On the road for CBCA Book Week – and event news!

On the road for CBCA Book Week – and event news!

CBCA Book Week might officially last just one week, but the reality is that author life gets very busy for many weeks around the official dates (19-25 August this year).

So today might be Official Day One, but for me Book Week kicked off last Monday with a series of ‘Writing Fantasy Stories’ workshops in Sydney, and then continued up the coast to Newcastle and Port Macquarie on an ‘author road trip’ with the wonderful Jacqueline Harvey.

We had such a great time, we’re already making plans to do it again next year in a different region!

A L Tait Jacqueline HarveyA L Tait author visitA L Tait author visitA L Tait author visitA L Tait author visitA L Tait author talks
















This week, I’m closer to home, sharing my new author talk ‘Write What You Know (And Create Something New)’, along with workshops about finding your writing superpower and the 10 keys to writing a great story with kids along the south coast.

It made my heart sing today when one student told me how much she loves my books, and another was beside herself to meet a ‘real, live author’.

Long live Book Week!

Reach out via my Speaking page if you’d like me to visit your school either for Book Week 2024, or any other time of year you’d like me to chat reading and writing with your students.

On the subject of speaking, in case you missed it, I’ve also got a couple of special events later this week.


So You Want To Be A Children’s Author?: Free workshop for adult writers 

Event blurb

You’d love to write stories for kids, but you’re not sure where to begin. Or perhaps you’ve made a start, but you’re wondering what to do next?

To celebrate the launch of her brand-new middle-grade novel The first summer of Callie McGee, Allison Tait – internationally published bestselling author, co-host of the Your Kid’s Next Read podcast, and teacher at the Australian Writer’s Centre – is sharing her insider secrets and practical tips on writing for children.

She’ll look at the top 10 questions you need to ask yourself in order to write a great book for kids – as well as answering any burning questions you might have.

24 August, 2pm-3.30pm, Nowra Library, 10 Berry Street, Nowra.

All details and bookings here.



Event blurb

Join local children’s author Allison Tait at Gerringong Library for a book launch celebration and talk about The First Summer of Callie McGee – a mystery about growing up, figuring things out and solving the puzzle of who you are, from the author of the bestselling middle-grade adventure series The Mapmaker Chronicles.

A fun event for middle-grade kids, families, lovers of children’s books, teachers, local friends and supporters of all ages – everyone welcome.

This is a free eventbookings essential. Books available for signing and purchase on the day.

The winners of the Beach Art Competition will be announced and prizes awarded at the launch.

All details and bookings here.


A. L. Tait The First Summer of Callie McGeeAre you new here? Welcome to my blog! I’m Allison Tait, aka A.L. Tait, and I’m the author of middle-grade fantasy adventure series, The Mapmaker Chronicles, The Ateban Cipher, and the Maven & Reeve Mysteries, as well as my new contemporary middle-grade novel ‘The First Summer of Callie McGee’. You can find out more about me here, and more about my books here.

If you’re looking for book recommendations for young readers, join the Your Kid’s Next Read Facebook community, and tune in to the Your Kid’s Next Read podcast!

The inside story of ‘The First Summer Of Callie McGee’

The inside story of ‘The First Summer Of Callie McGee’

My new book, The First Summer of Callie McGee, is out now in bookshops everywhere – and I’m at home in that strange netherworld that is post-launch day.

Pre-publication day, the anticipation builds and builds, like those epic summer thunderstorms that press the very air down on you for hours before they finally burst into a light- and sound-show followed by furious drenching rain.

Unfortunately, publication day brings less of the light and sound and fury, and more the sound of boxes of books being opened in bookshops across the country and the slight rusting of pages as the books are placed upon the shelves.

The day after is just… business as usual. Except that I’m typing with my fingers crossed, hoping that readers will love Callie as much as I do.


The inside story of Callie McGee

In the headline, I’ve promised you the inside story on the book, but I think the best way to get that is to listen to me talk about it.

I’m the special guest on a veritable bonanza of podcasts this week, and each of them will bring you a slightly different perspective on this story and how it came about.


So You Want To Be A Writer

A. L. Tait talks about writing The First Summer of Callie McGeeFor a deep dive into the process of writing the book, from that first glimmer of inspiration to working through the complexity of creating the procedure of the mystery element, don’t miss my conversation with Valerie Khoo on So You Want To Be A Writer.

