[News] Festivals, podcasts, and a longlist

[News] Festivals, podcasts, and a longlist

It’s always easy to tell when I’m super-busy – I stop blogging. So I’m thrilled to be back in a small window of peace for a quick news update.


Festivals: dates for your diary

•All going well, I’m heading to Queensland next week for the Capricorn Coast Writers’ Festival (11-13 June) and I can’t wait to hit Yeppoon in June.

I’ve got a very busy program, including a two-hour workshop called ‘So You Want To Be A Children’s Author?‘ (see what I did there?), a panel discussing Crafting Stories for Children with Dr Anita Heiss and Kat Apel, moderated by Nicky Way (good luck with the wrangling, Nicky!), and a one-hour workshop for kids called ‘Unlocking the Story Code: The 10 keys to writing a great story‘.


Writers Unleashed (21 August) has announced it’s program for 2021, and I’m excited to be part of a great line-up. I’ll be sharing the secrets of Getting The Words Written – a one-hour presentation on how to make time to write.

Stand by for more dates soon!



•The Your Kid’s Next Read podcast is proving to be a hit! Megan and I were chuffed to see it in Apple’s Top Books podcasts several times in its first few weeks, and there’s a new episode out right now!

Your Kids Next Read podcast episode 6

You’ll find the podcast on Apple, Spotify, or on our website here.


•There are now 400+ episodes of So You Want To Be A Writer podcast and Valerie and I love the fact that we continue to get five star reviews even after all this time! Particularly when they’re as creative as this one on Apple podcass:

So You Want To Be A Writer review

Reviews and ratings really help with a podcast’s visibility, so if you’re enjoying either of mine, please consider leaving one!


Sisters In Crime Davitt Awards Longlist

It was a real thrill this week to see THE FIRE STAR (A Maven & Reeve Mystery) on the longlist for the Children’s Crime Novel section of the 2021 Sisters In Crime Davitt Awards, in a very strong field.

You’ll find the full longlist here.


Signed books

One of the reasons I’ve been quiet lately is that I’ve been decluttering my house. Even those words are exhausting, aren’t they? In my case, that means culling bookshelves, and I’ve discovered a couple of boxes of the US editions of THE MAPMAKER CHRONICLES and THE ATEBAN CIPHER novels.

If you live in Australia and would like to purchase a signed copy of The Mapmaker Chronicles #1, #2 and/or #3, or The Book of Secrets and/or The Book Of Answers, for $10 each (plus postage), drop me an email via the form on this website and we can work out the details.

Note, the covers of The Ateban Cipher novels are different to the Australian editions – you can see them here.

Offer available until they’re gone.


A L Tait The Fire StarAre you new here? Welcome to my blog! I’m Allison Tait, aka A.L. Tait, and I’m the author of two epic middle-grade adventure series, The Mapmaker Chronicles and The Ateban Cipher, and a new ‘almost history’ detective series called the Maven & Reeve Mysteries (you’ll find book #1 THE FIRE STAR here).

You can find out more about me here, and more about my books here.


So I have this new podcast

So I have this new podcast

I have a new podcast!

The Your Kid’s Next Read podcast, co-hosted with Megan Daley of Children’s Books Daily, launched this week and, as with so many things I do, has quickly fallen into the ‘why didn’t I do this sooner?’ category.

Regular readers will know that Megan and I founded the Your Kid’s Next Read Facebook community about three years ago, and quickly brought in the third member of our admin team, author Allison Rushby. The group has grown from strength to strength and now boast 17,000+ members all interested in one thing: finding the next great book for a young reader in their lives.


And now, the Your Kid’s Next Read podcast

Megan and I are bringing the group to life with a weekly half-hour (or thereabouts) podcast, in which we talk about the new books we have, what’s on the To Be Read pile, regular questions and requests that bubble up in the group, quick tips about lots of different aspects of kids and reading and writing.


This is the official description:

Author Allison Tait and teacher-librarian-author Megan Daley, co-founders of the Your Kid’s Next Read community, talk books and reading for children of all ages. From board books and picture books, to junior fiction, middle-grade novels and YA blockbusters, they’ll help you find the perfect next book for the young readers in your life. Plus, practical tips on getting (and keeping) kids reading and writing, a whole lot of fun and … YKNR book question bingo.


Here we are, chatting at the launch:


We have five episodes ready for you to binge, and a lot more to come, so subscribe on your fave podcasting platform so you don’t miss a thing!

Find us on the website here.

On Apple here.

And on Spotify here. 


If you like what you hear, please leave us a rating or review if the platform allows! It really helps us to spread the word.

Hope you love it!


PS: If you’re a writer, don’t miss my other podcast So You Want To Be A Writer


A L Tait The Fire StarAre you new here? Welcome to my blog! I’m Allison Tait, aka A.L. Tait, and I’m the author of two epic middle-grade adventure series, The Mapmaker Chronicles and The Ateban Cipher, and a new ‘almost history’ detective series called the Maven & Reeve Mysteries (you’ll find book #1 THE FIRE STAR here).

You can find out more about me here, and more about my books here.


