Big or small, festivals are a great way for writers and illustrators to connect with each other and industry professionals. Imagine meeting an agent who would offer to represent you just as I did.
Most capital cities host a Writers’ Festival each year. Then there’s the smaller, yet still significant, festivals held in country towns and those organised in specific council areas.
Many that I have attended offer opportunities to:
• hear authors and/or illustrators talk about their work
• share your passion with like-minded individuals
• pitch your current WIP to a publisher (often at an extra cost)
• gather ideas and grow your awareness of current publishing trends.
Writers’ Week in Adelaide puts my head in a spin every year. I’d pitch a tent and stay for seven days if it were allowed. But by far the best festival I’ve attended is the Salisbury Writers’ Festival held in August each year. In 2014, I attended for the first time with a similar level of excitement that a child shows for the ice cream van. Anxiety almost got the better of me in 2015 but I managed to make it through a five-minute pitch and gain representation. And this year I was invited to speak.
Attend a festival and you will certainly mix and mingle with established authors and illustrators. Be mindful that everyone in attendance will want to speak with the industry ‘experts’. Have the confidence to introduce yourself, speak for a minute or two and be on your way. Congratulations! You’ve begun to build your brand and reputation.
Buy a ticket, shed your track pants and attend a festival – I might see you there.