It's been a long time between blogs — partly because I'm just not the regular blogging type, but also because this is my busiest time of year for sending books to print. All the books that hit the shelves in time for Christmas are going to print now and over the next few weeks. Last week, I sent five titles off to the printers, and in three weeks' time I'll send another batch. So, it's busy busy busy at the office!
But I haven't been stuck at my desk all the time. Last month, I attended the fabulous KidLitVic 2018 conference and next month I'll be heading to Brisbane for the CYA conference, so I've been preparing a lot of manuscript assessments. There's also been time to indulge in some non-work-related bookish fun. Dunedin's Regent Theatre hosted a 24-hour book sale from midday Friday, 8 June right through the night until midday Saturday, 9 June. Thousands of books were on sale — many for as little as a dollar! — and it's no surprise that quite a few found their way home with me …
Running at the same time as the sale, was an incredible exhibition of 'Books as Art'. I've posted just a few pics I took of the exhibits below — I can't imagine how many hours of work must have gone into these. Maybe something for me to try when I'm a quieter part of the year?
Just a quick update that I'll be attending the following conferences in the coming months, in my role as Publisher at EK Books:
KidLitVic — Saturday, 19 May 2018, Melbourne. I'll be part of a panel discussion on 'The Perfect Picture Book Partnership', as well as providing some one-on-one manuscript assessments.
CYA Conference — Saturday, 7 July 2018, Brisbane. I'll once again be providing one-on-one manuscript assessments.
If you're an emerging or established children's book writer, perhaps I'll see you at one of these fantastic events!
I have a new book coming out next year. It's due to be released in March 2018, and while I can't give away all the details yet, let's just say that it's about happiness and involves teapots — specifically, red ones.
Book production is a pretty long and involved process, so the design and layout of the book is already well advanced. And this week I got the call from publicity — 'We're soon going to be preparing our next catalogue; we need a pic of you, preferably with a red teapot.'
As someone who is much more comfortable behind a camera than in front of it, this is not a request I wanted to hear. I've managed to use the same 'media shot' of me for the last four years, and I guess I'd hoped to get a few more years out of it yet. But no, it seems the time for an update has come!
So, I have lined up a friend with a good camera, with whom I know I can relax and hopefully enjoy the process. Her brief is to capture me looking 'happy and natural'. She's got a tough job ahead of her as my 'natural' look in photographs tends more towards 'rabbit in headlights'. I will, of course, share what we come up with …
It was such a wonderful thrill to receive an advance copy of my new book, Spirit, this week!
It's the third title in my series of books of animal quotes. First came Meow (for cat lovers), then came Woof (for dog lovers), and now there's Spirit, for all the horse lovers out there.
Collecting the quotes — by both famous and non-famous people — takes a while, but the real challenge is pairing each quote with a photograph to create the perfect match. That takes hours and days and weeks, but it's always such a great feeling to scroll through the final print-ready file and see how it's all come together.
Spirit will be available from bookshops, online stores, and the Exisle Publishing website from October — just in time for Christmas!
So, it came as quite a shock when I realised how long it is since I last blogged — all the way back to last October in fact! What can I say but time flies!
What have I been up to? Well, I went on a glorious holiday to New Zealand with my family. First to Wellington and then on to the South Island. Such a beautiful country with such wonderfully warm and welcoming people. Can't wait to go back.
At work, I've been busily sending books off to print for Exisle Publishing and our children's picture book imprint, EK Books. Last week, I sent the last two books to print for the 2017 publishing program — yes, the books you see in bookstores in November get sent to the printers in July!
I've attended some lovely book launches — most recently for Deb Kelly and Gwynne Jones' The Chalk Rainbow, and Lynn Jenkins and Kirrili Lonergan's Ollie's Treasure. Both of these books would make wonderful additions to any child's bookshelf. They're great stories that deal with important topics of diversity, acceptance, mindfulness and family.
It's not all been about work, though. I've also been devouring books for pleasure too! My most recent highlight was Ache by Eliza Henry-Jones. She is truly one of Australia's most gifted young authors and if you haven't read In the Quiet or Ache yet, I strongly recommend that you do.
My goal for the rest of this year is to be a more regular blogger; to pop in here more regularly to give you an update on what's been happening in my bookish world and beyond. I'm going to aim for once a week, so let's see how I go!
Until the next blog, here's a pic of spectacular Akaroa in New Zealand. I could look at that view all day …
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!
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.
I'm a publisher, editor, author and reviewer. Here's where I tell you about my latest news and events!