Report on the Productivity Commission Hearing_Brisbane

SCBWI at the Productivity Commission Hearing in Brisbane

written by Sam Sochacka, Children’s Literature Advocate,  Aspiring Children’s Author, ESL Educator

Productivity Commiss Public Hearing Brisbane June 2016

The children’s and young adult literature industry was well represented at the Brisbane hearing of the Productivity Commission’s Intellectual Property Arrangements Inquiry.  9 out of the 11 authors who presented were representing the children’s and YA literature industry.  Morris Gleitzman, Sheryl Gwyther, Michael Gerard Bauer, Angela Sunde, Candice Lemon-Scott, Christine Bongers, Melanie Hill, Caroline Magerl, Dimity Powell, Pamela & Peter Rushby, and Sam Sochacka attended the hearing on Monday, June 20, 2016.  Morris, Sheryl, Michael, Angela, Candice, Christine, and Melanie all made presentations to the Commission. 

Two crucial points were made by the Commissioners as speakers made their presentations.  The term of copyright will not be reduced to 15 – 25 years, nor was it a recommendation of the Commissioners.  This figure came from a finding that they made; that creators derive the most financial benefit in the 15 – 25 years after their works are created.  Creators will retain copyright for the current term of death plus 70 years.  This is great news! 

There was further confusion as to whether or not the Commissioners had recommended that parallel import restrictions be lifted.  It had been reported in the media that this was the case, however the Commissioners explained that their terms of reference instruct them to investigate the transitional issues associated with lifting the parallel import restrictions.  Therefore it was not a recommendation, but a decision that the Government looks set to enforce.  The Government had asked the Commissioners for advice on how it would work, not an opinion on whether or not the parallel import restrictions should be lifted.  This is not such great news.  At all.

Key points that were made, often repeatedly, included the need for Australian kids to access Australian stories with Australian locations, language, spelling, cultural references etc..  Morris Gleitzman spoke on behalf of children as consumers of books and pointed out that for young people, the relationship with story – a young character discovers a much larger problem than they have ever encountered before, is key, and that this must be provided in an Australian context.  Through reading children need to do research, they develop interpersonal skills, they learn to enlist help, and develop the capacity to empathise.  Reading develops problem solving skills, personal development and growth.  The central character’s journey in story mirrors the educational and social progress that young people need to make.  Stories reflect what is happening in the culture and environment of young people. 

When parallel import restrictions are lifted, Australian children will suffer as they will not have access to as many, by quite a margin, Australian stories as they do now.  Morris also expressed concern about where the next generation of writers will come from if publishing houses will not have the capacity to invest in new writers, something that will occur if publishers need to compete with foreign editions of foreign, and Australian, works.  He explained that Australian publishing houses will not be able to compete with foreign edition remainders as they would be sold at a much lower prices than the Australian editions.  He concluded by saying that, “Australian children need Australian stories”.

            Sheryl Gwyther spoke on behalf of the 1200 members of SCBWI.  Sheryl spoke to two main issues, making the following points:

  • ‘Fair use’ exception to copyright – fears these proposed arrangements will go beyond fair, especially in schools. Disadvantages original creators.  Destroys the principle what we own what we create.  Authors and illustrators fear that grants will be the only thing left.  
  • Parallel importation – will not enable publishers to take on new authors, let alone support their current ones. Dumping of foreign published Australian author’s books into Australia will flood the market with cheaper, foreign editions and publications.  Books will have been altered with spelling, expressions, places, ideas, and thoughts.  Australian consumers expect to be able to buy books with Australian culture, idioms, experiences, values, ideas, and landscapes.  Australian children need to be able to connect with Australian stories.

            Michael Gerard Bauer spoke about his book, “Don’t Call Me Ishmael”.  He pointed out that if parallel import restrictions are lifted, his Australian publisher would be competing with foreign publications.  He asked the Commissioners if international publishers should be able to capitalise on the hard work of Australian editors/publishers and undermine them in our own market.  He stated that there would be fewer Australian writers with the removal of PIR and that fewer Australian writers would mean fewer Australian books for consumers looking for Australian content.  He said that Australians must see their language, culture in texts that they read.  On school visits, Michael finds that students often have UK/US versions with all Australian’isms taken out. 

