I don’t know how many people who read my blog are children’s writers/illustrators or Australian or both, but there’s a lady who has helped me a lot in the past and I’d like to pay tribute to her and her work today.
I don’t remember when or how exactly I first came across Jackie Hosking, but I’m pretty sure it was when I’d just finished “The Dragon Box” and was looking around for some way to get it published. In my hunting, I came across a useful little online magazine called ‘Pass it On’. It contained all sorts of information about children’s publishers, competitions, writing opportunities and more. Even better, it came out every week, straight into your inbox and for a very low cost. I couldn’t believe how much work this lady must put into it every week.
Needless to say, I signed up and started to use the information I found – writing for and getting paid by places advertised in Pass It On. But the e-zine is not just about writing. Twice Jackie has featured me in interviews – once as an illustrator, once as a cover designer. It was the first interview that actually got me one of my first book cover jobs, the author having seen my work and liked it.
The most recent ‘big thing’ for me also came about through Jackie’s magazine. I’ve long known about the ASA’s ‘Style File’. It’s a showcase for Australian Illustrators, with portfolios easily accessible to publishers around the country. I’d looked at it and thought, ‘that’s for real illustrators, I’d never get accepted into that.’ At the end of last year, I saw an advert in PIO for The Style File, calling for submissions and with my new-found ‘I can do it’ attitude, I submitted 8 illustrations. As everyone on Facebook knows, I found out recently that I’d been accepted. If I hadn’t been a subscriber to Jackie’s magazine, and if Jackie hadn’t gathered that information, I wouldn’t have thought about submitting. As it is, the Style File site is being relaunched in a couple of weeks with promotions to publishers etc. There’s a lot of really brilliant work on there, so I may never be picked up by a publisher, but I have more chance than I ever had before.
Speaking of the great work on The Style File brings me to Jackie’s other talent. She’s a pretty great children’s poet herself and has a fantastic book out, “The Croc and the Platypus” (Walker Books). It’s beautifully illustrated by Marjorie Crosby-Fairall, who also has a portfolio on The Style File.
Jackie also helps out other would-be poets. It beats me how she finds the time to do all the stuff she does.
So if you’re an Australian children’s writer or illustrator and you want some way to keep your finger on the pulse (sorry, I’m tired, clichés happen when I’m tired), get over to Pass It On and check it out.
If you’d like to know a bit more about it from Jackie herself, there’s an interview here about the magazine and how she gets it together.
(And in case you haven’t seen it, here’s my portfolio on The Style File. Have a look at the other work, too!)