SCBWI NZ Professional Day

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……


About Diane Tulloch

Known also as the Patientdreamer I am a writer who loves to dream, and is passionate about writing stories for the young so that they may join me in the wonders of adventure in countries and cultures afar, and in special moments to remember.
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6 Responses to SCBWI NZ Professional Day

  1. Great encapsulation of what sounds like a super SCBWI meeting, Diane! And I truly appreciate the photos…now when I meet these wonderful kidlit movers and shakers next year, I’ll feel I know them a bit! I’m glad they addressed the agent/author relationship…such a timely topic. Thanks for sharing all of this!

    • Your welcome Vivian. I shared a bit of the problems you had with one of your stories and Christine Dale who works with illustrators said they work very closely with their authors to ensure illustrations are accurate because they believe it is the author who wears the “flag” for that book and so it has to perfect. Especially for non fiction. Penny Scown of Scholastic NZ showed how she worked with Maria (a non-fiction writer) the continual back and forth to ensure the illustrations were just so. It was nice to see the relationship that Maria and Sally had with Penny their editor.

  2. Tina Cho says:

    I’m glad you had a wonderful time, Diane, and were able to make connections.

  3. I am so happy you had such a great time at the SCBWI conference in New Zealand. Thank you for sharing you experiences. And, I enjoyed the photos. Can’t believe it was 7 years ago we met in LA. Did the earthquake in Indonesia hit near any place you visited? Thought about you and your travels.

    • Hi Pat. Sorry I only just realised you had left a comment here. No the earthquake in Indonesia didn’t appear to be anywhere where we have been. Still, it was bad. There has been more since and the bridge that fell in Genoa I think we went over it way back in the 80’s when traveling on a tour bus between Florence, Pisa in Italy to Nice and Barcelona in Spain. That was a shock.
      Yes I had a great time at the conference here in NZ. Looking forward to going to an Australian conference next year. 🙂

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