At the December meeting we had the pleasure of having Dr. Zewlan Moor come and tell us all about Bibliotherapy.
Bibliotherapy is a form of therapy where a patient is given a selected reading list recommended by a professional that is relevant to the situation they are facing and is a tool to help them.
I found this article on Bibliotherapy a great explanation of its history and its different forms www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/types/bibliotherapy. Interestingly, Bibliotherapy dates back as far as the Ancient Greeks
Dr. Zewlan Moor works as a general practitioner, but she also shares a love for children’s literature which she studied at university as well. She is combining her passions in both areas and is setting up her business, Byron Bibliotherapy.
After having an initial consultation with a patient, Dr. Moor will recommend a reading list of up to 10 books to her patients to be read over a year to help open them up about their current situation. At the end of the year, the patient can have a follow-up consultation if they choose.
Many members of Write Links encouraged Dr. Zewlan and saw the relevance of how books can help a person process what they are going through or relate to a character in a similar situation.
Literature and the Arts have a way of connecting with their audience and it is no wonder these different mediums are one way to help people heal.
Story by children's author Rebecca Sheraton.
‘Writing is fun’ or ‘Novels are an exercise in extreme delayed gratification’ — a workshop with Christine Bongers.
It is a sultry day in early November during a Write Links meeting at the State Library Queensland.
A tall, beautiful, youthful woman walks into a library meeting room... the crowd bustles, herded by another tall, beautiful youthful woman (with an intriguing European accent). The air is thick with anticipation —scraping chairs, coughs and murmurs, shuffles and smiles. Today is the day: a workshop with Christine Bongers, on the craft and pleasure of writing for children.
If shorthand were still a thing, I’d have copied Christine’s workshop, verbatim — it was that good! Here is what I gleaned:
PART I: The First Draft
“Perfection is the enemy of finishing”
All you can do in your first draft is write the first draft. Focus on character, conflict and context. Christine admits to writing and editing as she goes, but only to the point where she can move from one dramatic unit to the next.
She also believes that ‘real’ writing starts at the rewriting phase. (For Christine, writing a first draft feels like being constipated... um...).
Tip: the first draft is for the writer; the following drafts are for the reader.
Write – Edit – Polish – Think – Repeat
We do this to find out what needs to be shown and what needs to be told.
Let’s replace ‘show, don’t tell’ with ‘show and tell’.
Scenes are dramatic units where we can show. Tell the ‘unimportant’ bits in between dramatic units (more on this later!).
PART II: Structural Edits?
A structural edit is a big-picture analysis to find out if your story works. Ask yourself these questions: does it make sense? Does it work? Do the sub-plots have any use? How many characters can you kill off? Are your characters and relationships engaging, believable and well-rounded? (Christine once received a 19-page structural edit in the mail from her publisher. She survived. The baby flourished.).
Tip: you can do anything if you’re clever and you make it work.
PUT YOUR FIRST DRAFT AWAY. After you have finished the first draft (otherwise known as your baby), put it aside so that you can forget it. This will give you some perspective on how ugly (or pretty) your baby is.
Tip: Structural edits are are like autopsying puppies — do it and do it well, so fewer puppies die.
Pay attention to your main characters
Who wants to read a book where they hate the main character? They must be relatable.
Point of view
Is the point-of-view consistent, authentic and engaging? (Be ready to trash an 80,000 word novel and start again. Christine did!).
‘Voice’ is the way the words sound on the page. Watch out for little idiosyncrasies in your writing. Are there habitual repetitions you are making, without realising?
Pace and flow
Does your story move forward, does it take the reader with it? If it moves too quickly, it will exhaust the reader, wear them out. Look out for sidetracks and dead ends. Is the tension building too fast or too slow?
Tell us what your character is feeling! Not just ‘she did this, then she did this, then she did...’.
Dialogue is a vivid opportunity to move plot, reveal character and create tension.
Make it real! Give it life! Rid it of clunk! Make your characters sound true and entertain your audience. Tip: listen into phone conversations on the bus! Take note of any entertaining turns of phrase.
Tip: Story is THE BOSS. Everything has to serve the story.
Do a line-by-line scan for clichés, repetition, lazy adverbs, idiosyncratic bits & pieces.
