Just a short post for today, but it's on a subject that I've been pondering a lot lately. How can I get better at switching roles so that I can give my personal creativity and writing goals a chance to flourish?
You see, during my work day as a publisher and editor, I'm generally working with other people's text. When I'm assessing a manuscript, I'm immersing myself in the author's voice and style. When I'm editing or proofreading a manuscript, I'm intent on maintaining that same authorial voice and style, simply polishing it a little. The end result is that when I get to the end of the day and it's time for me to pursue some of my own book ideas, my head is full of other people's voices that tend to drown out my own!
So far, the only way I've been able to get my own writing done is in short intensive bursts over the Christmas/New Year period or when I'm on holiday. It's not ideal and it certainly doesn't make for consistent writing. I'm hoping that more regular blogging will help me to learn to flick the switch more easily, but if you've got any suggestions for me, I'd love to hear them!
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!
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.
I'm a publisher, editor, author and reviewer. Here's where I tell you about my latest news and events!