Jacinta Dimase Literary Agent Melbourne

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Ask an ALAA Agent: Advice for Aspiring Picture Book Authors

June 12, 2015

This article was first published in the May 2015 edition of The Victorian Writer .

For the May edition of Ask an ALAA Agent Jacinta di Mase, Director of Jacinta di Mase Management, has collated some of the ALAA agents’ top tips for emerging picture book authors.

‘Writing a picture book is like writing “War and Peace” in Haiku.’ – Mem Fox.

Mem also offers tips for writers on her website such as:

Remember that a picture book is 32 pages. In printing, the pages are folded in half, then in 4, then in 8, then in 16, then in 32 which is why the 32-page format still exists. Half of those pages are pictures, so try to keep the word-count under 500 and don’t explain anything that will be made obvious in the artwork. When you’re drafting a picture book it’s useful to make your own 32-page mock-book, called ‘a dummy’, by copying all the features of a real picture book like endpapers, the title page, dedication and publishing information page and so on. It also helps to put the text on each page to see how the page-turns pan out. The page-turns are crucial to success.

http://memfox.com/for-writers-hints/

Here are top tips from ALAA Agents:

Brian Cook -The Authors’ Agent:
Read Australian books as widely as possible. You are most likely to get a publishing opportunity in your home market first so read, read and read some more.

• Visit children’s bookshops and look at what is on the shelves. How are the sections broken down and presented? Try to obtain a sense of which Australian publishers are doing what sort of books and how they do them.

• Visit your local library and get to know the Children’s Librarian. Ask them to guide you through Australian lists of the past few years. Make sure you know if you are looking at Australian original publications or those from elsewhere. (There is a difference.)

Jacinta di Mase – Jacinta di Mase Management

Think about the number of pages in a picture book and space the text accordingly. Use the page breaks to create suspense, drama, and emphasis. Read it aloud over and over again before submitting it to agents or publishers to ensure that the story flows and that you’re not trying to “shoe-horn” words into the story’s natural rhythm.

Fiona Inglis – Curtis Brown Australia

Contrary to what most unpublished writers think, picture book texts are MUCH harder to write than almost anything else. With a novel of 100,000 words it doesn’t matter if a few of them are not perfect. In a book of 500 words every single word has to be the right one, and in the right place. I believe the most important word in THE GRUFFALO’S CHILD, for instance, is ‘she’. Look it up.

Clare Forster – Curtis Brown Australia

‘Picture-book publishers like to be very involved in the crucial creative pairing of author and illustrator. In many cases, picture books begin with a text only.

If you are writing a text, but don’t intend to illustrate it yourself, it’s most likely the case that the publisher would want to make their own choices about who might illustrate it, and in what style. Naturally these are choices which, if a book is taken on, the publisher talks through with the author (and agent). It’s important not to start out with set ideas or arrangements as to who might illustrate the text.

Some illustrators work with texts by other authors, some are author-illustrators, and some do both kinds of work. We represent many wonderful, award-winning author-illustrators including David Cornish and Lucinda Gifford; in the course of their careers and having different projects on the go, they like to illustrate texts by others, too.’

Debbie Golvan – Golvan Arts Management

Read your text out loud and make it sing.
Note that publishers are mostly NOT interested in work that rhymes.

Writers Victoria publishes 10 issues per year of The Victorian Writer magazine per year. It’s definitely worth subscribing.
See more at: http://writersvictoria.org.au/magazine#sthash.14CU5hh2.dpuf

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Choose Your Own Ever After Series wins Best Designed Children’s / Young Adult Series for ADDA awards!

May 29, 2015

Congratulations to all of the shortlisted and winning designers for the Australian Book Design Awards 2015.

JDM management were thrilled to see that Kate Welshman’s book Make Up or Break Up for the Choose Your Own Ever After series was one of the winners.

Best Designed Children’s / Young Adult Series
Choose Your Own Ever After Series
Designer Stephanie Spartels
Publisher Hardie Grant Egmont

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Tea and Sugar Christmas Wins ABIA Award!

May 29, 2015

Jane Jolly’s Tea and Sugar Christmas, previously shortlisted for a Children’s Book Council of Australia book of the year award, has won the Australian Book Industry Awards Small Publisher’s Children’s Book of the Year! The book is a beautiful story from outback Australia with sensitive and evocative illustrations by Robert Ingpen.

