Category Archives: Publishing

Australian Children’s Book Publishers Currently Accepting Unsolicited Mss @ Feb 2015


Aust Publishers Accepting Unsolicited Mss @ Feb 2015

So you’ve written your children’s story. You’ve polished it until it shines and now comes the daunting task of looking for a publisher.

I’ve tried to take the sting out of this step by scouring the internet to find a list of Australian Children’s Book Publishers currently accepting unsolicited manuscripts. Now what do I mean by unsolicited manuscripts (or mss for short)? If a publisher solicits a manuscript what that means is that they approach you and ask you to send it to them. An unsolicited manuscript is one that they haven’t specifically asked for.

There are lots of websites out there with lists and lists of publishers however when you sit down and start clicking through you find that links are broken or wrong, that trade publishers are mixed up with vanity publishers or that they only accept manuscripts from agents. It’s a time consuming job and we all know that time is money.

Inside this PDF is a list, in alphabetical order of 18 Australian Publishers of Children’s Books who are actively looking for your mss. The list comes complete with a short summary of what is being sought and a direct (non-broken) link to their guidelines page. For the small price of $5.00 this compilation will save you much frustration and more importantly, time. Time much better spent writing a new story.

So if you wish to purchase this little gem – look to your right, scroll down a bit and find the PayPal button link in the margin. If you’d prefer not to pay with PayPal you can email me – for my bank details.

Best of luck and happy hunting 🙂



Every week in PASS IT ON I hunt down an inspirational quote. Last week I included a quote by Harriett Beecher Stowe who wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.

Earlier that day, so last Monday (25th June) I received my copy of The School Magazine (Orbit) that contained a poem of mine called The Crows.

This poem had been accepted for publication five years ago, and while I hadn’t forgotten about it completely, it certainly wasn’t something that was on my mind and so came as a lovely suprise when it finally did arrive, rekindling that spark that I felt was beginning to fade. I think this is why I chose that particular quote because it really resonated with me and helped me to remember why I write in the first place, because I love playing with words, I love their sounds, their shapes, their ability to stir up emotions, their musicality, their beauty and their power.

As you know, earlier this year I received a Maurice Saxby Mentorship. I received this mentorship for one reason only – I applied for one. If I hadn’t applied I would have had no chance at all. I read another quote the other day, not sure who said it but it went something like…

To increase your success rate you must double your failure rate.

This is something that I think I had forgotten until quite recently. Appying for the mentorship was the first challenge I’d set myself in a long time. I’d been resting on my laurels, content with past successes yet knowing that I needed to take the next step if I was ever to realize my dream.

Another quote that comes to mind…

Nothing succeeds like success.

Which brings me to why I have written this post titled NEVER GIVE UP.

On Tuesday 26th June, I received a phone call. THE phone call. The one that we writers all dream of receiving one day. The one that takes your breath away, that puts jelly in your legs and tears in your eyes. The one that makes you so, so glad that you never gave up. THAT phone call.

And now I can call myself author!

So if any of you reading this have found yourself feeling less than enthusiastic about the direction in which your writing is going – step outside your comfort zone, do something different, something new, something scary. Allow yourself to feel vulnerable, allow yourself to fail but whatever you do… DON’T EVER, EVER, EVER GIVE UP!!

What will you find in this week’s PASS IT ON?


A wonderful illustration by Kimberly Moon as well as profile where she shares her illustrating secrets.

Many new special events including book launches, writing festivals, author and illustrator talks.

Seven new opportunities for children’s writers and illustrators.

A spooky writing competition is also listed as well as few tips from the Book Trailers session held by Tristan Bancks who appeared at the recent CYA conference in Brisbane.

There are book reviews, useful blogs and websites and also the link to an interview with me at the Kids Book Review site. Here’s the link if you’d like to read it…

Once again I’d like to thank everyone who contributed this week and I’d also like to post that I am on the hunt for children’s book illustrators to profile. If you’re looking for exposure PIO is the place to hang out. Many Australian children’s book publishers subscribe to PIO and your illustration is the first thing they see on a Monday morning. Please do get in touch or pass on this call to any illustrators that you know.

And if you don’t yet subscribe to PIO, at $38/per year (80 cents/week) – it’s got to be the best valued newsletter around.

What are you waiting for?


Tania McCartney’s Blog Tour continues….


Today as promised Tania McCartney, author of the Riley series is visiting my blog. She will be sharing her self-publishing journey with us so sit back and enjoy…

There is a review of the book at the end of Tania’s story and a competition giving you the chance to win a copy of the book.

