Taken from the KidLitVic website
“KidLitVic - Meet the Publishers is an opportunity for new, emerging and experienced writers and illustrators to meet and hear from industry professionals on writing, illustrating and publishing children's and YA books in the current Australian market.
The one-day conference combines expert panel discussions, one-to-one assessments with publishers and workshops that will build and enhance your creative career.”
Alison Reynolds is one of the fabulous organisers and is joining us today for a quick chat and to give the gossip on what might be coming and what to look forward to at this year’s conference.
It’s awesome to have you here with us today, we appreciate you taking the time to chat with us.
Thank you, Tabitha! It is a pleasure to chat with you.
So, for those who don’t know, who are the organisers of the conference and what are their roles?
We are a small team of 4. Nicky Johnston is our illustrator guru who does all our design, programs and is responsible for a special KidLitVic mouse. She also deals with all illustration questions. Coral Vass is our social media star who keeps everybody up to date with the conference. Jaquelyn Muller is our assessment whizz and processes all the conference assessments. And I am an all-rounder and does a bit of everything to keep the conference running.
How did KidLitVic come about?
Unlike NSW and Queensland, Melbourne did not have a conference where creators of children’s and YA books could meet up with publishers. KidLitVic was born! One unique difference about our conference is that we really focus on hearing what publishers want and say, so all our panels are publisher only and we have publisher led workshops.
Can you share with us, how much time do you all spend putting the conference together? It would be a long time considering the awesomeness that is KIDLIT VIC!
The amount of time needed fluctuates. We are flat out just before opening up the bookings for the conference and assessments. Strangely, the week before the conference is quiet as everything is organised.
How far away is the furthest a conference attendee had been known to travel to take part?
Attendees come from WA, SA, TAS, NSW, QLD as well as Victoria.
The conference has moved to the Melbourne Town Hall this year, any reason? What can we expect to be different?
The conference is bigger than ever so we needed more room. You can expect more publishers, more assessments and more fun!
For those travelling, is there good accommodation close by? Recommendations?
We have negotiated good rates with the Victoria Hotel, which is just around the corner. Details are on our website www.kidlitvic.com.au
How do you find the publishers/agents/speakers for the event? Is it hard? Or is everyone willing to jump on board?
The support of publishers and agents has been overwhelming. Everybody seems to be willing to jump on board KidLitVic Meet the Publishers. We are very grateful to all our presenters for their generosity and knowledge.
There will be publisher panels, assessments, workshops and more. Is there anything you would like to have at the conference but have not been able to do yet?
We are always open to new ideas. This year we have a masterclass only open to published writers and illustrators. It’s good to have something new every year to keep the conference fresh. (A team of masseurs would be nice – it’s a big day for everybody)
If a person wants to be involved in the organising/running of the event, how do they go about it? Is there anything you are looking for? How can people make it easier for you?
We will put out a call if we need any help.
What surprises is there in store for attendee’s this year? Can you share with us? (We won’t tell ... many people... winks)
There are a couple of surprises organised but despite your winking Tabitha I am sworn to secrecy. All are fabulous and one especially will please the audience. I’m thrilled about all of them.
Hehe... okay... if I must wait, then wait I will :)
If they have not been before, how can attendee’s best prepare for the conference? What should they bring? Anything they need to know?
Check out the website and social media for tips. Arrive ready to learn and have fun. It is possible to do both at the same time. Bring along a pen and paper. Research who all the publishers and agents are so if you happen to be chatting to them during the day you will know a bit about them.
How can attendees prepare for assessments and how can they settle their nerves? Any tips?
I say embrace the nerves. I really don’t think they are a bad thing but just show this is something that matters to you. When the adrenaline kicks in, you will shine! I would prepare a list of questions to ask if there is time. The publishers will expect nerves and will make allowances if you glow red or stutter. Nobody ever missed out on a publishing contract because they blushed. Try gripping your biro in your hand while you talk. Some people swear it stops you from shaking. Before you go in, take a few deep breaths, and remember to breathe during the assessment. Ask questions if you need to clarify things. And remember, this is all subjective. Any feedback you get is gold! If your work isn’t right for your assessor, look around the room and see all the other publishers. Your work might just be exactly what they’re looking for!
How is the day structured? Is it long? How can we best organise ourselves to get in everything we want to do?