Congratulations to JDM author Jane Jolly and illustrator Robert Ingpen!

For a full list of ABIA winners, visit their website

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Family memoir ‘Cracking the Code’ optioned for film

April 24, 2015

M4 Entertainment (Formerly Mushroom Pictures)
Announcement:

M4 Entertainment (Formerly Mushroom Pictures) is pleased to announce it has optioned the film rights and
entered into script development on the book “CRACKING THE CODE”.

Mark Morrissey (Executive Producer) stated “This is an incredibly inspiring true story that celebrates the human condition in a very tangible and heartfelt way. CRACKING THE CODE masterfully, and in emotional detail, portrays a depth of commitment and an unerring fight against immeasurable odds.”

When his son fell victim to a mysterious illness Stephen Damiani, who has a background in construction economics and risk management, teams up with a young geneticist to map the family’s genome in an attempt to discover the cause. His seemingly impossible quest for answers leads to a discovery that’s astonished the international medical community and has implications for us all.

This news was also recently reporting in the Bookseller+Publisher newsletter:
Family memoir ‘Cracking the Code’ optioned for film

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JDM Congratulates CBCA 2015 Award-winning creators

April 16, 2015

The JDM Agency would like to congratulate the following agency authors and illustrators for their recent success in the announcements of the CBCA Notable and Short List books for 2105.

CBCA 2015 Shortlist

Eve Pownall Award for Information Books
Tea and Sugar Christmas by Jane Jolly, illustrated by Robert Ingpen. Published by National Library of Australia.

CBCA 2015 Notable Books

Early Childhood
Baby Beats by Karen Blair. Published by Walker Books Australia.
Bridie’s Boots by Phil Cummings and Sara Action. Published by Working Title Press.

Young Readers
Kelsey and the Quest of the Porcelain Doll by Rosanne Hawke, illustrated by Briony Stewart. Published by UQP.
Through My Eyes: Malini by Robert Hillman, series editor Lyn White. Published by Allen & Unwin.
Tea and Sugar Christmas by Jane Jolly, illustrated by Robert Ingpen. Published by National Library of Australia.

Picture Books
Hello from Nowhere by Raewyn Caisley, illustrated by Karen Blair. Published by Penguin Books Australia.
I Was Only Nineteen by John Schumann, illustrated by Craig Smith. Published by Allen & Unwin.

Eve Pownall Award for Information Books
Tea and Sugar Christmas by Jane Jolly, illustrated by Robert Ingpen. Published by National Library of Australia.

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YABBA Award-winning titles 2015

April 16, 2015

Congratulations to Through My Eyes authors, Roxanne Hawke and John Heffernan, and series editor Lyn White, for having two titles selected for the YABBA Awards Shortlist 2015.

YABBA Awards Shortlist
Fiction for Year 7-9

Fire in the Sea – Myke Bartlett
My Life As an Alphabet – Barry Jonsberg
The Last Thirteen: 12 – James Phelan
The Sky So Heavy – Claire Zorn
The Wrong Boy – Suzy Zail
Through My Eyes: Naveed – John Heffernan – Lynette Whit
Through My Eyes: Shahana – Rosanne Hawke – Lynette White
Two Wolves – Tristan Bancks
When We Were Two – Robert Newton
Wildlife – Fiona Wood

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Reluctantly Charmed - preview

March 20, 2015

Reluctantly Charmed (Ch. 1)
In the spirit of Cecelia Ahearn and Regina McBride, a lighthearted and relatable debut novel about an advertising copywriter who upends her ordinary life and captures the attention of the world after publishing a seven-part treatise on the existence of fairies. Kate McDaid thought that going to the reading of her great-great-aunt’s will would be just another non-event in her ordinary life. A junior copywriter at an advertising agency in Dublin, she was used to spending her days wrangling clients, over-indulging in chocolatey products, and whiling away nights at the pub with her best friends, using her trusty bicycle to get around town. Instead, Kate finds out that the will and her aunt (also known as the Red Witch of Knocknamee) dictates that Kate must publish a series of strange poems called “The Seven Steps” under her own name in order to inherit the rest of her aunt’s estate. And those poems? They’re a mysterious treatise on the importance and existence of fairies…

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Hello! from Australia Rights and Promotional Catalogue released

March 20, 2015

I’m thrilled and proud to announce that nine illustrated books from the Jacinta di Mase Management stable have been selected for the Bologna 2015 Hello! from Australia exhibition and book display, curated and organised by Books Illustrated and the Australian Publishers Association.