Riley and the Grumpy Wombat Blog Tour

Riley and the Grumpy Wombat

My Self-Publishing Journey

Thursday 8 September

Pass It On

I’ve always written. One of my greatest treasures is my Grade 3 English book with the puppy dog sticker on the front – and a jumble of fantastical stories and glittery stickers inside. The bigger and more glittery your sticker, the better your work – and I still feel the thump of my eight-year-old heart when I run my hand over a particular sticker of some kids riding a 1960s ferris wheel, bespangled with glitz and covering a full half-page.

Hang literary awards – that sticker is one of my greatest literary achievements, ever.

Since my grade-three tales, I’ve spent many years writing in many genre. In 1995 I had my first book published with Hodder Headline (You Name It, a non-fiction adult book) and over the decades have had countless magazine and online articles published, but it was only since having kids that my attention turned to the children’s book genre.

I have a wee bit of an obsession with kids’ books, truth be told. I love the pictures. I love the stories that colour in our kids’ brains like an activity book and a box full of crayons. I love fun children’s books, traditional ones, magical ones, educational and just plain nonsense ones. I even love the smell of them.

But what a dream to actually publish your own children’s picture book. What a dream to see the contents of your head down on paper; flickable. What a dream to entrance and inspire children in any way, shape or form. But how to make this dream a reality?

I’ve received enough publisher rejection slips to pâpier maché the Outback. There’s been a lot of despair, frustration and tears shed in this writer’s lifetime, trust me, but forging ahead despite setbacks is relatively ‘easy’ because I love to write. I need to write.

In 2005, whilst on post in China with my family, I finally found myself in a position to write full time – and in 2008, I finished penning a picture book called Riley and the Sleeping Dragon: A journey around Beijing. I was tempted to send it to Australian publishers but after spending many years watching time slide away – with naught but “we’re considering, we’ll get back to you in 8-12 weeks” slips in the mail, I decided to do something out of the ordinary – I decided to publish myself.

The self-publishing process, at first glance, is most certainly overwhelming. Now that I have four successful self-published books in the bag, the single most frequent question I hear is “but how did you do it?”.

I must admit, when I first passed thought to self-publishing Riley and the Sleeping Dragon, my head was swamped with an enormous ocean and there was that original, ambitious thought, bobbing in the centre of that ocean – a teensy speck amongst the galloping waves.

Where to start? Who what when where how?

So, I took small steps. I’ve written and edited countless articles and manuscripts and I have to say there is not much more valuable than the opinion of someone you respect. I asked some brutally honest people to read my manuscript and the feedback was good.

Shortly afterwards, I took it to the most important critics of all – the kids. The test audience reaction was also excellent. So far, so good.

Next was researching the target market. I needed to understand who the book was for (the English-speaking expat community in China was my initial focus, with Australian children a target for when I returned home), and what ages and what genre the book fell into. Because the project was so large and I was doing it on my own, my main focus was penetrating the expat community in China, and as a well-known family matters columnist and features editor for several English language magazines, I was fortunate to have a high level of exposure and marketing aid, not only in Beijing but other major Chinese cities.

I also needed to seek a niche. As a multi-media book combining scenic photos, graphics, photos of objects and cartoon illustrations, I knew the layout of the book was unusual. I also knew the travelogue style was unique and therefore felt confident it would attract attention in an oversaturated market. I honestly feel that seeking a solid niche is vital for new books to stand out.

Gathering the basics to actually publish the book was very straight forward. I easily sourced ISBNs, barcodes and the info required for my Cataloguing in Publication Entry data. All done by email.

Whilst waiting for these things to arrive, I sourced an illustrator online. I used a Canadian whose work was good but whose time management skills and demands sent me into a flying panic close to book launch time. Finding the right illustrator is absolutely crucial – not only for their talent and style, but for the author/illustrator relationship. I later found a new artist for subsequent books in the Riley series – and Canberra-based Kieron Pratt is an author’s dream (plus, he just happens to make me laugh hysterically on a regular basis).

Once I began working the manuscript into picture form, I found I needed to buy new software (Adobe Illustrator) in order to create print-ready files. Learning how to implement and use this software was vital, and I’m still learning how to use it effectively, four books later.

Whilst working on the book files, I began researching how to list my books with Nielsen Book Data and Global Books in Print, and began contacting both the media and literature organisations such as the Children’s Book Council of Australia, various state writing centres, the Australian School Library Association and others.

