22 episodes

Hello!

I’m Tania McCartney and I’m an Australian author, illustrator and editor of children’s books. I’ve always wanted to live inside a book, and now I practically do.

I’ve been writing professionally for over 30 years, starting in magazines and entering the children’s book industry in 2008. I have experience in publishing, self-publishing, editing, proofreading, marketing, promotion, speaking, teaching, layout, design, typesetting and devouring picture books—like, with my teeth. My illustration journey was rekindled (after a 25-year hiatus) in 2013, and I’m now both writing and illustrating children’s books.

Pinch me. I must be dreaming.

The Happy Book is a podcast that’s been on my mind for many years, and I knew it would happen when the time was right. Now is the time. Sharing and connecting with others in the kids’ book industry is hugely important to me, and this podcast is another way I can do that.

The Happy Book is a place for children’s book creators of all kinds. You may be a writer, an illustrator, a designer, an editor, a publisher or just a book aficionado—we’re all in this together, and for people like us, there’s nothing more delicious than talking shop. Am I right or am I right?

This podcast is specifically for those interested in the creative processes and production of kids’ books, and would particularly suit emerging creators—or those who just need a refresher or inspiration. These weekly podcasts will cover a variety of topics, experiences, tips, tricks, insider info and advice on creation and publication—from baby board books through to middle grade. I may cover young adult at times, but the big focus will be on books for younger readers.

I’ll often feature thoughts and input from other children’s book creators and publishers—both established and emerging—and will conduct interviews, too. Each podcast will list its content, so you can pick and choose which suits you.

Fire up your device, cream in those earbuds and enjoy this foray into the magical world of kids’ book creation. If you have any questions or comments, you can say hello at books@taniamccartney.com.

Welcome to this happy place—the Happy Book.

The Happy Book Tania McCartney

    • Books
    • 4.9 • 25 Ratings

Hello!

I’m Tania McCartney and I’m an Australian author, illustrator and editor of children’s books. I’ve always wanted to live inside a book, and now I practically do.

I’ve been writing professionally for over 30 years, starting in magazines and entering the children’s book industry in 2008. I have experience in publishing, self-publishing, editing, proofreading, marketing, promotion, speaking, teaching, layout, design, typesetting and devouring picture books—like, with my teeth. My illustration journey was rekindled (after a 25-year hiatus) in 2013, and I’m now both writing and illustrating children’s books.

Pinch me. I must be dreaming.

The Happy Book is a podcast that’s been on my mind for many years, and I knew it would happen when the time was right. Now is the time. Sharing and connecting with others in the kids’ book industry is hugely important to me, and this podcast is another way I can do that.

The Happy Book is a place for children’s book creators of all kinds. You may be a writer, an illustrator, a designer, an editor, a publisher or just a book aficionado—we’re all in this together, and for people like us, there’s nothing more delicious than talking shop. Am I right or am I right?

This podcast is specifically for those interested in the creative processes and production of kids’ books, and would particularly suit emerging creators—or those who just need a refresher or inspiration. These weekly podcasts will cover a variety of topics, experiences, tips, tricks, insider info and advice on creation and publication—from baby board books through to middle grade. I may cover young adult at times, but the big focus will be on books for younger readers.

I’ll often feature thoughts and input from other children’s book creators and publishers—both established and emerging—and will conduct interviews, too. Each podcast will list its content, so you can pick and choose which suits you.

Fire up your device, cream in those earbuds and enjoy this foray into the magical world of kids’ book creation. If you have any questions or comments, you can say hello at books@taniamccartney.com.

Welcome to this happy place—the Happy Book.

    Chapter 22 : Special #StayHomeForLove Edition - Questions and Answers No. 2

    Chapter 22 : Special #StayHomeForLove Edition - Questions and Answers No. 2

    HELLO!
    Welcome to Chapter 22 of The Happy Book-one of a series of shorter podcasts to provide inspirational content during this Covid-19 shutdown. Things are tough right now. Staying home, sticking together, being connected, diving into books - it's vital. We have lots of fab questions to get into in this chapter.

    Fire up your device, cram in those earbuds and enjoy this foray into the magical world of kids' book creation. If you have any questions or comments, you can say hello at books@taniamccartney.com.

    I'm Tania McCartney and I'm an author, illustrator and editor of children's books. I've always wanted to live inside a book, and now I practically do. Welcome to the Happy Book.

