Allison Tait https://allisontait.com writing, whimsy ... life Mon, 13 Aug 2018 04:20:17 +0000 en-AU hourly 1 3 NEW simple Book Week ideas from Australian authors https://allisontait.com/2018/08/3-new-simple-book-week-ideas-from-australian-authors/ https://allisontait.com/2018/08/3-new-simple-book-week-ideas-from-australian-authors/#respond Mon, 13 Aug 2018 04:16:27 +0000 http://allisontait.com/?p=6941 Read More]]> 3 new Book Week ideas from Aussie authorsYou might remember last year that I put together this post, where six Australian authors shared ideas, templates and printables for how to be their characters for the Book Week parade.

You could be Tristan Banck’s Tom Weekly, Zanni Louise’s Archie (from Archie and the Bear), Jen Storer’s Truly Tan, Sandy Fussell’s Samurai Kid, Anna Pignataro’s Agatha, or, ahem, A.L. Tait’s Quinn from The Mapmaker Chronicles. You’ll find links to all the details here.

Well, as parents across the nation begin to post their annual Book Week Panic (this is an actual thing) posts on social media, I thought I’d bring you a couple of new ideas to help the cause.

Debra Tidball, award-winning author of The Scared Book, has some great ideas for how to be a monster (her book is full of monsters).

Matt Cosgrove has some terrific printables to help kids be Macca The Alpaca, or his best pal Al. There are even some maracas to colour and shake, a la Matt’s book Alpacas with Maracas.

And A.L. Tait is back again (surprise!) with ideas on how to be Gabe, Merry, Gwyn, Midge and Eddie from The Ateban Cipher series.

As for my own panic situation, Mr11 has decided to be Hal from John Flanagan’s Brotherband series, and, yes, we’ll be dragging out the faithful cloak for that one. It’s our last year as a family in primary school and the first year he has actively chosen to be something other than a soccer or rugby player for the occasion, so I’m very happy to dust if off for the occasion!

What are your kids doing for Book Week this year?

]]>
https://allisontait.com/2018/08/3-new-simple-book-week-ideas-from-australian-authors/feed/ 0
How to be Gabe (+ more) from The Ateban Cipher for Book Week! https://allisontait.com/2018/08/how-to-be-gabe-more-from-the-ateban-cipher-for-book-week/ https://allisontait.com/2018/08/how-to-be-gabe-more-from-the-ateban-cipher-for-book-week/#comments Thu, 09 Aug 2018 05:30:54 +0000 http://allisontait.com/?p=6924 Read More]]> Book Week Inspiration The Ateban CipherIt’s the most wonderful time of the year! Well, one of them. Regular readers of this blog will know that my thoughts on Book Week are divided along the lines of author (yay!) and not-crafty parent (stress!).

If you missed my post last year in which I outlined these thoughts at length – as well as sharing various fabulous options for being characters from The Mapmaker Chronicles for Book Week – you’ll find them here.

This year, we’re just diving straight in with idea on how to be Gabe, Merry, Gwyn, Midge and Eddie from The Ateban Cipher series for the Book Week Parade! Given my ridiculous lack of crafting skills (you can read about that here), I am incredibly lucky to be surrounded in my neighbourhood by really clever and creative friends – and their kids, who are willing to dress up for my posts.

So I put out the call and one afternoon they all turned up and – well, have a look below at the results.

Characters from The Ateban Cipher For Book Week | Allison Tait

This is the whole gang (minus Scarlett, see why below), and you’ll find some instructions below for working up your own Ateban Cipher magic at home.

How to be Gabe from The Ateban Cipher for Book Week

How to be Gabe from The Ateban Cipher for Book Week | Allison Tait

Having lived his whole life in a monastery, Gabe is very attached to his robe. You could get yourself a monk’s outfit like this one (easy peasy) or you could do as we’ve done here and fashion one yourself.

In this case, we used a slanket (yes, it’s a thing, you can read the story here), a curtain tie, a rather fabulous faux-leather short cape arrangement that adds an edge of toughness, and, of course, a pair of sandals (remember, Gabe’s nickname is ‘Sandals’, so these are key).

Accessorise with a book – gold-covered for early Ateban Cipher, brown leather for the version Gabe carries for most of the story.

How to be Merry from The Ateban Cipher for Book Week

How to be Merry from The Ateban Cipher for Book Week | Allison Tait

Ah, Merry, of the flaming red hair, bow and arrow and can-do attitude. There is a little of the Robin Hood in her, and you could get a costume like this or like this and be in the zone (yes, both boys’ costumes but this is Merry we’re talking about!).

But, as long as you have the bow, breeches and a pair of boots, Merry is also easy enough to pull together at home and is a fantastic choice for the anti-princess in your house. Here, Belle is modelling a range of woodland tones, some faux fox from the dress-up box, and a stylish bow made by her brother. Add a cloak if your Merry likes a bit of swish and drama.

Bonus points if you can actually use the bow…

How to be Gwyn from The Ateban Cipher for Book Week

How to be Gwyn from The Ateban Cipher for Book Week | allisontait.com

When I think of Gwyn, I think of dark shades because she goes where she wants, when she wants, often at night. With black pants, black shirt, boots, and belt, Lola has channelled Gwyn’s inner fierceness beautifully.

The crossbow is Gwyn’s weapon of choice, so add one if you have one (something like this might do the trick), and perhaps pop a tea cup in that little pouch she has. After all, her mother’s tea cup is Gwyn’s most treasured possession.

How to be Midge from The Ateban Cipher for Book Week

How to be Midge from The Ateban Cipher for Book Week | Allison Tait

In essence, Midge, here represented by the lovely Fleur, could wear the same as the other girls – boots, breeches, flowing shirt – but she also wears a dress for the castle scenes. I think of her in softer colours than the older girls, and these blues and pinks are beautiful.

We tried really hard to think of a way to represent Albert, Midge’s beloved falcon, but nothing we had really cut it, so we left him out. You could put a leather cuff on her arm or have her carry a plush version like this one if you want to get serious, or you could simply have her carry a plush animal of any kind – after all, Midge is the animal whisperer of the group. Just ask Procrastipup…

How to be Scarlett from The Ateban Cipher for Book Week

Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough neighbourhood girls to create a real-life Scarlett for our shoot, but I always think of her dressed as she was for her visit to town with Gabe, and that means putting her in a peasant-style dress with a basket. Something like this would work well.

How to be Eddie from The Ateban Cipher for Book Week

How to be Eddie from The Ateban Cipher for Book Week | Allison Tait

Oh but we had some debate about Eddie. Should we portray him as dressed in rags as he is for much of The Ateban Cipher story, or should he be dressed as the prince he truly is? In the end, we decided that the best approach is half and half, so Finn wears a plain white shirt, black pants and ‘dress boots’, with a little touch of royalty in his sash.

If you wanted to go all out, you could give him a crown and a velvet cloak (something like this maybe), and, of course, that tiny gold tattoo that marks him as a true prince.

As you can see, we had a lot of fun creating our Book Week versions of Gabe, Eddie and the band of rebel girls, and non-crafty mums (I wave to you in solidarity) will find it easy enough to replicate them without too much trouble (and no sign of a hot glue gun).

