Tag Archives: agency

Rashmi Sirdeshpande’s Tips for Picture Books

BSvKfVSh_400x400

Rashmi Sirdeshpande is a picture book author, writing both fiction and non-fiction texts, and is our partnering author for picture books for the #DACBaccess month. Here are her thoughts on why the open month is important, and her very best tips for picture book writers and illustrators.

 

A note about the open submissions month 

 

The agency is ALWAYS open to writers and illustrators of ALL backgrounds and they actively seek them out too (I can vouch for that bit!). But this is a shout-from-the-rooftops kind of initiative to make the whole process feel more accessible to underrepresented groups. Sort of a “yes, I mean YOU”. Before I was selected for Penguin Random House’s WriteNow programme, I didn’t think children’s publishing was really open to writers like me. WriteNow was my “yes, I mean YOU” moment. I hope this can be yours! 

 

Rashmi’s top tips for new picture book writers and illustrators 

 

1. READ! Oh my goodness, if you do nothing else, READ, READ, and READ! Pull apart picture books you love to really understand what works. Get a feel for the language, the page turns, how the words and pictures work together. If you’re a writer, you need to leave space for the illustrator to work their magic. Leave out anything that can be expressed visually. By reading lots, you’ll get a sense for how this is done. There are also some brilliant blogs out there with lots of guidance like SCBWI’s Words and Pictures, Notes from the Slushpile, and the Picture Book Den!  

 

2. WRITE/ILLUSTRATE LOTS and if you do, call yourself a WRITER or ILLUSTRATOR (drop the “aspiring”!). It sounds like a tiny thing but it’ll make a big difference to how you see yourself and your work. We all have other commitments so don’t beat yourself up if you have a slow patch but you know what works for you – get that practice in. Writing/illustrating is a learned craft. Don’t let anyone scare you with the idea that you either got it or you ain’t. If you ain’t got it, you can go and get it. The more you do, the better you get. 

 

3. DON’T WORRY ABOUT TRENDS or if someone is doing something similar. If you’re a writer, write the story YOU want to write. If you’re an illustrator, work in the style or styles that speak to you. Publishing takes AGES and by the time your book is on submission or even on the shelves, everything will have changed. Be yourself. Tangent: if you’re looking for an agent, find someone who really gets you, someone who can back your entire career. I’m lucky to have found that here at The Darley Anderson Children’s Book Agency. 

 

4. SEEK OUT HELP. Surround yourself with writers and illustrators you look up to and with people who love and believe in you and your writing. When Imposter’s Syndrome strikes (and it will!), go back to those people. Find mentors who can bring out the best in you. Find other writers on similar journeys – look for them in groups like the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). Join a critique group (online versions work too!) – it’s a great way of getting fresh eyes on your work but ALSO, reviewing and commenting on someone else’s work will fine-tune your own skills. Win, win. Just make sure you work with people on the same page as you. Fit is everything. 

 

5. BE PATIENT. Publishing takes time. Pictures books can take two years to publish even after they’re acquired by a publisher. A lot depends on book fairs and illustrator availability but also what else is on the publisher’s list. So many factors out of your control. The one thing you can control is this: keep working on your craft. It’s not a race and it’s not a competition. Well, OK, it’s business but there really is enough pie for everyone. Keep writing and illustrating, and keep believing in yourself. Somewhere, somehow, when the time is right and the stars are aligned, it WILL happen for you. And when it does, be prepared to keep LOTS of secrets. Publishing is full of them! 

 

Can’t wait to see what you come up with! Good luck! 

Agency Newsletter: January

Hello!

Although a little later than usual, this is the first agency newsletter of the new year!

A slightly different format going forward, I know that the viewer on phones isn’t always compatible with software we use to upload the file. Underneath the file, you will find all the copy from the newsletter. Then you can run home, turn on your computer and see the finished product in gorgeous technicolour!

Have a lovely week.

Kristina

January:

Martina Cole: Nielsen|Specsavers Bestseller Awards

Click Here

Tana French continues to triumph

The sixth novel in the Dublin Murder Squad series, The Trespasser, continues  captivate audiences around the world.

It went straight in at No.2 in Germany and later held the No.1 spot for two weeks on the Spiegel chart.

Tana has also been longlisted for the CWA Dagger in the Library 2017. The Dagger in the Library is one of the most prestigious crime writing awards in the UK and previous winners include Alexander McCall Smith and Elly Griffiths.

Lee Child in New Zealand

Jack Reacher continues to conquer the bestseller charts all around the world.

Night School was New Zealand’s  top selling international title in 2016 beating The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins and Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.

New Zealand was the first country where Lee achieved success and went to No 1. This was many years ago, long before his success in either the UK or the US.

It would be fair to say that New Zealand discovered Lee first.

Defender is a hardback bestseller

The startlingly imaginative début novel from G.X. Todd went straight on to the UK bestsellers hardback list at No.25.

Defender has received outstanding reviews, impressing both Lee Child and John Connolly. It has been chosen as one of the best sci-fi, horror and fantasy releases of the year so far by the Guardian.

Eric Brown of the Guardian said, ’Defender is lifted way above other novels in the over-subscribed post-apocalyptic subgenre by Todd’s sympathetic characterisation and superb pacing.’

Lies is a bestseller

Lies, the manically twisting debut from T.M. Logan, shot up the eboook bestseller charts soon after its release.

It rose to No.3 on iBooks UK chart and No.11 on the Kindle UK paid chart.

The paperback it published 4th May.

Congratulations T.M. Logan!

B.A. Paris wins Gold Award

The début phenomenon of 2016, Behind Closed Doors, was awarded the Gold award Nielsen | Specsavers Bestseller Awards for sales of  500,000 copies. B.A. Paris was the only début fiction author to win a Gold award. 7 other DA Agency titles won Gold: 4 were by Martina Cole and 3 were by Lee Child novels