24 July 2012

RIP Margaret Mahy

We are sad today to hear of the death of Margaret Mahy, superhero children's author and the first non-British author to be awarded the Carnegie Medal. Mahy was a New Zealander who worked as a children's librarian and wrote her early novels at night after her two daughters were in bed. The author of over 100 picture books and 40 novels, Mahy will be sadly missed.

The Moon & Farmer McPhee by Margaret Mahy, winner of theNew Zealand Post Children's Book of the Year award 2011 

12 July 2012

July books

This month we're very excited to see our new favourite picture book (we have a new favourite every month!) out on shelves and already being mentioned (thanks, Readings). A brilliant new collaboration between sparkling new author Emma Allen and the incomparable Freya Blackwood, The Terrible Suitcase is the story of a little girl's first day of school and how she copes with the tremendous injustice of being given a terrible suitcase instead of the red rocket backpack she wanted for her new school bag.

Also out this month is a time travelling adventure from new-to-kids'-books author Craig Cormick. Time Vandals crosses time, continents and even into zombie-land as Time Rangers Mai and Jack attempt to put the space-time-continuum back to 'normal'. It's hard to know whether to be more worried about whether Ixi the garden gnome in disguise can be trusted or whether the rampaging gargoyle will finally catch up with them. The only way to find out is to read on!

Congratulations, Mr Lawrence!

We're very pleased to note the appearance of the mysterious Mr L.S. Lawrence's latest book, Horses for King Arthur, on the shortlist for the Western Australian Premier's Book Awards. Lovely! Congratulations, Mr Lawrence! And to his fans, look out soon for his next epic historical novel, Hammering Iron, out in September.

04 July 2012

New Unsolicited Manuscript Guidelines

We've been struggling with the work associated with the hundreds of unsolicited manuscripts we receive at Omnibus for a very long time now and finally the time has come to stop. We just don't have enough time to enter, read, return and re-enter the looming pile anymore. But rather than stop reading we have decided to change the rules.  So please pay close attention!

If you look on the web here you will see that we have totally re-jigged our guidelines.

1. NO manuscripts will be returned, regardless of whether or not they include return postage. So don't include a stamped self-addressed envelope anymore.

2. You will ONLY hear from us if you are successful. If you don't hear within three months assume you were unsuccessful and try elsewhere.

3. We will not let you know your manuscript arrived. Assume the postie is good at his or her job and will deliver it safely or return it to you if you've put your address on it.

4. Don't call us to ask if your work has been read yet. We haven't got time to answer any queries and we can't anyway because we no longer enter unsolicited work onto a database.

5. Don't send anything original (as in you don't keep a copy) because we will be putting all unsuccessful work into a secure paper recycling bin. And don't worry, this is a very safe system. No one will be able to read/steal your work. It gets shredded in a giant commercial shredder. We pay for this system.

6. There is absolutely no advantage in sending your submission with a cover letter from an Assessment Agency. We highly recommend that applicants avoid this expensive process completely, as the letters make no difference whatsoever in our final decision on whether work will be published or not.

BUT WE WILL READ EVERYTHING!  We always did, we always will. That's how we discovered Marcus Zusak, Michael Gerard Bauer, Lyn Lee and a host of other award-winning super-successful writers. We know you're in that pile somewhere ... and we will find you if you are.

If your work is already here with its stamped self-addressed envelope then we will faithfully return it to you but in a very short while we will not. All the rest of the guidelines are up on the web - go see for yourself.

Every night I get on my knees and pray for a monster best-seller to appear in the unsolicited pile. If the nuns were right then I probably shouldn't hold my breath. But as my dear mother likes to say - live in hope, even if you die in despair.

A note from your Conductor