It’s not an exact science, and, as I’ve discovered, everyone has their own interpretations of the characters and there are NO wrong answers – they look exactly as you envision them in your mind (or whatever your dress-up box can come up with…).

If your kids choose any of these looks (or The Mapmaker Chronicles) for their own Book Week parade, please share pics with me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. I just love seeing what you come up with!

You’ll also find some ideas on how to be Quinn and Ash from The Mapmaker Chronicles here.

Are you new here?  You can find out more about the Ateban Cipher books – full of secrets, codes, rebel girls and adventure – here.

]]>
https://allisontait.com/2018/08/how-to-be-gabe-more-from-the-ateban-cipher-for-book-week/feed/ 1
The first-ever Shoalhaven Readers’ & Writers’ Festival wraps up https://allisontait.com/2018/08/the-first-ever-shoalhaven-readers-writers-festival-wraps-up/ https://allisontait.com/2018/08/the-first-ever-shoalhaven-readers-writers-festival-wraps-up/#respond Mon, 06 Aug 2018 06:10:06 +0000 http://allisontait.com/?p=6886 Read More]]> If you’ve been reading my blog, or listening to my podcast, for a while, you’ll know that I’ve been heavily involved over the past six months or so in organising the inaugural Shoalhaven Readers’ & Writers’ Festival. Well, the event took place on Saturday (4 August) and I’m excited (and, yes, relieved) to say, it was, by all accounts, a roaring success.

Huzzah!

I thought I’d share some images and impressions of the day, for me as much as you!

As the director of the children’s program, I was thrilled to see audiences turn out for terrific sessions by Tim Harris and the incredibly popular Jackie French. (Even Wombat from The Block came along to meet Jackie French!)

Tim Harris in action.

wombat and jackie french srwf | allisontait.com

Even Wombat from The Block came to meet Jackie French!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An unexpected highlight for me of the children’s program was the storytime session in the morning, where the Nowra Library’s Children’s and Youth specialist librarian Carla De Castri gave as splendid a storytelling performance as I’ve seen anywhere. My school visit on the Friday morning, part of the festival, also went really well!

shoalhaven readers and writers festival stage by so and so events nowra | allisontait.com

The stage is set for the Shoalhaven Readers’ & Writers’ Festival 2018.

Arnold the vintage coffee van outside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The adult program was held in the beautiful old School Of Arts building in Nowra, with staging by the team from So & So Events setting up a fabulous ‘literary salon’ vibe right from the beginning.

Who could resist a signing room like this?

As an author, I was delighted by the gold velvet curtains that created an air of glamorous mystery for the signing room.

Highlights from the adult program included a thoughtful conversation between Walkley Award-winning journalist and non-fiction author Mark Whittaker and Catherine McKinnon, shortlisted for this year’s Miles Franklin award for her novel Storyland; a lively panel on the role of place in historical fiction, featuring Jackie French and Eleanor Limprecht; and an entertaining discussion on the everlasting appeal of genre fiction, starring Dianne Blacklock and Alan Baxter (both of whom also conducted popular workshops for writers).

They all look at home on couch, don’t they?

catherine mckinnon and mark whittaker at shoalhaven writers festival | allisontait.com

Mark Whittaker and Catherine McKinnon

eleanor limprecht at shoalhaven writers festival 2018

Eleanor Limprecht

genre fiction shoalhaven writers festival

Kathy Sharpe, Dianne Blacklock and Alan Baxter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Allison Tait and Melina Marchetta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The highlight of my day was interviewing the wonderful Melina Marchetta, author of  YA classics Looking For Alibrandi, On The Jellicoe Road and Saving Francesca, as well as a host of other titles (her crime novel Tell The Truth, Shame The Devil is a great read!). We snuggled into the comfy seating and just got right into it. I have lined her up for a podcast interview early next year when her new novel, The Place On Dalhousie, comes out.

All in all, it was a terrific day and being part of the organising team for an event like this really opens your eyes to the work involved. As an author, literary festivals of all kinds are invaluable for a host of reasons, from sharing ideas to lifting your profile, meeting readers to finding new writers to read, and allowing you to connect face-to-face with the huge community of people out there who love books and words as much as you do.

So I tip my hat to every volunteer out there who works hard to ensure that Australia’s wonderful tradition of readers’ and writers’ festivals not only continues, but flourishes.

Thank you!

]]>
https://allisontait.com/2018/08/the-first-ever-shoalhaven-readers-writers-festival-wraps-up/feed/ 0
Better Reading 2018 Top 50 Kids’ Books + What I did on my holidays https://allisontait.com/2018/07/better-reading-top-50-kids-books-what-i-did-on-my-holidays/ https://allisontait.com/2018/07/better-reading-top-50-kids-books-what-i-did-on-my-holidays/#comments Wed, 25 Jul 2018 05:20:28 +0000 http://allisontait.com/?p=6869 Read More]]> After three weeks in Canada, I’m back at my desk and catching my breath. It was an amazing trip in a ridiculously good looking country and I’ll recap some highlights below. But first, some news.

While I was away, the good people at Better Reading released their 2018 Top 50 Kids’ Books – and to my absolute joy, The Mapmaker Chronicles was on the list. It’s a terrific list, jam-packed with big names, classics – and me. Thank you to everyone who voted for Quinn, Zain, Ash and Co – you made my day/week/year!

Click here to see the full list of Better Reading 2018 Top 50 Kids’ Books. (It’s worth noting that it’s best viewed on desktop as the mobile version doesn’t seem to load very well.)

And so to Canada…

The trip was a combination of family holiday, creative inspiration and a little bit of work. I visited the fabulous Kidsbooks in Vancouver, where I met Phyllis (pictured below), Sarah and the rest of the team and signed some copies of The Mapmaker Chronicles series, published in the US and Canada by Kane Miller (if you’re new here, check out their tiny teaser video here).
the mapmaker chronicles series is available at kidsbooks vancouver

All of my other photos from the trip are of towering mountains. Or lakes of incandescent blue. Or deep, dark, densely wooded forests.

It’s the kind of landscape that conjures up mystery and adventure at every turn. Particularly when you throw in the added lustre of the possibility of a bear sighting with every hike (I confess, I was a bit nervous about getting too close to a furry friend…).

To give you an idea of what I mean…

 

 

 

 

 

 

But all good things must come to an end, and now I’m back at my desk with a head full of ideas and a full month of Book Week activities ahead of me.

My first appearance for August is at the Shoalhaven Readers’ & Writers’ Festival on 4 August, where I’ll be talking to the fabulous Melinda Marchetta about her life as an author.

melina marchetta in conversation with allison tait

I’m really looking forward to it and would love to see you there! You’ll find full program details and bookings here. 

Are you new here? I am the Australian author of two epic adventure series for children. Find out more about them by clicking on the titles below.

