Wombat Books Blog

Wombat Books blog is the place to keep up to date with all the goings-on in the world of Aussie kid's books.

Aleesah Darlison on Writing, Editing and Submitting the Manuscript

Darlison Mar15 029Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been in the industry for? 

I write picture books, chapter books, novels and series for children from the age of 3 – 14 years. I’ve been published for nine years. My first book was Puggle’s Problem and it was published by Wombat Books. Since then, I’ve had 44 other books released. It’s been a wonderful experience so far.

Describe your typical work desk.

L-shaped to give me plenty of room. Nice and tidy; everything in it’s place. A To-Do List that always has things on it (sigh!), laptop and large screen. I usually have artwork from my kids all around, notes and images from my current writing project and often a writing schedule to ensure I meet deadlines.

What’s your favourite children’s book? 

So many too choose from! I’ve always read anything I could get my hands on, even as a kid. Z for Zachariah, Lord of the Flies, A Rag, a Bone and a Hank of Hair, anything by Victor Kelleher, The Once Series by Morris Gleitzman … the list goes on.

How important is it to proof your manuscript before submitting to a publisher? Or should the work speak for itself?

It’s incredibly important. I find that if a manuscript isn’t proofed, polished and well set out, then the work isn’t going to speak for itself. A publisher won’t even look at a story if the document itself doesn’t adhere to minimum professional standards. The story won’t flow and won’t be written well enough because poor layout often shows poor research of the market and an uneducated writer. One tends to flow into the other.

DSC 6173 minShould authors submit multiple manuscripts or a single manuscript to a publisher at a time?

It depends on the publisher’s guidelines, which should always be followed to the letter. Having said that, life is short, and if you wait months or years for a publisher's response, you might find that life passes you by. With anything, it’s common sense and a sensible medium. Don’t swamp publishers, but don’t be prepared to wait forever before you send your stories elsewhere.

What’s the biggest tip you can give authors hoping to submit to a publisher? 

Research the market. Don’t rely on others to do the work for you. It takes time, knowledge and effort to be successful as an author. Also, develop a thick(er) skin. This industry certainly requires resilience, but the rewards are definitely worth it! 

Describe your workshop for the Wombat Books Conference. 

Being an author is a multi-faceted job, from writing to editing to submitting your manuscript. In this intensive masterclass, I’ll provide an overview of the Australian publishing industry and give invaluable tips for authors. I’ll also work with participants on their manuscripts to target areas for improvement such as structure, voice, language, character, tension, formatting and more. Participants will read their work out for group feedback and if time allows they will receive personalised feedback on their manuscript from me.

You can book your tickets to Aleesah Darlison's masterclass now! Click on the link below for more information.


Aleesah banner dates

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Wombat Books and Rhiza Press Submissions are Now Open.

Wombat Books and Rhiza Press are open for submissions as of Friday the 1st of May, 2015. We will be accepting unsolicited manuscripts for review.

What we are looking for.

We are looking for entertaining original manuscripts that leave a lasting impression. Wombat Books is accepting submissions for early readers and stand-alone picture books, aimed at preschool and early primary school. Rhiza Press is collecting manuscripts for predominantly ages 14 and above, including young adult fiction, adult fiction and biographies. We encourage you to know your publisher before submitting. To find out what we are looking for please read some of the books we have published.

For more information visit:



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Rhiza Press: Launch of new imprint for YA and Adult readers

Rhiza Press: Launch of new imprint for YA and Adult readers

Rhiza Press – Down-to-earth stories that connect

After 5 successful years publishing quality children's books, Wombat Books has expanded to include a new brand for young adult and adult readers.

Rhiza Press aims to publish exceptional stories and deliver fresh, family friendly titles in a wide variety of genres for all people who love books.

So why Rhiza Press? Rhiza is a greek word resembling or connected with a root.