[News] So You Want To Be A Writer podcast hits 400 episodes!

[News] So You Want To Be A Writer podcast hits 400 episodes!

This week, Valerie Khoo and I recorded the 400th episode of the So You Want To Be A Writer podcast and sent it out into the ether.

It’s a big milestone for a project that began a few years ago with the following exchange*:


Val: ‘Maybe we should make a podcast for people who want to be writers?’

Al: ‘Do you reckon anyone would listen?”

Val: ‘Not sure, but it might be fun.’

Al: ‘Okay, let’s give it a crack. What will we call it?’

Val: ‘Er, so you want to be a writer?’

Al: ‘Straightforward. I like it.’

Val: ‘Great, I’ve designed some cover artwork, let’s start right now.’


Since then the podcast has spawned a book, live events and an incredibly loyal listener community, and Val and I feel blessed that we decided to give it a go. It’s a labour of love, but one that has afforded us so many lessons and brilliant experiences along the way.

So thanks for listening, thanks for being part of it, and here’s to the next big milestone!


*May not be word-for-word accurate, but more or less the gist


So You Want To Be a Writer bookAre you new here? Welcome to my blog! I’m Allison Tait and you can find out more about me here and more about my online writing courses here.

 Subscribe to So You Want To Be A Writer podcast for more amazing writing advice.

 Or check out So You Want To Be A Writer (the book), where my co-author Valerie Khoo and I have distilled the best tips from hundreds of author and industry expert interviews. Find out more and buy it here.



My top 10 favourite podcast interviews 2020

My top 10 favourite podcast interviews 2020

If you follow this blog regularly, you’ll know that one of my favourite things about doing the So You Want To Be A Writer podcast, beyond getting to chat to my co-host Valerie Khoo every week, is the author interviews that we feature each week.

There’s a lot to be said for picking the brains of brilliant authors in our podcast interviews.

I thought it only fair, then, to bring you a list of ten of my favourite podcast interviews for 2020. This was a tough list to make because it’s been a great year for author interviews on So You Want To Be A Writer, but I’ve done my best. Click the episode number link to find the interview transcribed, as well as a link for you to have a listen to the whole thing.

It’s also worth noting that this list comprises only authors interviewed by me. I also have ten favourite interviews conducted by Valerie, but I thought I’d leave that list to her.


Top 10 favourite author interviews for So You Want To Be A Writer podcast 2020

Kate Simpson, episode 324

I loved Kate’s beautiful picture book Anzac Girl: The War Diaries of Alice Ross-King’ and really enjoyed the discussion around the process of bringing this incredibly personal perspective on history to publication.

Clare Bowditch, episode 325

I think our listeners fell in love with Clare right around the time she opened up her DMs to anyone who needed help. Super charming, witty and engaging.

Katherine Kovacic, episode 334

Art, mystery and taking a chance – Katherine’s story has it all!

Imbi Neeme, episode 335 

Having met Imbi at a blogging conference 10+ years ago, I’ve been following her journey to publication for a long time and it gave me such pleasure to discuss her debut novel with her!

Gus Gordon. episode 338

In an unusual set of circumstances, Gus and I spoke over video link and, being an illustrator as well as an author, he kept holding up visuals to reinforce his points. I’m only sorry that the podcast listeners couldn’t see them because his notebooks are a joy to behold.

Jeff Apter, episode 343

Music writer and biographer Jeff Apter took us inside a meeting with Aretha Franklin… and a lovely reference to The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough.

Adrian Beck, episode 344

Adrian writes funny, madcap chapter books for kids – and our interview went along much the same lines. Listeners in our recent podcast survey voted this episode one of their favourites.

Monica McInerney, episode 363

For the highs and lows of author life delivered with a huge dollop of charm, don’t miss this one.

Meg Keneally, episode 367

If you’ve ever wondered what it might be like to write a book with Tom Keneally, this one is for you.

Lian Tanner, episode 369

If you’re struggling to get inside the head of your character, Lian’s journey of creating a mystery-solving chicken will have plenty of clues for you!


So You Want To Be A Writer podcastAre you new here? Welcome to my blog! I’m Allison Tait and you can find out more about me here and more about my online writing courses here.

Subscribe to So You Want To Be A Writer podcast for more amazing writing advice.

Or check out So You Want To Be A Writer (the book), where my co-author Valerie Khoo and I have distilled the best tips from hundreds of author and industry expert interviews. Find out more and buy it here.

6 things I’ve learnt about podcasting

6 things I’ve learnt about podcasting

starting a podcast with One More PageStarting a podcast takes time, devotion and, yes, sometimes a few tears. if you’re going to start a podcast, it helps to begin with a subject you love, AND with people you really like.

One More Page is a podcast for lovers of kids’ books, featuring children’s authors Liz Ledden, Kate Simpson and Nat Amoore. That’s them on the left in their cute t-shirts (note to self: get some merch!).

So when Liz Ledden reached out to write a guest post about all that is good about podcasting (and some tips on how to start your own podcast), I jumped at the chance.

