Children’s authors and illustrator to reveal publishing secrets

Shed Talk - Kaye Baillie.JPEG

Internationally-published children’s author Kaye Baillie has never forgotten two wise pieces of advice received when she was starting out.

When Kaye enrolled for a Diploma in Professional Writing and Editing, a tutor advised her that immersing herself in the industry would be a key to help getting published.

Years later an established author shared the advice: Be persistent and never give up.

Decades on, with a string of published works, prestigious awards and short-listings bearing testimony to her talent and commitment Kaye still holds those wisdoms close, and shares them with aspiring and emerging authors.

“There is a lot involved in finding the right home for your story. Despite how hard it can be, continue to learn the craft, immerse yourself in the industry and never give up,” she says.

“It means you are learning all the time. When I would feel like giving up I would think about those words and think, well that’s what I’ve got to do.”

Kaye will join award-winning author Stef Gemmill and award-winning illustrator Luisa Gioffre-Suzuki sharing these and many other insights at Surf Coast Shire Council’s next free Shed Talk, looking at the topic Secrets to getting published in the children’s book industry.

Presented in relaxed studio, workshop and clubroom settings, Shed Talks offer professional development, learning and networking opportunities for artists and other creatives.

During the 22 June event at Torquay’s The Light Box creative hub, Kaye, Stef and Luisa will reflect on how they started in the children’s book industry, and paths aspiring and emerging authors and illustrators might take to achieve their goals.

They will shed light on industry secrets including the art of pitching stories or portfolios, what publishers are looking for, how to get work in front of publishers, and the pros and cons of having an agent. Council Arts Support Officer and award-winning illustrator and author Michelle Conn will lead the discussion.

“Each panellist has experienced the high of getting that magical first publication acceptance, but as we share our experiences people will learn what to avoid and how to give their stories the best possible chance,” Kaye says.

Cr Kate Gazzard encouraged writers and illustrators to grasp the chance to absorb some tips from inside the industry.

“Our Shed Talks provide such a warm, relaxed forum for sharing ideas and information. Who knows, this event could be professionally life-changing for an aspiring author or illustrator out there,” Cr Gazzard said.

Stef Gemmill is an international award-winning children’s picture book and fiction author.

Her debut picture book A Home For Luna won the 2020 Rubery Book Award. Drawing from her background as a teacher, music journalist and technical writer, she embraces complex concepts and issues with her writing in a unique style which places the reader in the shoes of the main character.

Luisa Gioffre-Suzuki is a professional illustrator, artist and teacher who creates colourful imagery in a variety of media including inks, watercolour, acrylic, pastel, pen and pencil.

After having lived for more than a decade in Japan, her style has developed with influences from vibrant Japanese culture, underpinned by her fine art training and love of colour.

Kaye Baillie writes fiction and non-fiction children’s picture books published in Australia and internationally and has received many industry accolades.

Her book Mizuto And The Wind was named a Notable Picture Book in this year’s Children’s Book Council of Australia Book Awards, and in 2022 When The Waterhole Dries Up was short-listed in the Children’s Book Council of Australia awards.

Kaye says the best way to immerse in the industry is to join supportive groups, subscribe to helpful e-zines and magazines, attend conferences and take courses.

“Conferences are an incredible opportunity to meet other people who are striving for the same thing as you, and also you get a chance to meet editors and agents,” she says.

“Online webinars can come with submission opportunities, and there are some great online courses where experienced tutors will guide you as you develop your style and piece of work.

“Immerse yourself and never give up.”

Find constructive advice and inspiration at the Shed Talk:

Secrets to getting published in the children’s book industry

Saturday 22 June, 10am-12.30pm

The Light Box 2 / 7-9 Cylinders Drive, Torquay

Catering is provided. The event is free but places are limited and bookings essential via

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