One of the elements in my Writer’s Action Matrix earlier in the year was to attend a conference or festival. Well, it seems like festival season at the moment for Kid’s Lit. There’s heaps to choose from – check out the events section of this website!
I was fortunate enough to secure tickets to the KidLitVic Meet the Publishers conference in Melbourne recently. My husband and I made a weekend of it and it was certainly well worth it. The conference was one of the most pleasurable I have attended – fabulous venue, well organised, generous participants, lots of opportunities and a wonderfully co-operative vibe. Not to mention the chance to meet in person with the fabulous Romi Sharp of Just Write For Kids and My Little Story Corner fame, and also meet some others from the online community Romi has started.
In the introduction to the conference, David Ryding (Director, City of Literature Office) set the tone by exhorting us to champion each other by supporting Australian literature however we can – requesting Australian literature in our libraries and bookshops and in our story times etc, otherwise there will be no Australian kid’s literature.
So what I did I get out of attending this conference?
Writing is a lonely pursuit and knowing that I am a part of a wider community of writers is encouraging. Finally meeting up with people I speak with virtually was wonderful as was catching up with older (or should I say longer standing?) friends and acquaintances.
You can’t beat insider information from both the wider community of writers/illustrators and the presenters. Insight into the industry comes from both what the presenters were saying and the experiences that others shared in informal times. I found out what’s hot and what’s not; what publishers are looking for in terms of both writing and what they expect of authors; the best way to approach a particular publisher/agent and so much more.
To directly pitch one of my manuscripts to a publisher from a major publishing house that does not take unsolicited work, and have the opportunity to submit it to her.
To continue a dialogue with a publisher that had started at another similar event.
For social media – tweeting about the publishers can get on their radar and show that I am serious about the writing industry – they are looking for people with a profile, who see being an author as something they are committed to, not just a flight of fancy.
To give back – sharing with the wider community of writers when I return home – telling my writing group buddies, sending articles to industry magazines (I had something in Buzz Words this issue) blogging etc. not only help my social media profile, but builds up that sense of camaraderie as we all support each other to help keep this vibrant Australian Kids Lit industry alive.