Love this gorgeous photo with the kids at Binjour State School. A warm and welcoming little school family and a delight to visit!
The yellow ‘Bully’ bus has hit the road again, this time rolling up at the Curtis Coast Literary Carnivale, in Gladstone, for more launch celebrations.
The book was launched by Robyn Sheahan-Bright, President of the Curtis Coast Literary Carnivale; lovely, generous lady, and a font of wisdom in the children’s publishing world. Robyn read a draft copy of my Bully on the Bus manuscript (four years ago, as Robyn reflected in her speech), and offered invaluable feedback in many areas, but most significantly, in freeing my creative wordplay, which, for some reason I had nipped in the bud in earlier versions. It was a real treat to hear her thoughts on the finished book!
The ice-cream cake to launch the book was FAN-TABULOUS! So many gorgeous colours underneath that lovely Bully cover! And wonderful to share it with so many people who have impacted on my writing journey.
Enough words. Here are some pics of the day. You’ll see that sneaky Bully/Wolf has made an appearance again. But she’s trying very hard not to be nasty! We even had our very own lovely BUS DRIVER roll up for some cake and photos.
Thank-you to the members of the Curtis Coast Literary Carnivale committee, who nurture local writers, and inspire a passion for literature in the children of the Port Curtis Region. Your efforts are appreciated, and invaluable!
This blog is mostly about my writing, but sometimes life pops in. Today life is here with teary eyes and a sobbing heart.
Five good years with lots of loving, memories and photos (oh so many photos!) and we say goodbye to our beloved Gipsy. She was the Queen of guinea pigs – placid affectionate, adorable and snuggly-cuddly. Everybody should have a Gipsy Queen in their life!
We will miss ours.
I attended rich and varied sessions at the 2014 CYA. And I’ve got notes on all of them. But I thought I’d share these little gems, since everyone always wants to know what publishers are looking for!
Katrina Lehman – Penguin
- Not just theme. It’s the magic also.
- Multiple submissions are fine nowadays. Submit to multiple publishers because the lead time is so long. Send to all the publishers you can!
- 5 editors at Penguin. They do try to mentor an author each, each year.
- Personally, Katrina Loves Fantasy. Dystopian, supernatural, dark fairies.
- Junior Fiction Series.
- Trilogy is hard because publishers need to commit a lot of money to a trilogy. Try to complete it in one book!
- Don’t send presents. (Everyone affirmed this, and some shared horror stories of messy (and expensive) gifts they’d received.)
Karen Tayleur – Five Mile Press
- Very early 0 – 6 & Adults
- Early learning, picture books & novelty books.
- ‘If anyone has a great idea for novelty, we’re the one you come to.’
- ‘What I’m looking for is picture books, really. I’m just looking for picture books.’
- ‘Picture books are the hardest thing to do, so if you don’t have a strong will, leave now.’
- Collaboration of ideas.
- Takes email submissions.
- Six month waiting list.
- MENTION if you attended CYA – to jump up the pile.
- ‘Never say never. We (FMP) are doing naught to six. But if it’s so amazing, we might look at it, anyway. (But at least acknowledge you know what our style is.)’
- Happy for you to check in via email after a couple of months to see how things are going.
- Reading submissions is outside of 9 – 5. We get to read your work in our time. But it’s worth it, because we get to read some beautiful stuff.
Leonie Tyle – Tyle & Bateson Publishing
- Publishing Poetry and YA (In partnership with Catherine Bateson)
- Write from the heart. It’s the indefinable that highlights your writing. It has to sparkle/shine of the page. The language has to be lyrical.
- Offering agency representation for picture books and YA.
- The world’s your oyster.
Suzanne O’Sullivan – Lothian Hachette
- Lothian is the Australian imprint for Hachette childrens.
2) sense of character. As author and illustrator you need to show a sense of character.
3) Stories where stuff happens. A lot of action. Not description. I want action.
- The number 1, 2, 3, 4 … thing I look for is ‘damn good writing.’
- Kids are the only readers who are more important than editors.
- Keen to develop ongoing relationships with authors.
- Work out what your strongest area is and then deal with that. Find your niche and stick to it to build a name and profile.
Rochelle Manners – Wombat Books / Rhiza Press
- Produce stories you’ll want to share – to pick up and read over and over again.
- Family oriented – not too edgy.
- If the message is the main thing, it won’t work.
- Wombat Books – picture books
- Rhiza Press – Readers 14 +
Sue Whiting – Walker Books
- Produce quality books.
- Stories with heart. Quirky characters. Unique voice.
- Do everything you can to work on your craft. Make your story sing!
- The kind of author/illustrator I’d like to work with. Without YOU we don’t exist. WE NEED YOU! We need authors/illustrators to exist as editors.
- ‘The Real Deal’ – You don’t always have to agree with what they suggest. Know your stuff.
Alex Adsettt – Agent
- Now also looking at middle grade fiction/chapter books. Has one PB author. Blew me away and knocked me off my feet.
- Wants everything that’s all been said, because they’re the people she’s submitting your work to.
- Don’t write to a trend. The minute you do, you aren’t writing from your heart. AND you will miss the trend! Making it the hardest thing to publish.
- DIgital submissions. Don’t use comic sans/coloured fonts. DON’T write the cover letter from the POV of your character.
Sue Whiting later took a workshop talking specifically about endings – and I’m so glad she did, because I know from my own writing, and critiquing/judging others, it’s the ending that’s the hardest to nail!