Registration commences at 8.30. The program is available on the website so I would preplan my day. Arrive early and enjoy!
Are there any tickets left and if so, how can people snap one up? Is there a waiting list?
Our tickets sold out in a record 5 weeks! We have a lengthy waiting list but it is still a good idea to put your name on it as you will automatically be emailed about any future KidLitVic events.
For those attendees with a disability, how accessible is the venue?
The venue is fully accessible with a lift available between floors. Please let us know if we can help with your accessibility.
Also, can disabilities such as hearing impairments, sight impairments, allergies and others that make participation more challenging be catered for?
We aim to make this conference as inclusive as possible so please let us know if we can help. We can reserve seats close to the stage for people. The conference food is nut free due to allergies and there is gluten free food available at all times. Special plates can be provided for people with multiple allergies. Please let us know!
Have the organisers thought of live streaming or even filming the event so that people can pay slightly less and watch later/from a different place? Might this be good for those who could not get tickets? A little extra money to put towards next year’s event maybe?
We have looked into this, but the costs were prohibitive. However, this may well be something we consider in the future.
(You are very welcome…. Insert cheeky grin here)
Which manuscript assessments book out first? Are there any publishers popular than others or can you not tell? Also, how can we best prepare to beat the rush on booking day?
All assessments are booked out, so all publishers are super popular as well they should be!
On booking day, I would have a top five and jump in at 8pm.
Are you planning to hold a conference in another city aside from Melbourne? (please don’t take ours away we love it!) Can we do anything to make this a reality?
If anybody can get us a grant, that would be fantastic. It would be fun to take KidLitVic on tour!
Any other information or words of wisdom from you about the conference and time prior to it?
Enjoy yourself. If you don’t know anybody and feel lost, please tap one of the committee on the shoulder and we’ll introduce you around. It’s a huge day so wear comfy shoes, keep hydrated and wallow in all the knowledge. This is your chance to hear exactly what publishers are looking for, meet like-minded people and enjoy the journey!
You can find Alison and the KidLitVic team on the following links
On Facebook –
I hope you are keeping warm and dry on this awesomely wet (Melbourne) day.
As many of you will know by now, my very first children’s picture book ‘Mikah’s Big Move’ is due for release this year (yehaah!)
I have been working with my fabulous illustrator Alexander Kulieshov (based in the Ukraine) and he is doing an amazing job bringing Mikah monkey and his world to life.
I have been nearly non-existent online, but things are happening in the background. Ear infections are settling, illustrations are being finished and I have been working through the images from a big photo shoot I did for my local community centre.
I have also booked in a venue for the books launch, now just need the printed book and a date. Plenty of ideas for that which hopefully will become a reality and make it a fabulous event.
I plan to have a pozible campaign running in the next month or so, via this campaign you will be able to pre-order copies of the book and grab some fabulous extra’s at the same time, so keep an eye out for that.
I am getting there slowly but surely and looking forward to what is coming! It is set to be amazing :)
Here are a few images of Mikah and his family as
well as some details about the book.
‘Mikah’s Big Move’ (book one in the Mikah monkey series)
A young, hearing-impaired and routine orientated monkey learns that his family will be moving enclosures.
Mikah must overcome anxiety, coupled with a bit of sulking as he learns to adjust to the upheaval. With help from his family and some experimentation, Mikah discovers that he can continue to have the same routine and that some changes are good changes. Mikah soon feels comfortable enough to explore his new surroundings and even begins to enjoy it.
Picture book for ages 3-7 years
Written by Tabitha Jean Page
Illustrated by Alexander Kulieshov
Releasing 2018 (date to be confirmed)
Fabulous facts and fun times with – Megan Higginson
Photo- Megan Higginson
Megan Higginson is an Author, Blogger and Speaker who aims to encourage and empower others. She aims to help people overcome obstacles and fears using her own stories of beating the odds, to help you move past those things which holds you back. Megan has agreed to join us and give us a taste of her world and answer a few questions.
It’s awesome to have you here with us today, we appreciate you taking the time to chat with us.
So, ready… set… promote your books! Tell us all about them-
I have one story, The Sock Thief, published in The Creative Kids Tales Story Collection that was published in November 2017. Blurb: All the socks are going missing in Peterson Street. Can the children follow the clues to solve the mystery?