            As a senior literacy teacher, Angela Sunde said that the removal of PIR would detrimentally affect child literacy.  Angela pointed out that children’s share of the printed market in the world is 35%, but 50% in Australia.  And that Dymocks had a 30% increase in children’s book sales since 2010.  She explained that this was due to strong local content, which supports curriculum in identity, helping children to develop a strong sense of self.  Australian content and spelling in books is crucial for Australian Children.  Angela stated that Australian kids need books that reflect their culture, and language.  Strong content will be lost with removals of PIR.  There will be fewer books published here. 

              As a bookseller, Candice Lemon-Scott spoke of how bookshops will be affected by the lifting of PIR.  She made the following points:

  • Can’t derive enough income from writing to support her family. She took a second job is as a book trader. A sole trader. 
  • As an independent bookseller it’s hard to compete with department stores.
  • Australia has the largest independent bookshop industry in the English speaking world. 900+ independent bookstores. 1.1 billion contributed to the economy. 
  • Under PIR changes she won’t be able to compete with department stores, won’t be able to return unsold stock.
  • Small business sector would lose again: jobs.
  • A bookshop forms more than part of the retail sector. It forms part of the fabric of society.  Where people can come and get personal book recommendations.  Where authors can come and promote their new works. 

              Christine Bongers spoke of dissent and dismay at the removal of territorial copyright.  She said that her novels are quintessentially Australian.  And that the only way that Australian authors can make a living is by selling territorial rights to their books overseas.  Government subsidies are not a viable option as government funding can be withdrawn at the drop of a hat.

              Melanie Hill spoke about the change in copyright laws and said that we would become a country that imports, instead of exporting, innovation when PIR are lifted.  She pointed out that the most important determinate in education is literacy, and that Australian children will suffer when copyright laws are changed, and PIR are lifted.

Christine Bongers read an impassioned statement from Isobelle Carmody who was unable to attend the hearing due to illness.

Thank you, and congratulations, to all those who put their case forward to the Commissioners.  It was great to see such strong representation of the children’s and YA literature industry at the hearing.

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ANGELA SUNDE’S … ‘Snap Magic’ book launch coming soon

SCBWI member, Angela Sunde talks about the publishing journey of her new book for young people, Snap Magic.
Notes.to.Editor-Feature.SnapMagic.docx-5******************

SNAP MAGIC – EDITED BY CATHERINE McCREADIE, former senior editor of children’s books, Penguin Australia (now working freelance at Penguin and Allen & Unwin).

Snap.Magic.Invite.BCat2

 

‘Tall Tales and Fat Tunes’ – SCBWI at the BWF

SCBWI Qld member, Dimity Powell posts her review of SCBWI’s contribution to the Brisbane Writers Festival, where five local authors and illustrators volunteered to be part of the children’s program, Alphabet Zoo. Thank you, Jacque Duffy, Lynelle Westland, Jennifer Poulter and Dimity for your fabulous contributions.bwf event1

“There were no track closures or train delays on Thursday the 5th of September, so I arrived in ample time at the State Library of Queensland; hub of this year’s Brisbane Writers Festival. At nine o’clock in the morning, the place was already humming. The book shop was choked with young readers keen to snap up the latest title by one of their ‘idols’.

bwf event7Some of their idols were already there, searching for literary gems of their own.  Legion upon legion of uniformed school kids led by teachers equally as enthusiastic as they, trooped by in orderly lines. In the absence of coffee, I drank in their palpable excitement and thus energised headed for the signing-in table.