The Mapmaker Chronicles

The Ateban Cipher

]]>
https://allisontait.com/2018/07/better-reading-top-50-kids-books-what-i-did-on-my-holidays/feed/ 1
NEWS: Online creative writing course for kids open for bookings https://allisontait.com/2018/06/news-online-creative-writing-course-for-kids-open-for-bookings/ Thu, 21 Jun 2018 04:50:41 +0000 http://allisontait.com/?p=6857 Read More]]> Book now: online creative writing course for kids | allisontait.comAfter a lot of hard work from a lot of people, my online creative writing course for kids is now open for bookings through the Australian Writers’ Centre!

So much goes into creating a course like this, from developing the course content, to creating each module, to building the means to deliver the content to kids in an exciting and entertaining way, to providing weekly feedback, to … well, you get the idea, and Valerie Khoo and the team at the Australian Writers’ Centre are the absolute best people to be undertaking such an adventure with. When I look at what we’ve created, I could not be more proud!

You can read more about the course here (there’s a full course outline and a whole bunch of answers to FAQs) and see me talk a little bit about it, but basically, it’s a step-by-step course on the basics (and beyond) of writing a great story.

It’s for kids who love to write – AND for kids who’d love to write better. Every child (9-14 is the sweet spot) who takes part will receive video feedback from me on their final submitted story (see the outline for details).

I’m really excited about the course and looking forward to meeting my first bunch of young writers on 7 July 2018. Maybe your young writer will be one of them?

In the meantime, I’ve got some fantastic writing tips for kids, from me and from other amazing Aussie children’s authors, below:

10 top writing tips from bestselling author Jacqueline Harvey

How to create remarkable characters by Tim Harris

Write what you love by Allison Rushby

How to be more creative by A.L. Tait

How to write comics by Shane W. Smith

Are you new here? Welcome! You can find out more about me here, and more about my two epic middle-grade adventure series, The Mapmaker Chronicles and The Ateban Cipher, here.

 

]]>
BIG book giveaway: win with Your Kid’s Next Read! https://allisontait.com/2018/06/big-book-giveaway-win-with-your-kids-next-read/ Wed, 20 Jun 2018 01:31:55 +0000 http://allisontait.com/?p=6854 Read More]]> In case you missed my newsletter yesterday (sign up here if you don’t want to miss the next one!), the Your Kid’s Next Read Facebook group now has 4000+ members and to celebrate my fab co-host Megan Daley and I have organised a fantastic book giveaway!

One winner will receive EIGHT signed books from some of Australia’s top children’s authors. And because this is an all female-author affair, we’re calling it our Favourite Fierce Female Authors giveaway.

WIN: 8 signed books from top Australian female authors | allisontait.com

Signed titles include:

Kensy and Max by Jacqueline Harvey

Alice-Miranda in Scotland by Jacqueline Harvey

Pippa’s Island ‘Camp Castaway’ by Belinda Murrell

Missing by Sue Whiting

The Turnkey by Allison Rushby

The Most Marvellous Spelling Bee Mystery by Deborah Abela

and The Book Of Secrets and The Book Of Answers by A.L. Tait (that would be me).

You can read more about each book by clicking on the title link. They’re all perfect for middle-grade readers!

You’ll find all the terms and conditions here in Megan’s blog post and you can enter there OR in the YKNR group here.

Good luck!

Are you new here? Welcome! You can find out more about my two epic middle-grade adventure series, The Mapmaker Chronicles and The Ateban Cipher, here.

]]>
Tickets are now on sale for the first Shoalhaven Readers’ & Writers’ Festival https://allisontait.com/2018/06/tickets-are-now-on-sale-for-the-first-shoalhaven-readers-writers-festival/ https://allisontait.com/2018/06/tickets-are-now-on-sale-for-the-first-shoalhaven-readers-writers-festival/#comments Tue, 12 Jun 2018 01:55:30 +0000 http://allisontait.com/?p=6849 Read More]]> Shoalhaven Readers' & Writers' Festival informationIf you’ve been listening to my podcast of late, you’ll know that I’ve been hard at work behind the scenes as part of the team creating the first Shoalhaven Readers’ & Writers’ Festival. It’s a project dear to my heart as, having grown up in a regional area and watching my kids grow up in a regional area, I understand just how difficult it is to experience all the various things that city folk take for granted.

So it’s very exciting to be able to bring authors to our doorstep.

The festival will take place on Saturday 4 August, 2018, in Nowra, NSW, and comprises an adult festival, with panel discussions, workshops and more, and a children’s festival, with sessions for all ages and a fabulous Jackie French-inspired costume parade.

Featured authors include Jackie French, Melina Marchetta, Frank Moorhouse, Dianne Blacklock, Alan Baxter, Eleanor Limprecht, Catherine McKinnon, Ron Petty, and Tim Harris.

I’m very much looking forward to (and a little nervous about!) my opportunity to be ‘in conversation’ with the fabulous Melina Marchetta. Otherwise, I’ll be buzzing about all day so if you come along, be sure to say hi!

You can find out more about the program and buy tickets here (they’re limited, so get in quick!). And like the festival on Facebook to keep up with news and updates!

]]>
https://allisontait.com/2018/06/tickets-are-now-on-sale-for-the-first-shoalhaven-readers-writers-festival/feed/ 1
40 YA Books for Tweens (+ 25+ MG books that feel like YA) https://allisontait.com/2018/06/40-ya-books-for-tweens-25-mg-books-that-feel-like-ya/ https://allisontait.com/2018/06/40-ya-books-for-tweens-25-mg-books-that-feel-like-ya/#comments Fri, 01 Jun 2018 05:15:27 +0000 http://allisontait.com/?p=6838 Read More]]> 40 YA Books for Tweens (+ 25+ MG books that feel like YA) | allisontait.comAside from ‘what to read after Harry Potter?’, the most frequent question that come up in the Your Kid’s Next Read Facebook group is this one: ‘Can anyone suggest YA fiction suitable for a tween?’

While there is an entire ‘middle-grade’ (8-12) section of the bookshelf available, many tweens, particularly advanced readers, want to move up. They want to read what older kids are reading and, often, they’ve read the library dry of the books deemed appropriate for their age group.

They’re hungry readers, and parents are often at a loss as to what to give them to read next – because, let’s face it, just because you can read a book, doesn’t necessarily mean that now is the best time to read it. It’s not just that YA fiction can feature themes and subject matter that’s just not suitable for tweens, but that books are best enjoyed when you’re ready for them.

Go in too early with a book that you love and your young reader may put it aside after a chapter or two, and never, ever pick it up again.

So, because I am the helpful sort, I have canvassed not only the YKNR group members (made up of nearly 4000 parents/booksellers/librarians/publishing professionals/teachers/grandparents/authors), but other interested parties (authors, booksellers, librarians) to come up with this list* of YA books that they would recommend for tween readers.

I’ve cheated a bit (not really but it sounds intriguing, right?) by splitting the list into two sections – what I would call Proper YA (aimed at readers 14+) and then a section that is Technically Middle-Grade But With A YA Feel. It might be that your younger tween is just looking for something in the latter category that feels more grown-up than what they’ve been reading. Proper YA has been divided into categories,  but other than that there’s no particular order.

As with any book recommendation, you know your child best, so be sure to read the book’s description closely to make sure it will be suitable for your particular reader – as noted below, some series get darker as they progress, so look beyond book #1, and check with your local bookseller or librarian regarding any themes or storylines you may be wondering about!

