The KidLitVic 2017- Meet the Publishers Conference Wrap-Up

Meet the Team:

Alison Reynolds, Coral Vass, Jaquelyn Muller and Nicky Johnston

Each of us play an equally vital role both prior to and on the day making KidLitVic Conference the best it can be.

For us, preparation is everything; planning and discussing every little detail during our regular catch up meetings throughout the year- coffee helps with creativity that’s for sure!

The countdown was exciting not only for us, but for all the delegates and publishers attending.

Delivery of all our KidLitVic goodies to the State Library of Victoria; 20 boxed items in total! We were up before sunrise on the day of the conference and Melbourne didn't let us down; putting on a gorgeous Autumn's day!

With only 45 minutes to set up our designated areas, there was a flurry of busyness; each of us achieving our set tasks, while excited delegates gathered outside the State Library of Victoria doors. It really did feel like the opening of the Myer department store doors for the beginning of the Boxing Day sales!


Everyone was excited to collect their name badges, programs and show bags and pour over the day’s cram-packed timetable.

The delightful Coral Vass embraced the important role of Conference MC, leaving no room for error or any chance of panels starting late or running over time. She ensured the entire conference ran smoothly and like clockwork all the while being her beautiful self, making it look tremendously easy. Her confidence in taking on such an integral role was a gift to us all.
Bethany McDonald opened the conference with an insightful and inspiring presentation, setting the audience alight with anticipation of what the day ahead would hold.

Michael Wagner with his charm and energetic humour, excelled as our Panel Moderator for Chapter & Middle Grade, Picture Book, Young Adult and Question Time panels. Adding his own thoughts and insight, he led each panel conversation weaving and winding his way through a myriad of valuable questions accessing valuable information that the publishers and agents had to offer. Like Coral, he made this look exceptionally easy while making the audience feel like they too were part of a casual conversation.

While Michael was running his ‘Presenting at Schools’ workshop, Adam Wallace stepped into the Moderator role for the Illustrator Panel. He asked questions that all illustrators want to know (but are often afraid to ask) and with honesty and insight, all questions were answered by the fabulous panel. This hour session seemed to pass in the blink of an eye and before we knew it, it was time to eat and drink again!

Putting illustrations on display can be extremely daunting for illustrators, but we were thrilled to see the professional standard of all artwork that was presented and displayed for the entire conference. Many illustrators received comments about their portfolios and lots of business cards and postcards were taken by both publishers and agents.

In addition to the panels, KidLitVic 2017 offered four one hour workshops. These workshops were comprehensive, each with takeaway notebooks.

Publisher extraordinaire, Lisa Berryman encouraged us to create our own unique branding in the 'It’s All About Your Brand' workshop.

Dynamic duo Michael Wagner & Jaquelyn Muller, shared their insight and experience at the 'Presenting at Schools' workshop.

Who better to teach us how to edit our own manuscripts than amazing publisher Clare Hallifax, in her 'Self-Editing' workshop.

And finally, illustrators were fascinated to hear from renowned author/illustrator Heath McKenzie, in his 'Digital Illustration' workshop.

The courtyard was filled with meeting both old and new friends; countless conversations, questions, answers, as well as fun and laughter during each break. The State Library of Victoria was the perfect environment for publishing industry creatives to connect and network.

Throughout the day, for those unable (or too shy) to ask questions during the panel sessions, there was a ‘Questions Here’ box for anonymous questions. With all publishers and agents on hand in our last panel of the day, these remaining questions were put out for discussion.

Closing words and emotional thank yous were given, everyone feeling an amazing sense of accomplishment, pride and gratefulness as the official conference came to an end and the bubbles and nibbles began to flow at the cocktail party, ending the day on a massive HIGH.

I’d like to take this opportunity to specifically thank Michael and Adam for their tireless work both on the day and in preparation, Alan Reynolds and Mary Fore for their assistance in the running of assessments, as well my fellow KidLitVic Dream Team – Alison Reynolds, Coral Vass, Jaquelyn Muller, for their dedicated, professional, creative, innovative and attention detail, in making this amazing industry event not only possible, but such joy to be part of.

X Nicky Johnston
(on behalf of the KidLitVic Management Team)

See you in 2018 – watch this space....