While it’s every aspiring writers dream to have a personal introduction to a publisher, their capacity to launch (or not) your career is incredibly daunting. I wondered how it would work. Surely, they wouldn’t get all four of us to meet the publishers at the same time? And if we did, how could one stand out from the others? How do you communicate that “hey, I’m talented and easy to get along with and would love to work with you” in a non-sucky, non-overbearing way?
|Children’s publisher Erica Wagner|
– like Books Illustrated, Allen & Unwin is housed in a non-descript terrace house – this time double-storied in East Melbourne. There was a dog in the reception – another good sign – although I went to the loo when I arrived and there was a strict instruction manual above the toilet roll about the correct way to place it on the spiel. Hmm…
of their latest picture books Jandamarra. The illustrations of the Australian outback were glorious! The story, written by Mark Greenwood, is about an Aboriginal outlaw who, after becoming a police officer of sorts, later freed a mob of Aboriginals and was then tracked down and shot by a cop. We talked about the difficulty of white people writing Aboriginal stories and the negotiations with the community that need to take place.
Amy Thomas and Katrina Lehman. Katrina was very pregnant – in fact it was her last day on the job before going off on maternity leave. I gave Katrina a copy of Ferret on the Loose, joking that she’d have plenty of time to read it while breastfeeding (and then mentally kicking myself!)
So in a nutshell – editors are nice normal people – who knew? And yes, they want great stories, they just don’t quite know what that is until they see it. Ah, there’s the rub!