege to be asked recently by the lovely Georgie Donaghey — founder of the fantastic children's literature resource Creative Kids Tales — to be one of the site's 'Publishers in Focus'.
I know that authors and illustrators often wish they could pick a publisher's brain to find out exactly what kind of books they're looking for and if there are any tricks to getting themselves to the top of the slush pile. Hopefully my answers to Georgie's questions (and the answers of the other featured publishers) will provide both some insight into the process and also some encouragement. After all, just because one publisher rejects your story, that doesn't mean they all will!
You can read my answers here.