My story is complete. What now?

Firstly, congratulations! Give yourself a big pat on the back. You have achieved what many say they will do, but once they get started and realise it's not as easy as they first thought, they give up.

Now that the easy part is over, yes that's right, the easy part is writing your story. The work really begins with trying to get your work published.

How many times have you edited your work? Successful authors go over and over their stories before submitting. Often they will have edited and reworked their manuscript 3, 4, 5 and even more times before sending it off. Just because you've had work published before doesn't guarantee you will be published again. You've heard the saying 'you are only as good as your last book'. It's true.

Research your market thoroughly. Look up publishers' websites and study their submission guidelines. It is very very important to adhere to their guidelines before submitting any piece of work.

It's extremely hard to get published, but not unachievable if your work is quality. The market is extremely competitive and when you realise that publishers only publish a handful of books each year, that can be discouraging. But don't let that stop you.

Read books, websites, in fact any information you can get your hands on about publishing and presenting your work. When your work is before a publisher it should be polished, professional and your best effort.

Choosing a Publisher.

The possibilities are endless and that's just in Australia. I always have a copy of The Australian Writers' Marketplace on my desk. I refer to it as my bible. There is also an American version – 2012 Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market. I'm sure there is one for every country. Jump online and do some research.

The AWM is a great reference guide. Be sure to check that the contact details of your intended publisher are still correct. Even though great care is taken when producing this book, contact details can change. This guide lists all kinds of Australian Publishers. eg. magazines, journals, children's, adults and newspapers.

Some publishers only open their doors to unsolicited manuscripts at certain times of the year. You will need to check individual publisher's websites for more information.

Ready to submit.

In our 'Tips 1' page we touched on the subject of joining groups, attending festivals and enrolling in courses. Some festivals and writing centres also offer 30 minute manuscript assessment sessions. This allows you to sit one on one with someone from the industry and get valuable feedback. Some published authors have been discovered this way. You might make some useful industry contacts by simply attending a local writers' festival.

As we have stressed again and again you must adhere to the publishers' guidelines. Failure to do so could result in your submission being disregarded. Here are some layout guidelines:

Single sided on white A4 paper.
Double spacing (in between lines) with paragraphs indented.
'Times New Roman' or 'Arial' font in 12 point.
3cm margins all around your page.
Don't staple or bind your manuscript. Use a fold back clip or place loose sheets in a plastic sleeve or wallet style folder.
If you are submitting a picture book text, don't include illustrations. If you are successful, publishers will have their own illustrator in mind.
Never send your original work; make copies. Most publishers will only send you a response letter. If you would like your manuscript returned, ensure you enclose a return envelope with sufficient postage.

Each publisher is different but some publishers would prefer you send a few chapters of your manuscript with a short synopsis. If they like what they see they will contact you for your complete manuscript. Don't forget to include a cover letter.

This letter should be brief with all your contact details listed. eg. Name, phone numbers, address, email and fax if you have one. You should also use this letter to sell yourself although don't make it a 'War and Peace' novel. If you have any writing experience or qualifications in this field, include that in your letter. If you've won any literary competitions, had something published or won awards include that as well. Also include the genre your manuscript is for, as well as the intended age bracket.

Have a look at publishers' websites. Some are now accepting part submissions online.

Before you submit, ensure your grammar, spelling and punctuation are correct. Publishers do not have time to edit your submissions. Correct formatting can mean the difference between being read and being overlooked. Professional editors can assist you with your manuscript. Agents or established authors can provide recommendations to help you climb the slush pile.

The Institute of Professional Editors Limited (IPED) has a state by state guide of editors. Australian Literary Agent's Association (ALAA) is the place to contact for an agent.

In days gone by, you submitted your work to one publisher at a time but when the wait for a reply is so long, it's unrealistic to do that. Try and not submit your manuscript to ten publishers at once. I know you're pretty sure you've written the great Australian novel and you want everyone to read it ...NOW! Take your time, submit to maybe 2 or 3 at a time and be sure to tell them in your cover letter that you have submitted to other publishers too.