    SHOW NOTES
    00:30 Introduction
    01:35 Have you been buying any books? Tag me on Instagram
    01:57 Some book unboxings on Instagram
    02:29 Book production videos on my YouTube channel
    03:09 Question: Sienna - how do you create your book launches?
    03:34 Online launches, referencing Dee White
    04:18 Bricks and mortar launches - tips and ideas, referencing Nicole Godwin, Shelly Unwin, Cate Whittle
    09:24 Question: from Jennifer in NSW - do most picture book authors start with agents or go direct to publishers?
    11:33 UK and US markets for agents
    12:02 Agents and Australian picture book authors, referencing Christina Booth
    13:52 Question: Kellie from Canberra - I'd really like to know about the editing process you take yourself through ... from your initial idea and first draft, through subsequent drafts and right to the 'final' product before submission.
    16:11 Working with a professional editor, referencing Evie and Pog
    23:32 Question: again from Kellie - what is the editing difference between a picture book and junior fiction
    25:50 Question: Meredie from Melbourne - I'm set to attend KidLit in Nov. Is it worth waiting till then to soak up knowledge, meet others, etc, before submitting, or join the slush pile now?
    27:05 Question: again from Meredie - When I'm feeling low, I find it very hard to pick up a pen. I would love advice on how to stimulate the creative process.
    29:44 Think about writing non-fiction
    30:33 Question: Nicole asks for any advice at all on advice for budding creators.
    34:40 What to do when your manuscript is no longer inspiring you
    35:52 Wrap-up
    37:29 The End

    Music: Ukulele Whistle by Scott Holmes

    PODCAST LINKS
    My Instagram
    My YouTube Channel
    Dee White
    Nicole Godwin
    Shelly Unwin
    Cate Whittle
    Christina Booth
    Evie and Pog
    Instagram Inspo:
    Eve Farb
    Kate Mainard
    Asa Gilland
    Jane Newland
    Christopher Jacques
    Hele...

    • 37 min
    Chapter 21 : Special #StayHomeForLove Edition - Questions and Answers No. 1

    Chapter 21 : Special #StayHomeForLove Edition - Questions and Answers No. 1

    During this difficult time, as we #stayhomeforlove in support of those workers battling the Coronavirus, and the vulnerable doing their best to avoid it - I wanted to open the door to a series of Q+A on kids' books - their creation, production, promoting, enjoying - the whole lot. These will be shorter chapters, and will not feature interviews. Be sure to send me your question on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. And be sure to check out the additions to my YouTube Channel - I'm adding lots of bookish content for kids (and maybe for adults, too!). Lots of love to you all. Stay well. Tx

    HELLO!
    Welcome to Chapter 21 of The Happy Book-one of a series of shorter podcasts to provide inspirational content during this Covid-19 shutdown. Things are tough right now. Staying home, sticking together, being connected, diving into books - it's vital.
    Email or message me on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter - send me your questions!
    Fire up your device, cram in those earbuds and enjoy this foray into the magical world of kids' book creation. If you have any questions or comments, you can say hello at books@taniamccartney.com.
    I'm Tania McCartney and I'm an author, illustrator and editor of children's books. I've always wanted to live inside a book, and now I practically do. Welcome to the Happy Book.

    SHOW NOTES
    00:30 Introduction
    01:38 A coffee with cream
    02:13 Resources for kids, parents teachers, librarians on my YouTube channel
    03:22 Question: Meredie from Melbourne - when submitting manuscripts, what does it mean when we're asked to compare our books to others in the market?
    06:32 Question: Emmeline from Ipswich - Emmeline wants to become an author when she grows up and she would like to know how I practised writing as a child, and what activities I like to do.
    09:39 Question: Kim from Melbourne - I've love to hear more about your skills with typography
    10:27 How typography makes or breaks a book - sizing
    10:53 Typography for comprehension and literacy - size and font changes, short paragraphs, etc, referencing Evie and Pog
    12:38 How my typography journey began, referencing Riley and the Sleeping Dragon
    13:45 The importance of kerning
    14:33 Developing typography skills through play and courses
    15:02 iFontMaker
    15:37 More tips on exploring fonts
    16:00 Immersing in books with great typography, referencing Ivy Bird
    17:42 About narrative text and its layout with pictures, referencing Mamie
    19:52 Question from Kellie in Canberra - plotter or pantser, which one are you and what's your process?
    23:09 Question from Kelly in Brisbane - how do you create your books when writing and illustrating. What is your process, do you write the words first or do both at the same time? Referencing Fauna.
    26:22 Practise pictures book with laying out pages
    26:54 A coffee with cream
    27:19 Another coffee and a big glass of water
    28:18 Book inspiration: reviews on my Instagram
    30:20 The End

    Music: Ukulele Whistle by Scott Holmes

    PODCAST LINKS
    My YouTube Channel
    Evie and Pog
    Riley and the Sleeping Dragon
    iFontMaker
    Skillshare
    di...

