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An Australian International Marketplace and adults reading children's books

14 August 2017

The Australian Society of AuthorsWell-designed site with a lot of useful content, including List of Publications, Getting Published and list of Australian agents. has launched a digital marketplace, designed to showcase and sell the work of authors and illustrators to publishers, agents and literary scouts worldwide. Meanwhile, should reading children's books be considered a guilty pleasure for adults?

In what seems to be a first, the Australian Society of Authors (ASA) has set up the International Marketplace, a closed online forum for publishing professionals, to purchase rights or offer representation to authors with either published works with unsold territories, or curated, completed manuscripts with all rights available. Many of the authors have never had their work actively marketed or sold outside Australia.

Any publishers, agents or scouts who are interested in an author's work may email the ASA, which will put them in touch with him or her. A pilot programme started in July, focusing on adult fiction, poetry, and short stories. It already includes more than 150 entries. The ASA plans to add children's and YA titles from early in the new year, with non-fiction following in the spring.

It will be interesting to see if other authors' societies in other countries follow suit and is a useful way for authors to extend their reach.

Reading children's books - no guilty pleasure

In a piece which was intended to be free to read, but is unfortunately not accessible, children's author J R Wallis argues for adults feeling free to read children's books:

‘Recently, I asked on Facebook for adults who read children's books. Among those who said they did, the main motivation was escape from the drudgery of adult life. I'm not surprised by this. Life is tough, we need restorative places to take a time out and refresh our imaginations. But perhaps, also, we need to remind ourselves of who we are from time to time, where we came from and what our history is, because identity (and reality) can be a slippery thing in this modern world, where personas are created and tweaked all the time. Surely there's no better way of reconnecting to your past then by revisiting a book you read as a child, or reading a new one that makes you remember what it was like?

I think there's also value in re-reading children's books. Coming back to stories from your childhood, with all the life experience you've accrued, may bring you a deeper experience. If you re-read Charlotte's Web, what does the cycle of life and death mean to you now in middle or old age? Go and revisit The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, and you'll probably have a renewed and more detailed take on the value of unconditional love than before.

Or why not just read children's books for the quality of the stories? Anyone who's ever written for children, signed books for them or spoken to them about stories will tell you they're demanding readers, unafraid of saying what works and what does not. They will put a book down without a second thought if it's not involving enough. Their stories have to be good enough to compete with games consoles and Netflix, and as an author I'm aware that means the plot needs to fizz and the characters needs to feel real. SF Said wrote a brilliant article for the Guardian touching on why stories for kids are so strong and never just for children...'