During this time, I located a reliable printer (in Beijing). Shopping around for the right one is crucial – and for my second and third Riley books, I sourced a fantastic Australian printer whose prices were highly competitive, without compromising quality.

I was very nervous about bringing Riley and the Sleeping Dragon home to Australia. I spent countless hours researching and implementing how to get my book into the mainstream market here, and was enormously grateful to be taken on by a major book distributor – Dennis Jones & Associates – who now carry all four of my self-published books.

Since releasing Riley and the Dancing Lion: A journey around Hong Kong (2009) and Riley and the Curious Koala: A journey around Sydney (2010), I’ve tirelessly promoted all three of my Riley books at countless schools, libraries, clubs and events – not to mention online. This is vital for self-publishers and it really is full time work.

I began constructing teachers’ notes for my books, and wrote teaching modules on book writing and publishing, to be presented with book readings at schools. I even implemented a successful Writer in Residence programme at a Canberra school that mimicked the production of the book.

I was and still am ceaseless in my efforts to promote my beloved travelogue series. It’s been incredibly hard work, but I’ve always been driven by an insatiable desire to create educational, enchanting and beautiful books for children. When Paul Collins expressed the desire to take on Book Four in the series (Riley and the Grumpy Wombat: A journey around Melbourne), I wondered if perhaps my self-publishing journey was coming to an end.

Letting go of creating, producing and publishing my own books is a bittersweet thought. I’ve loved every moment and have taken great pride in this intense and incredibly overwhelming journey, but I also know if I want to write more books, I need the time (and energy!) to write them. Having Ford Street take on Grumpy Wombat not only takes my work to a whole other level, it affords me greater time to write – and I’m already working on Book Five which will be set in Canberra and involves a very jumpy kangaroo.

Whether you are a published author or a hopeful newbie, the prime consideration in any publishing journey is to be prepared to work tirelessly and passionately to implement the birth of your work. Whether it’s via the traditional publishing route or the self-publishing slog, the dream is possible. Just don’t wake me up.

To see all of Tania’s self-published and published books, see


Book Review

Riley and the Grumpy Wombat: A Journey around Melbourne

Tania McCartney, illustrations by Kieron Pratt, A$22.95, hardcover

Riley and the Grumpy Wombat

Riley and the Grumpy Wombat – A journey around Melbourne was such fun to read being a Melbourne girl. And Riley is such a cute character. Beginning his adventure making mud pies (I loved making mud pies) in his Nanny’s garden, the helpful soul is determined to find out why the resident, fleeing wombat is so grumpy.

Aboard his red plane Riley and co. fly around Melbourne searching for the grumpy wombat.

The book then continues with Riley’s red plane superimposed onto gorgeous black and white photographs of Melbourne and Victoria.

The Great Ocean Road

I was particularly fond of this one as I made the sea change about 12 years ago and adore having this view in my back yard.

Children will thoroughly enjoy gliding around in Riley’s red plane discovering the Victorian treasures not realising that they are absorbing a geography lesson as they do so.

And of course the book ends happily with Riley finding the wombat back in Nanny’s backyard, not grumpy in her burrow but lazing in the lap of luxury, in a brand new mud villa!

Too funny 🙂

Short Author Bio

Tania McCartney is an author, editor, publisher and founder of well-respected children’s literature site, Kids Book Review. She is an experienced speaker, magazine and web writer, photographer and marshmallow gobbler. She is the author of the popular Riley the Little Aviator series of travelogue picture books, and is both published and self-published in children’s fiction and adult non-fiction. Tania lives in Canberra with a husband, two kidlets and a mountain of books.

Win a copy of…

Riley and the Grumpy Wombat

Riley has discovered a wombat in his nanny’s garden. But why is this furry creature so grumpy? Join Riley and his friends from books one, two and three, as they zoom around the stunning sights of Melbourne in search of a wombat that simply needs a place to call home.

Featuring gorgeous black and white photos of Melbourne and surrounds, Riley and the Grumpy Wombat combines photos, illustrations, adorable characters, humour and an adventuresome storyline in a travelogue-style book that showcases Melbourne at its very best.

What do you need to do?

In the comments section…


Write a short poem or limerick about your favourite Melbourne spot.


My favourite will win a copy of Tania’s book, the 4th in the Riley the little Aviator series.


Good luck!