Waiting, waiting, waiting.

Get used to it! Publishers are very busy people who receive thousands of submissions every week. Generally the timeframe on which you will hear back from a publisher is three to six months. But sometimes the wait is even longer. It's not advisable to call them every week to find out where your manuscript is sitting in the pile.

The rejection letter.

You can almost hear the sinister 'dum, dum, dum', sound when the words 'rejection letter' is mentioned. You will receive them and lots of them.

The odds of being accepted on your first submission aren't high. Not impossible, but rare, sorry. Being realistic will help you to remain focussed and passionate.

I'm sure you've heard how many times JK Rowling was rejected before a little publisher gave her a break. Well lots of successful authors have similar stories. The key to your success is perseverance.

If you are lucky you might receive personalised feedback with some encouraging words. These responses, whilst not exactly what you wanted, should be treated as gold. All publishers are extremely busy people so if they have taken the time to address you personally, take that as encouragement.

In an attempt to minimise the amount of rejections you receive, ensure that you research the publisher first. Make sure your manuscript complies with the publisher's requirements. Most publishers state very clearly which genres they do NOT publish. Visit your local library and browse through books of a similar style to yours. See who published them and when. Ensure that they are still around and their contact details are correct before submitting to them.

Research the publisher on line and have a look at their recently released list. For example, if you have written a story about a wombat who likes to have tea parties with his forest friends and the publisher you were thinking of approaching has just released a similar story, they won't want another the same. Try their competitors instead. Your local Writers' Centre will be able to give you more advice on how to get published.

The best advice is to fill a niche that's not already been exhausted. Don't just write for what's popular now. Publishers print lists are at least twelve months ahead of what's currently on the shelf. They are always on the lookout for a new voice, a new perspective. Go ahead and dazzle them!

Just because you have been rejected by a publisher, there is nothing to say once you've reworked your manuscript that they wouldn't read it again. In fact, you may have even made an impression on them the first time you submitted to them.

Good luck!

"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great."
- Mark Twain

  • 'Creative Kids Tales has inspired, encouraged and supported not only the published, but also us hopefuls still learning the ways of the publishing world. Thanks for providing not only an amazing site to scroll and learn through, but also providing friendship and a real sense of chasing our dreams.' -

    Kelly McDonald
  • 'It's easy to feel alone when writing, and clueless about what happens next. Creative Kids Tales offers answers and community - invaluable resources.'


    Claire Saxby

  • 'Creative Kids Tales will jump-start adults seeking to become writers!' -

    Jeff Kinney
  • "Whether just starting out or with many books under your belt, Creative Kids Tales is the perfect place to go for all things writerly. Sharing the inner world is a wonderful thing for solitary writers, and it's all there on Georgie's website.
    Happy reading!" -

    Anna Fienberg
  • 'Creative Kids Tales contributes a wonderful sense of community to the Australian kids’ book scene, from sharing insightful interviews, to writing competitions and now a conference. It’s a great organisation to follow online and be a part of!'


    One More Page podcast

  • 'Emerging from one's chrysalis of anonymity into the prodigious world of creative children's writing and publishing is a daunting prospect. Georgie Donaghey's Creative Kids Tales is a superlative source of inspiration and information for the bourgeoning writer and illustrator. She has created an invaluable platform from which writers, both developing and established, can view, promote and share each other's work, and most importantly aspirations. A fun, friendly, and informative forum that everyone in the kids' lit industry can benefit from.' Keep it up Georgie! -

    Dimity Powell
  • 'Creative Kids Tales offers new writers the joy of publication on their journey of craft and creativity.'
    'It’s a warm and wonderful home.'

    Susanne Gervay
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is great. You can pick the brains of people who make stuff without having to stalk them or do anything illegal.' -

    Aaron Blabey
  • 'Thanks for having me on Creative Kids Tales. It's a great resource for emerging writers and illustrators and I hope it will have a long future.'