Part III: How to Show and tell.
First, ask the experts: Don’t tell me the moon is shining, show me the glint of light on broken glass. Anton Chekhov.
Showing omits detail efficiently. It makes scenes vivid and allows the reader to experience the story through thoughts and senses, rather than through exposition.
Why not tell?
A synopsis will tell; a story will show.
Examples: ‘The crackle of dry grass underfoot’ shows us it’s hot and there’s a drought.
Make a scene bloom! How?
Show and Tell — it’s not an either/or. It’s about knowing when and how. Telling is quick, showing takes time. Know when your story needs to be slow, or where it needs to move quickly.
Tell what your reader needs to know — just enough to move them onto the next dramatic scene.
Tip: don’t tell us your character is an arrogant pain in the arse — let him swagger!
Yes, but how exactly?
Use verbs: stories are about what people DO.
Be specific: specifics tell the story. Deploy telling details. For example, imagine the new kid dropped off at school for the first time. If he is dropped off in a limo, what could that say about him? How much story could be written around that one tiny detail? Perhaps he is a pop start; perhaps his parents are drug lords; perhaps his dad is the chauffeur. Specific details build expectation and set up character.
The story is seen through the prism of the main character’s experience. Experience = ‘doing’.
Don’t be too concerned with themes — these become evident after you’ve written your story. Trust the process.
Dialogue makes the reader experience the story as if they were there — make it entertaining! It reveals character, furthers the plot and is a very good tool for subverting expectations! Don’t overuse it.
Metaphor shows actions, reactions and emotional landscape. A story isn’t just about what happens, but how what happens affects your main character. Show us how your character is changed by the story.
Thank you, Christine Bongers!
Story by Zoe Collins
Linking to the Curriculum PD was presented by school teachers Hayley Jackson and Rebecca Sheraton at Brisbane’s Write Links group.
Hayley and Rebecca showed us how to link our books to the Australian curriculum.
Books with specific links to the Australian Curriculum are more desirable to publishers. Linking to the Curriculum increases your chances of publication and your books being purchased by schools and libraries.
Please consider linking your books to the curriculum.
Where do you start linking to the curriculum?
BOOK Samples: Linking to the Curriculum ...
A: The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Year 2 - Science:
Biological Sciences: Living things grow, change and have offspring similar to themselves.
B: If I Die Before I Wake by Martii McLean
English - Year 9
C: Meet Sidney Nolan by Yvonne Mes & Sandra Eterovic
Year 6 - History
Knowledge and Understanding:
The contribution of individuals and groups, including Aboriginal people and/or Torres Strait Islanders and migrants, to the development of Australian society, for example, in areas such as the economy, education, science, the arts, sport.
Now it’s Your Turn …
Karen Tyrrell writes empowering books to help kids live STRONG through humour and self-belief. She’s a passionate writing workshop presenter and interactive story teller wearing fun costumes.
The StoryArts Festival 2017 took over Ipswich from the 2nd to the 10th of September. And Write Links members were there to report on all the action!
The volunteers, lead by Tyrion Perkins, reported on the School Program, Adult Program and Family Program providing a stream of articles on the children's authors and illustrators presenting during the literary week.
The StoryArts Festival Ipswich began in 1995 as the Ipswich Festival of Children’s Literature and has been held every two years since then. The festival offers free sessions for children and low cost sessions for adults and young adults with an interest in children’s literature such as teachers, librarians, and emerging writers and illustrators.
The festival aims to increase an awareness of the value of the arts in relation to writing and illustration and help build and maintain increased audiences for children’s literature. The festival inspires young people to buy and read more books and gain an appreciation of the processes involved in writing and illustrating. We also aim to enthuse teachers and parents about the value of stories and encourage them to promote literature to young people.
The Ipswich Festival is organized and funded mainly by the Ipswich District Teacher-Librarian Network and now also supported by Write Links Volunteers!
The team consisted of: Tyrion Perkins, Maria Parenti-Baldy, Danielle Freeland, Karen Tyrrell, Rebecca Sheraton, Yvonne Mes, Dimity Powell and Jacqui Halpin and also included Megan Daley from Children's Books Daily.
Read their stories here:
Gold Coast author Kerry Brown inspired Write Links members with a hands-on Picture Book Workshop.
