The new website for the Sutherland Shire Writers' Festival is now up and running. This is a great little grassroots festival that really focuses on the nitty gritty of writing theory for budding authors who want to improve their skills.

There are some great speakers lined up this year and a Pitch Your Manuscript Competition with a $100 prize. Follow the link to find out more.
What a great day at the NSW Writer's Centre yesterday. Some very informative panels and best of all, a chance to catch up with my friends in the writing industry. Here's some inside tips from what the professionals had to say.

* 'Be passionate and put a huge chunk of yourself into your writing.' Di Bates

* 'Follow writers that you truly love. In those books you will discover who you are as a writer.' 
Moya Simons

* If you want to write for children 'Listen to kids and what they like. Read what they read.' 
Belinda Murrell

* 'You can't manufacture inspiration. It comes in a bolt from the blue.' Kate Forsyth

Publishers & Agents
On what publishers are looking for and whether they follow trends.

*  'I acquire books I love. (It's about) the writing, the freshness of the story, the voice. It's how the story is told.' Lisa Berryman - Harper Collins

* It's not about following a trend 'It's about being a trendsetter. It all comes down to the writing. It needs to be something special.' Sue Whiting - Walker Books Australia

* 'Find the stories that do something different with the trend.' Zoe Walton - Random House 

* 'The Picture Book market is the toughest it's ever been. It's highly competitive.' Brian Cook - The Manuscript Agency

Publishers were also interested in the author themselves.

* Market yourself and have a presence on the Internet because 'Everyone gets googled.' Brian Cook

* Publishers ask 'Has this author got more than 1 book. What is the future for this author because you invest a lot in marketing.' Sue Whiting

* It's about 'growing the author.' Lisa Berryman

'So much is about finding the right person, the right publisher for you.' Zoe Walton

Happy writing,