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No question too silly

By Kristina Schulz

Entering the world of publishing as a new writer can be pretty overwhelming – thrilling yes, but an experience also filled with new terminology, new people to meet and new ways of presenting and selling yourself and your work. Publishing is a business and starting out as an author means that you are embarking on an exciting venture, so you need to prepare yourself, just as you would for any career change. But how? And truly, that’s the question I get asked the most – where do I start? Learning to work out where your book fits in the publishing industry can be akin to being given a piece of a complicated puzzle and trying to figure out where to put it. (I’m looking at you, very hard 1000-piece ET puzzle ...) You have to educate yourself. Work out the direction that suits you best.

Luckily the CYA conference is a great place to start. Here you can meet new friends, connect with already published authors and illustrators, enter the competitions and learn all the tips and tricks this amazing conference can help you with. (Can you tell I love going to CYA? LOVE it!) And at this conference no question is too silly, so ask away. I remember attending my first CYA, connecting with people and feeling like I was part of a community that celebrated children’s books. Such a good feeling.

If you can’t attend a conference such as CYA, then find support and information to help you on your writing journey another way. Join a writers group or chat with a writerly friend who can help. Book time with an editor or manuscript assessor through organisations like your local writers’ centre, CYA or the Australian Society of Authors (ASA). Find a librarian or bookseller who can direct you to publishers who publish books similar to your writing. Or google publishers and agents and read (and reread!) their submission guidelines. And read books. All the books. There’s no better way to learn more than to read widely in the market you want to publish in.

The one thing this pandemic has done for our industry is to move so much that was once in person to online – from manuscript pitches to conferences to bookshop events – so there’s no reason not to explore this new industry and understand and learn as much as you can. It’s just now you can do it from the comfort of your own home!

And if you see me on zoom at this year’s CYA (or in-person when we can all return), say hi. People in this industry are warm and friendly, and I can guarantee that if you love children’s literature and writing, then you have come to the right conference.


Kristina be presenting a session on Getting ready to be an author on Saturday, 10 July 2021, 1:15 pm AEST and will be doing editor assessments with places available on the 11th and 25th July.

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