How to Get Published, Alison Reynolds Reveals ALL.

Please welcome prolific children’s author Alison Reynolds to Karen’s Blog.

Alison Reynolds is one of Australia’s most successful authors of children’s picture books, adventure books and books for grown-ups, publishing 30 books. Alison is here today to launch her latest picture book, A Year with Marmalade. The story of Marmalade, the ginger cat and her adventures through the seasons. Marmalade is a fantastic story with wonderful lyrical language, published by Five Mile Press in Australia, UK and USA. Illustrated by the super-talented Heath McKenzie. Purr-fect for kids and cat lovers.

I interviewed Alison to find out her publishing process and her SECRETS …

1. How did you get your first book published?

In 1997 Macmillan Education asked for submissions for their Crackers series. I chopped a thousand words off The Ghostly Hand (which is still paying me ELR and PLR) and polished and polished and received the phone call about eight weeks later. The very next day I received a rejection for the same ms in the mail from another publisher. That was the one rejection I didn’t care about. 🙂

2. What was the publishing process for A Year with Marmalade.        

I’ve worked with the Five Mile Press quite a bit in the past. Publisher, the lovely Poppy Grijalbo, asked if I wanted to write a picture book for her. Over brunch we brainstormed. She wanted to show the seasons and somehow we both decided it should feature a cat. A couple of weeks later, I sent in the ms for A Year with Marmalade.
No illustrator was firmed up for a while. Then The Five Mile Press asked Heath McKenzie who has done a terrific job. I haven’t met Heath, but for this book I did write illustration guidelines. Heath has run with these and produced something better than I could ever have imagined.
The entire process took about fifteen months.

3. What’s your top #5 secrets in getting Children’s books published?

1.      Read, write, revise. Repeat countless times.
2.       Don’t submit too early.
3.       Get out and about. Everything can help fill the creative well.
4.       Target your publisher and follow submission guidelines.
5.       Don’t be a prima donna, and the publisher will probably want to work with you again!

A Year with Marmalade Blog Tour

7th Aug Dee White
9th Aug Karen Tyrrell
11th Aug Tania McCartney
13th Aug  Pass It On
14th Aug  Kathryn Apel
17th Aug  Dale Harcombe
20th Aug  Peter Taylor
22nd Aug  Susan Stephenson
23rd Aug  Robyn Opie Parnell
27th Aug Sally Odgers
29th  Aug  Angela Sunde
31st Aug Chris Bell

A Year with Marmalade PICTURE Competition

Marmalade’s personality really shines through in Alison Reynolds and Heath McKenzie’s newest picture book A Year with Marmalade. Share your favourite picture showing your cat’s personality to win … The winner will receive a signed copy of A Year with Marmalade and a copy of the picture book Lighty Faust the Lion, a book about a much bigger cat.
Share your favourite picture of your cat by uploading it to author Alison Reynolds’ Facebook page at or email it to Alison as a low res jpeg file at and she’ll upload it on her website
Entries close on the 1st of September

Which of Alison’s publishing tips was the MOST helpful to you?

Will you be entering Alison’s PICTURE competition?

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22 comments to How to Get Published, Alison Reynolds Reveals ALL.

  • A Year with Marmalade is one of my favourite picture books this year. I love it! So wonderful to read about your publishing journey, too, Ali. Well done!

  • Thanks Tania for checking out Alison’s publishing journey… YES, I l.o.v.e *A Year Of Marmalade* too! … Karen T 🙂

  • Anne Vickery

    I love this blog so much the inforomation is awesome and definately be entering the photo competition shortly thanks so much for the information and opportunity 🙂

  • Thanks Anne, I’m thrilled those publishing tips was a benefit to you. Good luck with the picture competition. Love to see your photo on Alison’s Facebook page and her website …Karen 🙂

  • Aww,Thanks Karen and Tania.
    So happy you love A Year with Marmalade!

  • I agree, Anne. Karen’s blog is an incredible source of information.
    And looking forward to seeing your entry!

  • Thanks for the great interview, Alison and Karen. I enjoyed finding out more about Alison and A Year with Marmalade.
    I look forward to you visiting my blog, Alison. Have a great blog tour.
    All the best,
    Robyn xx

  • Thanks Robyn, for dropping over to Alison’s Blog tour. Thrilled you liked our interview. I’ll be sure to visit your page when Alison stops off there … Karen x:)

  • Thanks Karen and Alison. Point #2 was my favourite – Don’t submit too early. I have made this mistake a few times I’m sure.Great tips and the book looks fantastic. Love the illustrations. Best wishes, Joan

  • hi Joan, Thanks for dropping over to check out Alison’s publishing interview. I agree with #2. Many writers fall into the temptation into sending too early. Its hard to hold back, but we must … Karen 🙂

  • Loving your tour Alison – looking for our stuffed puss.
    Thanks for sharing the insights Karen. One can never hear good advice too often. 🙂

  • Hi Joan,
    I think #2 is one of the hardest things to do.
    It’s so easy to be excited and want to send your work out.
    But it is amazing what you pick up even one day later.
    Best wishes with your writing.

  • Glad you are enjoying the tour, Dimity.
    Karen, I’ve told Dimity that the rules don’t specify a live cat and all forms of cat are welcome!


  • Thanks Dimity, for coming over to check out Alison’s publishing advice and her awesome new pussy-cat book …Karen:)

  • Thanks Alison, for the reminder on what defines a “Cat Picture”? Could it be a photo of a cat drawing or painting or even a sculpture?

  • Thanks for great post Karen and Alison. Loved hearing about Marmalade’s journey to publication. And love the tips too, especially “Get out and about. Everything can help fill the creative well”. So important for we writers huddled over our screens and keyboards to go out and catch those story sparks and meet some “characters”.
    I’m enjoying the tour.
    🙂 Chris

  • Hi Chris. Glad you enjoyed the tips. You and I do our best to Get out and about!

  • Hi Chris, Thank so much fir dropping by to check out my interview with Alison on the publishing process and her “special tips”. Yes, I certainly agree with getting out and about to discover new story leads. Looking forward to checking out your leg of Alison’s blog Tour… Karen 🙂

  • I love to hear stories where the publisher and author have worked so closely together to achieve the end goal. Lovely post!

  • Hi Angela, Thanks for checking out my leg of Alison’s blog tour! I loved Alison’s inspiring story on how *A year with Marmalade* became published … Karen 🙂

  • Many thanks, Karen and Alison. Yes, I’ve a couple of stories I wish I had not submitted in so much haste – but fortunately I’ve still got other publishers left to send them to.
    ‘A Year with Marmalade’ is my favourite book published this year, too.
    All best wishes

  • hi Peter,
    Thanks for dropping by on Alison’s blog tour. I can’t wait to read A Year with Marmalade.
    I’ve made that mistake with sending mss too early too. We all do!
    Wishing you all the best with your next round of submissions … Karen 🙂

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