At KidLitVic Meet the Publishers, we’re making the final arrangements for our conference on 25th May, 2019. From all over Australia, publishers, agents, editors, writers and illustrators will converge at the Melbourne Town Hall for a packed day of publisher panels, illustration showcase, pitches, assessments and up, close and personal sessions.
From a tiny idea that Melbourne, especially as a City of Literature, needed a conference for creators of children’s and YA literature, we are now one of the biggest conferences for creators in Australia. The support of the Australian publishing industry has been amazing and humbling.
One of the impetuses for the conference was to give attendees the chance to hear from the publishers themselves what they are seeking and how to improve their work. KidLitVic has a policy that you do not need to present a finished work to the publishers, giving attendees an opportunity to improve their work and learn the craft. The publishers do just that, by providing honest and invaluable feedback.
Sometimes it’s hard to deal with expectations when you are having an assessment. If the publisher doesn’t flourish a contract immediately, does this mean that you’re a failure and they hate you? Of course not. The chances of being offered a contract immediately are as likely as me climbing Mt Everest! (My ears pop when I go in a lift)I believe that an assessee will gain much more if they go into an assessment with the headset of what can I learn and what can I improve. And who knows, it could be the start of a long-time relationship with a publishing professional. You may not have exactly what they want, but they like your writing style and want to see future work. Gold!
This opportunity for feedback from industry professionals is priceless! It worries me that many assessment services are springing up in the Australian literary community. Some are fabulous and offer amazing feedback. Unfortunately, some are started up with the best of intentions but the knowledge and experience isn’t there and people are spending hundreds of dollars on manuscript assessments that will not help them hone their craft nor give them wise advice on where to go next.
Having an assessment or giving a pitch is an act of courage. No matter how well you write, not everybody is going to like your work. It doesn’t mean your work is bad, but it’s just not the cup of tea that the publisher craves. The taste of chai is revolting for me and even the most well-made chai in the world won’t make me change my mind.
So if you are fortunate enough to have got a hot little ticket to KidLitVic Meet the Publishers 2019, know that any feedback you receive comes from a place of experience, wisdom and an eye on the market.