    • 30 min
    Chapter 20 : Promotion 101

    Chapter 20 : Promotion 101

    HELLO!
    Welcome to Chapter 20 of The Happy Book, the last in season two. In this very special chapter, we're going to talk promotion. Promoting you as an author, illustrator and creator, and of course, promoting your books.

    We'll cover branding, online exposure via websites and blogs, online illustrator portfolios, author/illustrator bios and photos, book blurbs, straplines, collateral, how to stand out from the crowd and heaps more.

    As a special bonus, I'll reveal Kids' Book Review's best tips for getting your books reviewed.

    Fire up your device, cram in those earbuds and enjoy this foray into the magical world of kids' book creation. If you have any questions or comments, you can say hello at books@taniamccartney.com.

    I'm Tania McCartney and I'm an author, illustrator and editor of children's books. I've always wanted to live inside a book, and now I practically do. Welcome to the Happy Book.

    SHOW NOTES
    00:36 Introduction
    01:36 A Middle Eastern mint tea
    03:37 The power of word-of-mouth
    04:58 Engaging with your readership
    05:38 Promotional skills are attractive to publishers
    06:20 Creating a brand
    08:36 Logos and other imagery
    09:16 Jen Storer's beautiful branding
    09:43 Approaching an illustrator for imagery
    10:08 My website visuals
    11:14 Do everything with excellence
    12:12 The amateur, the adequate, the accomplished
    14:08 Jennifer Cossins - über pro
    14:45 Tips for standing out from the crowd
    15:35 Consistency in branding - Kids' Book Review
    18:25 Bubbly, fizzy, sparkling mineral water
    18:31 Websites
    20:26 To blog or not to blog
    22:37 Website look and layout
    23:41 Kids' Book Review website layout
    24:16 Website inclusions and content
    28:39 GIFS and videos
    29:46 A protein bar (salted caramel is my fave)
    30:00 Straplines
    32:42 Author and illustrator biographies
    33:30 Your Unique Offer
    35:25 Standard blurb inclusions
    36:41 First or Third Person bios
    36:55 Word counts for bios
    37:55 Author and illustrator photos
    41:16 Book blurb
    42:25 Book blurb samples
    47:20 Tips for writing blurb
    49:10 Illustrator online portfolio
    50:44 Collateral and addendum product
    53:35 A glass of Prosecco
    53:44 Getting your books reviewed-tips
    1:06:54 A coffee with cream
    1:07:41 What's coming up for me
    1:09:28 Wrap-up
    1:10:20 The End

    Music: Ukulele Whistle by Scott Holmes

    PODCAST LINKS
    The Fantastical Flying Creator
    www.taniamccartney.com
    Girl and Duck
    A Bear a Day (and scroll down to the bears)
    Jennifer Cossins
    My fave creator websites
    GIF Maker
    My woeful YouTube channel - you'll see a little studio tour!
    Stop Motion app
    a...

    • 1 hr 10 min
    Chapter 19 : The Author/Illustrator Journey with Kylie Howarth

    Chapter 19 : The Author/Illustrator Journey with Kylie Howarth

    HELLO!

    Welcome to Chapter 19 of The Happy Book. In this chapter, I'll be talking to author/illustrator Kylie Howarth about the author/illustrator journey. I'll be chatting to Kylie about her wonderful books and how she creates them-you'll actually hear a behind-the-scenes rundown of how she does it!

    We'll also talk about thinking outside the square when it comes to book ideas, about illustration techniques, combining writing with pictures, the importance of visual narrative, character consistency, finding your voice and so much more.

    Fire up your device, cram in those earbuds and enjoy this foray into the magical world of kids' book creation. If you have any questions or comments, you can say hello at books@taniamccartney.com.

    I'm Tania McCartney and I'm an author, illustrator and editor of children's books. I've always wanted to live inside a book, and now I practically do. Welcome to the Happy Book.

