News & Updates

CYA Succees: Samantha Wheeler

This is a week of great news!


Tomorrow night is Samantha Wheelers Book launch at Riverbend Books, Brisbane. (Details below…) 

But what makes it so special, is that Samantha is another CYA Success Story. 

Although Samantha was working on her stories for a few years, was actively pursuing avenues to improve, and had done mentorships with other organisations, her final connection to the publisher was made with a one-on-one assessment/pitch during CYA Conference 2012, when Kristina Schulz read Samantha's work again, and wanted to acquire it. 

We love stories like this because it means thatCYA COnference is fulfilling its objective — to help people on their journey to publication ( and beyond) but also to make it easier for the right people to connect together.

Writer + Publisher + CYA Conference Pitch = BOOK CONTRACT!!!!

Good luck to Samantha as she launches Smooch & Rose tomorrow night with the fabulous Michael Gerard Bauer doing the honours.

Smooch & Rose Book Launch


Award winning Brisbane author Michael Gerard Bauer has kindly agreed to launch Smooch & Rose, so why not come along and help us celebrate a very exciting occasion!

When: 25th September 2013, 6pm for 6:30pm.

Where: Riverbend Books, 193 Oxford Street, Bulimba, Queensland.

Who: Family, friends, writers, book lovers, animal lovers, young and old: all very welcome.

What: Excitable author, gourmet popcorn, wine and soft drinks, koala cup cakes, major celebrations.

RSVP: Please let the lovely Krysi from Riverbend Books know you're coming on

See you there! 




More about the talented Michael Gerard Bauer.

For directions or information: Riverbend Books.

CYA later!

Tina, Ally & Sam

CYA Success: Stella Tarakson

I love getting emails like this:

"I wanted to share my exciting news with you. You may remember my chapter book…"

Yes, its another success story!

Meet Stella Tarakson


Stella's book Mike the Spike will be published by New Frontier Publishing, after winning the Chapter Book - Younger readers section, Stella met with Sophia Whitfield from New Frontier at CYA Conference, and soon after — a contract followed.

Artists + Opportunity + access to Editor = Success!!!! ( Yes!!!) 

You can see Stella's BIO and her full How CYA Conference helped her, on her success page as she joins the wall of inspiration - The Success Pages.

Until next time, keep writing and keep illustrating! 

CYA later!

Tina, Ally & Sam

Updated at last…


Its been a hard few months, with an unexpected hospital visit after I hurt myself at CYA Conference, but that is all behind me now and we have caught up the backlog for CYA Conference. Despite my home internet giving trouble… all the competition feedback forms have now been emailed back to participants  We have had a few bounce — so if you haven't received it — please email us so we can see your email addy and hopefully rectify the problem.

Results are also posted on the 2013 Competition Results pages.

All artwork is posted on the 2013 Art work pages.

The photographs we have are posted in the 2013 photo album, if you have more — please do send them so that I can include them in here and share them with everyone.


The following blogs mentioned CYA Conference 2013 - you might want to go and check them out and see what all the nice hype was about:

Caylie Jeffery blog:

Heidi Parks Blog:

Rainbow Mamamama's blog:

Karen Tyrrel:

Stella Tarakson:

Catherine Oehlman aka Squigglemum -

If you blogged about CYA Conference 2013 and I haven't mentioned you — please let me know so that I can add you.

CYA Competition and Picture Book Illustration Notes:

August 2013: A survey I did particularly because we had conflicting words from judges on Illustration notes:

The general consensus between publishers asked was that these come down to the personal choice and preference of the editors. I did not get one same answer from one single publishing house I asked.

These were a few of the responses and they really gave us more to think about than to take action on. As an organisation who help people on their publication path, CYA Conference will continue to read illustration notes as part of the Picture Book categories, (as it does help some of our volunteer judges who are not editors) understand what is being convoyed.

I have deliberately removed the publisher and their publishing house from these quotes.

My question to the publishers:


If submitting a picture book — is it okay to submit with illustration notes or do you need the text to stand on its own without illo notes?


5 Publisher responses:


“Notes are fine and usually give the publisher a good idea of how the author ‘sees’ the book. But I tend to strip them out when I send the manuscript to an illustrator as they can often be very distracting to an illustrator who needs to interpret the manuscript in their own way.”


*          *          *

“It's absolutely fine to submit with illustrator notes. We will still consider the text alone on its own merits but often illustrator notes help clarify a subtle text, particularly if the words are intended to say something totally different to the illustrations. It doesn't detract from the text at all.”


*          *          *

“I think it is a personal thing. Every publisher likes it done a different way.”


*          *          *

“I think this really depends on the publisher so there’s no easy answer.


Some of the most amazing picture books are the ones where the illustrator has come up with a concept that completely flips the story on its head — for instance, in Sounds Spooky the story was originally about kids being scared exploring a haunted house, but illustrator Sarah Davis flipped it so that the story was about the ghost girl saying ‘not scared’ as she hears the sounds of the kids exploring. So giving illustration notes might stifle an illustrator’s creativity.


On the other hand, its good to know that an author has thought about illustrations, since a common mistake first-time picture book writers make is to describe things that will be seen in the illustrations — how a character looks, what they’re wearing, their expressions, etc.


Perhaps the only illustration notes that would be necessary are those where the writer anticipates that a crucial part of the story (e.g., a twist in the plot) will be told through the illustrations, so the story wouldn’t make sense without explaining that.


*          *          *

“Some texts need illustration notes to explain what is going on in fact, because the text is so spare, so I am happy to receive them, but I won't always pass them on to the illustrator (depending on the illustrator and how vital or not the notes are to the understanding of the text).


However, a separate rationale from the author could serve the same purpose and lose the risk of overprescribing to the illustrator, so it is probably preferable to provide that with bare text.


A rationale is an explanation of the author's intentions/reasons for writing the book, rather than a synopsis. They are often included in advance information for preselling nowadays.

So there you have it.

One thing this did clear up — your story MUST stand up on its own without those illustration notes, and make sense if they are stripped away.  (Unless the pictures directly show an important flip in the story or something.)

PNG Update:

The web site has changed as Kate is Brisbane for a few months, and has created a site to watch over all the mobile libraries, not just the Milne Bay Library. That older tumbler page will continue for Milne Bay - but the main page will now be the Mobile Library PNG page. 

We have continued to deliver more books for this worthy project as we are notified of them. Please remember,if you live in the SEQueensland region of Australia, to tell your schools about us, and your libraries so that we can collect the cast offs and discontinued books, and send them where they are needed and wanted. 

Hoping that this very large update works without too much trouble… hold thumbs…..

CYA later!

Tina, Ally & Sam

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