Good luck – and do join us over in Your Kid’s Next Read if you have any questions about these or other books for your young readers! 

Contemporary

•The Other Side Of Summer by Emily Gale “Had some mature themes but nothing inappropriate for the younger readers.” – YKNR Member

Geek Girl by Holly Smale

•Spurt (A Balls And All Story) by Chris Miles

Shooting Stars by Brian Falkner

How To Hang A Witch by Adriana Mather (Kid review)

The Wonder Of Us by Kim Culbertson (Kid review)

The Ethan I Was Before by Ali Standish

From The Cutting Room Floor of Barney Kettle by Kate De Goldi

Dandelion Clocks by Rebecca Westcott

Ghost by Jason Reynolds

•Blueback by Tim Winton

The Moonlight Dreamers by Siobhan Curham (Suggested by Una (12))

Silence is Goldfish by Annabel Pitcher

•The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa Keil

Pink by Lili Wilkinson

Mystery/Thriller

I Am Not Esther by Fleur Beale

•Two Wolves by Tristan Bancks

•The Fall by Tristan Bancks

•Missing by Sue Whiting (Kid review)

A little bit romantic

•Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood

Two Summers by Aimee Friedman. “A really good book that provides a gentle intro to this theme.” – YKNR Member

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell “Is sweet… Some more serious stuff touched on but not too heavy.” – YKNR member (Kid review (mini))

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

•Unrequited by Emma Grey

Fantasy/Sci Fi

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (series)

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (series)

The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson (series)

Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce (series)

•Obernewtyn by Isabelle Carmody (series)

The Tiffany Aching sequence by Terry Pratchett (series)

•Arkanae by Lynette Noni (series) “Recommended for tweens/teens done with Harry Potter. The themes get darker as it progresses but not too much that they cause problems. It’s not overly romantic and has a great focus on adventure and friendship.” – YKNR member (Kid review)

Contagion by Teri Terry “I’ve read the first book in the series. I loved her ‘Slated’ series too but it got darker by the third book.” – YKNR member

•Pandora Jones by Barry Jonsberg

The Shadow Cipher by Laura Ruby

Little bit scary

Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (Kid review)

Historical

The Other Side Of Truth by Beverley Naidoo

Salt To The Sea by Ruta Septys “Perfect intro to World War Two – historical fiction without language or storylines that are too advanced.” – YKNR member

•Once series by Morris Gleitzman. ‘It’s in hot demand with the Year 6s at my primary school library – girls and the boys.” – YKNR member

Technically middle-grade but might be just what your YA-seeking tween is looking for

•The Secrets We Share by Nova Weetman “The sequel to Nova Weetman’s brilliant The Secrets We Keep – Clem starts high school in this book.” – YKNR Member

•My Life as an Alphabet by Barry Jonsberg

Eight Keys by Suzanne LaFleur

•Quincy Jordan by Jen Storer

The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

Lily Alone by Jacqueline Wilson

Dizzy by Cathy Cassidy

Stay Well Soon by Penny Tangey

The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson

Fish In A Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Being Miss Nobody by Tamsin Winter

Survival Strategies Of The Almost Brave by Jen White

Drama by Reina Telegemeier

Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead

Olive’s Ocean by Kevin Henkes “Deals with a first realised crush that doesn’t turn out the way she hopes.” – YKNR Member

Parvana by Deborah Ellis

•A Single Stone by Meg McKinlay

The Girl Who Drank The Moon by Kelly Barnhill

The Doldrums by Nicholas Gannon “The next level up for Lemony Snicket fans.” – YKNR member

Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton

•The Timeslip series by Belinda Murrell

Pennies For Hitler by Jackie French “Really opens up tricky themes in sensitive ways.” – YKNR member

The Family With Two Front Doors by Anna Ciddor “There’s lots to talk/think about from an historic and a feminist perspective.” – YKNR member

A Night Divided by Jennifer A Nielsen

Nevermoor (The Trials Of Morrigan Crow) by Jessica Townsend

•The Girl Who Brought Mischief by Katrina Nannestad

Shooting Kabul by N. H. Senzai

I am Malala (Young Readers Edition) by Malala Yousafzai with Patricia McCormick

Are you new here? Welcome! If your middle-grade reader loves epic adventure stories, be sure to check out my two series: The Mapmaker Chronicles and The Ateban Cipher – click the title links to find out more.

You might also like:

24 books for tween boys with ‘nothing to read’

31 books for tween girls with ‘nothing to read’

21 tried-and-tested books for 13/14-year-old boys

100+ great books for your young reader

YKNR: Recommended reading lists for kids 10+, 12+, YA for Tweens

Jazzy’s Diamond Dozen (12 favourite reads from a kid book reviewer)

 

*As with all my book lists, if you click on the title it will take you to online bookstore Booktopia, where you can read the blurb and purchase the book if you like the sound of it (disclosure: this will result in a small commission to me at no extra charge to you). International visitors will find most of these titles in either paperback or ebook form on Amazon. Australian authors are denoted with a •

]]>
https://allisontait.com/2018/06/40-ya-books-for-tweens-25-mg-books-that-feel-like-ya/feed/ 4
News: Say hello at The NSW Writers’ Centre’s Kids & YA Festival 2018 https://allisontait.com/2018/05/news-say-hello-at-the-nsw-writers-centres-kids-ya-festival-2018/ https://allisontait.com/2018/05/news-say-hello-at-the-nsw-writers-centres-kids-ya-festival-2018/#comments Wed, 23 May 2018 01:43:18 +0000 http://allisontait.com/?p=6826 Read More]]> First, the news! 

ICYMI, the program for The NSW Writers’ Centre’s Kids & YA Festival 2018 dropped yesterday, and I’m included in the seriously fabulous line-up of authors, illustrators and publishing types curated by this year’s festival director Belinda Murrell.

We’ll be gathering at the centre in Rozelle, NSW, on 30 June, and I really hope you can join me! More details and tickets here.

This is the festival’s 10th year, and Belinda has gathered together an amazing array of talent, including Kate Forsyth, Jaclyn Moriarty, Will Kostakis, Tim Harris, Garth Nix, R. A. Spratt, Deborah Abela, Jacqueline Harvey and more. You can read the full program here.

I’ll be chairing a panel with Kate Forsyth, Garth Nix and Louise Park, and we’ll be discussing The Business Of Writing – all about creating a long-term career as a writer. There’ll also be book signings, pitching sessions, and the opportunity to simply immerse yourself in the world of writing for children and young adults.

See you there!

Reviews

Thanks to Sue Warren for this lovely review of The Book Of Answers.

“A .L. Tait’s knack for creating these gripping and often tense exploits has been well demonstrated in her Mapmaker Chronicles series (as a reader said to me in the last week of school – “I just LOVE this series – it keeps you on the edge of your seat!”) and now continues the success with this new series.”

Lastly, some interviews

As a bonus, over the years, Val and I have interviewed several of the speakers for Kids & YA Festival on the So You Want To Be A Writer podcast, and I’ve included links to those episodes below.

