Writers' Festivals - a Taste Sensation by Georgie Donaghey

One thing I look forward to each year is the announcement of writers' festivals around the country. I'm like a big kid in a candy store working out which ones I want to sample next. The seduction of speakers I've not yet encountered tempting my creative taste buds. Which festival offers speakers more suited to where I am on my creative journey? Which festivals offer the best value for money? 

Although travel costs can be high, especially if having to travel interstate I look upon it as an investment. No matter what profession you choose, there is always some level of financial commitment. After all, there is only so much you can achieve from your keyboard. You need to get out there and sample what's on offer.

The immeasurable benefits that go with attending festivals – hearing speakers you would only dream of, networking, getting those all important questions answered, having an opportunity to pitch your stories to industry professionals and if your nerves allow booking that nail-biting manuscript assessment.
Many of the initiatives I've introduced to Creative Kids Tales have been born from festivals I've attended. From talking with people and hearing what they crave to providing the answers that elude many. 

My opportunity with Kinderling Kids Radio blossomed from a brief chat at a festival. I was then able to extend that opportunity to members via the competition we ran last year.

It has always been a goal of mine to offer members and friends of Creative Kids Tales a writers' festival. And it was the things that I look for in a festival that I wanted attendees to be able to look enjoy. 

Upon chatting with one of my members earlier this year, I expressed my desire to hold a festival, although I hadn't planned on hosting one so soon. What I did want was to hold a get together to celebrate the success of our 2017 CKT Story Collection. An email was sent to members, and it was clear from the responses something bigger was needed. I put together a Facebook poll which only confirmed it. The response was unanimous a celebration with all the bells and whistles had won the vote. It was clear a festival was the only way to go. The question was could I pull it all together?

Attendees would have to receive value for money. Many festivals and conferences are overpriced making it hard for people to attend. I crunched numbers, sourced suitable locations, crunched more numbers and invited those who have supported CKT from day one. I wanted speakers who I knew could gift attendees their knowledge and experience. Speakers that had inspired me over the years.

On Saturday 17 March from 9.30 – 4.30pm attendees will have the opportunity to hear from respected industry professionals Susanne Gervay, Sue Whiting, Sarah Davis, Tristan Bancks and Wai Chim. Members also wanted me to share some of my secrets, so I too will present a session on A Beginner's Roadmap to the Children's Writing Industry.

Here are some of the other topics we'll cover:

How to give your manuscript the best chance of a contract?
What happens once your manuscript hits a publisher's desk?
What are publishers looking for?
The marriage between author and illustrator to produce a successful picture book.
Rejection – Why it isn't a bad thing.
How to write a successful series.
Writing about what you know.
Making a difference with your stories.
Marketing yourself and your work. And more.

I also wanted to offer Manuscript Assessments again at affordable prices.

I'm looking forward to sharing with attendees some of the things I have learned from festivals. I hope my session, A Beginner's Roadmap to the Children's Writing Industry will inspire you. I'm excited for you knowing the delightful stories and inspiration you will hear from our presenters. It truly will be a magical experience in your creative journey.
Paving the Writing Path by Emma Cameron
KOALA 2017 by Georgie Donaghey.

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Sunday, 20 September 2020

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