I submitted a total of eight manuscripts in 2013. I know, eight is a lot, but I’d been writing and illustrating picture books for some 20 years, and to be honest I couldn’t choose my favourite. Better to enter as many as possible and let the experts decide, right? Because as any writer will tell you, choosing a favourite manuscript is like a parent choosing a favourite child; it’s a daunting and impossible task!
What happened next was pure magic – and changed my life forever! Of the eight manuscripts I entered, four were mentioned in the awards list: three were Highly Commended and the fourth was pronounced the Winner. I was on holiday at the time and was reading the results over my husband’s shoulder, so when my name appeared on the screen the Earth tilted, I saw stars and promptly decided I’d had too much sun.
It was simply incredible! What were the odds? Well, any mathematician would tell you I’d simply increased my chances of success by entering multiple manuscripts. And they’d be right.
But sometimes magic just happens. First prize meant that my entry: Where Do Odd Socks Go? was sent off to Walker Books and delivered to the desk of the legendary Sue Whiting.
After the Award had closed, a small independent publisher expressed their interest in Anzac Ted and before I knew it, I was signing my first contract. By November 2014, my debut picture book Anzac Ted was not only published and on bookshelves all over Australia – but I was appearing on television, radio and in newspapers! If that’s not magic, I don’t know what is!
I now have a literary agent and hope to have many more books published in the near future. But no matter where I go as an author/illustrator and just how far my travels take me on this incredible journey, I’ll always be immeasurably grateful for the professionalism, generosity and endless support I received from the superb team at KBR.
Just today, someone sent me a picture of a grandmother in Whistler, Canada reading Anzac Ted to her two grandchildren. I didn’t know these people, yet I studied the picture for a long time. Not because I was basking in my own glory, but because I simply couldn’t see through the blur of tears.
So if you only enter one literary competition in 2015, enter this one. Your work will be read by a team of hands-on literary professionals who not only provide rare and valuable feedback, but really do have the ability to change your life forever.
And that’s pure magic!
Belinda Landsberry’s debut picture book Anzac Ted is available in all good book stores and via the website at www.anzacted.com