Kerry showed us the perfect ingredients and method to create a successful picture book.
During this workshop, Kerry shared her basic ‘Vanilla Cake’ recipe needed to write a picture book, along with personal tips and insights to create a unique ‘Masterchef’ creation.
With this recipe, Kerry Brown created her own picture books: Poppy Wash, Can I cuddle the Moon, All my Kisses and Lest we Forget.
Basic Vanilla Cake Picture Book Recipe
Combine with a cohesive thread or theme throughout.
SUPER DUPER Triple Layer Cake
Bake in the oven till picture book connects with the author, the reader and the world.
Post by Karen Tyrrell, Photos by Yvonne Mes
Karen Tyrrell writes empowering books to help kids live STRONG through humour and self-belief. She’s an experienced Brisbane school teacher, Gifted & Talented teacher and key note speaker. She’s a passionate writing workshop presenter and interactive story teller wearing fun costumes. Her acclaimed books Song Bird Superhero (Song Bird 1), STOP the Bully, Bailey Beats the Blah, Harry Helps Grandpa Remember, and Super Space Kids series ignite imagination and positive self-esteem. Karen has won 3 awards, 3 literary grants and a mentorship through the Society of Editors (QLD) www.karentyrrell.com
We had another fabulous professional development session at our Write Links meeting during the end of August in the comfort of the State Library of Queensland, QLD Bank Board room.
If you are serious about your writing (as we are at Write Links!) getting feedback on your work through a critique process is an important part of developing your story and writing.
We have three dedicated critique groups (picture book, junior fiction and YA) meeting monthly. Each group has a coordinator and a specific set of rules. We acknowledge the importance of constructive feedback but we also believe this can be done professionally and without damaging anyone's self-esteem!
Kelly Hart from BetterScribe gave us an insight into the finer art of critiquing covering many aspects such as how to critique someone's work most effectively. She also discussed what to expect from paid manuscript appraisals, critiques and proofreads. It is important for children's writers, when their work is ready for a paid critique, to work with an editor who has experience with their particular genre.
Most of us have made the mistake of asking friends or family to read or our stories only to be disappointed, angered or being told our story is fabulous but without direction on improving it, which is why I particularly liked Kelly's following tips:
Why friends and family don’t make the best critiquers
Friends and family aren’t reliable critiquers because they’re biased towards your writing before they read it. They want to believe you’ve created the next bestseller because they love you and want you to succeed.
Other reasons your friends and family may not be the best critiquers:
· They will tell you what you want to hear.
· They won’t tell you how to improve the writing.
· They may not read widely in your genre.
· They might not like reading (apart from your writing).
· They often don’t know what elements are required to make a manuscript work.
· They will pick out spelling mistakes but not structural problems.
· They have no idea how to critique.
· They think your writing is perfect as it is.
Unfortunately, the feedback friends and family give is usually not very helpful. Not because they don’t want to help, but because they don’t know how to give the kind of critique that will improve your writing and they don’t have much (if any) experience with critiquing.
You may still wish to show your friends and family your writing, and this is perfectly normal, but I would advise against doing this until you have completed your first draft. When you do let them read your work, don’t ask for a critique or their opinion on your manuscript.
· If there were any sections they felt were confusing?
· If there were any points where they stopped reading?
These two questions may help you discover any problem areas, allowing you to go back and re-read these sections to see if you can pinpoint the issue.
Trying for further clarification with someone who has no critiquing experience often leads to a jumbled explanation that doesn’t clarify anything.
Kelly Hart is the author of Better Critiquing for Better Writing and the founder of Better Scribe, a business that provides quality pre-publication services such as editing, proofreading, coaching and training products for writers and authors.
In addition to receiving her Master of Arts in Writing, Kelly has over ten years experience in critiquing and editing fiction and nonfiction manuscripts for authors and publishing companies.
Kelly can be contacted via email: email@example.com
story by Yvonne Mes www.yvonnemes.com
During our August meeting at Write Links, as part of our Professional Development session, we looked into self-publishing.
There are many ways of publishing from traditional publishing to self-publishing, partner publishing and other hybrids.
The benefits of self-publishing are many and it can be quite lucrative, however, most of us have seen some average self-published books and many of us are naturally weary, many of us have also heard the horror stories of authors being taken advantage of by vanity publishers .
