30 September 2014

A NEW Shout Out - for Novels

We haven't stopped searching for picture books so you should keep them coming in. (We have turned up four so far that while they need more work do look promising). Meanwhile we are looking for novels.


Novels suitable for the 9 to 11-year-old market around 25,000 to 35,000 words and with strong plot and characterisation. We don't have a preference for boy-centered or girl centered works, just fabulous stories. When authors ask me what I want I tend to say 'Give me something as poignant as The Bridge To Terabithia or as funny as Hating Alison Ashley.

I have been reading a lot of novels lately and not just the ones that turn up at the office.  An adult story I read last week stayed with me for its beautiful language and its odd and confronting plot. It's not a new story (The Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks in case you are wondering) but its historical setting and its re-imagined take on that was so entertaining I read it in a couple of days. I like historical novels when they don't stray too far from the truth and when the characters feel alive. If I could I'd have an historical novel full of drama and adventure that would suit both boys and girls. But then again I love stories based in the here and now. What I see too much of are novels that have no real point. Stories where the plot is so fantastic it makes no sense or where the family is unbelievable; usually these stories have characters I just don't invest in at all.  And there lies the key to a novel that really works - start with a character you love.  From there springs the voice, the plot and the resolution.

So come on, everyone. Spread the word. Get those fingers flying over the keyboard.

Send me a blockbuster ...

And in case you're wondering why there is a rather random picture of a croissant here - it's because it's a prize-winning croissant!  Royal Adelaide Show 2014 - feature country, France. I have another life and it involves baking  which may be my next occupation I think; teaching the wonders of cooking with yeast.

15 September 2014

The Art of the Picture Book

After a shout-out for picture book texts we did indeed receive over 1000 texts from hopeful picture book writers all over the world.  Now that should make us happy - because our usual success rate is one in a thousand.  But this time the statistics have failed us.  The manuscripts are still coming in, and although there were some really lovely ideas and a handful that we wrote back to congratulating them on their very original idea, not one was publishable.  We haven't given up hope however.

It might be useful to listen in to the podcast of a session I did at Adelaide Writers' Week this year  (Sunday 2 March) on The Art of the Picture Book, with Tohby Riddle and Nick Bland. You can find it here.  These two very successful men both write and illustrate and neither of them had a straight line to success.

Now if you think (as some do) that you cannot send more than one text to Omnibus in a month, this is incorrect. We are happy to receive your work any time.

And we are still looking for that winning picture book.


September for the Littlies

Following her CBCA Early Childhood Book of the Year win in 2013, Emma Allen is back this month with a new book called Grandma, the Baby and Me with wonderful illustrator Hannah Sommerville. A new baby in the house is always a challenge for an older sibling and that's when grandmothers can save the day.

I think this is my favourite spread from the book – I've been there!

And another one for the babies, a new edition of My Possum Magic Baby Book is out this month. Always the go-to baby shower gift, don't you think?

03 September 2014

Indigenous Literacy Day

During the month of September the Readings Foundation is directing all donations to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, an organisation supporting literacy in remote Aboriginal communities. So here's a plan: buy an Omnibus book with a bush theme from Readings today and while you're there make a direct donation to the cause. It's a win all around!