When I first starting worming my way into the kidlit world, all everyone was talking about was SCBWI. First of all I thought they were just sneezing but I soon realised it was the acronym for some fabulous kids writer and illustrator group. I resisted the temptation to point out that despite everyone pronouncing it SQUIB-EE, the letters actually made SCIB-WEE and decided instead to join and see what all the fuss was about.
One of my first meetings was about school visits, presented by Deb Abela, Sue Whiting, Susanne Gervay, Sarah Davis and Jodie Wells-Slowgrove. They were crazy, fun, hilarious, ridiculously informative and so generous with sharing their years of experience. I laughed, I cried (mostly from laughing) and I knew one thing for sure – I’d found my people.
I attended every SCBWI event I could after that and formed a community of gorgeous authors and illustrators around me. There’s a beautiful sense of aspiring writer friends and colleagues who are in the same boat as you balanced with mentor-like kidlit Yodas, happy to share their wisdom and advice. And at SCBWI there is no gaping ravine between the two.
After a couple of years of attempting to crack the industry, I was lucky enough to get an agent and that was mind-blowingly quickly followed by a two book deal with Penguin Random House. It all happened so fast, that funnily enough I met my agent for the first time face to face at the SCBWI Sydney Conference earlier this year.
I can’t think of many people who have given me as much support and kindness as my SCBWI family. In particular Susanne Gervay, Sue Whiting and Deb Abela (despite their ridiculous schedules) have never been too busy to offer advice, share some wisdom or even just have a good old chin wag. This kind of support gives us newbies a sense of confidence as we dive deep into the unknown depths of the publishing world.
And so on June 8th I launched my first book-baby SECRETS OF A SCHOOLYARD MILLIONAIRE out into the wide world, surrounded by my SCBWI peeps. Incredibly it has been made Dymocks Kids Book Of The Month, QBD Kids Book Of The Month, has already gone into its third print run and has sold two language translation rights.
My publishing journey has been quite the whirlwind but it all started with someone sneezing on me…or as it turned out, suggesting I join SCBWI J