We were fortunate to have Anthony Puttee from Book Cover Cafe giving us an insight into self-publishing and how to do it well. Anthony also talked about what makes a good cover.
Here are Anthony's tips on self-publishing:
1. Determine that self-publishing is right for you.
Like writing, publishing requires effort. Anything worth doing does. We all know this, but successful self-published authors have a few key traits.
· They are goal orientated
· They have a willingness to learn
· They like to be the captain of their own ship
· They want to make money from their writing
If you identify with some of these items, then you're more likely to thrive when self-publishing your books and have a blast doing it!
2. Avoid the sharks in the publishing seas, matey!
When looking to self-publish stay clear of vanity publishing companies who prey on naive first-time authors. You can spot them because they charge crazy amounts of money to publish a poor quality book.
These companies price the books they publish outside the competitive market price which means no one will buy them. They don't offer the flexibility authors need when self-publishing, such as pricing, book quality, optimised book categorisation, marketing strategies and more.
Always check for some testimonials and signals that help show a company's credibility before dealing with them.
3. A good editor can make or break a book.
A good editor is on your side and should not re-write aspects of your story but simply edit and shape your words. When seeking an editor for your children's, YA or picture book, make sure the editor has had experience with books in these genres. You don't want an editor who has only edited tax law books working on your picture book!
4. An effective cover creates the first impression.
The purpose of the cover design should entice the potential reader, compelling them to either turn the book over to the back, or glimpse inside to find out more.
The cover design should communicate what type of book it is in a blink of an eye and appeal to your target audience. Whether we like it or not, the cover makes the first impression on any prospective reader looking to purchase a book. They'll make a judgement on the cover before looking inside or reading the back cover description.
Avoid designers who only do logos or website design because book cover design is very different and serves a different purpose. A good book cover designer will understand what makes a book cover work.
5. Don't be afraid to ask questions.
The only silly question is a question that's not asked. Don't be afraid to ask credible sources to get good information about self-publishing. Better to ask questions upfront than make expensive mistakes.
Anthony Puttee is the founder of the award-winning publishing service vendor Book Cover Cafe. The team of ninjas at Book Cover Cafe have helped many authors, including Write Links members self-publish the smart way.
If you would like honest and pro-active guidance for delivering your book to the world, Anthony and the team can be found at BookCoverCafe.com and on Facebook here.
Anthony Puttee is the founder of the award-winning publishing service vendor Book Cover Cafe. The team of ninjas at Book Cover Cafe have helped many authors, including Write Links members self-publish the smart way.
‘Once a Creepy Crocodile’
Written by Peter Taylor
Illustrated by Nina Rycroft and includes a sing-along CD by Rusty Berther
Published by The Five Mile Press
Release date 1st July 2014
See that title? That was me trying to be clever working some of the story line of Once a Creepy Crocodile into it.
Once a creepy crocodile swam toward a riverbank, his eye on a very tasty brolga. When the croc invites the brolga to afternoon tea the brolga’s friends raise the alarm that it’s a trap and the croc must make do with a sneaky snake treat instead!
(From The Five Mile Press website)
For a detailed review click here.
Brisbane Write Links members are very lucky to share their children's writers group with Peter Taylor. Not only is he a wonderful writer, he is extremely generous with his time and in sharing his knowledge with emerging writers and illustrators.
Here is an insight by Peter Taylor on how the story came to be, from inception to publication:
Once a Creepy Crocodile was first envisioned in collaboration with fellow author Julie Nickerson at the Ipswich Festival of Children’s Literature in 2009, in a workshop given by Jan Ormerod. Julie graciously agreed that I could develop it, but it could equally have been her story.
Jan followed its progress with much interest, but unfortunately passed away before hearing of its acceptance.
In its multiple drafts, there were many times I asked for opinions and suggestions from others in a range of networks: members of the Australian College of Journalism Yahoo group, SCBWI, Kids-writers Downunder Yahoo group, Career Booster network and others, and I also paid Jackie Hosking to see if she could make suggestions through her verse service. There are none more generous than children’s book creators.