"Our goal with this new brand is to grow from a strong foundation, both in our successes with Wombat Books and our passion for good stories. We want to reach the parents and young adults that have grown up reading our family-friendly stories," said Rochelle Manners, Director of Wombat Books and Rhiza Press.

"We are focused on our conversation with readers and our desire to publish what the readers really want. From talking with the parents who read our books to their children, we've seen a demand for adult books that are clean, family-friendly and don't contain overtly explicit content. But they still want the stories to be exceptional, relatable and inspirational."

Rhiza Press is focused on publishing books for predominantly ages 14 and above, including young adult fiction, adult fiction, biographies and non-fiction.

The starting line up of new releases include best-selling and award winning authors such as Rosanne Hawke, Dr Nick Hawkes, Andrea Grigg and Adele Jones.

Rhiza Press is currently calling for submissions for young adult and adult fiction and biographies. For more information visit www.rhizapress.com.au 

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Call for Early Reader submissions

Further to our update on submissions last week, we are now calling for submissions for Early Reader titles. Please ensure you have also read our general guidelines if you are interested in submitting your manuscript.

Wombat Books is increasing our publication of Early Reader titles by building a new list for 6-8 year olds. We are open to submissions for Early Reader titles as of the 1st of November 2013.

We are looking for Early Reader manuscripts that consider the following guidelines:

  • between 5,000-10,000 words
  • family friendly
  • features relatable characters or those that children can look up to (good role models)
  • is encouraging, positive and uplifting
  • engages the family and leaves a lasting impression
  • can feature issues (health, allergies, social awareness etc)
  • structured in short, easy-to-read chapters
  • appeals to both boys and girls
  • aspires to our motto of “books you will want to share”

Please refer to our current early reader chapter books to see the types of stories we are looking for:



These stories engage children with an entertaining story that portrays family friendly values while being adventurous and fun to read. Please refer to the general information above if you wish to submit your manuscript.

For further details on submission requirements visit our submissions page.

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Submissions update

This blog focuses on our general submission guidelines. Next week we will be providing more information on specific lists that we will be seeking submissions for. So stay tuned!

Wombat Books accepts unsolicited manuscripts for review to be considered for traditional publishing. We have limited spaces for publication. We are looking for entertaining original manuscripts that leave a lasting impression. We are primarily looking at children's picture books at this time. We strongly recommend you have read our recent releases. It is important to demonstrate in your cover letter an understanding of the type of manuscripts we will be interested in.

Please do not send us query letters, either submit your manuscript using the POST or EMAIL process, as we generally do not respond to query letters. Is it vital you include a cover letter with your submission.

Turn around time for manuscripts is anywhere between 4 and 8 months.

Manuscript Formatting guidelines

Please follow our guidelines carefully in order for us to be able to assess your manuscript. Your manuscript must be:

  • Typed and printed
  • 12 size font
  • Times New Roman 
  • 1.5 to double spaced
  • Pages should be numbered
  • Include your name and address

Cover letter

Please demonstrate your understanding of the industry including any achievements or awards you have received or any events you have presented at. If you have specific ideas on marketing for your book please include some of your plans.

Please investigate other titles similar to your own in the market to ensure your book is unique.

We are happy for you to include editor or assessor comments in the submission.

Posted manuscripts

We request you include a PREPAID envelope that will fit your ENTIRE manuscript for return. Your submission will not be considered if you do not do this with postal submissions.

Post to:

Attention: The Children's Editor
Wombat Books
PO Box 1519
Capalaba QLD 4157

Emailed manuscripts

Manuscripts should be attached to the email. The cover letter and author details must be in the body of the email. No attachments will be opened if details are not given in the email. Email submissions will be invalid if this procedure is not followed. There should only be a single attachment for the manuscript. If you are submitting illustrations this way please enquire first. Attachments larger than 10MB will need prior approval and will be invalid unless an enquiry has been made first.

Email to:

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Please note: Our submissions email address is not monitored daily so ordering enquires or other enquires should not be directed to this email.



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