It was so nice to be back chatting to Val about all things writing and publishing. I spent seven years as co-host of this podcast, so sliding back into this space is like coming home.

But it’s a home where your Mum does not hold back on asking the hard questions, and I can always count on Val to keep asking ‘why?’ until I manage to articulate some part of my writing process that seems impossible to explain.

So we talk about the writing, we talk about wading into uncertainty and the memories of being 12, and we talk about re-drafting manuscript themes downwards. But we also talk about the very real challenges of establishing and maintaining a longterm author career.

You know you can count on us to be honest and get to the very crux of this stuff, so it’s worth a listen.

Find it here, or where you get your podcasts.


Words and Nerds

A L Tait talks about The First Summer of Callie McGeeThe thing I love about chatting with author and podcaster Dani Vee on the Words and Nerds podcast is knowing that the conversation will ramble its way into unexpected places and interesting revelations. And so it proved yet again.

We talked about The First Summer of Callie McGee, solving the puzzle of who we are and writing books outside our comfort zones.

But we also talk about publicity for authors from a journalist’s perspective, and how to find different ways to draw attention to your book – by thinking outside the box of your book, guest posting on blogs, making connections, getting your byline in the article, understanding the importance of booksellers and hand selling and the awesomeness of librarians.

If you’re a children’s author or would like to be one day, don’t miss this one!

Find it here, or where you get your podcasts.


KidLit Classics

If you haven’t discovered this podcast gem, you’re in for a treat! Hosted by author Samantha-Ellen Bound, KidLit Classics podcast invites contemporary children’s authors to discuss one book from their own childhood that made them a writer today.

I had the most wonderful time chatting to Samantha-Ellen about Callie’s Castle by Ruth Park. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while or listening to my various podcasts over the years, you’ll have heard this book come up before, but here we take a long, hard look at the beginning of my turret fixation.

To discuss the book, I had to read the book again and remain in awe of Park’s ability to create broad brushstrokes of a world, emotions and characters with a few fine details.

And yes, our characters share a name, but I swear this revealed itself to me only when Samantha-Ellen asked me to choose a book for this podcast episode. Until that moment, I hadn’t thought about Callie and her castle for years – but deep down in the part of the brain where fond memory lives, there she was.

I hope she’d like Callie McGee.

Find the episode here, or where you get your podcasts.


And an opportunity to ask your own questions

Writer’s Bookclub Podcast

The Writer's Bookclub A. L. TaitAuthor Michelle Barraclough’s Writers’ Bookclub Podcast has its own special twist on the author interview format – you get to ask the questions!

Michelle has chosen The First Summer of Callie McGee as her first middle-grade book to explore and dissect, and you can play along by reading the book and then posting any questions you might have for me about any aspect of writing the book to the group Facebook page before 15th August. (See How It Works here)

Michelle and I have a date later this month to interview an episode for the podcast where she asks me all your questions.

All the details on how to join in here.


A. L. Tait The First Summer of Callie McGeeAre you new here? Welcome to my blog! I’m Allison Tait, aka A.L. Tait, and I’m the author of middle-grade series, The Mapmaker Chronicles, The Ateban Cipher, and the Maven & Reeve Mysteries, and my latest novel ‘The First Summer of Callie McGee’. You can find out more about me here, and more about my books here.

If you’re looking for book recommendations for young readers, join the Your Kid’s Next Read Facebook community, and tune in to the Your Kid’s Next Read podcast!


What I learned from indie publishing my middle-grade novel

What I learned from indie publishing my middle-grade novel

One of the many lovely things about Write With Allison Tait is the mix of writers who have joined my online writing group. We have children’s authors, YA authors, authors writing for adults, not yet published, traditionally published, indie published, novelists and non-fic authors.

It creates a brilliant melting pot of experiences and questions, and reflects my philosophy that, no matter what you’re writing, you will learn something new from every writer.

One of the great maxims of writing is to ‘read widely’. I think that ‘talking writing widely’ is just as important.

One such member of the group is Wendy Adams, who indie published her middle-grade novel Call The Wild Sea earlier this year.

There’s no doubt that indie (independent) publishing is on the rise and can be incredibly lucrative, particularly in genres such as romance and crime fiction, where readers have voracious appetites.

