IMPORTANT INFORMATION re: Appraisal of Manuscripts and Illustration Portfolios at StoryArts Festival Ipswich’s Adult’s Weekend

Appraisal of Manuscripts and Illustration Portfolios

This information will be updated as editors clarify their preferences

Look at each editor’s / publisher’s website and their bio on the StoryArts Festival ‘Presenters’ page, and the descriptions below, to help you choose the most appropriate appraiser for your work.

Manuscript Formatting and Delivery:

Format for texts:  A Word .doc

  1. Title page with:
    1. Title
    2. Author’s name
  • Editor’s name and Appraisal day and time
  1. Genre – Picture book; Mid-grade; YA; Non-fiction
  2. Intended reader age
  3. Word count of the finished work, if known
  • Author’s contact details
  1. A synopsis of about half a page (probably not essential for picture books)
  2. An author bio that is relevant to writing – about half a page.
  3. Any particular problem/question you have regarding the text, if appropriate
  4. Unless the editor specifies something different, up to 10 extra A4 pages of text, portrait format, 12pt Times Roman type font, double line-spaced, 2.5cm margins.
  5. The text should be consecutive pages of one work, starting at the beginning of the story.
  6. In the header to each page, include the Author’s Name and TITLE of the work
  7. Number the pages


Name the file:

IPSWICH – Editor’s Name – Appraisal day and time – AUTHOR’S NAME – STORY TITLE – GENRE


Send it to Peter Taylor by August 12, but preferably before:

Ask for an email receipt of being read


Specifics for each editor


Lisa Berryman  –  HarperCollins

Happy to critique: Picture books; Mid-grade; YA

No narrative non-fiction; non-fiction; sci-fi; poetry collections; Christian

Currently acquiring: Early childhood to YA – Study the HarperCollins Australia website to get a sense of Lisa’s tastes and list.

Please send your manuscript a.s.a.p.

Illustration Portfolios: Happy to look at your portfolio on the day. Samples sent earlier will be helpful. NOTE: If it’s a collection of images as a PDF or a Zip file of more than 3MB, please add them to Dropbox or similar and provide Peter Taylor with the link along with your appraisal day and time.


Elaine Ouston  –  Morris Publishing

Happy to critique all genres except picture books

Illustration Portfolios: Send one sample jpeg and then bring your portfolio on the day.

Please send your work as soon as it is available, but will accept works up to August 19


Heather Curdie  –  Penguin Random House

Happiest to critique: Mid-grade and Picture books are preferred …but will also happily critique YA, Narrative non-fiction and Non-fiction.

Penguin Random House publishes a wide variety of genres and are always looking for new approaches, but generally does not publish poetry and rarely Christian text.

“If a picture book, I’d need the complete manuscript; for non-fiction, middle grade and YA I’d prefer 3 chapters.

It will be extremely helpful if each candidate can also add:

  • Short pitch blurb (think back cover blurb) plus a detailed synopsis, especially if Mid-grade or YA, and/or chapter breakdown & description if non-fiction.
  • Short paragraph on why this book should be published e.g. Other successful books it compares too; how it’s different/special; the market it will appeal to and why.
  • Author bio, focusing on why they would be an asset to our publishing house; how they can help make the book a success and what they’re doing to further their writing experience.”

Illustration Portfolio: “Happy to look at illustration portfolios as I’m regularly on the lookout for good illustrators for picture books. I’d prefer to see something electronically beforehand though, as well as a hardcopy portfolio on the day. Perhaps provide an illustrator bio which includes projects you’ve worked on, plus some samples of your work – could be a link to your website/blog. On the day (and preferably even beforehand) it would be good to see some children’s illustrations you’ve done, perhaps including illustrations of animals, children and adults, which demonstrates the breadth of your different styles.”


Ann-Marie Finn  –  Yellow Brick Books

Will critique: Picture books and Mid-grade only

No Sci-fi; poetry collections or Christian works

Acquiring: humour; quirky; fun

Illustration portfolios: If sent beforehand

Will accept work up to August 19


Kristina Schulz  –  UQP

Kristina will appraise YA, Mid-grade and Young readers

No picture books


Rochelle Manners  –  Rhiza Press and Wombat Books

Happy to critique: Picture books; Mid-grade; YA; Adult Fiction

No Erotica; no to particularly dark

Currently acquiring: Young Adult fiction, contemporary real stories

Rochelle will happily appraise Illustration portfolios

Advice for people who want to pitch work:

  • For children’s, see the Wombat Books Submissions page and watch my videos
  • For Rhiza Press, read any of our fiction to get a style of what we have liked. We are hoping to grow this list.

Please send works as soon as they are ready, but will accept them up to August 28


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