    GUEST - KYLIE HOWARTH
    Kylie Howarth is an award-winning, internationally published children's author/illustrator from Western Australia. She is also part fish! Kylie has swum with whale sharks, manta rays and humpback whales in Ningaloo and piranha and pink dolphins in the Amazon. She has braved scuba diving with lionfish in Egypt, marine iguanas and hammerhead sharks in the Galapagos Islands, and has encountered great white sharks in South Africa! Kylie not only draws inspiration from her underwater travels but also her own two fish-kids who are ocean explorers, too. Kylie's picture book Chip won the 2018 WAYRBA Hoffman Award, was CBCA-shortlisted, YABBA Awards-shortlisted, and also won a KOALA Honour Award. She has just released its sequel Chip the Lifeguard, as well as Fish Kid and the Lizard Ninja, the first book in her new chapter book series.

    SHOW NOTES
    00:36 Introduction
    01:36 Introducing Kylie Howarth
    02:28 Our bevvies of choice-coffee-and lots of pings
    04:04 A typical writing day for Kylie
    05:59 Does Kylie you have a plan to either write or draw each day?
    07:12 The balancing act becomes finessed over time
    07:50 Kylie's first chapter book and the time it takes-Fish Kid
    08:22 Rushing to get the next book done
    09:18 Writing and illustrating a series-the time it takes
    10:22 Kylie's childhood illustrating
    11:06 Graphic design and writing
    12:01 Entering the kids' book arena
    12:53 Writing picture books for our own kids, Fish Jam
    13:36 Writing in new genres as your children grow older
    14:11 How Kylie moved into children's books-SCBWI
    17:50 Books that think outside the square
    18:39 The same old themes-my rant
    19:14 Kylie's rant about parents being killed off in chapter books
    20:45 What has brought Kylie the most joy as an author/illustrator
    21:59 What has been the most challenging thing in this industry
    22:38 How Kylie includes her kids in book production, Chip
    24:30 Kylie's book creation processes
    25:34 1, 2 Pirate Stew
    26:03 Hard to tell the difference between hand-rendered and digital
    26:22 Chip process + Procreate
    26:44 Illustration tablets
    28:16 When new ideas pop in
    28:48 Kylie's illustration software
    32:15 Visual narrative in picture books
    33:54 Cutting picture book text as image appears
    34:43 Adding delight with sub- narrative imagery
    36:06 Adding detail for adults in picture books
    36:55 How do we bring words and pictures together seamlessly
    38:40 Character consistency in illustration
    40:33 Showing emotion in character illustration
    42:20 Importance o...

    • 1 hr 5 min
    Chapter 18 : Your questions ... answered!

    Chapter 18 : Your questions ... answered!

    HELLO!
    Welcome to Chapter 18 of The Happy Book. In this chapter, I'll be taking your questions. And answering them! I've had loads of queries and suggestions for podcasts, and I thought it might be fun to respond directly to as many as I can.

    I'll cover rejection (in its many forms), dealing with rejection letters, writing cover letters and crafting an irresistible synopsis for your book, getting your unpublished work and your published books 'out there'.

    I'll also talk about websites and social media, agents, and how to both find and pay illustrators.

    Fire up your device, cram in those earbuds and enjoy this foray into the magical world of kids' book creation. If you have any questions or comments, you can say hello at books@taniamccartney.com.

    I'm Tania McCartney and I'm an author, illustrator and editor of children's books. I've always wanted to live inside a book, and now I practically do. Welcome to the Happy Book.

    SHOW NOTES
    00:36 Introduction
    01:37 Boots, scarves, beanies, gloves and a coffee with cream
    02:49 Facing rejection
    03:34 Self-inflicted rejection and comparisons and social media
    04:57 Trying to be happy for everyone else
    05:09 Being careful about how much bragging we do
    07:22 Rejection letters
    09:27 Reasons why you might be rejected
    12:55 Writing cover letters
    20:02 Writing synopses
    22:58 My synopsis for Hip Hip Hooray!
    25:47 Check publisher guidelines for synopses
    31:03 Jasmine green tea
    31:12 Getting your unpublished work 'out there'
    36:15 The importance of online presence
    38:17 Getting your published book 'out there'
    42:08 Agents agents agents
    50:11 A glass of prosecco
    50:40 Hiring an illustrator
    54:08 One-off contracts
    56:30 Drawing up a contract
    56:44 Royalties-based contracts
    59:11 What to pay an illustrator
    1:00:06 Trade-offs
    1:01:03 The contract for An Aussie Year with Tina Snerling
    1:02:25 Negotiating with an illustrator
    1:02:46 More advice on hiring an illustrator
    1:03:08 Wrap-up
    1:03:48 Coming up next week
    1:04:45 The End

    Music: Ukulele Whistle by Scott Holmes

    PODCAST LINKS
    Hip Hip Hooray!
    Australian Society of Authors
    CBCA
    SCBWI
    Pass It On
    Buzzwords
    Kids' Book Review
    The 52-Week Illustration Challenge
    An Aussie Year

    LINKS
    The Happy Book Facebook Page
    taniamccartney.com
    a href="https://www.facebook.com/TaniaMcCartneyAuthor/"...