    Sally Rippin
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is a great forum for people who spend most of their working time alone. It is interesting and inspiring to see and hear what other authors and illustrators have to say.' -

    Lucy Cousins
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is a brilliant resource – for established writers and those just starting out. I wish it had been around when I was a new writer. There are lots of invaluable tips and great advice.
    Congratulations Georgie – it’s fabulous.' -

    Jacqueline Harvey
  • 'This is a great website. Nowadays, when getting published is so hard and staying published not much easier, everyone needs all the help they can get. And here's Help with a capital H!' 'Go Georgie! Creative Kids Tales is an inspiration for all writers of children's and YA fiction.' -

    Richard Harland
  • 'Georgie Donaghey’s Creative Kids Tales is deservedly going gangbusters! What a wonderful forum and multi-storeyed resource for shiny new authors, legends of the industry and every writer in between!'

    DC Green
  • 'This site is such a wonderful resource for writers and illustrators at every stage of the journey. I've learned more about some of my favourite people in children's literature here, but also had the joy of discovering whole new worlds of talent.' -

    Anna Branford
  • 'Creative Kids Tales provides such a valuable service. Writing can be a lonely business at times, and seeking publication can be daunting. So it is especially wonderful for writers to be able to access such a comprehensive site where information, experiences and the ups and downs of writing for kids can be shared.' Well done, Georgie! -

    Sue Whiting
  • 'I stumbled on to Creative Kids Tales by accident. I thought it was kid's tails. I'd been doing some research about goats and how their tails were actually a fifth leg, a very long time ago. Or did I just dream that? In any case, I was bitterly disappointed at first to find not tails, but tales. However, while I was at the site I had a wander around, and soon discovered that it was even better than a goat's site - no kidding! This is a brilliant haven for writers, new and not so new; a place to showcase their work and to learn from others.' Well done, Georgie. You've done a fantastic job. -

    Bill Condon
  • 'Buckets of thanks to Georgie for creating Creative Kids Tales. There’s a wealth of wonderful information and resources for everyone interested in creating books for kids – and a warm sense of community.'

    Meredith Costain
  • 'Creative Kids Tales deserves all its accolades. Thanks to its creator, the site provides brilliant support, inspiration and encouragement for anyone who loves creating children's books. I have no hesitation in passing on your link.'
    Well done, Georgie! -

    Sheryl Gwyther
  • 'I would have loved to have had access to when I was starting out! It's an invaluable source of information, inspiration and encouragement for both emerging (and fully-emerged!) writers.' -

    Andy Griffiths
  • 'What can I say? Well if you have clicked this far and uncovered these words you KNOW that this (Creative Kids Tales) is a terrific resource full of ideas and connections.
    SO dig deeper and get connected!' -

    Christopher Cheng
  • 'Congratulations on a brilliant site, and a superb first year!'.
    Jackie French is Australian Children's Laureate for 2014 – 2015

    Jackie French
  • 'If a website can be described as 'homely' or 'a friendly place for emerging writers to visit' then that's how I would describe Creative Kids Tales. It's probably the only Australian website for children's writers that I visit regularly and actually feel part of. When I need motivation, interesting writers to read about, or just a peek at my own 'baby steps' towards being a published writer, I visit the Creative Kids Tales family.' A big thank you to Georgie and Rod for a great website. -

    (Pat) Patricia Simmons
  • 'Wow! What a wonderful resource.
    Congrats to everyone involved with Creative Kids Tales.'

    George Ivanoff
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is a unique and valuable online resource for new and established authors. The site provides a wealth of information and insight into the children's writing world.' 'Thanks for all your support, Georgie, and keep up the good work.' -

    Aleesah Darlison
  • 'The details available on this site, for emerging writers (or those emerged) is incredibly helpful. From creating stories- plotting, dialogue and character building- to the support writers can seek for their work, be it mentoring or seeking a publisher, it’s all there. An excellent easy-to-access writers’ site!'


