Posts Tagged 'Bundaberg WriteFest'

Agent Love

Rabbit - balloonConfession time. I know I said I’d post once I’d calmed down a bit from my agent news, but I haven’t come down much. Then again, I think that’s something worth celebrating, too. It seems to be common among writers to achieve a goal and then too soon start worrying about the next step along the path. I’ve been training myself to enjoy good news for longer (with the help of my ever patient fiance). It seems to be working – I’m still smiling.

Getting an agent is a goal many writer’s strive for, and yet this often obscures the importance of finding the RIGHT one for you. It’s potentially a life long relationship, and one of the most important ones in a writer’s career. There are so many different kinds of agents: some who edit and others who don’t, some who are mentors and others who are much more business like, and as many different styles and personality types in between. I knew what I wanted. Someone I connected with, who I felt comfortable discussing career goals with, someone who could offer editorial advice and who was passionate about writing and writers. Not asking for much, hey? But even knowing all that, how do you choose which agents to submit to?

Here’s how I made the decision to submit work to Sophie Hamley:

  1. Background: Like many agents, Sophie spent years working as an editor in the publishing industry, and comes with a wealth of knowledge and experience
  2. Client List: This was a clear winner for me, because Sophie represents writers and illustrators I have admired for many years. People whose work I strongly connect with. It was also clear from her client list that she’s passionate about literature for young people
  3. Work Style: I was fortunate enough to know several of her clients, and have heard only wonderful things about how they work together
  4. Personality Match: This is the toughest I suppose, as it’s something you can almost only gauge after meeting a person. I was lucky enough to meet Sophie at a writer’s festival, which highlights the value of conference pitch sessions like those run at the Bundaberg WriteFest and Brisbane’s CYA. Her passion and enthusiasm blew me away, especially when she was talking about her clients, and from the moment we met I knew I’d enjoy working with her 

After all that, it was clear she was the agent for me, so I’m incredibly lucky that she decided to sign me! Now I’m suffering from a slight case of Agent Love.  Something I’m not sure I want the cure for.

Bundaberg WriteFest 2009

Rabbit - floatOn Saturday, a group of both aspiring and published authors, agents, editors, librarians and teachers gathered in Bundaberg to discuss literature and the craft of creating. The day was orchestrated by Sandy Curtis, a local author of thrillers and romantic suspense novels. Sandy gave the day its heart. She was always smiling, even when running around organising speakers, and was welcoming from the first moment I e-mailed her through to meeting her face to face. She deserves many congratulations for putting together such an incredible event.

I was most looking forward to meeting a writing friend of mine, Kathryn Apel, who until then I had only known through an online group. Luckily we had much time to talk writing and share inspiration, and Kathryn has such a warmth to her that I soon felt like I’d known her for years. She’s just released her first picture book, ‘This is the Mud’, an Australian tale told with rollicking rhyme and humour. She opened the festival, discussing her journey towards publication and inspiring us with her determination. I also got to meet many other wonderful people whose work inspires me: people like Roland Harvey with his detailed illustrations full of wit and humour, and Mark Svendsen whose ‘Circus Carnivore’ I just adore.

The highlight of my day was meeting with Sophie Hamley and Kristina Schulz. They were both so warm and engaging, and put me immediately at ease. We discussed the craft of writing / illustrating and clients of theirs who inspire me. They had encouraging words to share in regards to my work, and I look forward to keeping in touch with them and watching what develops from here. The three of us sat together on the plane back, so we drank wine and chatted and laughed. It still makes me smile!

The festival was incredibly intimate and by the end I knew most of the presenters and many attendees. I feel lucky to have attended, and came away full of inspiration and already looking forward to next year’s festival. Bring it on!

Happy Dancing

Rabbit - lookYou should be glad that this is a blog as opposed to a vlog (video blog) because today I am happy dancing.  It is something others should never have to witness, but I am more than happy to talk all about it. Legs are flying, arms are circling, and there’s a grin as big as pluto on my face. Why? Because I’ve had good news.

Bundaberg WriteFest has been making a name for itself by providing incredible opportunities for writers.  For the second year running they have run a competition where writers with a completed project could submit a query, sample pages and synopsis, with the chance of winning an interview with an editor or agent. I was one of the lucky writers whose project was chosen by Sophie Hamley, super agent with the Cameron Creswell Agency.

Sophie represents many children’s authors whose work I really admire, including Tristan Bancks and Aaron Blabey, as well as several wonderfully talented girls from my writer’s group. I’m incredibly excited to be able to meet her, and am really looking forward to learning from her wealth of knowledge and experience. I also get to attend the festival, the only problem being that I’ll have to choose which sessions to attend (they all look great).

So, I’ll be jetting off to coastal Bundy next weekend for a day immersed in writing. Care to join me in my happy dance?

Addendum: Late last night I found out that the editor also chose my project. This means I also get to meet with the delightful Kristina Schulz, the children’s editor from the University of Queensland Press. Although she has been upfront in saying that unfortunately my project does not suit their current publishing list, I can still benefit from her vast industry knowledge and editorial experience. What a whirlwind of a day!


About this Blog…

A blog of ramblings about the world of writing and illustrating for children, by an author / illustrator who might just have a thing for rabbits.

Katherine's picture books, 'Squish Rabbit' and 'Brave Squish Rabbit', are out with Viking (Penguin, US) and UQP (Australia). Please e-mail if you would like her to blog about something in particular.

All text & images  Katherine Battersby

Released Sept 2012:

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