Authors

Louise Park

Jacqueline Harvey

Kate Forsyth

Jaclyn Moriarty

Belinda Murrell

Oliver Phommavanh

Publisher

Suzanne O’Sullivan

Speaking of interviews, you can hear me talk about The Ateban Cipher series here on the Booktopia podcast (and why I think we all love a quest) – there are just a few signed copies of The Book of Answers left on the shelves at Booktopia, so if you want one, now’s the time

]]>
https://allisontait.com/2018/05/news-say-hello-at-the-nsw-writers-centres-kids-ya-festival-2018/feed/ 1
And now, some straight talking about writing… https://allisontait.com/2018/05/and-now-for-some-straight-talking-about-writing/ Mon, 07 May 2018 00:46:02 +0000 http://allisontait.com/?p=6813 Read More]]> I seem to write about writing a lot (you’ll find my hundreds of blog posts about writing here). And if you listen to So You Want To Be A Writer, the podcast I co-host with Valerie Khoo, you’ll know that I also talk about writing, and ask other authors about their writing, a lot.

But I don’t often talk about my own writing. I’m usually asking the questions, not answering them.

That all changed when Kel Butler from Writes4Women podcast interviewed me about all things writing. The first part of the interview came out a few weeks ago as a ‘minisode’, focussing on book promotion and building your author platform. You can listen to it here on the web or here on iTunes (Ep 18).

The main interview was released a few days ago and, as Kel says, you’ll need a cup of tea for this one. The interview covers a lot of territory, including:

•finding your writing voice

•writing while parenting

•dealing with rejection

•writing without a plan (aka how I learnt to outline)

•making time to write

•podcasting,

•raising readers, and lots more.

You can listen to the interview via the web here or on iTunes here (Ep 20).

I hope you enjoy!

Are you new here? Welcome! You can find out more about me here and all about my books here: The Mapmaker Chronicles and The Ateban Cipher.

]]>
100+ great books for your young reader https://allisontait.com/2018/05/100-great-books-for-your-young-reader/ Tue, 01 May 2018 05:08:09 +0000 http://allisontait.com/?p=6808 Read More]]> 100+ great books for your young reader | allisontait.comOver the past year or so, I’ve created some terrific book lists and I thought, given things have been a bit quiet around here of late, that I might take the opportunity to corral them all together in one post. If you’ve got a young reader aged 8-14 or thereabouts, there’s bound to be a book here for them!

10 Amazing Adventure Stories for Girls 10+

16 Great New Books For The School Holidays

30 Brilliant Books For Girls

5 Books Featuring Reluctant Heroes

21 [gift] Book Ideas For Boys And Girls

12 Books For Kids About Maps

21 Tried-And-Tested Books For 13/14-Year-Old Boys

Also (bonus!), this is an older one, but really useful:

Your Kids’ Next Read: Recommended Reading Lists for Kids 10+, 12+, YA for tweens

If you’re looking for great new book suggestions for your kids (and who isn’t really?), the Your Kids’ Next Read Facebook group is a great place to start. We have 3700+ members – parents, teachers, librarians, booksellers, authors – all sharing their knowledge, recommendations and love of books with each other in a lovely space. We’d love to see you!

And if you’re new here, you can read more about my epic middle-grade adventure series The Mapmaker Chronicles and The Ateban Cipher by clicking the links. Lovely to meet you!

]]>
The week that was: filming, festivals and Creative Writing for Kids https://allisontait.com/2018/04/the-week-that-was-filming-festivals-and-creative-writing-for-kids/ Mon, 09 Apr 2018 04:25:55 +0000 http://allisontait.com/?p=6799 Read More]]> Filming the Creative Writing for Kids course Australian Writers' CentreIf you’ve listened to the So You Want To Be A Writer podcast recently, you’ll know two things about me:

  1. video is not my happy place, and
  2. I’ve recently created a new creative writing course for kids for the Australian Writers Centre.

These two things came together in a perfect storm last Saturday when I spent many hours perched on the edge of a very hard stool trying to keep my ‘joy’ up as we filmed the modules for the online course.

I love this course, which is aimed at kids aged 9-14 (or thereabouts). I love the content, I love the message, I love the detail (as with everything I do, I’ve tried to make it as useful, informative and inspiring as I possibly can).

It’s a course for kids who love to write – and a course for kids who’d love to write better.

So the joy in the course wasn’t hard to find. By the end of the day, while I did not love the filming, I could feel that it had come together in a really special way. I’m actually quite thrilled with it.

You can read all about the course, which launches soon, here. (You’ll also find links to some writing tips for kids at the bottom of this post.)

I was also thrilled to share the news that I’m heading to North Queensland later this year as part of a stellar line-up of authors for the Burdekin Readers’ and Writers’ Festival. If you’re based up there, I’d love to meet you, so keep an eye on their Facebook page for event and ticket details.

If you’re not in NQ, don’t fret. I’ve got more event announcements to make for this year, so stay tuned!

Lastly, I’d just like to thank everyone who’s taken the time to contact me via email or social media to let me know how much they and their kids loved The Book Of Answers. Or The Book Of Secrets. Or The Mapmaker Chronicles.

Launch week for a new book often brings new readers for an author’s other titles as well, and your feedback means so much to me.

Now that the dust is settling a little, I’m turning my attention to other new stories. It’s so much easier to start all over again when you know that your books have found readers to love them.

Writing tips for kids

10 top tips from bestselling author Jacqueline Harvey

The 10 keys to a great story

My best writing advice for kids by Allison Rushby

]]>
The week that was: launch week for The Book Of Answers https://allisontait.com/2018/04/the-week-that-was-launch-week-for-the-book-of-answers/ Tue, 03 Apr 2018 01:36:42 +0000 http://allisontait.com/?p=6790 Read More]]> Goodness me, but that was a whirlwind. I can’t believe The Book Of Answers (Ateban Cipher #2) has been out for a week already. The Easter long weekend in the middle, plus the end of daylight savings, has left me with a strange jet-lagged feeling (what is it about that one ‘extra’ hour that makes such a difference?), but I thought I’d put together an update.

This blog is my record of all that goes on, so apologies if you’ve seen some of this on one of my various social media platforms, and “hello” if you’ve seen none of it.

A big thank you to my local booksellers (Dymocks Books Nowra and Dean Swift Books) for inviting me in to sign books for my local community. Our region is so lucky to still be so well served by bookshops (another fantastic bookshop in my area is Boobook On Owen and I hope to get there soon) and I feel blessed that, as an author outside a capital city, my local booksellers are so incredibly supportive.

Signed copies of The Book Of Answers at Dean Swift Books Nowra

Support your local bookshops everyone – they do an amazing job!

And, of course, if you’re not local and you’d like a signed copy, head to Booktopia, where I signed a stack before launch day – but get in quick because there aren’t many left. (Handy tip: if you scroll to the bottom of this link, you can order The Book Of Secrets and The Book Of Answers for $25)

First reviews of The Book Of Answers are starting to come through, and I was thrilled with this one from Ashleigh at The Book Muse:

“Gabe’s discoveries were unexpected but worked well with the story – and came at just the right time, with the right pacing. Overall, the elements of The Book of Answers worked really well together, and all the elements tied together nicely at the end. A great read for children aged ten and older, and adults if they like these sorts of stories, and it is a nice quick read as well, which is all down to the well-written pacing of the story.”

