Monday, August 29, 2011

The first step on the road to publication...join up...

Storylines Family Days. I have attended two in the past ten days. One running the Kiwiwrite4kidz desk in Wellington on Sunday 21st and another in Auckland Sunday 28th. They are full on days. Even though most of the time is spent sitting, you must keep your wits about you chatting with children who might be readers or writers or both, and adults, who might be parents, teachers, librarians, readers or writers or any mixture of the aforementioned. Its a busy time.

On both weekends the people wanted to know who we were (authors and/or illustrators) ,what our books were about and what age they might be suitable for, whether they could take away the activity sheets, where they could buy the books and if they were writers, how one went about the business of getting published. Sitting at those desks reminded me of one very important thing if you want to be a writer. The first step I took when I decided to take the writing bull by the horns was I joined Storylines ( )and I started going to their annual AGM/Margaret Mahy Day. I met other writers, published and unpublished. I met teachers and librarians passionate about children's literature. I heard about the Storylines writing competitions and I started entering. I got shortlisted and I met competition winners, one of whom had recently become part of a brand new group of NZ writers called Kiwiwrite4kidz ( ). I joined that too. I went to workshops and joined a local Kiwiwrite4kidz critique group and made some very close writing friends that have changed my writing life in brilliant ways. And now I go along to Storylines family days as a Kiwiwrite4kidz member. If you are published this is where you get to meet your readers, old and new. If you are yet to be published, this is where you meet other writers, both published and unpublished. This is where you feel inspired and motivated to write and discover through the hordes of children and their parents that books and stories still matter. That there is hope. And where you might hear, "...this is the person who wrote this book...Yes really..." and the child's eyes widen, or maybe even "you wrote this book? I love this book..." This is where you get to hang out with kindred spirits who feel the same way you do about writing and stories and the pleasure of reading. Sigh.... If you don't already belong, and you are serious about books for children and/or writing, go sign up now. If you want to get published, these are the best ways to get started on the journey. They have made a big difference to me and to many of my writery friends. I remember one of my first years on the Kiwiwrite4kidz table at the Storylines family day in Auckland when we had maybe six or seven published books by members on the table...this year we had over 30 (and that didn't include those first 6 or 7). Next year will be even bigger. Okay folks, that is all. My job here today is done.

and btw they are reading my book here -

1 comment:

Room 4 said...

Hi Melinda,

Room 4 (Year 4 and 5) are sitting in their classroom on Friday afternoon. Not everyone is here, because some people are ski racing and some poor people are sick.

Anyway, we have been putting some of our stories that were inspired by your story, onto our blog. Then we decided to search for a contact address for you and we found that you already know we have been reading your book! Our name is on your blog - we can see it projected onto our whiteboard!
Everyone is very excited

Please check out our blog again, so you can read 4 of our best stories.

Your book was read to our whole Junior school to start our Book Week last week!

From Room 4 and Mrs Nelson

p.s. Hi Melinda - Mrs Nelson is of course Sandy Nelson who you have met at Spinning Tales and Spinning Gold, you have probably worked that out!

p.p.s. Seth is a great boy in my class. He said 'Do you know that they are going to change the name of Wellington to Wellywood?'

Please write back to us on our blog Melinda. We have trouble saying your last name. How should we be saying it?

Bye for now.