Friday, December 18, 2020

Helping you find your way through the tall-hedged maze...

 Well colour me blush. I talked about some of the reasons why your book might not get to be published overseas and lo and behold I have had news over the past week of some overseas deals for a couple of my books. Unsurprisingly I am happy to feel awkward about this turn of events. While I am not sure I can share all of my news, I am thrilled to say Sharing with Wolf, published by Scholastic NZ, and illustrated by Nikki Slade Robinson, will be heading off to Italy. Being published in Europe is a first for me and I am looking forward to the adventure. I guess the bottom line on my previous post was that overseas publication is not a given. If it doesn't happen to you, you are in good company with other good people and other good books. And then when you least expect it, it may happen after all. Honestly, I'm as surprised as the rest of you.

Usually, as we approach Christmas, I do a stocktake of the year that's been, but this year has been like no other. A big bunch of things I signed up for never happened. A bunch of other things still went ahead via zoom, or with masks, hand sanitizer and social distancing. We all became anxious about our wifi dropping out at crucial moments, and the habit of frequently touching our own faces that we never knew we had. And lockdown was the weirdest time of all, full of challenges we'd never had to contemplate before. It hasn't been all bad. I've had books accepted, an award shortlisting and now I can add the latest overseas developments to my 2020 good things. And I'm not alone - I've been hearing some very bright spots of good news across the children's writing community. Maybe because through it all we've been reading as much as we can. Its been fantastic to see books bring other people much needed joy and comfort. In times like these, books are even more essential than usual. 

Next year is slowly beginning to take shape. I have some gigs lined up in March, April, June and August. I'll be teaching my Writing Children's Picture Books course again at Selwyn Community Education, and in 2021 I'll also be taking a half day workshop there on Writing Short Stories. Woohoo! I really enjoy sharing tips, tools, and techniques with you and I'm really looking forward to doing it again next year :-) I have everything crossed that things go ahead way more often in 2021 than they did in 2020.

And I have books coming out. A few days ago I received an advance copy of Moon and Sun illustrated by Malene Laugesen and published by Upstart Press, which launches in February. Squuueeeeeeee!!

And in 2021 I'd really like to provide more blog content that helps you build your craft, find your way through the tall-hedged maze that is getting and staying published, and develop ways to manage everything from the admin of writing and books, to surviving rejections and successes (however, I beg of you, do not ask me about commas). So, to that end, if you have a burning question, or an issue that you can't quite resolve, or topics you'd really like me to tackle (even if I've covered them before), please let me know in the comment section here, or via facebook or twitter.

Possible topics include:

1) What your plot cannot live without.

2) Top qualities of successful picture books deconstructed

3) Imagining the pictures when you can't 'picture' to save yourself (i.e. making sure your story will work as a picture book)

4) The publishers secret handshake

5) The grammar you can't avoid

I will try and address all of these in 2021, but let me know if there are any you are particularly interested in. And if I don't know the answer I will go in search of the person who does. 

Wishing you a safe and happy festive season, and perfect weather for the summer break (with occasional rain cos we really need it in Auckland). See you in 2021...


Kiwikiwi said...

Have a lovely holiday season Melinda.
Not sure about topics for next year but I do enjoy reading your blog posts it gives me some hope and enthusiasm.
Do you have anything planned for Wellington?

Melinda Szymanik said...

Hi Kiwikiwi - I'm so glad to hear you enjoy the blog! I don't currently have anything planned for Wellington, but this has come up before and if there is sufficient interest and I can manage to organise something I will definitely be blogging about it.

All the best for the festive season - wishing you a safe and happy holiday.
cheers, Melinda