Warm, fun, friendly, informative, and often hilarious were words that came to mind as I drove home across the Harbour Bridge with the glistening water below and sun streaming through the windscreen. The threat of dark clouds approaching couldn’t dampen what had been a wonderful day of networking, meeting old and making new friends at our Auckland SCBWI Sunday meeting.
In a totally glass room at the Columbus Café on the North Shore, Frances Plumpton our very own Assistant Regional Advisor for SCBWI Aust East/NZ, introduced the incredible Susanne Gervay (Sydney Regional Advisor for SCBWI). Her warm infectious personality had my attention from the get-go. What a treat to hear Susanne’s bubbly views on SCBWI. There was lots of great information for new and not so new members in how to get the most out of their membership. Her experiences with her titles in both the Australian and US markets was an eye opener, not only in print numbers but the journey of her I am Jack books on school bullying, have been adapted into an acclaimed play by Monkey Baa Theatre, and toured Australian and US theatres and published in many countries.
In the Agents – “Love them or Leave them” session, Frances gave us an insight into life as a literary agency and answered important questions from Susanne that all writers should ask their agents before committing to that relationship
After a beautiful lunch we had the pleasure of Christine Dale Co-Director in NZ’s newest publisher of children’s books, One Tree House Ltd, which she established with Jenny Nagle in 2017. With over 30 years in the industry and previously the Publishing Manager at Scholastic NZ Ltd she has herself written and illustrated for children. Winning the Publisher of the Year (Oceania) at the Bologna Book Fair in April this year, Christine’s informative presentation was filled with need to know facts for not only illustrators but authors as well. As a writer it is always good to hear the illustrator’s side of the book making process.
Penny Scown, Senior Editor, Scholastic NZ for over thirty years and previously of Scholastic in the UK gave an interesting presentation on “beyond the contract” balancing working with many authors and illustrators. Sally Sutton – series fiction and Maria Giles – nonfiction writers who are both clients of Penny’s also lent their views of working with an editor and showcased their books.
Did you know that some publishers may advertise a submissions open day on their Facebook page? Worth noting!
The meeting rounded up with a “Do’s and Don’ts of submissions” with Christine Dale, Penny Scown, Susanne Gervay and Frances Plumpton as the experts panel, discussing query letters, pitches etc.
During the meeting one noticed lots of note taking, hands raised, questions answered and heads nodded and lots of chatter and laughter, and the odd sparrow swooped in through slightly opened doors flitting from one strand of lights to another before darting back out. Last minute pictures, promise of meeting up at next year’s Sydney, Australia conference and the day was over all too quickly. Sign of an excellent meeting, I’d say!
It was really lovely meeting special people in person……