    • 1 hr 4 min
    Chapter 17 : The Emerging Author Journey with guest Penny Harrison

    Chapter 17 : The Emerging Author Journey with guest Penny Harrison

    HELLO!
    Welcome to Chapter 17 of The Happy Book. In this chapter, I'll be talking to author Penny Harrison about the emerging author journey. I'll be chatting to Penny about her route to publication, and about the challenges she's faced along the way.

    We'll also cover working in magazines, about working with illustrators, attending events and getting industry involved, writing across genre, exploring different creator roles, and so much more, including the most challenging and the most rewarding parts of the emerging creator journey.

    Fire up your device, cram in those earbuds and enjoy this foray into the magical world of kids' book creation. If you have any questions or comments, you can say hello at books@taniamccartney.com.

    I'm Tania McCartney and I'm an author, illustrator and editor of children's books. I've always wanted to live inside a book, and now I practically do. Welcome to the Happy Book.

    GUEST - PENNY HARRISON
    Penny Harrison is a children's author, book reviewer and lifestyle journalist. She has released three picture books in the past three years, with two more due out in the next year through Little Hare and New Frontier. Penny's passion for the children's book industry is reflected in her work as a reviewer with Kids' Book Review and as secretary of the Eltham Authors' Collective. A professional writer for more than 20 years, she has worked for some of Australia's leading publications, including the Sydney Morning Herald and the Herald Sun Home Magazine, and now freelances for a variety of magazines and newspapers, such as House of Wellness magazine, Yarra Valley Country Life and the Herald Sun Home Living section. Penny lives in a rambling old garden on the edge of the Yarra Valley with her husband, two children and an ever-growing menagerie of plants and animals (and of course books).

    SHOW NOTES
    00:36 Introduction
    01:36 Introducing Penny Harrison
    02:31 Our bevvies of choice-coffee, with honey!
    03:28 A typical writing day for Penny
    05:08 How does Pen balance her many styles of writing?
    06:24 Penny's magazine and journalism career
    08:30 What brought Penny to writing for children?
    10:18 What drives you to write for children?
    11:43 Penny's emerging career so far
    14:38 The difference between journalism and the children's book industry
    15:17 Working with an illustrator
    17:21 Never telling an illustrator 'what to do'
    19:15 Publication journey for Emily's Green Garden
    20:30 An upcoming picture book with Little Hare
    21:59 What is the most daunting part on this children's author journey?
    23:41 Penny's recommendations for online groups and courses
    24:27 What has brought Penny the most joy?
    25:54 School visits as an emerging creator
    28:06 The value of industry involvement
    29:17 Developing relationships along the way
    31:25 The joy of talking shop
    31:57 Attending bookish events
    33:18 Events afford publication opportunities
    34:43 Assessments at conferences
    35:17 Choosing which conference to go to
    35:43 Grants and funding to get to events
    36:39 Limitations that new creators face
    37:32 How does Penny carve out her time to create
    38:52 The limitations we place on ourselves
    38:57 Getting bogged down in what others are doing
    40:15 Genre-moving into non-fiction
    41:43 Getting bogged down in genre or creative blocks
    42:44 Your dream project
    43:27 Strategies for pushing through creative blocks
    45:45 Pursuing other directions and roles in our career
    47:04 What does Penny wish she'd known before embarking...

    • 54 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
25 Ratings

25 Ratings

tinytornadoes ,

So much generosity here

Thank you Tanya for doing this. Love the interview with Jess Rackyleft. Very very useful.

fashionsavvy ,

Just incredible!

My favourite kidslit podcast! Tania has an incredible knowledge of the kids book industry and is very generous in sharing her amazing tips and tricks. Can’t rave about it enough!

tidlit ,

For newbies and pros this writing for kids podcast has it all

So insightful. So thorough. So NICE. It really is a happy place to hang out and learn so much about writing for children. A great starting point for newbies and great insights for pros. Thanks Tania :-)

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