With a bright orange lanyard in place and goodie bag slung over one shoulder, I strolled about the grounds, soaking up the atmosphere of my first BWF and the warm Brisbane spring-shine. There was plenty of time to take in the cavernous marquis, stage to a variety of artists of far greater notoriety than I including; Ben Law, Matthew Condon, John Birmingham and Katherine Howell.

bwf evetn15 Clusters of school children waited on the banks of the river for their WordPlay sessions with visionaries like Michael Gerard Bauer, Katherine Battersby and Oliver Phommavanh. Eventually I headed for the fifth floor artists’ green room, strongly recommended to me by the leagues of green-shirted, unfathomably helpful BWF volunteers. They were right. The views of the river and cultural precinct were breathtaking. And the coffees, second to none, except maybe that bookshop-foyer-buzz. But the best was yet to come.

As a member of SCBWI, I was fortunate to be invited along with Sheryl Gwyther and half a dozen other children’s authors and illustrators from all over south-east Queensland, to participate in BWF’s Alphabet Zoo. This inaugural free program was inspired by the books and art created for kids between 3 – 8 years.

The next few hours were spent in the Studio, a spacious room housing an astonishingly gigantic dragon and walls covered in art courtesy of the kids dropping in and Illustrator-in-Residence, Briony Stewart. We delivered live storytellings, readings and art classes as part of the Tall Tales and Fat Tunes activities.

bwf event16 Fresh on the heels of recent Book Week presentations, this encounter with over 60 primary aged students, their carers, teachers and parents was yet another refreshing reminder of why we do what we do. Positive gratitude was instantaneous.

One teacher couldn’t thank us enough for providing a few minutes of captivating wonderment for her students. ‘I’ve never seen them so attentive. Look at them!’

It is true: sometimes the smallest things in life bring us the greatest joy. I may not have been presenting in auditoriums to hundreds but the glint of sunshine on the Brisbane River, the moments spent sharing my words with small, ever expanding minds and being in the same green room with other authors jotting enigmatic entries into paper journals all added up to great, collective Festival joy. It was one of my most memorable visits to the Zoo ever.”

Many thanks, Dimity! (Sheryl Gwyther, SCBWI Assistant RA)

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SCBWI Queensland’s Gold Coast meet a great success

Inaugural SCBWI Queensland Gold Coast Regional Meeting 

Report: Sheryl Gwyther, SCBWI Assistant Regional Advisor

Another SCBWI Queensland regional members’ meeting was held on Saturday 24th August – time time, at Tallebudgera Valley on the Gold Coast. It was splendid to see authors and illustrators traveling from as far away as north of Brisbane to south of the Queensland/NSW’s border.

Twenty-five writers, illustrators and librarians, SCBWI members and non-members talked, listened, shared morning tea, lunch and then afternoon tea, networked, shared recent successes and other news, and generally had an excellent time at the home of Angela Sunde, SCBWI support team member.gold coast gig9Our guest speaker, Judith Rossell presented a powerpoint of her work, especially her recently published picture book, Oliver.judith r 2 Of great interest was her journal of drawings she worked on at her May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust Residency in Brisbane. The story is set in Victorian England and her pen and ink drawings are sublime.

SCBWI Assistant Regional Advisor, Sheryl Gwyther also presented a slide show, Dinosaurs, Research and Writing … turning a trip through time into a novel, talking about the journey of her children’s novel, Secrets of Eromangasheryl_presentationThank you to Angela Sunde and husband, Rob Brown for their generous hospitality, and to Judith Rossell who generously donated her fee back to SCBWI Qld. And thank you to our wonderful members who once again proved that they are the best bunch of people this side of the Black Stump. 🙂

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SCBWI QLD artists at Brisbane’s OWOD event

As facilitator for the recent Brisbane One Word One Day (OWOD)  illustrator event held at The Edge at the State Library Queensland, Helen Ross  (SCBWI QLD), shares her photos  of the ten talented  artists who participated on the day, which included six of our own SCBWI QLD (Brisbane) artists.