My picture book, Raymund and the Fear Monster is coming out in 2018. http://www.meganhigginson.com/raymund-and-the-fear-monster.html
It’s currently with my award-winning illustrator, Ester de Boer. http://www.esterdeboerillustration.com/
Book Blurb: At the top of an enormous mountain is a dark and gloomy forest. In the dark and gloomy forest lives a monster who roars and growls and makes terrible noises. Raymund lives in a small village at the bottom of the enormous mountain. Raymund fears many things. But, most of all he is afraid of the night, and the monster that sends him running to hide under his bed. How will Raymund face his fear, discover what it means to have courage, and defeat the huge and hideous monster that smells like fish guts, rotten eggs, and smelly feet?
What started you on the path to writing?
I haven’t always written stories, but since the time I finally learned to read (I have dyslexia) I was known as, ‘The Bookworm.’ Writing at school didn’t go too well for me as my imagination couldn’t be contained by assignment limitations. As with some children’s authors, I started writing for my own children. I wrote a few children’s stories and entered them into local writing competitions, winning some even.
In 2013, while on a Mission trip to the Philippines I visited an orphanage. I really connected with the children and started writing to them when I returned home. I wrote (and wrote for a long time) short stories that entertained and encouraged them. That period of intense writing unleashed the writer within me. I love writing and continue to hone my skills and write new stories.
In the spirit of sharing the love, can you recommend any new or upcoming authors to those of us wanting to expand our library?
I mainly read children’s and Young Adult books, and I’ve interviewed a few of these authors this year. Anne Helen Donnelly, Melissa Gijsbers, Renee Price, Cameron Macintosh, and Elizabeth Foster to name a few.
What does your writing space look like? A den of pillows? Café? In the middle of the lawn in a giant inflatable boat?
My main writing space is my office surround by my collection of children’s and Young Adult books. I also have research books and various other paraphernalia on these shelves too: toys, rocks, shells, hats, and an egg-shaped rock. Otherwise, I take my pen and notepad with me wherever I go. Or my laptop.
Interview continued below image
Tell us about a unique or quirky habit you have when writing?
Mostly I like to write in complete silence as I’m easily distracted. Though I found while finishing the first draft of my sci-fi/fantasy novel I listened to Enya. Go figure. (Shrugs shoulders in disbelief). I don’t even to listen to her normally. It was like a pregnancy craving. Weird.
Is there anything about the writing world that you think is misunderstood by non-writers?
Maybe the picture of a writers pounding away at the keyboard at all hours of the day and night, words just pouring out of the writer’s fingers effortlessly to create a world and characters. And the other misconception is that it doesn’t take long to write a book. I think the other thing, especially with picture books, is that they are easy to write. It makes me cringe when I hear someone say that they had an idea for a picture book over the weekend, wrote the story, and sent it off to a publisher on the Monday. (Cringes)
What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Possibly rushing their work and sending it out before it’s the best it can be. Instead, they need to learn that writing is a waiting game. Writers need to learn the craft of writing, hone their skills, and have their work professionally assessed, and their story reworked and polished before submitting.
What period of your life do you find you write about most often? (child, teenager, young adult), and why?
So far most of my stories are aimed at children and teens. Why? These are the stories that pop into my head and beg me to write them. They’re fun to write. It could also be that I’m perpetually a child at heart, so I can’t help it.
If a genie granted you three wishes, what would they be? (you cannot ask for more wishes)
For people to be kinder and more thoughtful of others. More time to write. Hmmm. I think I’ll keep the other one for a spare.
Are there any nuggets of wisdom you can share with aspiring writers and our readers?
Don’t create a writing world of one. Discover a cheer squad, those that will encourage you on your writing journey. Locate a writer’s group either in person or online. Find experienced writers that write in your field and see if one that will mentor you. Even sending your stories to a recommended manuscript assessor and editor and getting their feedback will be invaluable to honing your skills. Ask questions of experienced writers, and learn as much as you can. I think another important element is to find various ways to feed your creativity.
And of course, read a lot, and write a lot.
Find Megan on any of the links below
Photo- Megan Higginson
launching today and with a brand new look and feel, I hope you enjoy the website. I will post a longer blog post later on (just tweaking a few pages and getting the laundry done before the Melbourne 40+ weather hits!)
Please check back for the first blog post of the new website.