CYA Conference 2015
by Georgie Donaghey
With more electricity than an outback thunderstorm and more action than an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, the 2015 CYA Conference was opened by CYA matriarch, Tina Marie Clark.
Celebrating the 10th Anniversary 160 delegates packed into the auditorium of the Southbank Institute of Technology to network, be inspired and absorb as much information as possible.
The announcement of the CYA Competition winners had many on the edge of their seats. The judging publishers presented winners who had made the rewarding journey with their certificates. Smiles, photos and rapturous applause helped fuel the winner's determination to plough through the rejections and secure that contract.
It was then onto the CYA Success Stories panel where my butterflies kicked into overdrive. Jennifer Loakes talked about her debut picture book with Windy Hollows, Mate and Me. Illustrator Helene Magisson delighted the audience with her story of how her first publishing contract with New Frontier Publishing came to be. Then it was my turn. Gulp! I nervously took my place at the lectern. I wanted to give the audience an insight into my overall journey to publication and not just what happens once you sign the contract. I have always found it beneficial hearing how people got there, what paths they took along the way. Was there anything they did to help get them to publication? My four minutes flew by and judging by the people who came to thank me throughout the day my content had helped them.
Tina presented the CYA Success Stories past and present with a commemorative gold pin to celebrate the 10th Anniversary.
(photo by Peter Allert) Angela Sunde, Aleesah Darlison, Ben Long, Jennifer Loakes, Helene Magisson, Georgie Donaghey, Dimity Powell, Peter Allert, Karen Tyrrell, Tina Clark, Dee White and Kaz Delaney .
It was time to get the sessions underway. The First Page with panellists, Alex Adsett (Alex Adsett Publishing), Jacinta di Mase (Jacinta di Mase Management), Rochelle Manners (Wombat Books), Paul Collins (Ford Street Publishing) and Karen Tayleur (Five Mile Press).
Ally Howard read first-page submissions to the panellists who gave tips, suggestions and feedback on what they liked, what was needed or how to further build on that first page.
Tweet - The First Page panel dissecting first pages of manuscripts. Don't be too wordy allow illustrators to compliment your words. #CYA2015
Kaz Delaney was inspiring the audience next door with her session, Ditch the Control Briefs! Holding Your Story Together Without Pain.
Paul Collins took over from the panellists with his session, Marketing Your Book. Authors enjoying various stages of their writing journey were provided with valuable insights and learnt secrets established authors have spent years learning. The importance of networking with local groups and grabbing every opportunity to promote your book, was a key component of Paul’s advice.
Tweet - Enter awards such as IBBY, CBCA, Premier's, Speech Pathology, etc.#CYA2015
Tweet - Fine tune your public speaking skills. Look up Toastmasters. With a little work, you'll be able to speak to packed rooms. #CYA2015
Attendees were left scratching their heads with How to be a Hooker next on the program. Were we at the right conference? Meredith Costain jumped right into her talk about creating hooks that keep readers turning pages. Ahhh! Every type of story hook was covered a few tips in the following tweets:
Tweet - The action hook - put your reader right in the middle of the action from the start. Meredith Costain
Tweet - Write with a voice that is captivating and different. Meredith Costain#CYA2015
Tweet - The dialogue hook needs to be razor sharp and have some bearing where the story is going and not waffle. Meredith Costain #CYA2015
Tweet - Hooker tips. Who, what, where, when and Why. Give your reader a brief glimpse of what is to come. #CYA2015 Meredith Costain
Ben Long’s informative session on Self-Publishing Picture Books began with Ben reciting some of his tongue-twisting rhymes followed by the ins and outs of self-publishing. This was a great session! Everything you needed to know about the self-publishing path was covered, from ISBN’s, crowd funding, agreements between author and illustrator from marketing to royalties.
Tweet - Ben Long - tongue twisting rhymes read without missing a beat.
Tweet - Self Publishing Picture Books - Don't be overwhelmed it's a piece of cake.
Upstairs in the pitch room, aspiring authors were eagerly waiting for their 30-minute opportunity to get up close and personal with their chosen publishing professional. These sessions are rewarding for authors to learn what is hot, what publishers are looking for and how close they are to achieving their dream.
Over in the Art Room, Sarah Davis had her students warming up their pencils in her master class, Character Design. Beautiful creations filled the pages, and Sarah’s words helped guide budding artists.
Social Media and Blogging with Jacqui Honeywood completed an energetic morning. Facts and stats on building your online name online, building a brand, SEO, best times to promote etc.
Morning Tea, Lunch and Afternoon Tea are ideal environments to network, make new friends, discuss your latest WIP and peruse the book table for that next great read.
To top off a wonderful conference experience, delegates again took their seats in the main auditorium to experience the teachings and wisdom of Morris Gleitzman. Three hours is never enough when faced with one as reputable as Morris. He entertained us with stories about the Happiest Girl in the World which happened to have a wicked twist. He gave tips on showing not telling and the tools to building a memorable story.
Tweet - Rogue nipples, shootings, PJ's, contraception, total happiness and Morris Gleitzman An interesting masterclass at #CYA2015
Tweet - Build the tension on your characters problem. Morris Gleitzman #CYA2015
Tweet - Share emotions with your readers. Morris Gleitzman #CYA2015
Tweet - Leave no stone unturned in solving the problem and create every possible obstacle in preventing that solution. Morris Gleitzman #CYA2015
A true professional, Morris interacted with admirers during the break, chatting and signing books and at the conclusion of his session; he answered questions from the audience.
We had been left inspired by presenters from the conference, many excited by the possibilities for their own creative futures. But ultimately all good things must come to an end and for another year it was time to bid farewell to CYA.
Thanks to Tina, Sam, Ally and the team for a wonderful Anniversary Conference. www.cyaconference.com
With my head swimming with information and tips, new friendships made and old ones revisited, it was time to say goodbye to Queensland for another year. With my official tweeting responsibilities finished, I took my shiny gold badge and headed back home to Sydney.
C U in 2016.
- Character Design
- Character Design
- CYA Success Stories
- Georgie and Dee White
- Georgie and Paul Collins
- Morris Gleitzman