    Libby Hathorn

  • 'What a wonderful website Creative Kids Tales is, supporting and helping Australian authors in their quest through the dark thorny forest of the publishing world. Georgie should be congratulated for all her hard work and fearless leadership!' -

    Kate Forsyth
  • 'Once you find an easily-accessible, up-to-date and vibrant source of writing help and encouragement, you should value it and use it! Thanks to Creative Kids Tales, that’s all available, just with the tap of your finger:
    Well done, CKT team!' -

    Janeen Brian
  • 'Creative Kids Tales would’ve been mighty handy to know about back when I was sitting about drawing and writing and having no idea what to do with any of it! Go explore and create knowing you have such an amazing resource at your back!'


    Heath McKenzie

  • 'Congratulations to Georgie Donaghey for her hard work and enthusiasm in setting up a site that has been sorely needed to promote current Australian children's writing. Not just for the established, but for up and coming, Creative Kids Tales showcases talent and provides information essential for anyone in the industry.' -

    Dianne (Di) Bates
  • 'CKT is such a valuable site for anybody wanting to learn a bit more about making children’s books. When time travelling becomes possible, I’ll steal all the info from this site and deliver it to my younger, aspiring self.'


    Peter Carnavas

  • 'Creative Kids Tales is a fantastic resource for aspiring writers that showcases emerging and published authors and illustrators and provides links to publishers' websites, helpful hints and competitions.'

    Rachel Keyes
  • Writing can be a lonely profession. By necessity, you need to work alone much of the time. But it is wonderful to have a website which eases that by connecting creators with each other and with a wealth of information and resources.
    Bravo! -

    Sally Murphy
  • "What a wonderful website and wealth of resources. I wish I’d discovered it sooner - but I can still enjoy it now, and have added it to my list of resources for new writers."
    "Keep it up, Georgie!" -

    Wendy Orr
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is a fabulous community of passionate, hardworking and committed writers. If you're looking for new and exciting talent that's dedicated to the children's book industry - look no further than CKT!'


    Wai Chim

  • 'It's about time that we had something like Creative Kids Tales. It's a treasure trove for information and news, plus it showcases talent from aspiring writers. It's a wonderful springboard for anyone who wants to dive into the Children books world!'
    Keep up the fabtastic work! -

    Oliver Phommavanh
  • 'CKT is informative, relevant, recent and fun! It’s an exceptional resource for anyone involved in children’s literature.'


    Tim Harris

  • 'Having been a publisher and an author and now proprietor of Pinerolo, the Children’s Book Cottage, I am passionate about promoting children’s books. Creative Kids Tales is such a welcome part of this network and I salute them for their support and their inspiration to so many. On their seventh birthday I wish them many, many happy returns.'


    Margaret Hamilton

  • 'What a great site! We all tend to work in isolation in our own little caves. It’s great to see all the other cave dwellers out there and realise we are not alone. What a great resource!'


    Bruce Whatley

  • 'I wish Creative Kids Tales had been around when I was first starting out! What a brilliant way to connect with other authors and find out about the lovely world of kids books.' 'Go Georgie! I think you're amazing.' -

    Deborah Abela
  • 'CKT is a great resource for both established and emerging authors. I like the way you're always coming up with new and exciting initiatives at your site. And I love reading the fascinating journeys and achievements of the writers you profile here.' -

    Dee White
  • 'The long-distance marathon of writing, illustrating and publishing usually begins along a very foggy road, in the dark, shoeless. But wait! What's that light on the horizon? A glowing little cafe, full of a bunch other runners plotting out mud-maps on napkins and exchanging anecdotes, warning about ditches and praising short-cuts. Stop for a while, have a cup of tea, maybe even a shoe-fitting, then get yourself back on the road for the long slog to sunrise.' -

    Shaun Tan
  • 'Creative Kids tales is the perfect place to go for inspiration and to recharge the creative batteries.'