Speaking of reviews, Quinn and the rest of the crew of The Mapmaker Chronicles series continue to find fans and friends all over the world. I was absolutely thrilled with this series review by Erik of This Kid Reviews Books:

I really liked this entire series. Five out of five bookworms all-around! Yay! 

Having the books available in the US, the UK, and other territories means that they are finding new readers all the time, which just makes me feel like a proud parent. And, given it was Erik’s fabulous blog that inspired Book Boy to begin his own blog a few years ago, I’m just chuffed with his review of each book (click here to read them all).

Kid reviewers are the best!

Writers might be interested in a couple of podcast chats I’ve had this week.

On this week’s episode (228) of So You Want To Be A Writer, Val and I had a chat about the strange sensations of launch week and why my online community (that’s you!) is so important to me at this time. (If you haven’t discovered my podcast as yet, there’s more info about it here.)

I also talked to Kel Butler from the Writes4Women podcast about author platforms – what they are, why you need one and where to put your energies. Lots to think about.

In related news, for those of you who have young writers and who live on (or near) the south coast, I’m experimenting with some school holiday writing workshops for kids on Wednesday 18 April 2018. There are two sessions, one for kids aged 9-11, one for the 12-14 set.

Click the link for each age group to see all the details and book a spot for your young writer (but be quick – each workshop is limited to 10 young writers and tickets are selling fast).

Okay, I think that just about covers a very big week. Thank you for reading this far and thanks you once again for all your support. 

]]>
Today’s the day: THE BOOK OF ANSWERS is out now! https://allisontait.com/2018/03/todays-the-day-the-book-of-answers-is-out-now/ https://allisontait.com/2018/03/todays-the-day-the-book-of-answers-is-out-now/#comments Tue, 27 Mar 2018 03:17:03 +0000 http://allisontait.com/?p=6776 Read More]]> The Ateban Cipher adventure series for kids 9-12 is out now!Today, my new book came out. THE BOOK OF ANSWERS (Ateban Cipher #2) is out there on the shelves, ready and waiting for someone to just wander on by and pick it up. (Doesn’t it look pretty there, standing behind THE BOOK OF SECRETS…)

You’ll find more details about the books here.

I’ve written before about the strangely anti-climactic experience that is Publication Day. After years of writing, editing and waiting, there it is, out there while you, the other, are… still doing whatever it is you do on a daily basis.

And all you can do is to wait and see.

Wondering if anyone will buy it.

Wondering if anyone will like it.

Hoping that everyone LOVES it (even as you know that there’s no book in the world that EVERYONE loves).

Fly high my little book.

I’ll be over here. Tidying my desk and, yes, writing a new book.

You can buy THE BOOK OF ANSWERS (and THE BOOK OF SECRETS) at your local bookshop or at these online booksellers. 

Abbey’s Bookshop

Angus & Robertson

Avid Reader

Berkelouw Books

Booktopia

Dymocks

Gleebooks

Readings 

And thank you all so much for your support.

]]>
https://allisontait.com/2018/03/todays-the-day-the-book-of-answers-is-out-now/feed/ 4
Advance copies, dedications + a giveaway https://allisontait.com/2018/03/advance-copies-dedications-a-giveaway/ https://allisontait.com/2018/03/advance-copies-dedications-a-giveaway/#comments Mon, 12 Mar 2018 04:50:25 +0000 http://allisontait.com/?p=6766 Read More]]> With just over two weeks to go until The Book Of Answers (Ateben Cipher #2) lands in bookshops all over Australia, excitement levels are mounting – and hit ‘very high to ridiculous’ this morning when the first printed copies arrived via courier.

You might think that, given this is my sixth children’s novel and 11th book in total, somehow I would have become grown-up and mature about this moment but no.

This. Never. Gets. Old.

See. I even made a video about it.

Anyway, this post is really just to share my excitement levels with someone other than Procrastipup, and to share the book’s dedication.

You might remember I’ve talked about dedications before, sharing 10 of my favourites here, along with the dedication for The Book Of Secrets, which remains a high point for me. (Go look – I promise I’ll be here when you get back.)

Well, here is the dedication for The Book Of Answers.

Book dedication: The Book Of Answers (Ateban Cipher #2)

Anyone who’s read The Book Of Secrets and loved the bond between Gwyn and Merry will get it. Anyone who’s had sisters will get it.

If you’d like to show your excitement and pre-order your very own copy of The Book Of Answers, go here. And you can buy The Book Of Secrets here right now.

Speaking of excitement, I’ve got a special giveaway planned for my newsletter subscribers this month (hint: may involve a little package of signed books, bookmark plus not-available-in-shops The Mapmaker Chronicles cap), so if you’d like the opportunity to get involved in that, make sure you’re signed up for my newsletter before 15th March 2018 and stand by!

In the meantime, I’ll be over here. Excited.

]]>
https://allisontait.com/2018/03/advance-copies-dedications-a-giveaway/feed/ 3
Taking stock in February 2018 https://allisontait.com/2018/02/taking-stock-in-february-2018/ Tue, 27 Feb 2018 21:20:05 +0000 http://allisontait.com/?p=6759 Read More]]> Blogging challenge: Taking stockYou might remember last month I took up Pip Lincolne’s suggestion to ‘take stock’ each month. To share what I’m loving, thinking, feeling, watching, reading… and so on and so forth.

I liked it so much, I’m doing it again this month. If you’d like to join in, you’ll find the template for Pip’s prompts here. Use as many or as few as you like.

Making: Plans. The Book Of Answers (Ateban Cipher #2) launches in one month and I’m working on the best ways to get the word out. Help me spread the word if you can!

Cooking: ANZAC biscuits. I’ve recently rediscovered them as a school lunchbox treat.

Drinking: Sparkling mineral water. It makes me feel as though I’m drinking something more exciting than water.

Reading: Oh, as always, so much to talk about here. I’ve just finished The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan, which is a CRACKING read, and I’m halfway through Kali Napier’s The Secrets At Ocean’s Edge, which I’m really enjoying. I’ve also got A Shadow’s Breath by Nicole Hayes on the go as my ‘bath read’ and Mr11 and I are reading Kensy and Max: Breaking News by Jacqueline Harvey together (he’s loving it).

Next read: Hmmm. I think maybe The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. I bought it for Book Boy a little while ago, but his TBR pile is so huge I don’t think he’ll miss it for a few days…

Wanting: A stylish pair of hiking boots for everyday dog-walking in autumn and winter. Any suggestions?

Looking: Honestly, looking through reading glasses that suddenly seem less effective. Definitely time for a sight test.

Playing: The new Marlon Williams album ‘Make Way For Love’. His voice just kills me (hear it here).

Deciding: So many things. Every day there are just so many decisions, don’t you think? Exhausting.

Wishing: On stars. Always.

Enjoying: Watching my boys grow. And they are just… growing.

Waiting: As a writer, I’m always waiting for something. If you don’t believe me, read this post I wrote in 2010 – nothing has changed. But, I will say this, I’ve got much better at using my waiting time. If you’re in this position, this post might help.