But with middle-grade fiction, the young reader is another step removed from the process. The author is relying on reaching the adults in that young readers life first, and then the young reader second.

All of which brings its own set of challenges.

With that in mind, I asked Wendy to share her experiences of indie publishing her middle-grade novel – and some tips for any other writers considering doing the same.


Reinventing the dream: What I learned from indie publishing my middle-grade novel

By Wendy Adams

Indie publish a children's novelTo publish or not to publish? In 2022, after years of rejections and a few ‘almosts’ that kept me believing, I realised it was crunch time. Would I leave my stories to hide, unread in my document folder, or take a giant leap out of my comfort zone and become an independent author?

You know the old saying, when the pupil is ready, the teacher will appear? Well, that’s exactly what happened. In the form of Pickawoowoo, a company that supports and assists independent authors.

On a whim, I rang them and found them so helpful and encouraging that I immediately signed up and the journey began.

After several edits, cold feet, impostor syndrome and terrified ‘what am I doing?’ questions, Call The Wild Sea was a book and I was a published author. And my childhood dream became a reality.

Tip #1: Find the help you need. The most crucial step I took as a first-time indie author was getting expert support and guidance in navigating the intricate processes of independent publishing. 


The benefits and the challenges of being an independent author

The benefits of being an independent author are many. I have control over every aspect of my publishing journey.

I decide when I’ll be published, not if. I make the dream a reality.

But of course, there are challenges too. The costs involved are significant and the learning curve is gigantic.

A traditionally published author has a team of supporters, so it’s imperative that the independent author has one too. Finding that team, if it doesn’t already exist, can be difficult.

The biggest challenge, though, of being an independent middle-grade author is marketing. It’s difficult to find your readers and keep them without the advertising power of a traditional publishing house. Who do I market to—teachers, parents, librarians? What about the newsletter? Who would most likely be interested in what I have to say?

Tip #2: The number one lesson I’ve learned about marketing since my book was published is that it’s a multi-faceted beast. I’ve explored various strategies, such as running Facebook ads, optimising my Amazon author page, engaging with reviews, conducting school visits, and maintaining a strong presence on social media, blogs, and newsletters. However, the true challenge lies in continuously discovering new and fresh ways to promote my work. 


Making the most of the middle-grade space

As I’ve learned, however, there are some unique marketing strategies available to middle-grade authors.

I created Teacher’s Notes to help promote my novel, making it more attractive as a class novel. The Australian Curriculum is available online and has suggestions for relevant learning sequences for middle-grade students. Also, looking at what other middle-grade authors have done will help you create your own teacher’s notes. (Tips for creating Teachers’ Notes here.)

Likewise, school visits provide a unique opportunity for children’s authors to foster community ties and encourage literacy among students. Ultimately, if you are an independent middle-grade author, you must put your fear aside and accept opportunities to engage with schools.

(I’m speaking to myself here because, despite being a teacher for many years, the thought of going into a school and presenting a workshop makes me unbelievably nervous. Despite that, I’m doing it!)

Tip #3: Make the most of the marketing opportunities that exist in the children’s publishing space. Aside from the above mentioned, don’t forget the basics such as asking local bookshops to stock your book, setting up a stall at local markets, and asking friends to post about the book on social media if they like it. 


Learning every step of the way

Now that my first book is out there, I’m working hard to produce my second – and I’ve changed some of my processes

For instance, In my eagerness to perfect the manuscript for Call The Wild Sea, I made the mistake of making changes after a professional editor had already proofread my work. This led to a cycle of fear and imposter syndrome, constantly second-guessing myself and introducing new errors in the process.

For my upcoming book, I’ve learned my lesson and will ensure that the professional editor is the very last person to review my work, allowing for a smoother and more streamlined editing process.

So, if, like me, you’ve struggled with countless rejections, think about reinventing the dream by becoming an independent author. The learning curve is steep, but the rewards are invaluable – your work is out there, you will have ultimate control and you might make some money too.

And the clincher? For writers like me who can create thousands of words for a novel but can’t write a riveting summary, you may never have to ‘pitch’ again. Now, that makes it all worthwhile!

Wendy Adams is the author of Call The Wild Sea, a fantasy adventure novel for middle-grade readers. Her next novel Paisley Partridge and the Case of the Disappearing Little Penguins will be published in early 2024. Find out more


writing group Allison TaitAre 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.

