Welcome to the blog of the Tasmanian branch of the Children's Book Council of Australia!

Friday 8 December 2017

Still Doing the Writing?

This week Sally Odgers is our guest author. She lives in Tasmania and her books have been an integral part of the lives of many children and a host of Tasmanian libraries over four decades. Sally shares her passions, quirky humour and long-time passion with all things bookish – as an author, manuscript assessor, editor and online sharer through multiple sites.

Writing and editing is an interesting—if peculiar—way to make a living. I favour series where characters grow and progress, and where a sidekick in one can be a main character in another, and where the tiniest two-line thread offers a whole new book to explore. I make lists, glossaries and labyrinthine websites. I even highjacked Ancestry Dot Com to make a (private) family tree of series characters. I was amused when Ancestry started waving Greenleaf hints at me, telling me three of my invented characters (many of whom are fairies, if you please!) were born in the USA on such-and-such a date.
My first story was published in 1970. I lost count after the fiftieth title in 1991. In early 2017, I started a book-a-day blog. I wanted my books listed so people could seek out series and related titles. I wanted to reassure myself I hadn’t wasted the past forty-seven years. I wanted a body of writing to render into a book about my books. It’s not a commercial enterprise, but hey, I’ll publish it myself! Finally, I want to know just how many books there are. Let’s just say I’ll run out of year before I run out of titles.
What is a children’s book? By my definition, it’s a book written for children. If it was a film, it would rate a PG or M at the most. It is usually about people under eighteen. Otherwise, it’s a book. It needs story, style, character, theme and something else…an indefinable sparkle.
One of Sally's ebook offerings.
What about the children’s author? To last in this job for as many years as I have, you need talent, persistence, a creative mind and the willingness and ability to keep on writing in the face of change and knockbacks. Every five years or so, the industry reinvents itself. We adapt, or, creatively, we perish. Finding and keeping markets is increasingly difficult. That’s one reason I can never let go of the concept of writing for myself.
As we near 2018, there’s still time for at least one more person to meet me somewhere and say, “Hi, Sally, still doing the writing?”
How do I respond? Not with, “Hi, X, still doing the breathing?”
I could say, “Yes. I had fourteen books out this year.”
And they might say. “Oh,” in a puzzled tone. Because they haven’t read about me or my books in the paper, or seen me interviewed on telly…

So I’ll probably just smile, and direct them to my blog.

More about Sally

Sally Odgers was born in Tasmania in the 1950s, went to school there in the 1960s, married there in the 1970s, and had children there in the 1980s. She could go on, but she expects you get the picture. She started writing as a child, and has continued along the story-track ever since. She writes many genres, including fantasy, science fiction, romance, animal stories, how-to, verse and historical novels, and offers talks and workshops.
For the past twenty or so years, she’s run a manuscript assessment and editing service through the website Affordable Manuscripts.   
She also runs the tiny publishing collective Prints Charming Books. This specialises in not-for-profit novel anthologies.
Take the time to explore Sally’s
book-a-day blog and her writing websites
Books by Sally Odgers
Jack Russell: Dog Detective and Co
Her alter ego, Lark Westerly, has a site,  but Lark’s books are not for children.

Editor’s note for aspiring writers.
Check out Prints Charming Books. The current anthology of Warriors is under development and open for ideas until 30 January 2018. 

1 comment:

  1. Sally your capacity to adapt to the ever changing publishing scene and remain relevant and popular is a testimony to your creativity, talent, resilience and courage. Keep those diverse stories coming!