Hi everyone,

OWOD_smallIf you haven’t heard of OWOD, it is a wonderful nationwide event run by the Australian Society of Authors (ASA) in partnership with the Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF) and  Micador (supplier of all the art supplies), that raises funds for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation from the sale of the art created on the day. On Wednesday 26 June it was Queensland’s turn with a group in Brisbane and  Cairns.

This event is open to members and non-members of the ASA and  so it was wonderful to see so many SCBWI Queensland artists participating at Brisbane’s event.

Each state has its own word to be inspired by which is released on, or just before the day.  Queensland’s was ‘snappy’.

So while these talented artists were working, I was interested in finding out what came to their mind when they heard they had to paint to the word, ‘SNAPPY.

Katherine Battersby:  Katherine loves snapping/snappy plants and wondered who, other than herself, would be thrilled to be given a snapping/snappy plant. (Light bulb moment) – MONSTERS!
Sheryl Gwyther:  Sheryl immediately thought of SNAPPER – FISH– CHOMP! CHOMP! Lots of snappy.
Lynn Priestley:  Thought of cameras – sheep taking photos – as everyone does when visiting a tourist spot.  A little tongue in cheek humour.
Angela Sunde:  Inspired by the fact that her cat, Toby, has suffered an injury.  So Angela thought of Snappy Toby (play on words – Snappy Tom, Tom Cat).   Toby is snappy and birds are snapping at him. ‘SNAPPINESS’ all around.
Peter Taylor:  Peter thought of  fictitious, mysterious beings and  ‘The Book of Kells’ (medieval manuscript).
Anil Tortop:  Anil at first wondered, ‘What does it mean?’  Then thought of a snappy dance.

A few pics of  the talented  SCBWI artists mentioned above, at work (click for close-ups):

Other artists involved included:

Philip Blythe: Philip thought of  underwater, platypus and turtle.
Ann Marie Finn: Ann Marie  immediately thought of CROCODILE. Then pondered as to what he would be snapping at, and then pictured him in the jungle.
Lucia Masciullo: Lucia also thought of a snappy crocodile but inspiration came  from Cheryl’s demonstration (on the day) of using play dough.  Lucia wanted to see if it would be as fun as it looked so she abandoned her original plan.
Katherine May: Thought of crocodile and  tortoise and wanted to continue in the style that she has been working in for a while.

THE FINISHED CREATIONS from our SCBWI Qld members……

And voila!

cropped image group

BACK L – R    Philip Blythe, Anil Tortop, Ann Marie Finn, Katherine Battersby, Lynn Priestley and Sheryl Gwyther

FRONT L-R  Peter Taylor, Lucia Masciullo, Katherine May and Angela Sunde

These wonderful pieces of art were created in just four hours!!!!  How inspiring!

And a special thank you to Cheryl Boody, artist and rep for Micador, for the wonderful array of art supplies.

If you haven’t already, could you please LIKE the OWOD Facebook page and ask all your friends to do so. The more support we can get on there, the more interest we can get for bidders.

WHAT HAPPENS NOW?

ONE WORD ONE DAY ART AUCTION

Once the art is completed Micador will take it to Melbourne to be photographed where it will be kept for the live auction to be held at ABC Southbank on 4 September (Indigenous Literacy Day). There will also be an online bidding option.
Thanks everyone for making my day such fun! I will keep you updated with any AUCTION news.
Regards,
Helen

NBPermission has been given by the above artists to have the above photos available for this post. If I have included any incorrect information, please let me know, and I will rectify immediately.

SCBWI Queensland members’ get together

It’s always fun getting together with our members. Here’s an image of our last meeting held at The Collectors’ Cafe, at Queensland Museum in Brisbane.

Angela Sunde, Sheryl Gwyther, Julie Nickerson, Anil Tortop, Betty Collarson, Jacki Halpin and Jennifer Poulter on the other side of the lens.

Angela Sunde, Sheryl Gwyther, Julie Nickerson, Anil Tortop, Betty Collarson, Jacki Halpin and Jennifer Poulter on the other side of the lens.

