Monday, 23 January 2012

SCBWI Editors Night!

Yes, January 17th was Editor's night at S.C.B.W.I and like many other desperate authors I was there to hear the pearls of wisdom.
The Society of Children's book writers and illustrators for those of you who don't know is a fantastic organisation I joined a year ago. They run many events like this where members can meet the great and good of the publishing world.

The Editor's attending the event were ;

Barry Cunningham from Chicken House
Emily Lamm from Gullane
Lauren Buckland from Randon House
Ruth Knowles from Andersen Press
Stephanie Stansbie from Little Tiger Press

Emily and Stephanie specialise in picture books and were very keen to find books with humour, animals (but not dogs or bears!) and something that can appeal to a worldwide market.

Lauren was interested in thrillers, fantasy and science fiction but is keen to find humour for the eight to twelve market.

Ruth who normally works at Random House is covering maternity leave at Andersen says they have a much smaller list but a more personal touch.

Barry told us that Chicken House published around twenty to twenty five new titles a year, about eight or nine of those would be from a new author. They are the independent arm of Scholastic and have good success publishing across the world.

While they are all keen to find new voices none of them take unsolicited submissions so finding an agent is still key. Apparently though if you do send in something it will be read but it could take a long long time. None of them appreciate being hassled for a response so be prepared to be patient.

All the editors said that when sending in a submission letter we should mention membership of SCBWI as they are well regarded as an organisation and they will know we are serious about what we are doing.

It was all together an excellent night and I bravely managed to talk to a couple of editors as well as meet up with some fellow scoobie's.
Much gratitude to those who organised it and to all the editors for giving up their time.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Confessions of a bookaholic

Yes, I've decided to start the new year with a confession. My hope is that others who may suffer from the same affliction will find strength in knowing they are not alone.

Hello, my name is Lorraine and I'm a bookaholic.

The problem began as a child. We didn't have money to buy books so my mum took us to the library every week. I believe the trauma of having to constantly return stories that I loved has been a contributing factor to my problem.

As I grew older I started to buy second hand books with my pocket money and started a small collection. Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr Fox was one of my first and then Judy Blume's Tiger Eyes a few years later. Perusing the shelves of charity shops for bargains became a habit for me, in fact it grew harder and harder to pass by and not at least check what they had...

When I started work I began buying some new books and my collection grew. Adding books to the shelves and knowing I could read my favourite stories whenever I wanted filled me with pleasure. I started to lose whole saturdays in bookshops, holding them, touching them, smelling them...

The problem got worse when I moved in with my husband and had a whole house to fill. My new bookshelves grew fat and full as more and more books were read and added. Soon the shelves were full so I bought more but then they were filled and books began to pile up next to the shelves, on windowsills, by the bed...

Books were taking over the house. Some of them were my very favourites and read repeatedly but others had never and would never be returned to but that didn't seem to matter. I wanted more, I craved more, I needed more. Where could I put them? Could I put more shelves up? Could I get rid of other things? The dining table perhaps? The sofa? Or what about those toys my son has, surely he can't need all of them??!

Finally realising I had a problem as piles of books began to appear all over the house at the same time as large sums of money were disappearing from my account I saw only one solution.

Now I go to the library every week, I can spend hours browsing, holidng, touching even sniffing (surreptitiously of course) the books and leave with a big pile that costs me nothing. I can even order specific titles online and go and pick them up when they're ready. And occasionally as a treat I can buy myself a book that I really will read over and over.

I still love books. I will always love books and I will never understand how people can prefer to touch a plastic gadget instead of the soft and supple pages of a real life book but I believe I have managed to overcome the worst and most dangerous side of this addiction.

I must admit though that top of my list if I ever win the lottery is my very own private library with enough shelf space to last for years, a comfy windowseat where I can read and a big desk where I can write...