Liking: The rain. We’ve finally had a decent downpour and the garden has gone nuts.

Wondering: If I will be this thrilled about the rain next week when the weeds have also gone nuts.

Loving: I generally steer clear of politics on this blog, but I have to say that I am loving watching the politicising of US teens around the issue of gun control. Will it be enough to effect change? Only time will tell. But watching them come to the fore, with a voice, gives me great hope for the future.

Buying: Not much. I’m not a huge shopper. Though there is my new sparkling mineral water addiction to maintain, so …

Watching: Season 4 of The Bridge on SBS On Demand.

Next watch: I am still mourning the end of season 2 of The Crown, so if anyone can suggest a suitable replacement, please do!

Hoping: I’ll meet a big deadline on Friday. While I know that hope is not enough, I still think there’s room in the plan for it.

Marvelling: That my baby is in grade six and has very specific requirements when it comes to haircuts. This is the same kid who, I’m sure, only minutes ago was dancing with me at the preschool disco.

Needing: Sleep.

Questioning: Why The Builder and I thought that ‘one more season’ in which Mr11 plays BOTH rugby and soccer was a good idea. Rugby training started today and my afternoons and weekends disappeared in an instant.

Wearing: Who knows? One day I’m in shorts because it’s 40 degrees Celsius and the next we have the flannel pyjamas out.

Following: My friend Kerri Sackville as she prepares to launch her new book,’Out There‘. You should follow her too. She’s hilarious!

Worrying: That I will never, ever get to the end of my To Do list.

Knowing: That the best way to get to the end of my To Do list is to stop writing blog posts and get it done…

Thinking: That I should take my own advice.

Giggling: At myself.

Would you like to Take Stock for February? Join in! It’s a great way to share things you’ve discovered without relying on social media platforms and their crazy algorithms to get the message out. Blog about it instead!

]]>
Writing for kids: 10 top writing tips by bestselling author Jacqueline Harvey https://allisontait.com/2018/02/writing-for-kids-10-top-writing-tips-by-bestselling-author-jacqueline-harvey/ https://allisontait.com/2018/02/writing-for-kids-10-top-writing-tips-by-bestselling-author-jacqueline-harvey/#comments Mon, 26 Feb 2018 04:05:31 +0000 http://allisontait.com/?p=6741 Read More]]> Writing for kids: Top 10 writing tips by Jacqueline HarveyWhen you’re starting out as a writer, the best thing you can do is to learn from other writers. The same is true when you’re starting out as a published author – you look to the best in the business and try to learn as much as you can.

Fortunately, Australian children’s authors are an incredible bunch of people, so when I popped up amongst them as a new author a few years ago, they were generous with their time, their information and their advice.

Which is why I’m so pleased to welcome the wonderful Jacqueline Harvey here today to share her top 10 tips for young writers. Jacqueline is one of Australia’s most popular children’s authors, having sold over a million copies of her Alice-Miranda and Clementine Rose series’ in Australia alone. She has received numerous short-listings and awards and is in high demand for her wonderful talks and workshops at schools and festivals around the world.

Jacqueline is right in the middle of launching Kensy and Max: Breaking News, the first book in her brand-new, exciting spy series, but has taken the time to share her best advice here. (See? Generous.)

Right. Is everyone sitting up straight? Let us begin.

10 tips for young writers by Jacqueline Harvey

  1. Read! Read a lot and read widely. It sounds like a no-brainer but if you’re planning to be a writer you need to learn from the experts and that means people who have had books published. If I come across a particularly extraordinary description or turn of phrase when I’m reading, I’ll write it down and think about what makes it so fantastic. Reading will give you insights into the way writers develop characters, plots and pace – and look at how authors end their stories too. The ending is just as important as the beginning.
  2. Writers have well-developed observation skills and I don’t just mean sight. Listen, taste, touch, smell and feel things. Use all of your senses when you’re writing and see what a difference it makes in bringing the words to life.
  3. Keep notebooks and diaries and write down things that interest you, descriptions, ideas for stories and characters when they come into your head. I often dream good ideas and have a notebook beside the bed so I can capture those thoughts immediately (otherwise I know I’ll forget).
  4. Use places you’ve visited or are familiar with to inspire your own writing. I’ve been to many of the settings I’ve used in my books. However, that said, you don’t need to have been somewhere to be able to write about it either. Research is so important and as a writer I think Google Maps, Google Earth and Streetview are one of the best resources available to us. Even when I am very familiar with a place I’ll often use those apps to support what I’m doing. When I was writing Kensy and Max, a particular area of London was always up on my computer.
  5. When you go places and travel, keep diaries and take lots of photographs. They will help you to remember things and come in handy when you’re stuck for ideas.
  6. Seek help from experts. When I’ve been unsure about something to do with a location or language or customs, I’ve always sought help from others. For example, when I was writing Alice-Miranda at Sea, I wanted to include a rare species of butterfly that would live somewhere near Barcelona in Spain.
    I had two issues – firstly, I’ve never been to Barcelona and, secondly, I know very little about butterflies. I researched as much as I could on the Internet but in the end found the International Society of Lepidopterists (Butterfly fanciers). I wrote to them and a fellow from Switzerland helped me with everything I needed to know.
  7. It’s your story – have fun with the writing. I’m a planner – I plan the big ideas and always know how it’s going to end – therefore I have something to work towards. I love it when the characters surprise me and we take a slightly different pathway but I find that because I write to very tight deadlines a general outline really helps. Children often don’t have a lot of time to write a story so planning is critical. I also edit as I go and read the work aloud – with the accents of the characters too. This helps me to get inside their heads and be part of the action.
  8. Write as often as you can and practise all sorts of different styles. Do short activities that get your creative juices flowing. It might be writing a description of something you have seen or creating a character and knowing everything about them. Creating biographies for your characters is a great way to get to know them well. I always say that I know more about my characters than I’m probably ever likely to reveal to the reader.
  9. Enter competitions as it gives your writing a focus and goal. You also need to make sure that you finish your stories. It’s all about perseverance.
  10. Think about what sort of story would make you want to switch off from your devices and focus on writing something you love. If you’re bored writing the story, it’s almost guaranteed people will be bored reading it too. The most important thing is to fall in love with your characters and really enjoy what you’re writing.

Jacqueline Harvey, author of new series Kensy and Max gives her top 10 writing tips for kidsKensy and Max: Breaking News is out today and is the first book in an action-packed spy adventure about twins whose lives are turned upside down one day when they are whisked off to London and discover their parents are missing. You can find out more about Jacqueline Harvey here. 

More writing tips for kids:

Creating Remarkable Characters by Tim Harris

My best writing advice for kids by Allison Rushby

How to be more creative

The 10 keys to a great story

How to write comics by Shane W. Smith

And if you’re new here, you can learn more about me and my books here.

