Finding an agent and publisher

This is the final blog post in a series of three about my road to publication.

In my last post, I shared how I came up with the idea of Quark’s Academy.  In 2015 I had the opportunity to pitch my story to agent Alex Adsett at the CYA Conference. I was delighted when Alex invited me to send her the full manuscript. A few months later, I heard from Alex and one of her lovely team members, Maddie Rothwell. AAPS were keen on Quark’s Academy, however the story still needed some development. So – off I went to work more on Quark’s. I was incredibly lucky to have the wonderful editorial feedback from Maddie along the way. (below Alex, me and Maddie).


I had booked in to attend the 2016 CYA Conference – the same conference that I had pitched Quark’s Academy to Alex a year earlier. A few days before the conference, Maddie called me to say AAPS would like to take me on (hooray!). At the conference, I signed the contract and officially joined APPS. Now I had an agent!

I also happened to win first place in the early reader’s category for a different story – Vikings Behaving Badly – it was a truly great day (as you can see from the width of my smile above).

Being represented by AAPS has been completely amazing. Writers tend to focus on the craft of storytelling and all that comes with it. Having someone who barracks for you and who is so knowledgeable that they can handle the many details that is part of publishing a book, has been simply incredible. I’m so grateful Alex and Maddie believed in me and my work from the beginning.

A couple of months after signing with AAPS, I had an offer for Quark’s Academy from Hachette Australia. I signed up with Hachette and started working with the wonderful editor Kate Stevens. (Below me and Kate). Working with Kate has been fantastic. Kate’s editorial feedback, guidance and support has helped develop Quark’s Academy to make it the best story it can be! Kate and I also share a love of cats – the perfect author/editor match.


Quark’s Academy is due for release in August 2017.

I also have a picture book being published with Hachette in April 2018! It’s called Something for Fleur. More on this one soon!!

You can read the first two posts in this series of three here:



Coming up with the idea for Quark’s Academy

Quark’s Academy will be my first published book!

The idea for Quark’s Academy first came to me when doing an astronomy course at the Sydney Observatory. It was taught by a charismatic, enthusiastic and clever professor called Paul Payne. Each week I attended class at the Observatory (which is such an amazing place) and more and more I thought about the fascinating world of science. It was during class that I had the first spark of an idea for Quark’s Academy. (The Sydney Observatory below)


(Image credit: The Sydney Observatory)

A little later, I cat-sat for friends while they were away. My house guest was a beautiful British Shorthair with lots of attitude named Sir Reginald. I just knew he had to be a character in the story.


And so I had the theme of science and a huge cat. I also knew I wanted go-getter characters who were bold, smart and had a sense of adventure.

I wrote the first draft of Quark’s Academy over about the space of a year. I then took it to my writing group to workshop and refine the story.

In July 2015, an opportunity came up to pitch story ideas to publishers and agents at the CYA Conference. For anyone who is an aspiring writer and doesn’t know about CYA, you should definitely check it out. It’s an incredibly well-organised event where you can meet and listen to industry experts, enter a great writing competition and be around other writers.

Keen to test out the waters and see what others thought about Quark’s Academy, I decided to book in for pitch sessions with various publishers and agents.

I would  have five minutes to ‘sell’ my story. This was a challenge that terrified and excited me – so of course I had to do it. On the morning of the conference I rehearsed my pitch several more times, and soon it was my turn to deliver it…

In my next post, I’m going to share how I secured an agent and found a publisher for Quark’s Academy.

If you would like to read about how I started writing for children, check out my first post: Writing for Children: getting started and writing groups.