Create a kids' book

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Here are some of the titles which have been published with the help of CReATe a kids’ book assessments or workshops.

Glenn Melenhorst

SockMonsterCover.jpg - 33406 Bytes Sharon and I attended Virginia’s ‘Create a kids’ book’ course and found both the information, and Virginia’s industry insights invaluable. We not only learned about writing for picture books but about the formatting and illustration from artist-tutor Jacqui Young, which Sharon and I (as illustrators) found very informative.

After the course, I wrote ‘The Sock Monster’ and posted it to Virginia for assessment. What followed was a happy collaboration, resulting in the book being accepted almost immediately by Lothian.

We hope you enjoy it.

Glenn Melenhorst

Jan Miles

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Virginia's manuscript assessment of my two books has been a wonderful assistance to me in finding my way as a writer. While I'm relatively bullet proof in my normal work environment, any criticism of my writing is a whole other matter - I really, really care, in an I'm six again kind of way! Friends who promised me they had an eagle eye handed the manuscript back with one or two spelling corrections and a strange expression, like I had stepped in dog droppings and no-one was telling me. Sending the first manuscript to Virginia was terrifying.

If only I had known! Virginia's assessment was pages long; overall comments at the beginning, then lots of encouragement, then a page by page break-down of lapses in style or logic or both or just delight at the funny bits, suggestions for improvements and then more lashings of encouragement. In between books I attended one of Virginia's workshops in Melbourne and came away with a sense of I can do this. The assessment of the second book was even more encouraging.

The first book hasn't moved on - it was kinder to leave it unfinished. Maybe one day it will be sold on e-bay as an early unfinished work. The second is now in print, and I published it myself. I elected to go this way because the websites of the various publishers terrified me. Don't even think of taking up our valuable time if you only have one book in you! We're only interested in people who can write a series of books, someone we can invest in. Well heck, this one took me three years. It's got a Christmas theme and I've already missed three Christmases. I don't need any more pressure!

There's lots of advice on the internet to people who want to self-publish. The publishing part is easy - step up to the counter with your credit card. What they don't tell you is how to self-sell. My version is this: guess what you're getting for Christmas this year!

However, if you want to go down this path, I do recommend Seaview Press.

Good luck!


Amy Hamilton

Indigo Dreaming book cover After stumbling in the dark for several years I was fortunate enough to come across Virginia’s website. I eagerly applied to take part in the Create a Kids’ book e-course to hone my writing skills. What a revelation! I learnt more about writing for children in the first module than I had in the last 10 years. It was brilliant. I refer to the course notes continuously.

Virginia’s comprehensive and supportive feedback gave me the confidence to submit a book I had been working on for two years for an assessment. Considered “new age” I was a little apprehensive about what Virginia would think and how my book would be critiqued. Virginia was a true professional, providing me with invaluable advice and support through each draft. Her suggestions regarding layout, grammar and word use helped me to develop my work to a publishable standard.

I am happy to say that the result was Joshua Books accepting my book for publication, a lifelong dream come true. I have no doubt that Virginia’s thorough assessments and letter of recommendation were instrumental in achieving this.

Amy Hamilton

Thomas Perry

Almost ten years ago I had a rough idea for a children's book, and went along to the first writing workshop conducted by Dr Virginia Lowe and artist Jacqui young. I attended many subsequent workshops, which turned out to be one of the best decisions I've made. Virginia and Jacqui helped me take what was a fairly pedestrian story about a pirate cat and turn it into something more original. They encouraged me to push the boundaries and take the story to another level. All of a sudden the pirates became environmentalist vegetarian new-age hippies, and I knew inspiration had struck!

Virginia Lowe has boundless passion and enthusiasm for childrens' literature, combined with a wealth of knowledge and a razor-sharp critical faculty. Due to Virginia's crucial early guidance and assistance I have finally exprienced the thrill of seeing my little story published by MacMillan. Thank you Virginia for your great insight and wisdom, and for nuturing so much quality Australian children's writing.

20 June 2006

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Peter Cleary

After submitting manuscripts to publishers for six years and being rejected 70 times, I finally had the good fortune of stumbling upon Create a Kids’ Book. Virginia Lowe and Jennifer Dabbs helped guide my manuscript along the best path possible, and finally towards publication in June 2006!

Trickery at the Toyworx was given two detailed assessments before Virginia wrote a recommendatory letter to send along with the manuscript to publishers. Virginia is highly respected in the world of children’s literature, and I believe her opinion made all the difference in my junior novel being accepted by Lothian Books. I highly recommend Create a Kids’ Book to anyone who wants to get the very best out of their writing for children.

