Date of Success:
Apsara spent most of her career in magazine publishing for Girlfriend and marie claire magazines in advertising sales before leaping into the start-up world. Currently, she is the Brand Partnerships Manager for Australia’s newest tech unicorn - Prezzee, and by night, she writes stories for children who dream of owning a real unicorn!
Most of her writing career has been spent putting together very serious sales pitches for very serious clients (from Amazon, David Jones, Gucci, Hyundai to The ICONIC), so when she was on maternity leave with her second child she reconnected back with her inner child to start writing Picture books with humour and heart.
Apsara is the debut author of The Lucky Shack, due for release in July 2023 with HarperCollins. Nature, the seasons, and the tiny wonders of our incredible world inspire her writing. Apsara’s passion is to dream up memorable characters, experiment with perspectives and create books that will be treasured for years to come.
When she is not writing into the wee hours, she spends her time baking with her boys (and trying to keep up with them), pottering around bookshops, or drinking endless cups of Earl Grey tea.
WHAT CYA CONFERENCE DID FOR ME
I attended the CYA conferences in 2021 and 2022 after finishing a course with the AWC and I truly believe it's been instrumental to my success.
As a complete newbie who was figuring out this industry - I wanted to understand what publishers were looking for in a manuscript and learn from authors and publishers about their experiences. I love that the conference spans three weekends and in both years, I took the opportunity to book in with a few different publishers and editors for manuscript assessments.
What I have learned from the assessments is that every publisher or agent has their own perspective, so if I received some not-so-great feedback, there were nuggets of helpful advice I could take from them. When I did receive positive feedback, this encouraged me with my writing even more.
Some of my most memorable moments from previous CYA conferences have been learning from Davina Bell about the Magic of Picture Books, story structure from Danielle Binks, school visits from Dannika Patterson, and creating that emotional connection in characters with Katrina Germain. I have also joined a really wonderful writing group that came from the CYA community and we have great fun together when we connect on Zoom.
Success from the CYA to me means so many things.
Success has been..... putting myself out there to book that first-ever assessment with Clare Hallifax at Scholastic, it has been brave enough to ask a question of an author I admire (Davina Bell), it's entering a competition, it's re-thinking my story structure after a session, re-working my cover letter so that it was noticed by Allen & Unwin, to having a couple of editors keen for me to reach out directly for future manuscripts and ultimately getting published by the incredible team at HarperCollins.
I can recall the day I received the email when I heard that Eve from HarperCollins who wanted to take my story to acquisitions. I couldn't sleep for days - it was one of the most incredible moments of my life! I have celebrated every step of the journey - from the contract, seeing the first beautiful illustrations, the full final draft, and finally sending the book to print. What a ride!
My advice for any writers or illustrators who haven't done so as yet would be to book yourself an assessment or boot camp - what a gift to be able to have 1-1 time with esteemed and experienced publishers for your creation!
Lastly, I am so grateful to the CYA community - especially Tina and Shaun (and all the volunteers) who put so much effort, care and love into this community. This is a conference worth every penny.