From Hook to Book

Archive for the tag “CYA Conference”

The Value of Conferences – CYA

CYA dinnerI can’t believe it’s been weeks since I attended the fantastic CYA Conference in Brisbane. I’ve been head-down ever since, following up on manuscript advice received during my two publisher assessment sessions and giving social media a narrow gaze.CYA 2016

Chris Bell CYA 2016 Highly CommendedI was really excited in the weeks prior to the conference to be shortlisted in the 2016 CYA Writing and Illustrating Competition – published author category. It was fantastic that I was already booked in to attend the conference and so I was there to receive a “Highly Commended” award for my middle-grade eco-fic novel Strange Creatures from the judge, Scholastic Australia publisher, Clare Hallifax. I was extra pleased with my HC as there was only one overall winner (congratulations Facebook buddy, Karen Collum), but no placings in this highly competitive category.

It was a great boost to see this 19000-word story that I wrote several years ago with the intention of making it book one in a trilogy appreciated and acknowledged. I’ve always loved the characters and the setting and thought I had not perhaps given it fair exposure at the time as it always seemed an awkward word-count. So I worked on it some more and entered it into CYA and it was really terrific to see it awarded in the competition. I look forward to reading the initial judging reports, which give the added bonus of feedback to entrants in the CYA competition.CYA 2016 Highly commended

During the conference I had two really positive and informative meetings with publishers regarding my YA historical novel and received some great advice. 1. Begin in setting and introduce character’s day-to-day life 2. Use less language of the time.

The first suggestion initially surprised me because I’d always been taught – in kid lit – begin with action. But during the conversations (which offered very similar advice) I came to realise that, with my character’s world and time being quite foreign to the reader, to begin in drama gave the reader no chance to come to know or care about the characters before the initial dramatic interaction and danger. Invaluable advice and well worth paying for. This is one the value of critique and manuscript assessment sessions offered to attendees of conferences and seminars.

Both publishers are keen to see the reworked manuscript, so it’s back to work for me.

 

 

 

Photo credit: Peter Allert

Books for Mother Africa and PNG

Mother Africa donationI’m so excited to see some of my books taking a journey that I have long wanted to take myself.  All the way to Africa, and Papua New Guinea, thanks to the amazing efforts of author Tina Marie ClarkCYA Conference, and a fantastic band of helpers.

I was lucky (in a strange reversal of fortune) to be able to contribute a substantial number of my titles Blackheart Bilko and the Cape Barren Rats and Ghostgirl that I had purchased in a bulk lot when their trade publisher sold out to another only not their Aussie fiction titles. Sad faced at the time! 😦 But I’m happy now to think that these two books, which I love, will be read and, I trust, enjoyed by eager young readers in both Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, Africa and across Papua New Guinea, including Kokoda.)

Unloading books at WamiraTina and CYA Conference have been raising funds and collecting books and school supplies for The Mother Africa Trust (an organisation “created as a way for people to “give back” to both the environment and to the people of Zimbabwe.”) in Bulawayo Zimbabwe.  Now Tina and CYA are also collecting books for a fantastic new project. Milne Bay Mobile Libraries, PNG. This has included the creation of a library in Kokoda, to help students learn and practice English. If you would like to read more about the development of these projects on CYA’s news page or can assist in way with donations, please click here.

How cool to see my books reaching such far away, exotic places. How cool that so many authors, publishers, couriers and organisations are contributing to give and get books into the hands of readers. Makes me want to stow away with them!

CYA Conference for the WIN!

CYA logo by Bec Timmis

A thrilling week for me!

On Friday I flew to Brisbane for the 2011 CYA Conference. I’d heard so much about this conference over the past few years and have been keen to go, then this year I had a huge added incentive.

Back in June, I entered my YA novel manuscript Jumping Through Hoops into the CYA published authors competition. Not in the hope of winning, (who am I fooling, of course, I hoped to win) but because part of the prize offered a publisher critique and feedback to shortlistees via marking sheets. Also, I have to admit, I had a further motive. It’s been a little quiet in the achievement line of late. Writing a long-length novel has taken all my time and, in the interim, I’ve had no new books come out for the past eighteen-months. I determined to fill the gap in my C.V. for 2011 by entering the comp in the hope of a short-listing.

I was delighted a few weeks ago to learn my story had been shortlisted. Decision time. To go to Brisbane or not. Then I saw CYA offered not only pitch sessions to publishers, but the opportunity to pitch to a literary agent. Done deal.

I’m thrilled to say that Jumping Through Hoops won the published author section and, despite my shaky hands, I loved being there to collect my award.

These are the kind of opportunities emerging writers need to keep us writing through the drought times, or should I more kindly say, the quiet times. Entering competitions, submitting short stories or articles, give us hope, deadlines and dates to look forward to. And, if we’re successful, writing credits, validation and acknowledgement. Something like the CYA award, and attending conferences, also puts our names in front of publishers and gives us the wonderful opportunity to mix and mingle and meet our peers.

I had a fantastic time. It was wonderful to catch up with some real and online writing buddies and meet some lovely new ones. As well as attending all the wonderful author sessions and a brilliant Brian Falkner workshop. I look forward to letting you know if, and when, I have any good news to share coming out of the win or attending CYA.

It’s times like this when I can roll up my Certificate and swat those swarming self-doubts. (Of course, only figuratively. My award is far too precious for that.)

Special thanks to Tina Marie Clarke and Ally Howard for organising the wonderful CYA Conference and offering writers and illustrators the fabulous opportunity to put themselves and their work in front of publishers face-to-face. Absolute gold!

Post Navigation