The first 250 words were first pitched to a panel of international agents at the SCBWI Symposium at Bologna in 2010. All the American agents said ‘What’s a brolga’ and ‘What’s a dingo? I don’t think our children would be interested in those.’ But New Zealand agent Frances Plumpton was encouraging, and so were the attendees. At one time I was advised to make it longer, which I did. I rejected an offer to partnership publish.
It scored well in the CYA competition, but didn’t make the shortlist. You just have to find the right editor and publishing house team, because all members of the team have to support a text at an acquisition meeting, even the sales reps. One vote of ‘No’ is usually enough for a rejection.
Fortunately, at a paid appraisal at the Sydney SCBWI Conference in 2012, Karen Tayleur, from the Five Mile Press loved it. I immediately asked Nina Rycroft, who’s one of my favourite illustrators and who was at the conference, if she would be prepared and available to illustrate it if asked and the price was right. In a formal submission, I told Karen that Nina would like to be considered. But there was a problem. The words are to the rhythm of Waltzing Matilda and the sales team believed it would sell better if it had an attached CD of it being sung which meant there were some Copyright issues of the waltzing Matilda melody to be sorted out.
The illustrations Nina has done in watercolour are absolutely wonderful, vibrant and delicious.
The CD was recorded by Rusty Berther who has appeared on Spicks and Specks and sung at every AFL Final Breakfast over many years.
Wanting to see your picture book traditionally published certainly asks for lots of patience, dedication and a never-give-up attitude. Thank you for that insight, Peter. Here is the interview:
How long have you been writing for children?
I started making up bedtime stories for my own children in the early 1990s. Some stories were so boring that I’d fall asleep while telling them and the children would still be wide awake, so my wife suggested that I should enrol in the Australian College of Journalism ‘Professional Children’s Writer’ course, which I started around1997.
How did you feel when you first saw the illustrations?
Unlike the book’s watercolour versions, the first illustration sample that I saw was painted in acrylics. That was as vibrant and beautiful as are the pictures that were used , and I knew that potential readers would love them. People always comment first on the illustrations in picture books, they never start by saying ‘What wonderful words’.
I am curious, you mentioned you were offered a partnership publishing contract. Why did you decide against it?
For one thing, I couldn’t spare the cash that they required, but so many people loved the text that I considered that there would probably be a traditional publisher somewhere, at some time, who would recognise its potential to be successful for all concerned, a business who would pay me and not require my financial outlay. And I believe that, generally, traditional publishers have the best track record in marketing and promoting books, for example, by employing sales representatives who talk to and enthuse bookstore proprietors, and these publishers’ distribution mechanisms are the most efficient in getting copies into the hands of those who may chose to make a purchase.
Have you got any advice for unpublished writers in how to get published with a traditional publishing house?
Never give up trying - everyone receives multiple rejections, even the most famous authors and illustrators. Go to talks, do courses and workshops, talk to published authors and learn industry expectations. Keep reading and writing. Pay to have have stories appraised by traditional house editors at conferences and festivals. Network with editors and publishing professionals (including sales reps, they also have a say in the acquisition process). Meet and talk to as many editors and staff in person as you can (which can often be done without cost by attending book launches, award ceremonies and the like) with the hope that they will recognise that you are a normal, civilised and professional person, someone who is unlikely to refuse to consider suggestions for changes in the editing process, someone who is unlikely to phone three times a day to check progress but who will probably deliver amendments on time , the kind of person they would like to work with.
What are you working on now?
I keep making small changes to several stories that were once considered ‘finished’, but which I now think I can improve, ready for another submission. I’m creating a decorative border and calligraphing someone else’s text, which is lined up to be published, but I’m not sure when, and I have a historical creative non-fiction biography of 19th century hermit who boarded himself up in his house for 25 years. That’s maybe YA, and has been on the back-burner for far too long. And my website is 14 years old and needs rebuilding, as does a retaining wall and my carport...
Hm, that is a serious 'to do' list!
Your story rhymes beautifully and rolls off the tongue very naturally, how hard is it to write in rhyme? Did it involve many revisions or are you a natural?