Tom Skinner

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Virginia is the perfect blend of support and criticism. When I hired her as my tutor in August 2002, I did not even know that a picture book had 32 pages! Fortunately Virginia, who owns more than 1000 of them, did! I’ve heard that it is practically impossible for an unknown, unpublished author to get a picture book published in Australia. Well, with Virginia’s guiding and steadying hand, the impossible became possible with the release of my first picture book, Round Fish Square Bowl in 2006. Not only was Virginia instrumental in finding me an agent which led to the above breakthrough, she was able to advise me on the many industry "what not to do"s. So, after 3.5 years and 54 rejections I congratulate Virginia and her eagle-editing husband John for their enthusiasm, massive knowledge and down-to-earth advice. This square peg eventually found his hole!  Tom Skinner.

Catriona Hoy

I used Virginia's manuscript assesment in fine tuning my picture book, My Grandad Marches on Anzac Day. Virginia was able to assist with focussing on the logical flow and visual elements of the story. Virginia's assistance helped me to polish the story to the high level required before publishers will consider a picture book manuscript. I would recommend that all beginning writer's seek some external evaluation of their work as initially the skills of self-editing are not always easy.
Catriona Hoy's Web Page

31 January 2006

Robert Favretto

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As a first-time author, I am indebted to Dr Virginia Lowe, for her support and encouragement, in helping to develop my work to a publishable standard.

I appreciated the comprehensive feedback that Virginia provided on aspects of my manuscript, relating to characters, plot, pace, tone and grammar and language.

Virginia's recommendations helped to ensure that my work was plausible, well crafted and a pleasure to read.

Web Site: - go to Our future releases

Jennifer Cook

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I first met Virginia through her CReATe a kids’ book workshop and it was from there that my children's picture book The Screaming Irrits was penned. While I was waiting for the rejections to roll in I got on and wrote Ariadne, which was picked up by Lothian who also took my picture book, which will be published next June. I can honestly say that without the careful assessments done by Virgina Lowe and in my case, her classicist husband, John, neither Ariadne or Persephone persephone.jpg - 15093 Bytes would have been published. Virginia's knowledge of children's literature, her eye for detail and the depth of her critiques helped me to bring out the best in my writing.

Her praise is not given lightly and it is for that reason that publishers within the world of children's books rate her opinion so highly. I am proud to have my books included in her website.

For more information on Jennifer Cook, look here.

Andrew Coram

CReATe a kids’ book workshops are invaluable to the first time author/illustrator. In my case I required development of both text and illustration.

The advice I received steered my work in a professional direction that culminated in a two book publishing deal.

The workshops also provide a warm and relaxed environment in which to discuss your own work and ideas with others who are struggling with the same creative process - it is good to find out you are not alone! CReATe a kids’ book workshops provide a forum in which we, as prospective authors and illustrators, can receive advice and direction that can raise our work above the ordinary, and hopefully grab the attention of those all-important editors.

For more information on Andrew Coram and release of Jack Learns to Swim and Crimson Feathers For Ty, look here.

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Tina Marie Clark

Virginia was alongside me as African Orphans expanded from a picture book, into a 7000 word primary school reader. Her help, insight, and professionalism along the journey were a lifeline to me.

She helped me to achieve my dream of getting a children’s book published. My ideas and her know-how - of not only the English language, but what the publishers were after - and our determination, led to the publication of African Orphans.

Would I employ her services again? She already has my next manuscript for ‘honing.’

Tom Beckers & Judy Prosser

Virginia Lowe and her husband John did an excellent job editing our book and gave invaluable advice about layout and presentation.

Their assessment of the manuscript came in a practical printed format and by using email we were able to cover a lot of ground in a short period.

They turned the dreadful business of editing into a pleasant and manageable exercise.

Virginia's enthusiasm and support for our story and illustrations charged up our energy, depleted after months of creating, and helped us in completing this project.

To pick the right editor is a matter of life or death for your book, and we obviously made the right choice.

For more information on Joboy's Walkabout look here.

Peter Osborne

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Acknowledgements: "Dr Virginia Lowe of CReATe a kids’ book in Melbourne for her continuous encouragement and editing skills. [She] worked with me through numerous drafts to turn a manuscript into a publishable work".

For more information on Peter Osborne and the Golden Dragon, look here.

David Demant

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Among the people who inspired me to write this book, I count Virginia as one of the most important. Virginia is critically supportive and she encourages thinking 'beyond the square'.

For more information on The First Computer Mouse, please look at the Museum Victoria site.


home   Stories, Pictures and Reality  workshops  manuscript assessments  e-courses  successes  writing information  USA & Canada   who are we?   memories in print

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PO Box 2 Ormond 3204
phone 03 9578 5689 fax 03 9578 3466