And thank you Tania for sharing your incredibly inspiring journey.


Inside this week’s issue of PASS IT ON


Christina Bollenbach

In this week’s PIO we profile illustrator Christina Bollenbach as she showcases an illustration from her picture book A Monster for Lukas.

We highlight the 2012 National Year of Reading ‘soft launch’ at Bialik College, in Melbourne with patron William McInnes,  Reading Ambassadors Alison Lester and Hazel Edwards.

We list 14 special events of interest to children’s writers and illustrators including festivals, books launches, blog tours and talks.

We include a writing opportunity for educational authors, two competitions and a number of workshops.

Dee White writes on whether or not to go to conferences and author Tania McCartney is profiled.

We include 5 new book reviews and list some very useful blogs and websites.

Tomorrow Tania McCartney will be visiting this blog as part of her Riley and the Grumpy Wombat Blog Tour where she will be discussing her self publishing journey.

I will also include a review of her book along with a chance for you to receive a free copy of Riley and the Grumpy Wombat: A journey around Melbourne.

Once again I’d like to thank everyone who contributed industry news to this week’s PIO and if you are not yet a subscriber and would like to see a copy of this week’s issue please do get in touch. At 75cents/week you can’t afford to be without it.

See you tomorrow 🙂

In this week’s PASS IT ON – issue 350


Patrick Hawkins


In this week’s PIO we profile illustrator Patrick Hawkins.

We discover what another Australian publisher of Children’s books does and does not expect from unsolicited ms submissions.

We profile author Aleesah Darlison.

We list upcoming events, book launches, competitions and much, much more.

Not yet a subscriber?

Email me jackiehosking [@] bigpond [dot]. com and I’ll send you copy of a recent issue.

In this week’s PASS IT ON – issue 349…


Fiona Sinclair



…we thank Fiona Sinclair for sharing her methods with us.

We find out the Pet Peeves of three more Publishers of Australian Children’s Books.

We read book reviews by Deb Abela and me, Jackie Hosking.

We find out about a publisher who is accepting unsolicited mss.

And we find out a little more about Catherine McCredie, a senior editor in the Books for Children and Young Adults department at Penguin Books.

Once again PIO is jammed packed full of useful and interesting information – all related to the children’s book industry.

If you do not yet subscribe and you are curious to see what it’s all about, drop me a line and I’ll send you out a complimentary issue.

Thanks to everyone who contributed this week and I’ll see you all next Monday 🙂



PASS IT ON – issue 348


Adele K Thomas


In this week’s PIO we find out about cartoonist and illustrator Adele Thomas. Thank you Adele.

We discover the Pet Peeves of three Australian publishers of children’s books.

We learn about Jackie French’s new book Nanberry, published by HarperCollins.

And Felicity Pulman shares some more of her writing tips as well as an article ‘A Walking Meditation’.

We learn when and where to find workshops just for children’s writers and subscribers share their good news.

Thank you once again to everyone who has contributed something this week. I hope you’ve found this issue enjoyable and helpful.

If you do not yet subscribe to PASS IT ON – just drop me a line and I’ll send you out a recent, complimentary copy.

See you next Monday 🙂


In this week’s PASS IT ON


Jennifer Bowman


We discover the illustration style of Jennifer Bowman and find out what NOT to send to Hardie Grant Egmont.

Authors Felicity Pulman and Dee White share some of their writing tips and Deb Abela reviews three new children’s books.

We list new competitions for aspiring children’s writers and profile Author Christopher Milne, one of the authors appearing on a panel chaired by yours truly,  at this year’s Ballarat Writers Festival.

Not yet a PIO subscriber?

Contact me jackiehosking @ bipond .  com for your complimentary copy of this week’s issue.

In this week’s PASS IT ON


Illustration by Karen Erasmus



Subscribers will notice that I’ve revamped the e-zine giving it a crisper, cleaner feel.

This week’s ‘Illustrator of the Week’ is Karen Erasmus, thank you Karen.

A new segment, ‘Publishers’ Pet Peeves‘ gives some insight into what NOT to do when submitting your manuscript.

Thank you to everyone who contributed industry news this week. PIO was chock-a-bloc full of writing and illustrating opportunities, competitions, workshops, useful books, blogs, websites and much more.

If you would like to see a copy of this week’s e-zine just drop me a line and I’ll get one right to you.

PASS IT ON is the most up to date children’s writing/illustrating industry newsletter – at 70 cents/week it’s an absolute bargain.