Endings Matter (Sue Whiting)
- Your opening will sell this book, but it’s your climax & ending that will sell your next.
- Endings are your gift as an author to your readers.
- Readers may not remember what the ending was, but they will remember how they felt.
- Rushed ending – runs out of steam
- Flat ending – So what?
- Never-ending ending – Cut the last three chapters.
- Random ending – Off on a tangent
- Several-endings ending (Closely related to Never-ending. Cut. Cut. Cut.)
- Dangling ending – Doesn’t answer all the Qs
- Lame or disappointing ending – A letdown.
How to Nail Your Ending;
- Lay sound foundations in the beginning to create a satisfying resolution.
- Know the problem.
- What drives your story?
- Know in a nutshell what your story is about.
- Threads/themes/plot lines should be linked to protagonist achieving (or not) their goal.
To see the amazing photos from the Bundaberg Library Launch of Bully on the Bus, click here; http://katswhiskers.wordpress.com/kats-books/2014-release-bully-on-the-bus/bundaberg-library-launch.
To access the craft and poetry activities used at the Bundaberg Library Launch, click here; http://katswhiskers.wordpress.com/kids-stuff/bully-on-the-bus-stuff.
On Thursday, 3rd July, my friend Ally, her two kids, and I, loaded into her little red car and made the long drive to… the city! We were headed for the 9th Annual CYA Conference – the Competition that, for me, provided that final push to publication… not once, but twice! Ally is one of the self-less organisers of this event.
Our first stop, (after checking into the very spacious/luxurious – though wee-bit confusing Meriton Hotel) was afternoon tea with my publisher, Michele at UQP. There I was delighted to meet most of the team… and was thrilled to hear that…
In just one week, Bully on the Bus had sold out!
It’s back at the printers now. Soooo exciting! And I love that I was there to hear it in person! (I’m just a little annoyed that in all the excitement, I completely forgot to get photos with everyone! *sad face*)
It was an honour and thrill to be invited to share my Success Story at CYA Conference. CYA was instrumental in the publication of both This is the Mud! and Bully on the Bus, and I will always be appreciative of the time, effort and passion that goes into organising this event. A huge thank-you to Tina Clark who is the driving force behind it, and her band of helpers, Ally, Debbie, Nat and Sam.
Awesome to catch up with online friend as well, including Catherine Oehlman, Samantha Wheeler, Ramona Davey and Wendy Orr – all every bit as gorgeous in real life as online!
This morning, I’ve been feeling very relieved and thankful for the reviews that are starting to appear for ‘Bully on the Bus’. I’ve also been thinking back on those moments of self-doubt as an author; when wondering if I was the only person who’d ‘get’ Leroy’s story, and if perhaps the heart and emotion invested, clouded my judgement.
I have often thought that the road to publication is paved with self-doubt and rejections. But after the last few days, I have an edit to that thought.
The road to publication is paved with self-doubt and rejections – but the reviews at the end make it all worthwhile!
Here is a snippet from are a couple. If you click each image, it takes you to the actual website where you can read each wonderful review in its entirety.
The reviews are stunning. I am so very thankful!
I will continue collating reviews as I find them at http://katswhiskers.wordpress.com/kats-books/reviews-of-kats-books. Feel free to pop across and check out more. The list will grow as more reviews appear.
10 year-old Joseph wrote a thoughtful review of ‘Bully on the Bus’ for Alphabet Soup. So I thought I’d write my response… with Alphabet Soup! Or the pasta, anyway.
I don’t think I can insert a picture into a comment, so I’ll post it here and then link back to it. If you click on the picture, it will take you direct to Joseph’s review on the Alphabet Soup site.
Enter the time of busy, joyous celebration!
June 25th (tomorrow!) sees the release of the ‘Bully on the Bus’. I can’t wait to open the door and let it fly! This is a story I began in 2007 … as a chapter book … with first draft finished at 1,700words. (Yeah – sheepish grins here at that tiny word count.) How things have changed – for the better. Tomorrow it will be released … as a verse novel … with a final count of 7,100 words. That’s a bit of a difference!
There are many people who’ve contributed to the growth and development of this story. I’m so glad there’s an acknowledgements page at the back of the book, where I could pay tribute to them!
I’m grateful to be invited onto the CYA Conference Success Panel on 5th July, to share something of the Bully’s path to publication. How wonderful to bring it full circle, and once again acknowledge the impact of the CYA Conference on my writing career.
While in Brisbane for the conference, I’m so very much looking forward to meeting all the team at UQP. They’ve been such fun to work with – I can’t wait to put faces to names that appear regularly in my inbox. Yay!
From there I have the FUN of a book launch, hosted by the buzzingly-busy Bundaberg Library (details here), followed by a lunchtime launch at the Curtis Coast Literary Carnivale (LOVE this wonderful event!). And then there’s a day of activities as a part of the Bargara Strawberry Fair, followed by author talks and school visits … and through it all, various blog posts around the interwebs.
So much to love about the next month! Maybe I’ll see you somewhere in all the busy!
25th June – Release Day!
3rd July – Meeting the UQP team
4th/5th July – CYA Dinner/Conference
8th July – Bundaberg Library Launch
29th July – Curtis Coast Literary Carnivale Launch
2nd August – Bargara Strawberry Fair
On Tuesday the 8th of July – second week of the school holidays – the Bundaberg Library will be hosting the fun of a book launch. Kids and adults can come along dressed as a fairytale character and take part in the celebrations. Or you can come dressed as yourself… and still have fun. :P
I’d love to see you there!