The Gauteng region of the SCBWI had a meeting on 12 July at Brescia House School. The hostess and school librarian, Sharon Rogers, gave some background information about the school. All the participants were most impressed with the library and the school’s facilities. It was a really convenient venue for travellers from the north as well as the south.
The meeting was chaired by
While non-fiction pays his salary,
Some tips from
- Write each day. You have to prove that you have written a book. You can’t just say that you want to be a writer.
- Initially you may have to accept a range of writing projects. Later you can choose what you want and do not want to write.
- Be thorough in your research.
- Negotiate the contract with the publisher.
- Check your contract with the publisher. Delete clauses with which you disagree.
- Tell the publisher if you think that you need more time than what is allocated. Explain that you can do the work but it may not be up to standard if you’re not given enough time.
- Calculate how many words you write a month. This will help you to indicate how long you need to complete a project.
- Meet every deadline.
- Remember that you have a reputation to maintain. Check the manuscript and the cover before the book is published.
- Ask the publisher to have your manuscript reviewed by an expert if the content needs to be checked.
- Write non-fiction to get published. This may lead you into having your fiction titles published.
- Try to work with an illustrator whose work you admire.
- A book isn’t a book until it is published. Contracts mean nothing.
- Ask for an upfront payment. Payment of this shows the publisher’s commitment.
- Draw on your own experiences when you’re writing. These help to make descriptions authentic.
- Phone publishers up and make appointments to see them. Show them the work you have done. Promote yourself.
Some tips from
- Join a good critique group.
- Adapt real experiences and include them in fictional writing.
- Remember that fiction is not a memoir of your own life.
- Put boys and girls into stories to cater for both genders.
- Use strong girl models.
Agueda wrote her first book Gombi in Fairyland for her daughter, drawing on a lifelong dream that she and her brother shared as children. Firstly, she approached a number of South African publishers before going overseas. Agueda was not prepared to give up her dream of publishing a children’s book. In addition to writing the story, she carried out market research, put the book onto a storyboard, found her own illustrator, composed and recorded lyrics for the book.
Agueda spoke about Passion, Perseverance and Self-actualisation. She mentioned how necessary it was to receive encouragement and support from a friend. Based on this, she made a promise to pen Gombi in Fairyland. Agueda has already planned the next books in the Gombi series - all dealing with various aspects of Emotional Intelligence in children, e.g. bullying, sibling rivalry, the value of believing in yourself etc. The messages conveyed in her books carry a universal theme and are introduced through the non-threatening and lovable character, Gombi.
Some tips from Agueda include:
- Ask friends to read your story to their children and listen to their feedback.
- Children need emotional well-being and stories that address this assist them in coping with everyday life pressures.
- Try overseas publishers.
- Believe in yourself and NEVER give up on your dream.
Agueda with Sharon Rogers, librarian at Brescia House School