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Crossing to the other side

Last weekend I drove down to Sydney from my farm, and crossed the Harbour Bridge to arrive on the other side…the Eastern Suburbs…almost a foreign land to me; the people look different, dress differently and have their own language!

They even have a magnificent library, a Taj Mahal of libraries with hanging gardens and even an internal slide for the kids which pops them out in the children’s books section.

It was the venue for a SCWBI meeting but before it started I had the good fortune of scoring a manuscript assessment with Eve Tonelli, Senior Editor with Harper Collins Children’s Books. It was the most thorough assessment I have ever had and her feedback was invaluable.

Then I entered another foreign world, the world of Google : SEOs, Analytics, Search consoles, backends and other jargon that I duly noted. All this was delivered so professionally by the delightful Victoria Mackinlay, trying to teach us how to maximise our author websites. (I think I need Google for Dummies because I can’t decipher my notes!)

Then the ubiquitous Susanne Gervay had a Q and Q with Eve Tonelli and I gleaned a few gems:

*write from your heart with authenticity…also humour

*don’t write to the market.

*try and get an agent

*illustrators should not always send whole portfolios; Eve said she often refers to postcards she has or remembers, when looking for a new illustrator

*you are going to fail more than you succeed.

*ask your publisher to give you figures on your book sales.

*be prepared to do lots of marketing

The session rounded off with Katrina McElvey and Kirrili Lonergan detailing their long friendship and partnership enabling the creation of some great Picture Books.

Some then adjourned to the pub next door but I headed off up the hill and back to my remote but quiet, rural abode where I recognise the lingo and the landscape.