I can’t believe I finally get to share the cover for ‘Please Don’t Hug Me’. Jessica Horrocks at Text Publishing has done such a beautiful job. I feel like it captures the book well without giving too much away. The cover was revealed at the YA Showcase at State Library Victoria this week. There were so many exciting #LoveOzYA titles on the lineup, 2020 is going to be a big year.
2019 is teaching me a lesson about vulnerability. It is showing me again and again how much harder it is to stay open and vulnerable than it is to close off, shut down, not talk about it, but also how much more I can offer and be by fighting the urge to take the easier route. Continue reading
If writing a book is the natural state for a writer, getting up in front of an audience and reading from that book feels about as far from natural as I can imagine. There are plenty of writers who are natural orators, but unfortunately I don’t fall into that category. I’m to the left in the ‘so anxious I might cry and/or pass out’ category. Hello to all of the other nervous talkers in this category with me. Welcome. May I offer you some peppermint tea? Continue reading
Did you know when you’re done writing your first book, or even before you’re completely done, you’ve got to turn around and start again right from the very beginning if you want to publish a second? Pretty rude if you ask me. I was under the impression all subsequent books would materialize fully formed once I’d proven my ability to land that first publishing contract. Continue reading
Three months on from receiving editorial notes and I’m out the other side of my first structural edit. I feel equally wrung out and exhilarated by how much better my manuscript is looking at this point. Here are some editing stats I collected along the way:
- 60+ hours of editing
- Manuscript is (only) 5,000 words longer. Ouch. Now sitting at a much healthier 55,000 words. I’ve fixed plot holes, pacing issues, formatting, thin secondary characters, and the ending
- Soundtrack: Camp Cope, Sia, Thelma Plum, Missy Higgins (basically Australian/women/feelings)
- Snack of choice while editing: Popcorn, chocolate
- Coffee consumed: far too much
- Most neglected part of my life: housework
The manuscript is now off to some sensitivity readers (I will do a post on this at a later stage) and once I’ve received their feedback and edited accordingly, I will send it back to Jane at Text Publishing. Hopefully I’ll have done enough for it to be ready for a line edit, but we’ll see. This is my first time and it’s a huge learning curve, so if it comes back for another structural edit, that’s OK too. I hardly feel qualified to give advice at this stage of the process, but I thought it might be worth sharing a few of the things I’ve learnt so far. Continue reading
I received the first round of notes from my editor at Text Publishing late last month. It’s the email I’ve been waiting on for months. It’s the green light after being at a red long enough to wonder if it was all a dream, or if someone somewhere had changed their mind. The notes are detailed, kind, and so spot on. My book is going to be infinitely better because of them, and because of my editor Jane Pearson. I feel like I should be in turmoil, but instead I’m thrilled. A little vulnerable, sure, but I can’t believe I can finally get going. Please Don’t Hug Me is going to be a real book! Continue reading
There is a lot out there about whether or not a debut writer needs a literary agent, or if signing with one is even something that can happen without a published book to your name. I can’t give a definitive answer about that, but I can say that signing with Danielle Binks and Jacinta Di Mase has been one of the best parts of my path to publication thus far. So I’d love to share a little bit about how that came to be and what it’s done for me. Continue reading
If you’re a writer and/or on Twitter, chances are you have come across the term ‘Own Voices’ at some stage or another. If not, the basic gist is that the hashtag was started as a way to “highlight kidlit about diverse characters written by authors from that same diverse group”, as explained by Corinne Duyvis, the writer behind the term. Further, the non-profit organization ‘We Need Diverse Books’ defines the term ‘diverse’ as “including (but not limited to) LGBTQIA, Native (it’s an American org so I’d add Aboriginal people here), people of colour, gender diversity, people with disabilities, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities”. So that’s what it’s about in a broader sense. Continue reading
Is that you don’t talk about being out on pitch! And when you’ve spent so long writing and editing and rewriting and (maybe) getting an agent and then rewriting again it’s quite jarring to all of a sudden have to sit back and just… wait.
In traditional publishing, being ‘out on pitch’ is when your agent has sent your manuscript to the publisher/s they believe it is best suited for and is awaiting a reply. I asked my agent Danielle Binks at Jacinta Di Mase for her thoughts on the process: Continue reading
When I sat down to write a book, it was YA that came out. It was always going to be. I’d never really considered anything else until someone asked me recently if I would ever write for adults. I’m not sure the answer to that, but I am sure about why I write YA. It’s because of the books that are most important to me, my own life experiences and the feeling that maybe young people are our best bet.