Our guest speaker, Jessica Miller spoke about her short-listing in the Text Prize with her work-in-progress, Elizabeth and Zenobia, a junior fiction novel. It sounds like a fascinating read and we can’t wait for it to be published one day, for surely it will. 🙂

Members also shared some of the work they’re doing at the moment, and discussion ranged from e-book publishing contract pros and cons; Angela’s new picture book draft :); Betty’s story for kids set in her home country of Brazil, and a whole heap more. The coffee was good and the muffins even better.

Sorry to those members unable to make it on a weekday – promise the next one will be on the usual Sunday.

A PERFECT SUBMISSION … from the editor’s eye

On January 20 2013, SCBWI Qld held its first 2013 Professional Development workshop for writers and illustrators for children, with a very special presenter, Leonie Tyle. Leonie lives in Brisbane and is a well-respected editor and publisher who now works freelance.

Leonie Tyle

Thank you to all those who attended. We look forward to more of these worthwhile sessions – if you missed this one, hopefully you can attend next time.
SCBWI member, Angela Sunde managed to take copious notes from Leonie’s workshop … here they’ve been whittled down for the blog. Full notes will go to SCBWI Qld members by email.
SUBMITTING:
  •  Your first page must be riveting. Don’t submit too early. It must be polished like a sparkly lake.
  • Examine your motivation for writing.. Why do you want to write? Is it that you can’t find anything to read? Is it that you just love to write? Is it because you have something to say and want to share it with someone else? Getting published isn’t the be all / end all of writing. Chill about it and have fun writing.
  • All writers procrastinate. To become a better writer, practise, practise, practise… We all have the same insecurities, some have more pressure than others because their previous books were such high quality. Eg. Markus Zusak.
 A CHECKLIST:
Check and re-check your work:
Do you have an ordered structure? (A beginning, middle and end for kids’ books.)
Does the first sentence engage the reader and hook them in?
Does the text flow without relevant information, unnecessary dialogue and too much telling rather than showing?
Does the title fit the story?
Is your grammar and spelling almost perfect?
Is the word count applicable to the age group ?
Do your characters come alive?
Is your writing a refreshing look at life?
Does it respect the child and the adult reader?
Does it have the potential to be profitable?
 big group

EDITING:
Edit!
Within an inch if its life.
Make sure your opening is as stunning as possible. Get that hook!
Make sure there is no lack of vision, and your structure, plot and execution is true to the ‘what if’ theory.
Are you telling rather than showing?
Are there long and endless pieces of narration?
Are the sentences long and convoluted?
Is the dialogue realistic/authentic?
Are your characters real and empathetic? Be in someone else’s shoes.

Extra bonus: a luscious morning tea

Books Leonie recommends:
‘Bird by Bird, Some Instructions on the Writing Life’, Anne Lamott.
Grammar Basics on the Web, sentences, push and punctuation‘, Paul Callaghan.
The Professional Writing Guide, Writing Well and Knowing Why’, Roslyn Petelin and Marshall Durham.
Business and Professional Writing’, ?
The Elements of Style’, William Struck jnr and E.B.White.
 
Leonie loves both Fantasy and Realism. She loved reading ‘Daughter of Smoke and Bone’ by Laini Taylor. ‘The Scorpio Races’, by Maggie Stiefvater, ‘The Penderwicks’, by Jeanne Birdsill – a junior novel. She also feels there seems to be more interesting stuff coming out of the UK and USA at the moment than out of Australia.
ESPECIALLY FOR ILLUSTRATORS
Interesting discussion point. Unfortunately, we ran out of time to really explore these ideas behind working out how to price your artwork. This video recommended by Sheryl Gwyther (SCBWI Qld ARA). ‘How to Price Illustration for Children’s Booksby American illustrator, Will Terry.
The graph from Will Terry's video

The graph from Will Terry’s video

What do you think about the ideas Terry talks about? We’d love to read your thoughts about it on this blog site.