Liz Ledden tells: 6 Things I’ve Learnt About Podcasting

Since co-hosting kids’ book podcast One More Page for nearly three years alongside fellow authors Kate Simpson and Nat Amoore, I’ve learnt a thing or two about this whole podcasting biz. Here are six standouts:

1/  It’s like your own personal masterclass … that you share with the world

Having a podcast about the children’s book world (One More Page) means you’re constantly asking people about things you’re curious about. And that presumably (and hopefully) listeners are, too. Obsessed with a certain author? Drill them for their creativity tips! Dream of working with a particular publisher? Ask them what they look for in a manuscript, or an author. There’s so much wisdom to be gained from podcasts, and the hosts have as much to learn as their listenership.

2/  It’s hard to listen to your own voice (like, really hard)

One of the most confronting things about podcasting, especially when starting out, is discovering what your voice ‘really’ sounds like. Which may then lead you down a rabbit hole of – why do I laugh like that? Why didn’t I say something different there? Can we just re-release that entire episode already?! But eventually, you do get used to it. (Except for that sentence, and that one too … Oh god, I hope no one heard that bit!).

3/  It’s kind of like a workplace

Being part of a podcast team is just like a workplace, minus the boss and regular pay packet. There’s the ‘watercooler’ (a WhatsApp chat mostly filled with ridiculous gifs) and to-do lists to tick off (yes, our very own KPIs). There’s also break-time banter (the pre and post-pod chat), dodgy office politics (It’s MY review copy! No, MINE!), and people behaving (or singing) badly at the Christmas party – except ours is recorded for anyone to hear. At least we can all declare ourselves ‘Employee of the Year’ – hooray!

4/  It’s also a bit like being a publisher

‘Sorry, it’s not right for our list’. Sound familiar, writerly people?! Yes, that age-old publishing rejection spiel is sometimes just as applicable to the podcast world. I’ve discovered how similar being a podcaster is to a publisher, in terms of people getting in touch:

–       We have an endless stream of people emailing with requests (the ‘slush pile’).

–       We sometimes need to take a raincheck on wonderful content (a fully booked publishing schedule).

–       There’s the occasional mega-star we try to squeeze in no matter what (like when a celebrity kids’ book author comes knocking at a publishing house – hello, mega sales!).

–       And just like publishers, we have a few odd bods offering content not really suited to One More Page (like writers who don’t follow submission guidelines or research a publisher first).

Sorry to say … it’s not right for our list.

5/  If something goes wrong, it’ll be at the worst possible time

Inevitably, any internet-dependant venture will face a tech fail or two. These, of course, are exclusively reserved for those high-profile guests you’ve waited your whole life to speak to. But that time you interview your pal from your writers’ group? It will go off without the slightest of hitches. Internet gods, why do you do this?! (Sidenote: It’s actually been a while since this has happened … knock on wood!)

6/  Grateful guests warm the heart

Some seasoned authors, illustrators and other bookish figures regularly do the publicity rounds. An interview here, a livestream there, maybe even a coveted TV spot. They’re glad to add One More Page to their repertoire, but it mightn’t necessarily be a life highlight.

However, every now and then, someone is stratospherically excited and grateful for some podcasterly airtime, whether we interview them, review their book or shout out to their latest venture.

And when someone tells us how much it means to them, it makes all the effort worthwhile.

Like the idea of podcasting?

Perhaps you have your own idea for a podcast (or don’t even mind the sound of your own voice!).

Here are a few things to consider if embarking down the podcasting path:

Why are you podcasting?

You don’t necessarily need a product or service to spruik, it might be to build your brand or further your career.

As authors, we’re able to mention our own books, so think about how you could tie in your existing ventures with your podcast. Of course, you may simply want to connect with likeminded people, but who knows what opportunities that could lead to?

What is your podcast about, and who is it aimed at?

If you have several audiences in mind (e.g. across age groups), how will your content cater to them? At One More Page, we imagine some kids might listen as well as adults who love kids’ books, like teacher librarians or writers. That’s why we keep our content G-rated, and also feature kids themselves on the show.

What will you call your podcast?

This sets the tone for your show, and requires a bit of research to avoid doubling up. But once you have a name you can set up everything from a website, to an email address, to social media accounts.

What about all the techie bits?

From establishing your format, writing your content and contacting potential guests, there’s a whole lot of behind the scenes work in putting a podcast together.

You’ll not only need a website host but an account with a podcast hosting site, which will upload your episodes to all the main podcast apps. Plus some quality headphones with a mic, a quiet place to record and recording software, too.

There’s a world of information a quick google search away to help you work it all out.

Have fun!

If the above sounds daunting, it’s mostly related to getting started. Once you’re up and running you can concentrate on producing your content, let the laughs roll and share your fun (and in our case, fandom) with the world!


Tulip and Brutus by Liz LeddenLiz Ledden is a Sydney-based children’s book author and co-host of kids’ book podcast, One More Page. Connect with Liz on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

Her picture book Tulip and Brutus about friendship, differences and bugs is out now.

Her second picture book, Walking Your Human, is for dog-lovers everywhere and due out in February 2021. 

Find out more about One More Page podcast here



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