Thank you! Writing in rhyme is fun but not easy for me. I’m not a compulsive rhyme writer. It’s rewarding, but hard work! Rhyming is usually not the most difficult part. The hardest thing is making the storyline flow, too, and maintaining the beat rhythm with no missing or added syllables. Each phrase has to come naturally in a perfect and logical sequence, just as you’d speak in conversation and the story wasn’t rhyming. You can’t contort lines to something unnatural to make a rhyme. It must be a good story, whether it’s in rhyme or not. In the writing process, it’s really easy to believe that certain lines should be retained simply because they fit and rhyme well - whereas in fact, in order to keep the actual story cohesive, or avoid a problem elsewhere in the verse, it would actually be better to ditch or re-write the whole verse completely and make it totally different from this original version.
There were many many revisions over three years and large numbers of suggestions were received from other writers when the going got tough. Changes continued to to be made even after the editor and I thought it was finished ...in order for Rusty Berther to sing it to his favoured musical arrangement, and I provided him with about 10 new alternatives for one line.
The CD is lovely with a version of the your story and the original Waltzing Matilda version, did you ever dream that your story would also be a song?
Not initially, when writing it, but later I did fancy that it could be played and sung at a launch if it was ever published, and also that school choirs and musicians may choose to sing and play it. I’ve retained the rights for the words to be used as song lyrics and music scores are now downloadable from my www.writing-for-children.com website and I’d love to see and hear people’s renditions on YouTube. I’ll send them a small gift if they post there. I certainly never considered that a recording would be included in the book. I believe that was the idea of the publisher’s sales team. The rhythm of the words closely matches ‘Waltzing Matilda’ and I love Rusty’s performance.
Well, I'd better get going and record my children singing your song, but before I go, where can we buy your book?
It should be available in Australia from ‘all bookstores’ and eventually, I hope, in other countries too. And here at www.booktopia.com.au. The recommended price is $16.95.
There will be more launches of Once a Creepy Crocodile. Watch this space.
Authors and illustrators from Brisbane Write Links immersed themselves in industry news, writing and illustrating master classes and were surrounded by kidlit elite at the 2014 Sydney SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) last week.
For a full report on each session, read the Roving Reporters blog posts on the SCBWI blog. And for more impressions on the conference read posts by Illustrator Tanya Hempson and Author/ Illustrator Yvonne Mes.
To make this conference even more exciting there were several book launches, two of whom were by Write Links members!
Peter Taylor launched his first picture book, Once a Creepy Crocodile, with The Five Mile Press
Pamela Rushby launched her YA historical fiction novel, The Ratcatcher's Daughter, with HarperCollins.
One of my favorite events was the Illustrator showcase where over 40 publishers went through the many portfolios on display. Several Write Links members had their portfolio on display among whom: Tracey Lennon, Tanya Hempson and Peter Taylor and author Andrew King's, Engibear's Dream, illustrator Ben Johnson.
I just wish the organisers had left the portfolios out a bit longer in order for the rest of the delegates to savour all the artwork on display.
Quite a few Write Link Members had an amazing weekend at the CYA dinner and conference where three of the six writers on the CYA Success Panel were also Write Links members. Congratulations to Caylie Jeffrey, Karen Tyrrell and Samantha Wheeler!
And while we are talking about success stories, here are a few more!
Sharing Write Links successes will now be a regular feature on our blog. I know of several other Write Links members with new and upcoming successes to share in the very near future.
We finish this post with some great tips and insights, including highs and lows, from each featured author from their road to publication.
Melanie Hill as Melanie Bird
18 is an Anthology of short stories for Young Adults collated by Vision Writers. Melanie’s short story is titled ‘The Black Queen'.
Road to Publication:
In September of 1996, a collection of speculative fiction authors founded Vision Writers. Now, in celebration of eighteen years bleeding on the page, we present 18, a collection of stories showcasing our best emerging talents.
Featuring cave crocodiles and spell absorbing beards, a seance with soul, a night in a gypsy caravan to make all your wishes come true and a journey through hell that will make you swear to be good. Come with us to rebuild the world clock, face the dragon queen and hide from the thing under the bed.
18 is self published anthology using the editing and self-publishing expertise of some of the Vision members. The stories are aimed at young adult to adult readers.
The e-book version can be purchased from Amazon for $1.07. Print on Demand hard copies can be ordered through the authors for about $9 a copy. Purchase your copy here.
