Dear Rose,

Mission accomplished! I went literary speed dating and survived. In fact, it was awesome and I highly recommend it to my fellow retiring writerly types. All my preparation (ie. internet stalking) stood me in good stead and I think I managed to make favourable impressions without coming across as a suck…maybe!

So there were only 60 of us writers and 7 editor/publisher types. We had three minutes to timedo our pitch and then we were zapped with cattle prods. What? Oh no, not really – there was a very efficient volunteer who spent the two hours walking around with her mobile phone on stop watch mode booming out things like – you have one minute remaining, one minute. Your session is now complete, please move on. Please move on so the next session can begin.     

Most people played by the rules but there was the odd exception who outstayed their welcome and earned the wrath, glares, etc of other writers in the queue. The timekeeper went and stood next to said person repeating her spiel – she rocked!

My first pitch was to Allen & Unwin. While listening in the queue, I heard that Susannah Chambers was not accepting picture book submissions so I quickly filed that one away and pitched her my junior fiction series. She said it sounded interesting and asked me to send it in – although she was a little concerned about the fantasy elements. One business card received – check!


Next I joined the huge queue for Penguin and pitched a picture book to Lisa Riley. I actually had the manuscript on me and she accepted it almost straight away – I mean to look at, not to publish…yet 🙂 So I asked her about another junior fiction series (currently with another editor at Penguin) – oh Michelle, I sit next to her, I’ll ask her for you.

Really? Grand!

Next was Lisa Berryman from Harper Collins. Lisa is a straight-shooter and had told several other writers point blank that their story didn’t work for her. I girded my loins and pitched a picture book comparing it to two of her published titles (thanks internet). She congratulated me for doing my homework, pulled out the precious business card and said I could send it to her. Yippee! But I was only a minute in. So I pitched her my junior fiction series – yep, she’d like to see that too! Two minutes in. So I pitched her my stand-alone chapter book – she called me a wicked woman for writing about a giant snotball but said, what the hell, send them all in!

Did some more pitching and received another card. The whole experience really exceeded my expectations and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

What will come of it – who knows – but I feel like little by little, bit by bit I’m edging into this industry and I don’t plan on going anywhere else.

Love Mum xoxo

PS. An improvement of mood and attitude over the school hols would be most welcome 🙂

PPS. But then I’m off to BrisVegas on Friday so you know, miss me 😉


About Heather Gallagher

Heather lives in Ocean Grove with her beautiful family and a dog called Pip. She has a passion for quirky stories. Her first book, Ferret on the Loose, was published in 2013 and was recently listed on the Victorian Premier’s Reading Challenge. The book was inspired by a girl and her ferret, who Heather interviewed while working as a freelance journalist for The Sunday Age. Her column, Yak Attack, ran in the Kids View section for more than a year and allowed Heather to profile people she thought would be of interest to kids. In 2014, she released her first picture book Happy Pants – Why is mummy so sad? This is NOT a story about ferret racing. Rather, it is a heartfelt story about a boy grappling with his Mum’s post-natal depression. Heather’s stories for children have appeared in black dog books Short & Scary anthology and Explore and Challenge magazines. Heather has experience in public speaking – both for children and adults. While, promoting Happy Pants she spoke to groups of counsellors, nurses, parents and at library events. She has presented writing workshops to primary-aged children. Last year, she was a presenter at the Sacred Edge festival and the Christian Writers’ Conference.
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2 Responses to Smoozing!

  1. Diane says:

    Thanks Heather. I was really keen to know how it went. Good luck! it was great that you got such a positive response. I’m sure you’ll have success from it.


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