I spent a hugely enjoyable and inspiring day today at the very first Melbourne ‘Meet the Publishers’ event for Children and YA writers and illustrators. It was organised by authors Alison Reynolds and Dee White, along with the assistance of illustrator Nicky Johnston and author Jaquelyn Muller, and held at the magnificent State Library of Victoria.
The opening address was given by David Ryding, the Director of Melbourne’s UNESCO City of Literature Office, and set the tone for a day of collaboration and inspiration on all things creative in the world of children and YA publishing.
Both established and emerging authors and illustrators were able to attend Panel Discussions from the creme de la creme of Australian publishing, as well as present Portfolio Displays, Manuscript Assessments and 3 Minute Pitches.
The Publishers and Agents represented were: Allen & Unwin; Black Dog Books; Hachette Australia; Hardie Grant Egmont; HarperCollins Children's Books Australia; Jacinta di Mase Management; Random House Children's Books, Penguin Random House; Scholastic Australia; Scribe/Scribble; Text Publishing; The Five Mile Press
Some key themes from the panelists which really resonated with me were:
- authenticity and consistency of voice are the cornerstones of good writing
- be true to your DNA – don’t try to write or draw in a particular genre, just because it’s the current fad/bestseller
- a good story is everything – irrespective of what tense it’s written in
- collaboration between authors and illustrators is crucial
- a book is a result of teamwork – between authors, illustrators and publishers
- publishing is a commercial enterprise – that is the reality
- all publishers are different – do your homework before submitting
- N E V E R G I V E U P