    Frané Lessac

  • Creative Kids Tales offers a brilliant platform for established and emerging creators to keep in touch and learn from each other. That is a great thing for this most isolated of all professions (apart from On-site Antarctic Penguin Imitators). -

    Terry Denton
  • 'Thanks for being such a strong advocate for children’s literature, the power of stories, and reading.
    Keep fighting the good fight and call on me anytime.'

    Tristan Bancks
  • 'CKT is like the friendly and helpful colleague I could have done with when I started out. Back then I didn’t know anyone who was a writer or illustrator of books.'


    Tohby Riddle

  • 'Creative Kids Tales is an awesome resource you should totally check it out.' -

    R.A. Spratt
  • 'What a great asset you are to the children's book industry, Georgie.
    Long may Creative Kids Tales rule!'

    Paul Collins
  • 'If there's anything emerging authors struggle with (beyond the dreaded writer's block), it's receiving recognition or even acknowledgment of their work – battling for a slice of that incredibly elusive publishing pie. Georgie Donaghey has created a priceless promotional and networking station that allows new authors to not only share their work, but gain the courage and nous to take their work to a whole new level. Creative Kids Tales is a valuable addition to Australia's burgeoning children's book market.' -

    Tania McCartney
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is such a great website for navigating this industry – not just for authors and illustrators, but for parents and teachers and librarians and publishers and kids and storytellers of all sorts. It’s awesome!' -

    Jules Faber
  • 'I love the grumpy cat videos, hahaha it's so grumpy ... oh, wait, wrong website. Ah yes, Creative Kids Tales. Brilliant! Getting published is an amazing, frustrating, brilliant, lonely, creative journey, and is awesome in that it helps both published and pre-published authors by providing support, inspiration, a community, and by allowing authors to learn from other authors, and who better is there to learn from .. .except maybe that grumpy cat, hahaha, hilarious.' -

    Adam Wallace
  • 'Everything you need is here, on Creative Kids Tales! Oh, how wonderful this would have been for the young Emma Quay, knowing she loved children’s picture books but not knowing a soul in the industry. Down to earth, comprehensive, friendly, realistic and encouraging advice — this is an invaluable resource. Bravo!' -

    Emma Quay
  • 'Wow! Creative Kids Tales is a fantastic resource for writers, no matter what stage of their writing journey they are at. Congratulations, Georgie, on your attractive, easy-to-navigate website, your generosity to your fellow writers and your constantly evolving ideas. Thanks on behalf of all of us.' -

    Wendy Blaxland
  • 'The thing I like about the Creative Kids Tales website is that the authors come across as real people who face the same problems that beginning writers do and that there’s plenty of practical advice.' -

    Duncan Ball
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is a lovely online meeting space brimming with support and ideas for writers.'


    Katrina Germein

  • 'Creative Kids Tales is a treasure trove of resources and insights, compiled with dedication and enthusiasm. A wonderful resource for anyone who is interested in picture books and children's literature.' -

    Sarah Davis
  • 'Georgie and the team at Creative Kids Tales have a wonderful passion for children’s stories, and this site is a wonderful place to visit to find and share ideas!
    Well done guys!' -

    Nick Falk
  • 'I’m thrilled to be Creative Kids Tales author of the month.' 'I hope in some small way by me taking part, I might help and inspire young authors and artists to follow their own artistic path.' 'The key I believe is to seek to enjoy what you do. Even though doing your best is a constant challenge I find it is a worthwhile one. So, get drawing and / or writing.' Good luck ! -

    Leigh Hobbs
  • What a terrific, enthusiastic, informative and creative resource - of value and interest to so many people.
    I'm delighted to be a part of it.

    Ursula Dubosarsky
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is ambitious, specific and professional - the Top Tips section alone is a must-read for every aspiring children's writer.' -

    Jack Heath
  • 'The Creative Kids Tales site is great fun and full of information about authors and their books!' -

    Isobelle Carmody