Meet Jacinta di Mase’s authors and illustrators visiting Bologna Book Fair this year at the Hello! from Australia exhibition creators’ table:

Monday 30 March:
3.30 – 5.00pm: Meet illustrator Ann James who will be promoting her two picture books with JDM author Janeen Brian ‘I’m a Dirty Dinosaur’ and ‘I’m a Hungry Dinosaur’ (published by Penguin Books Australia).

Tuesday 31 March:
11.00am – 12.30pm: Sally Heinrich & Jane Jolly will be promoting their picture book ‘One Step at a Time’ (published by MidnightSun) and ‘Tea and Sugar Christmas’ written by Jane Jolly and illustrated by Robert Ingpen (published by National Library of Australia).

Tuesday 31 March:
12.30 – 2.00pm: Jedda Robaard will be promoting ‘The Little Joey that lost her bounce’, ‘The little Koala that lost his Tree’ and ‘George the Bilby Chef and the Raspberry Muffin Surprise’ (published by The Five Mile Press).

Tuesday 31 March:
3.30 – 5.00pm: Meet illustrator Owen Swan who will be promoting his two books with JDM author Phil Cummings, ‘Anzac Biscuits’ and ‘Newspaper Hats’ (Scholastic).

Wednesday 1 April:
11.00 – 12.30pm: Jedda Robaard will be promoting ‘The Little Joey that lost her bounce’, ‘The little Koala that lost his Tree’ and ‘George the Bilby Chef and the Raspberry Muffin Surprise’ (published by The Five Mile Press).

Thursday 2 April:
9.30 – 11.00am: Sally Heinrich & Jane Jolly will be promoting their picture book ‘One Step at a Time’ (published by MidnightSun) and ‘Tea and Sugar Christmas’ written by Jane Jolly and illustrated by Robert Ingpen (published by National Library of Australia).

Thursday 2 April:
12.30 – 2.00pm: Meet illustrator Ann James who will be promoting her two picture books with JDM author Janeen Brian ‘I’m a Dirty Dinosaur’ and ‘I’m a Hungry Dinosaur’ (published by Penguin Books Australia).

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'Ask an ALAA Agent' articles in The Victorian Writer magazine

December 10, 2014

ALAA, the Australian Literary Agents’ Association, have teamed up with Writers Victoria to publish a series of articles in their The Victorian Writer magazine.

The first article is by Jacinta di Mase in the November issue ‘Research’ giving inside information on the best (and worst) times to submit your manuscript.

In the December issue ‘Travel’ Fiona Inglis from Curtis Brown Australia examines the process of selling overseas rights.

Writers Victoria publishes 10 issues per year of The Victorian Writer magazine which benefits all members.

Check out their website for more information.
http://writersvictoria.org.au/

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Clare Wright wins the "The Nib" Waverley Library Award for Literature

November 28, 2014

Congratulations to Clare Wright who has won Waverley Council’s prestigious $20,000 Literary Prize and the People’s Choice Award, for her wonderful history of the women of Ballarat, the Forgotten Rebels of Eureka.

Nib Waverley Library Award writes:

“The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka is a beautifully told and powerful story about the women and children who flocked to Ballarat in pursuit of freedom and unlimited opportunity.

Waverley Mayor Sally Betts congratulated Wright and the five other shortlisted winners for their contribution to this year’s Nib: Waverley Library Award for Literature.

“I was spellbound when I read Clare’s book, the forgotten Rebels of Eureka, because she has taken a piece of history that we all know about and slowly, with beautiful writing, weaved personal stories into it,” she said. “People who love history should read it because it is a history lesson as well as a good read.”

Wright has worked as a political speechwriter, university lecturer, historical consultant and radio and television broadcaster.

She said it was an honour and delight to be awarded the NIB for 2014. “Libraries are my favourite places; the comfort, stimulation and sense of belonging they afford me have always been a potent force for good in my life,” she said

Read the complete media release here

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