For full details about Write With Allison Tait, my new online writing community offering Inspiration, Motivation, Information and Connection, go here


How to support children’s books and reading this tax time

How to support children’s books and reading this tax time

In case you missed it, the End Of Financial Year (EOFY) is upon us, which means it’s time to think not just about getting tax records and deductions in order.

Many of us will choose to make a tax-deductible donation to a charity at this time of year as a way to support causes close to our heart and reduce any tax liability at the same time.

But which charity to choose?

Reasons for supporting various charities are wide and varied and you no doubt have your favourites.

But if literature and literacy is something you care about, the Your Kid’s Next Read team have put together a list of our favourite charities that you might like to consider.

All of these suggestions offer ways to support children’s books and reading this tax time.


The Pyjama Foundation

Through its Love Of Learning program, children in foster care are matched with a trained volunteer ‘Pyjama Angel’ who meet with them for one hour a week to focus on learning activities, such as reading, educational games and help with homework.

The Pyjama Foundation has a resource library in every region where volunteers can borrow books, games and resources to take to the children each week. This is a free service.

Your Kid’s Next Read podcast co-host Megan Daley is an ambassador for The Pyjama Foundation.  “The work the Pyjama Foundation does is vital,” she says. “Arming young people with the (super) power of reading can be life changing.”

Find out more and donate here.


The Australian Children’s Laureate Foundation

The Australian Children’s Laureate Foundation (ACLF) is a not-for-profit organisation with representation from across the field of children’s and young adult literature. The ACLF’s vision is to enrich the lives of young Australians through the power of story.

The organisation aims to promote the value and importance of reading, raise the profile of books in the lives of Australian children and young adults, and to undertake select national projects to further it’s work. The highest profile activity of the ACLF is the development and management of the Australian Children’s Laureate program.

Find out more and donate here.


Indigenous Literacy Foundation

The Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF) is a national charity working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander remote Communities across Australia.

ILF is Community-led, responding to requests from remote Communities for culturally relevant books, including early learning board books, resources, and programs to support Communities to create and publish their stories in languages of their choice.

Your Kid’s Next Read donates 10 per cent of sales of our merchandise to the ILF.

Find out more and donate here.


Dymocks Children’s Charities

The stated mission of Dymocks Children’s Charities (DCC) is ‘to promote a love of reading and improve literacy outcomes for children in Australia’.

DCC runs three core programs that provide brand new books to children in priority locations in Australia. The charity aims to support children who have little or no access to good books, and the programs focus on restocking priority school libraries, community centres, hospitals, classrooms and providing books for children to take home and cherish.

“Ensuring all children reach an appropriate level of literacy remains one of Australia’s major challenges,” says author Jacqueline Harvey, a longtime ambassador for DCC. “Literacy is not just about reading, it is the foundation for learning.

“Dymocks Children’s Charities has developed unique literacy support programs that encourage children to cultivate a love for books and read every day ‘just because they want to’. Quite simply, it’s about getting great books into kids’ hands!”

Find out more and donate here.


The Children’s Book Council of Australia

There are currently two ways that you can help the work of the Children’s Book Council of Australia through donations.

The CBCA Award Foundation funds prizes for the creators of the books that win the CBCA Book of the Year Awards, as well as Honour books.

The CBCA Gift Fund helps fund programs that enrich young lives through Australian stories and create a thriving creative world. The fund supports the CBCA’s mission to connect, communicate, celebrate and advocate stories across Australia.

Find out more and donate here. 


Room to Read

Room to Read aims to tackle illiteracy and gender inequality around the world, with a philosophy that ‘World Change Starts With Educated Children’. In practical terms, they build libraries, support literacy, create local language books and endow long-term scholarships for girls in developing countries, collaborating with governments and other partner organisations to deliver positive outcomes for children on a large scale.

“I was attracted to working with Room to Read after reading founder John Wood’s biography, Leaving Microsoft to Change the World back in 2010,” says author Tristan Bancks, a Room To Read ambassador. “He was struck by how many children in the world have little or no access to books. Room to Read is a super-dynamic literacy organisation – they’ve reached 32 million kids!”

Through the Room to Read World Change Challenge, Bancks and his team of Australian author-ambassadors have raised more than $200,000 in the last decade. “This year our goal is to raise $20,000 to buy 20,000 local language books for kids in Asia and Africa,” he says.

