Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been in the industry for?
I write picture books, chapter books, novels and series for children from the age of 3 – 14 years. I’ve been published for nine years. My first book was Puggle’s Problem and it was published by Wombat Books. Since then, I’ve had 44 other books released. It’s been a wonderful experience so far.
Describe your typical work desk.
L-shaped to give me plenty of room. Nice and tidy; everything in it’s place. A To-Do List that always has things on it (sigh!), laptop and large screen. I usually have artwork from my kids all around, notes and images from my current writing project and often a writing schedule to ensure I meet deadlines.
What’s your favourite children’s book?
So many too choose from! I’ve always read anything I could get my hands on, even as a kid. Z for Zachariah, Lord of the Flies, A Rag, a Bone and a Hank of Hair, anything by Victor Kelleher, The Once Series by Morris Gleitzman … the list goes on.
How important is it to proof your manuscript before submitting to a publisher? Or should the work speak for itself?
It’s incredibly important. I find that if a manuscript isn’t proofed, polished and well set out, then the work isn’t going to speak for itself. A publisher won’t even look at a story if the document itself doesn’t adhere to minimum professional standards. The story won’t flow and won’t be written well enough because poor layout often shows poor research of the market and an uneducated writer. One tends to flow into the other.
Should authors submit multiple manuscripts or a single manuscript to a publisher at a time?
It depends on the publisher’s guidelines, which should always be followed to the letter. Having said that, life is short, and if you wait months or years for a publisher's response, you might find that life passes you by. With anything, it’s common sense and a sensible medium. Don’t swamp publishers, but don’t be prepared to wait forever before you send your stories elsewhere.
What’s the biggest tip you can give authors hoping to submit to a publisher?
Research the market. Don’t rely on others to do the work for you. It takes time, knowledge and effort to be successful as an author. Also, develop a thick(er) skin. This industry certainly requires resilience, but the rewards are definitely worth it!
Describe your workshop for the Wombat Books Conference.
Being an author is a multi-faceted job, from writing to editing to submitting your manuscript. In this intensive masterclass, I’ll provide an overview of the Australian publishing industry and give invaluable tips for authors. I’ll also work with participants on their manuscripts to target areas for improvement such as structure, voice, language, character, tension, formatting and more. Participants will read their work out for group feedback and if time allows they will receive personalised feedback on their manuscript from me.
You can book your tickets to Aleesah Darlison's masterclass now. Click on the link below for more information.