Friday, June 7, 2013

Day Two, Golden Yarns...

I have not posted a picture for a wee while. Here is a taste of the artwork for my picture book due out in the middle of next year. It is beautiful. The illustrator is Dominique Ford. Tis very exciting.

So on with my debrief on Golden Yarns, Conference for Children's Writers and Illustrators in New Zealand. After a fab night out with fellow authors and illustrators, things got under way at 9.30am the next morning with a talk by Kate De Goldi on the subject of her current book project, children's book collector, cataloguer and afficionado Susan Price. This talk was fascinating as Kate described how her perceptions of her subject and her expectations around the project changed as she got to know Susan better. The task seems to grow as time passes and I suspect it will be a seriously compelling read when the book is complete.

After morning tea Maggie Tarver from the NZSA, Sarah Forster from NZ Book Council and author Tessa Duder representing Storylines each outlined the work their organisation did and told us how these services could benefit us and be utilized by us. Maggie took us on a whirlwind tour through her recent efforts with regard to the PLR, ELR, and the resources available on the website. Sarah talked about the writer's in schools programme, speed date the author events, the more than 1000 book reviews available on the Book Council website and the international travel grant. Tessa covered the Storylines Family Days, notable book lists, Storylines tours and the IBBY congress to be hosted in New Zealand in 2016. This was followed up by Kyle Mewburn talking about how NZ children's authors and illustrators can better promote themselves and their books in the current climate, coining the term uppity-ness in the process. He urged folk to be positive and proactive and speak up and out.

Ant Sang and Dylan Horrocks talked graphic novels after lunch. Both outlined the challenges of working in a medium that echoed film work, limiting words to dialogue and stage direction and requiring the artwork to show the action. While this allowed some freedoms it also restricted what was possible in the storytelling. Sang also spoke of his work with Bro' Town on TV and both talked about the graphic novel form in New Zealand.

Two more panels rounded out the day, starting with one on Educational Writing and outlets for this work. Susan Paris spoke about Learning Media, the current changes in the business model for them and their continued interest in NZ content. There was some discussion about the future of the School Journal but much seems still undecided. Maria Gill ran through the educational work she does, taking a positive and proactive approach and taking on all work offered. She said there were many opportunities out there and this could be a good additional source of income. Time had run out and unfortunately Jenny Cooper spoke only briefly about working for Learning Media etc.. as an illustrator.

The finals session looked at e-books and self publishing with Raymond Huber and Adele Broadbent both speaking about their own experiences producing their own books. Raymond discussed ways of using social media to generate interest in his work, while Adele outlined the practical requirements for doing your own print book (ISBNs, cover design, editing, printing) and ways an individual could distribute these to the marketplace and for review. Maggie Tarver then addressed the discrepancy between copyright licensing money collected and money paid out to authors and illustrators and urged members of the audience to register with Copyright Licensing here in NZ to check whether they should be reimbursed for their work being copied. She also recommended checking the Australian site of CAL.

Despite concerns, issues and problems existing within the children's literature industry here in New Zealand I left the conference feeling very positive. To quote a teen movie 'we're all in this together' and the sense of community is strong and mutually supportive. Other industry professionals want to help us. We want to keep writing stories and illustrating them and the urge to do so seems to outweigh everything else. Till 2015 then my friends.

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