Australia Illustrated Virtual Launch!

Thursday, 20 October 2016

It's almost Virtual Launch time! 
24 - 31 October 2016

I'm delighted to mark the launch of my very first self-illustrated book - Australia Illustrated - with a week of celebrations, from Monday 24 to Monday 31 October. The book will hit Australian shelves on 1 November, as well as the US, Canada and New Zealand. It will be released in the UK on 28 November.

Click here to learn all about the book and what you'll find inside (or if you don't like clicking, you can scroll to the bottom of this post).

From Monday 24 October, enjoy:
  • sneak peeks + reveals
  • behind-the-scenes details + in-process peeks
  • interviews, reviews
  • a book trailer reveal
  • kids' activities
You will also be able to...
  • WIN a copy of the book (I have three to give away, thanks to EK Books)
  • WIN an original watercolour image from the book (two to give away)
  • the chance to name some of my book characters! 
  • the chance to buy an advance copy of the book with free postage 

Through the week of the virtual launch, I'll update this post with direct links, to make your gadding about on this virtual tour a lot easier.

You can also follow along on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook with hashtag #ausillo.

I hope you have fun!

And if you are Canberra-based or in town to enjoy our fabulous Spring weather, I'd love to see you at my launch at Harry Hartog bookstore in Woden on Saturday 5 November! Details below.

About le book!

Australia Illustrated
(November 2016, EK Books, $29.99, hard cover + cloth-bound, 96 pages, 9781925335217)

Australia. Big. Beautiful. Diverse. From First People to washing lines and crocodiles, football and sunshine, koalas and Akubras, skyscrapers and beaches that squeak, this 96-page tome is an illustrious homage to this wide brown land and its rich and varied multicultural communities.

Vibrantly illustrated with watercolour, ink, mono-printing and digital art, Australia Illustrated not only celebrates the more ‘typical’ Australian flora, fauna and landmarks, it showcases the everyday quirks and idiosyncrasies that make Australia unique. Types of rain, Greek street food, Sydney ferries, cattle breeds, plants of the Daintree—even the quokka selfie epidemic—will delight both children and adults.

Divided into Australia-wide entries and also elements from each state and territory, readers will learn more about the endemic plants, animals, foods, landmarks, sports and oddities that make the regions around Australia special.

Whimsical, humorous and high in detail, this is Australia like you’ve never seen it before. Grab your snorkel. Let’s dive in.

Australia Illustrated marks the illustration debut of award-winning author, Tania McCartney.

Ask Tania: What's with these book awards that authors can buy? Are they worth it?

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Hi Tania,
I'm an emerging author, and I'm in the middle of self-publishing a little chapter book. I was wondering ... what's with these book awards that authors can buy? Are they worth it? I'm not sure how they work.

Hi, Caroline,

Oooh--the vanity book award. This is a tough one. About to get frank here!

You may have heard of the term 'vanity publishing', where authors pay to have their work published. Some vanity publishers prefer to call it 'joint venture' publishing, but it's still the same thing.

While this type of publishing may suit those who'd like to publish their memoirs for their family, it's not recommended* for anyone who wants to make a career out of writing books. There is no selection criteria with vanity publishers (even if they insist there is) and the outcome for your work is therefore nowhere near the professional level it would enjoy with a trade publisher (who makes financial, time and emotional investments in your work).

*Footnote: I think self-publishing is wonderful--I've done it and I'm a big supporter of it--but you can absolutely self-publish books well and with credibility, without having to use a vanity publisher (and you'll save yourself a tonne of money, too!). See my post on self-publishing for more.

Fundamentally, you should never have to pay to submit work to publishers, and you should never have to pay to have your work published. The reasons are far too many to go into here (you can google this topic for thousands of references), but suffice to say that 99.99 per cent of the time, using a vanity publisher is not only unprofitable (in fact--it can end up costing you a lot more money than you bargained for), it can be damaging to your career in terms of both the production quality of your book, and your credibility as a creator.

Christmas Gift Guide featuring Australia Illustrated

Saturday, 15 October 2016

I have a bit of an obsession with talented people, especially those with a strong visual aesthetic and a knack for grouping beautiful things together in a beautiful way. I also have a bit of an obsession with gorgeous kids' products and Christmas, and so it is with swelled heart that this blog post is about all three--talented people, gorgeous kids' products and Christmas!

Kelly of The Styling Mama is the talented people part of this post. Kelly shares my obsession with gorgeous kids' stuff and Christmas (as you can well see in these photos). These pics are from her Australiana Christmas photo shoot, which can be seen in her recent blog post entitled Christmas Down Under...neath all that wrapping paper.

In this post, Kelly lists the product creators (with links to their websites). Wait till you see these websites and what these talents are creating--seriously. It's enough to make your toes curl in delight (and apologies in advance for the temptation ... but it's almost Christmas!).

I was so fortunate to have Australia Illustrated in the shoot (thanks to Lisa-Marie of Bear and Sparrow!). I really need to hire Lisa and Kelly as my advertising director and stylist. Authors need book shots like these!!

You can see more of Kelly's gorgeous work on her Instagram feed right here, where you'll find more pics from this shoot, along with creator tags.

In the meantime, get set to drool! I hope you find some Christmas inspiration here. That koala cushion and Uluru cushion ...

Remember, head to Kelly's Australiana Christmas post if you want to locate any of these items--and stay tuned, as she has more Christmas posts on the way.


And too cute not to include ...

And then there's the above cuteness which appears in his own video ... click the still below, and wait till you hear him say 'nummy cake smile'.

Sorry, totally off track, but Smile Cry would make a lovely Christmas gift, too, of course!

