It is always good to get an insiders view on the publishing industry and this morning was no exception, with the delightful Suzanne O’Sullivan from Lothian sharing her thoughts at the NSW Writers’ Centre, First Friday Club.
Suzanne confirmed that with blockbuster titles from the likes of John Green helping the market along, children’s book sales continue to be very healthy. And the area of the children’s publishing market that Lothian are keen to see more strong submissions in, is Junior Fiction. Series books for 6-9 year olds, with an approximate word count of 15,000-20,00 words. Suzanne is also always on the look out for great picture books.
However getting your work in front of Suzanne is no mean feat, as she only accepts agented submissions, or submissions following on from consultations at conferences or literary speed dating.
But if you are lucky enough to make it into her pile of submitted manuscripts, these are her tips for how to stand out:
- Have a really clear sense of the market, “this book fits into this trend,” or “this book fills this gap,” (but be careful that the gap really is a gap in the market and not a gap in your knowledge of the market!)
- Really hone your writing. Make sure it is fully workshopped and edited before you send it.
- Let your writing be the star, regardless of your other successes the writing needs to speak for itself.
And what themes is she looking for?
- Humour, she loves a story that makes her laugh, but the humour must be supported by a good story with heart.
- Friendship, friendship themes are always very popular in junior fiction.
- Adventure based stories.
So according to Suzanne, what can writers be doing to help them achieve publication?
- Be active on social media.
- Be active in writers groups and attending conferences etc
- Show a willingness to get out there and promote yourself.
Suzanne also mentioned a preference for authors who have a body of work targeting one area of the children’s market, so that they can build a strong readership and utilise this readership for the authors other books.
And there is a small glimmer of hope if you are not lined up to attend a conference or event where Suzanne is meeting writers- Lothian are currently thinking about opening up submissions for one genre at a time, probably early next year, so make sure you follow Suzanne on Twitter @Suzanne_OS and keep your eye on the Hachette website http://www.hachettechildrens.com.au
Happy writing everyone!
Finally I can announce my exciting news!
I have been offered and accepted a publishing contract for a five book picture book series with Allen & Unwin. It is a dream come true. I couldn’t be happier and I couldn’t have found a more passionate, consultative or engaged publisher for this series. I am beyond excited. I can’t say much about the series, other than that it is aimed at 1-5 year olds and at this stage we are hoping to release all five books at the same time. I will be able to give you more details closer to the release date.
But for now I have taken down the affirmation poster that has been on the door of my tea cupboard for the last two years!
Because I have indeed just signed A Great Publishing Deal! I’m still pinching myself. I wanted to share my news with all of the friends, old and new, that have supported me along the way. And I wanted to say a huge thank you, particularly to my critique group, Picture This, for your invaluable help and insight, to my family for your belief and support and to my agent Alex Adsett for helping to pull everything together and coach me through a nerve wracking decision process. Yippeee!!!
My husband Sean and I were lucky enough to get invited to this years ARIA awards night in Sydney. For those of you overseas the ARIA’s is the night of nights in the Australian Music Calendar, and always has a long list of celebrities strutting their stuff on the red carpet.
I must confess, I’m not a muso, I enjoy listening to the radio, mostly Smooth fm, which lets face it, isn’t a “cutting edge” station, and I watch the occasional music video on Rage at the weekend. But it took a writing friend of mine to let me know that Lorde, and Flume were both going to be there, giving me enough time to google them and get a vague idea of who they were. This was fortunate, as whilst we ambled up the red carpet, Lorde stood there being jostled by the paps, trying to persuade her to smile, and definitely not succeeding.
After walking the carpet we were taken to a beautiful roof top terrace and left to enjoy a glass of bubbles whilst trying to work out, who, of those around us, were ‘someone’. We spotted Kochie from channel 7 and wandered over for a chat and a photo. We asked a lovely young guy to take the pic.
It was only when we were sat watching the awards being presented that we realised, that very lovely young guy who was so obliging and took such a great happy snap, was actually presenting an award himself. We then watched as young person after young person that we’d seen on the terrace – but not recognised, took to the stage, to sing or accept an award.
But we had our photo with Kochie, and the Wiggles and Justine from Play School! All the cool people really 😉