Publication: Bedtime Stories for Busy Mothers
Road to Publication:
After trying my hand at children's picture book writing, I found that my words appealed more to adults than children, so I started a blog with weekly essays about life matters and imperfect parenting and haven't stopped writing since, for myself and several other publications.
A friend suggested I self-publish a collection of essays from my blog, and hey presto! the idea for Bedtime Stories for Busy Mothers was created! I researched how to self-publish, found a printer I liked in Brisbane, a cover illustrator and an editor to help me with the work I'd done. I asked several close writer friends to critique the final draft, and after a lot of hard work by many people, the book was successfully launched before Mothers Day 2014.
The target audience is women between 25 and 125, mainly mothers, but plenty of men have been enjoying it as well, and non-parents, so it has something for everyone in it.
You can purchase your copy here.
Publication: STOP the Bully
This is a children’s book for 8 to 12 year olds, teachers, parents and school counsellors.
Road to Publication:
I’m a survivor of childhood bullying and parent-teacher bullying. I’m passionate about empowering children with an uplifting story with bully prevention skills. I wanted to show all perspectives of the bullying problem including the victim and the bully.
The ending of the story came to me first. Then I wrote the story backwards over 18 months. STOP the Bully was Beta read by members of my Genre Writers group plus Charmaine, Jacqui and Leslee from Write Links.
I independently published with the help from editor, Sally Odgers, Book Cover Cafée and illustrator Trevor Salter who designed the cover characters.
STOP the Bully is supported by Kids Helpline & Logan Mayor Pam Parker, aligned with Kids Matter, Education Queensland
Available at Amazon Black Cat Books Riverbend Books and Book Shops here.
Publication: Undertow (Anthology)
Road to Publication:
Jocelyn's story ‘Dear Sam’ was published by Prana Writers, a Gold Coast writing group in May 2014. This is one of 20 stories in an anthology titled ‘Undertow. - Tales from Outside the Flags. ‘ - a unique publishing venture.
Prana Writers received funding from The Regional Arts Development Fund, Queensland Government and the City of the Gold Coast. Each chosen story features a historical photograph which shows some aspect of the Gold Coast environment from the sea to the hinterland. ‘Dear Sam’ is set in the Numinbah Valley in 1942 and my chosen picture was the Natural Arch. This place was of particular interest to me as I had discovered its magic as a child and later this was a special place to which we often returned over the years.
Undertow is available from Amazon for $17.95 plus postage. Purchase your copy here.
Tips for emerging writers from our featured authors:
Join a writing group or two. Camaraderie and shoulders to cry on are essential in your journey as a writer.
Set yourself realistic and achievable goals. Review your progress regularly and you will be surprised at how much you achieve.
Don't be afraid to self-publish. There are plenty of people to help you on your way, and in the time it takes to be 'discovered', you could have published your own book. Never scrimp on quality and make sure you have trusted people to edit your work who will be absolutely straight with you. Be prepared to hear bad news about your craft! You don't need to spend a million dollars for a great product- it's possible to work smart within a budget.
Enlist key supporters prior to publishing for possible logos and endorsements.
To acknowledge that this is not an easy road at times, what has been the most frustrating experience on the road to publication?
Trying to re-write and edit two drafts of my story over Christmas while we were driving to Tasmania and back with a car full of kids and limited internet coverage.
Having to sell my own products to strangers is really hard work- firstly, it's difficult for most people to blow their own horn, talk to strangers and become a centre of attention in the public arena. Start off small, practice with people you know at book launches and small events if you're frightened to promote. Go to other book events and launches to see what's involved. To sell books, published traditionally or by yourself, you will still need to self-promote.
Smooth sailing but a few hiccups with the printer forgetting to list, Stop The Bully, on world-wide distributing channels. All fixed now.
And lastly, what has been the most rewarding experience since publication?
Downloading the book onto my own Kindle and reading the final versions of everyone's stories.
Having strangers write to me to tell me how much they've enjoyed the book and how they connected with me through my writing! Oh, and being asked to be a speaker at the Brisbane Writers' Festival in September 2014!
Taking STOP the Bully to CYA Conference, Gold Coast Writer’s Festival, to schools & libraries.
I hope you enjoyed reading about the successes of these Write Link members, we look forward to sharing many more of these stories in the future!