Ask Tania: What makes a great author website?

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Dear Tania
I am keen to create my author website but want to know--what should I include? What makes a great author website?

Hi, Toni,

A website is vital for all authors and illustrators. It's a global, easily-accessed, inexpensive platform that takes minimal effort once set up--and serves as your Virtual Headquarters, not to mention your virtual marketing professional and sales rep!

I'm consistently looking at the work of other authors and illustrators, not only for Kids' Book Review, but because I have a strong interest in supporting emerging talent. One thing that consistently surprises me is the lack of strong web presence. In fact, I've lost count of the times I've looked someone up--or the title of their book--and literally found nothing.

And this lack of web presence is so hugely detrimental to any creator. If we can't find you, how can we find your books?

So, first and foremost, you simply must must must have a website. A website is a standalone 'centre'. Think of it as your home. Then, you have several satellite sites that link to your website, such as a blog, a bookstore, a Facebook page, an online gallery or illustration portfolio, book or character websites, etc.

With me, I have my central website then I link to my blog, my social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube). I also link to Kids' Book Review and the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, because both are directly associated with my work as an author illustrator.

It would be tempting to link to your travel blog or your cooking blog or other interests, but unless you're a travel or food writer, it can become confusing to pack too much into one website.

This brings me to my first website tip.

Australia Illustrated on Bear and Sparrow

Sunday, 9 October 2016

If you simply can't wait another moment to snaffle a copy of Australia Illustrated, my amazing friend Lisa-Marie Kerr of Bear and Sparrow has been granted permission to sell copies three weeks in advance of its release in Australia!

The $39.99 price includes $10 in shipping. Hurry--there are only 50 copies up for grabs.

Click the poster above to go to the Bear and Sparrow website, and be sure to check out Lisa's incredible kids' decor while you're there. Warning: it's the prettiest rabbit-hole you ever did fall into!

Christmas stocking stuffers

Friday, 7 October 2016

Books are the absolute best stocking stuffers, and Exisle Publishing's latest catalogue has some sensational ideas for Christmas--from adult books through to 'the cutest book of emotions for young kids'.

See the online catalogue right here!

Australia Illustrated Book Launch!

Saturday, 1 October 2016

If you're in Canberra, I'd love to see you there! 
If not, stay tuned for my Virtual Launch right here 
on this blog from 24 to 31 October

A Texas Year and A New York Year reviews

Thursday, 22 September 2016

I love Kids' Book Buzz because the reviews are by kids--and I just love what kids have to say!

unremarkable moments

Sunday, 18 September 2016

You know those magical moments--those really magical moments--that are literally just a moment? A snapshot that stays with you forever, on multiple levels, and elicits an intense flood of emotion where you are sent back in time... you can feel the temperature of the air, the breeze on your skin, the rain on your face, the water lapping around you, the aroma of coffee--it's as though you've been snatched up and tossed back into the past.

I'm not talking about Big Moments like babies being born or plucking choux buns from your wedding cake--I'm talking of unremarkable moments. The ones that seem so enormous because they WERE so unremarkable, yet they hold such magic in them--perhaps because they were a skerrick of time when you were so purely happy. When you were doing nothing more than smiling.

Not thinking. Just being.

Here is one of mine, Paris, 9 January 2013 when Riley threw a balloon (he had found lolling along the street) into the Seine. We had been walking in the rain, crossing the Pont de Sully towards l'Ile Saint-Louis--on the hunt for ice cream, and he just lobbed it into the sky.

It was one of those moments where time stood still. And it was so overwhelmingly beautiful. I don't know why.

It was nothing and it was everything.

Do you know what I mean?

I have others--particularly a time in the ocean off Langkawi Island (Malaysia), floating on my back, staring above at the palm trees swaying overhead and feeling nothing but the present moment. Pure happiness. Nowhere to be. Nothing to think about other than telling myself 'remember this moment, remember this moment'. And I do.

What unremarkable moments do you remember? I would so love to know.

Australia Illustrated - COVER REVEAL!

Monday, 12 September 2016

Beside myself with happiness (and quiet terror!) to reveal the cover of Australia Illustrated, my very first self-illustrated picture book, out in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA on 1 November 2016, and in the UK on 28 November.

This book has been a lifelong dream of mine--and even two years ago, I would never have believed that dream could come true.

Huge thanks to EK Books and the ACT Government (artsACT) for the grant that helped make this book a reality. I'm hosting a week-long virtual launch on my blog from Monday 24 - 31 October, and a book launch party at Harry Hartog Woden store here in Canberra on Saturday 5 November, so stay tuned for more on that.

In the meantime, OMG--here is the cover! I can't breathe!

Australia Illustrated is in my hands - GASP!

Monday, 5 September 2016

GASP! It's in my hands! Like, my fingers are touching it! My first illustrated book, Australia Illustrated, out 1 November 2016--with a week-long celebration here on my blog from 24 October. More on that soon...

In the meantime, GASP! It's real!

Ask Tania: Non-Fiction Picture Books--where do I start when submitting to publishers?

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Dear Tania
My question is about approaching publishers with non-fiction picture books. I'm aware how to submit fiction picture books, but is there a difference with non-fiction? If I was interested in writing a book about a person in history, should I go full throttle, researching meticulously, honing my text and sending off a fully-polished manuscript, knowing that all that research could be of no use if the ms is rejected?

Hi, Emma,

A girl after my own heart--I adore non-fiction PBs! And I most particularly love books on people from history. I'm busting to know who you want to research; might have to ask you privately (sorry readers!).

But to your question. The very first thing you need to tell yourself when it comes to dedicating the endless hours to researching and penning a non-fiction book is this:
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