Find out more and donate here.


The Smith Family

Beyond reading, The Smith Family’s Learning For Life program takes a broader approach to supporting Australian children and young people with their education. The program provides emotional, practical and financial support aimed at keeping disadvantaged kids engaged with school and learning to set them up for life.

You can choose to sponsor a child or make a one-off donation to support the program.

Find out more and donate here. 


Literacy and literature for a different cause

These two charities focus on literature and literacy to fundraise for research.


MS Readathon

In 2019, I was chuffed to be asked to be an author ambassador for the MS Readathon, having fond memories of participating in the bookfest myself as a child.

The MS Readathon continues to invite children and young people to ‘read for a cause’, seeking sponsorship based on the number of books they read. It’s a different way to motivate kids to pick up a book!

Funds raised help support the thousands of Australian families affected by Multiple Sclerosis.

Registrations are open now for the  2023 MS Readathon,

Find out more and donate here.


Write A Book In A Day

Write A Book In A Day is a fun, creative challenge where kids team up to write, illustrate and publish a book in just one school day, raising money through sponsorship for The Kids’ Cancer Project.

In 2021, I was asked to provide my top tips for the young writers involved, and you can see the video here.

The challenge promotes creativity, teamwork and the literacy skills required to produce a finished book in a short timeframe. Funds raised through the Write a Book in a Day competition go toward childhood cancer research to find better treatments and ultimately a cure.

Find out more here.


There are a lot of people and organisations out there doing amazing things in the world, making it difficult to choose where to put your hard-earned dollars. So we hope these links help with the process.

And remember, keep track of your receipts – and follow the organisations you choose via newsletters or social media so you can see how they’re spending those tax-time dollars.


Allison Tait Your Kid's next ReadAre you new here? Welcome to my blog! I’m Allison Tait, aka A.L. Tait, and I’m the author of middle-grade series, The Mapmaker Chronicles, The Ateban Cipher, and the Maven & Reeve Mysteries. You can find out more about me here, and more about my books here.

If you’re looking for book recommendations for young readers, join the Your Kid’s Next Read Facebook community, and tune in to the Your Kid’s Next Read podcast!

WIN a $100 voucher to buy books

WIN a $100 voucher to buy books

Would you like $100AUD to spend on books?

The team from Your Kid’s Next Read is currently offering you the chance to win a $100AUD gift voucher to your local bookstore of choice or to your favourite online bookseller. (YKNR is an international community so we wanted to give everyone a chance to win!)

All you have to do for your chance to win the book voucher is to fill out this short survey.

There are just 12 questions, so it won’t take long, and it’s about finding out what our community loves about Your Kid’s Next Read, and what our members would like to see more of.

Your Kid’s Next Read is now a:

Facebook community



You can read our origin story here.

And take the survey to help us bring you more of what you’d like to know here. Everyone who completes the survey has a chance to win the voucher. Full T&C below.

The survey closes at 5pm on Thursday 15 June, 2023, so get in quick!

Good luck – we look forward to hearing from you!


Allison Tait how to be a children's authorAre you new here? Welcome to my blog! I’m Allison Tait, aka A.L. Tait, and I’m the author of middle-grade series, The Mapmaker Chronicles, The Ateban Cipher, and the Maven & Reeve Mysteries. You can find out more about me here, and more about my books here.

If you’re looking for book recommendations for young readers, join the Your Kid’s Next Read Facebook community, and tune in to the Your Kid’s Next Read podcast!



*T&C: Entry is open to members of the Your Kid’s Next Read (YKNR) community worldwide who complete the Your Kid’s Next Read survey and is valid for one prize winner. Entries open at 6am (AEST) 1 June 2023 and close on Thursday 15 June 2023 at 5pm (AEST). Winner will be chosen by the YKNR admin team, based on creativity, and no correspondence will be entered into. This is a game of skill with entries judged on originality. Winner will be announced in the YKNR community on 19 June and invited to nominate their bookseller of choice. Voucher will be delivered via email as soon as possible after bookseller nomination received. Prize cannot be exchanged for cash. No contents of the prize pack may be exchanged for cash. If a winner is unable to be contacted or does not claim their prize within 14 days, the prize will be forfeited. In the event of forfeiture a further draw will be conducted within 14 days and a new winner will be selected.

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