]]>
https://allisontait.com/2018/02/writing-for-kids-10-top-writing-tips-by-bestselling-author-jacqueline-harvey/feed/ 3
My top 3 tips from 9 years of author blogging https://allisontait.com/2018/02/my-top-3-tips-from-9-years-of-author-blogging/ https://allisontait.com/2018/02/my-top-3-tips-from-9-years-of-author-blogging/#comments Mon, 05 Feb 2018 02:28:06 +0000 http://allisontait.com/?p=6674 Read More]]> My top 3 tips from 9 years of author bloggingSomehow my blog turned nine and I missed it. When I started writing here, the blog was called Life In A Pink Fibro and it was a mish-mash of thoughts and parenting and writing and reading and…

Hmmm, looks like not that much has changed, only I don’t blog DAILY like I used to.

Daily. Excellent for downloading the brain and building a blog, but not so brilliant for putting actual words in actual novels.

But I digress.

To celebrate entering my 10th year of blogging – which makes me pretty much a centenarian in blog years – I thought I’d rustle up my top three tips specifically for author bloggers.

  1. Work out why you’re blogging
    It took me about five years to get to the bottom of this. I started out with the blog because a wise friend suggested I should. I blogged daily because a) I liked it and b) that’s what all the blogging experts said you should do to build a blog.

    I realised that I’d written 350,000 words on my blog one year and cut back to three times a week because – well, 350,000 words is about three adult fiction manuscripts.Lots and lots of people visited my blog. People approached me about taking advertising, raising the word ‘monetise’. I said no*.

    One day, I put up a chicken soup recipe (in my defence, it’s a really good one). My dear friend Kerri Sackville emailed to ask, politely, WTF I thought I was doing. “You are not a food blogger,” she said. “You are an author.”

    She was right. I looked at all the things I was doing on my blog. I mean, really looked at it for the first time in five years. And I made some changes.

    I blog to share my thoughts, an insight into my author life, and news about my books. I try to share useful information and insights about writing and publishing because I know that’s what my community wants (how do I know? I asked them). I offer space on my blog to other authors because I strongly believe in sharing the love and the insight, and I keep lists of recommended children’s books because I know, as a parent, how difficult it can be to keep kids reading.

    This blog is not about traffic, it’s about community.

    As I wrote in my fifth year of blogging, I blog because it’s worth it.

    Why do you blog?

  2. Don’t overthink it
    There’s an awful lot of information out there about blogging – from optimal word lengths for posts to how many sub-heads you should have to which latest tech improvement you should be making the most of. My advice for author bloggers? Don’t overthink it.You are an author. You are a writer. So, write things.

    When I’m wondering what to blog about, as I wrote in this post last year, I ask myself three questions:

    • what am I thinking about?

    • what am I feeling?

    • what can I do that’s useful?

    And then I write about one of those things. I don’t ignore SEO, but neither do I obsess over it. I try to think about what I would search to find that particular post and I go with that.

  3. Blogging is more than platform building
    Every year when I write my annual ‘what I’ve learnt in X years of blogging’ post I come back to one thing: blogging has been so very good for my writing.

    When I began the blog, I was a fulltime freelance journalist (or as fulltime as one could be with a three year old in tow) and I had been writing for magazines and newspapers for nearly two decades. I had a very well-defined, most excellent broadcast voice. An outside voice, if you like.

    What blogging every day gave me was my own voice. My inside voice.

    Good blogging requires you to look closely, to reveal what you think, how you feel. It shows you that a whole story can be found in a tiny moment in your day. As an example, compare my first ever blog post with this one, where I was starting to get the hang of it all.

    Blogging was a great tool for helping me to find my voice as an author. Obviously, you don’t need to go public on a blog to do this, but if you’re struggling to really find ‘you’ in your writing, look at a daily journal of some kind. But there is something about ‘putting it out there’ that helps to focus the mind – and, of course, bring readers to your website.

And now… here’s to another 12 months!

You’ll find more thoughts on authors and blogging here:

Blogging: Inviting Readers Home

Social Media For Writers #1: Blogging (featuring Jane Friedman)

Let’s talk about blogging and authors

Why blogging is not writing

My #1 tip for bloggers

How to write a better blog

Or take a look at my online course at the Australian Writers’ Centre on How To Build Your Author Platform.

 

*For the record, I did introduce bookseller affiliate links on the blog around 18 months ago, as per the disclosure here.

]]>
https://allisontait.com/2018/02/my-top-3-tips-from-9-years-of-author-blogging/feed/ 4
Stop talking, start writing… #writeabookwithal (Feb 2018) https://allisontait.com/2018/02/stop-talking-start-writing-writeabookwithal-feb-2018/ Wed, 31 Jan 2018 21:32:42 +0000 http://allisontait.com/?p=6670 Read More]]> Stop Talking, Start Writing with #writeabookwithal Feb 2018As threatened, it’s here. Day one of #writeabookwithal (Feb 2018).

If you’ve done this before, you know how it goes. Lots of people TALK about writing a book. Now it’s time to actually write it.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to … write. As many words as you can, as many days as you can, alongside me as I work on my new manuscript.

If you’re new here, you’ll find a basic rundown of how it all works here. You might also like to find out a bit more about me here, to see what you’re getting yourself into…

One tip: follow my Facebook page and mark it as ‘see first’ to make sure you don’t miss the word count posts. This is where most of the discussion (and cheerleading!) takes place.

Some other posts that might help:

How to get the words written: 10 tips for writers

Six reasons you should start writing your novel now

Some books are harder to write than others: 7 tips for getting to The End

3 ways to make yourself write when you really don’t want to (but absolutely have to)

Don’t forget I also have really useful courses for you:

Make Time To Write

Creative Writing 30-Day Bootcamp

Ready, set… write!

]]>
Brace yourselves for #writeabookwithal on Feb 1 https://allisontait.com/2018/01/brace-yourselves-for-writeabookwithal-on-feb-1/ https://allisontait.com/2018/01/brace-yourselves-for-writeabookwithal-on-feb-1/#comments Tue, 23 Jan 2018 04:33:14 +0000 http://allisontait.com/?p=6665 Read More]]> The February 2018 round of #writeabookwithal is coming!With one week of the school holidays left, my thoughts are turning to two things: the huge stack of things on my To Do list and the next book I want to write.

In order to manage both of these things at once, I’ve decided some accountability is in order. And so…

On February 1, I’ll be starting a new round of #writeabookwithal – if you haven’t yet witnessed the pure joy/chaos of this particular hashtag, the premise is simple. I start a new manuscript and post a word count each day – even if it’s 0 – on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram (or some combination of the three) with the #writeabookwithal hashtag. If you’d like to, you can join in, sharing your own word counts under the post on my FB page, or using the hashtag on Twitter or Instagram.

At this stage, I’m only aiming to write around 20,000 words, so I’m hoping for a four-week challenge, but we’ll see how we go.

Your goal can be as few or as many words as you wish.

That’s it. The whole challenge in a nutshell. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to daily word counts, but writers who’ve joined me before have commented on how inspiring the whole ‘group effort’ is, so I hope you’ll take a look.

I’ll pop up a post on 1 Feb to remind y’all we’re underway and off we go.

Will you join me?

If you’re new here, you can find out more about me and my books here

]]>
https://allisontait.com/2018/01/brace-yourselves-for-writeabookwithal-on-feb-1/feed/ 18