The Secret Seven Picture Book essentials

katrina-portrait-1-regularfilesize4Last month, I was lucky enough to attend a picture book master-class with author Katrina Germein at the CYA conference. Katrina is one of those beautiful people who makes an instant connection and makes you secretly hope she’ll be your new best friend 😉

Seriously, she was so generous with her tips and so humble about her success that I came away feeling inspired and refreshed on my PB journey.

And because, as I’m revising my own PBs in progress, I keep trying to remember her pearls of wisdom, I thought I’d record them here.

Katrina’s top seven tips for picture books are:

  1. A swift orientation – the who, where and why. Drop the reader straight into the story. Set the scene and create intrigue. We looked at some great examples, including:

He was red                                                                               red

But he wasn’t very good at it.

Red by Michael Hall.





My uncle’s donkeyDonkey

is allowed in the house!

My Uncle’s Donkey by Tohby Riddle





The girl had lost her way.Lost

The Lost Girl by Ambelin Kwaymullina




2. Use evocative language which is concise and poetic

Continue reading

How to be a Hooker!

Well, hello perverts!

Sorry to disappoint, this is a post for authors about exciting beginnings and endings. And don’t blame me for the provocative heading – it was fellow children’s author Meredith Costain’s title for her talk at the Children’s and Young Adult writer’s conference.

Here's Meredith with some furry companions

Here’s Meredith with some furry companions

And yes, you can probably tell by the multiple posts that I got a huge amount out of the conference and am also assisting my pea-sized memory by recording it all here. But I digress.

How to be a hooker? Did you realise that it’s almost as important to have catchy chapter endings as it is beginnings. Continue reading

Paul Collins top 10 marketing tips

Want to know how to market your book (or anything else for that matter)? Then writer and publisher Paul Collins is your man. And a self-made man at that. Paul is the author of more than 140 books, publisher at Ford Street and runs his own speakers agency CreativeNet. At the Children’s and Young Adult (CYA) writer’s conference he shared his secrets to success.paul19

  1. Create a Media Release or Author Information Sheet – this can be sent out with review copies of your book and be ready for download on your author website. For a small fee you can access databases to schools Australia-wide via
  2.  Parallel marketing – think outside the square and write a piece that might be published in a magazine that’s related to your topic. Eg. If you’ve got a picture book out on dogs, send a quirky article to Dog’s Life. For lists of newspapers go to Also try articles on process, etc for Reading Time and Magpies.
  3. Hold a Blog Tour – this helps out other authors looking to fill blog posts and spreads the word on social media.
  4. Make Merchandise – bookmarks, printed on one side only so you can autograph the back, are always a hit with kids and hang around a lot longer than an autograph on a bit of paper. Other useful merchandise can be postcards, fridge magnets and banners. Personally, I’ve found vistaprint very good for postcards and banners.
  5. Ask a Speaker’s Agency to represent you.
  6.  Approach Groups where you might speak – Probus, Lions Club, Rotary, etc are always looking for guest speakers – this might be about your road to publication or the subject matter of your book if it is on relevant topic; mental illness for example. (Just on the public speaking aspect; if this is something that turns you to jelly, Paul recommends ToastMasters to help conquer your fear).
  7. Keep a database of people who buy your books and let them know when you have a new publication.
  8. Individually invite all your FB friends to your book events – according to Paul, although this is tedious, it has far better results than a universal invitation posted on Facebook.
  9. Enter your book in awards.
  10. Create a book trailer and have it on your website.

I think that’s pretty comprehensive but any other tips would be most welcome in comments 🙂