I’m Aleesah Darlison. I’m an author and the owner of Greenleaf Press.
Over the last decade, I’ve set up and run several critique groups, helped establish the Northern Sydney sub-branch of the CBCA and been Director of the NSW Writers’ Centre Kids & YA Literary Festival (2014 and 2016). When I moved to Queensland two years ago, I also become Coordinator of the Sunshine Coast SCBWI.
I’ve met and worked with loads of aspiring, emerging and established authors and illustrators during my time in the industry. I’m proud to call many of these creatives my friends.
After talking to these authors and illustrators, and seeing what was happening in the industry, I established Greenleaf Press to provide quality support services that were desperately needed but often in short supply.
It’s hard to find your way as a new author or illustrator.
It’s hard to know where to look for advice and support.
It’s hard to believe in yourself and commit to a career that doesn’t provide any surety of success.
I speak from experience here because I’ve often been filled with self-doubt.
From the age of sixteen, I’d dreamed of being an author but I’d always been told it was too hard to get published. Because of this misconception – by myself and others who I listened to – I treated writing as a hobby, never believing in myself or my ability to make my own dreams come true.
Then, when I had two young children at home and I’d decided I didn’t want to go back to the corporate world, I decided to give writing another shot.
Being a mum has as many challenges and joys as being an author.
I committed myself – and every spare moment, every spare dollar I had – to becoming an author.
I entered competitions.
I attended workshops, conferences, courses and festivals.
I submitted stories, articles and reviews to magazines, newspapers and anthologies.
And I sent some incredibly awful manuscripts to publishers long before they were ready to be sent! Ouch… which is why I also received over four hundred rejections before I received my first acceptance.
But I never gave up trying.
Luckily, my writing improved. After three years of submitting and sweating and hoping, I had my first picture book manuscript accept for publication by Windy Hollow Books – from the slush pile.
That was a real dance-around-the-house moment. I’ve never forgotten it.
Bearly There, published by Windy Hollow Books, was picked up from unsolicited submissions.
Since then, I’ve learned a lot about deadlines, editing, the importance of creating a commercially viable concept and story, and how to think visually when creating a picture book. Along with a few hundred other things…
Thirty-three books and six-and-a-half years later and I’ve now set up Greenleaf Press to help others on their publication journey. It’s not always an easy path, it’s filled with challenges and sacrifices, but the rewards and joys of the journey are definitely worth it.
I’m living proof that it can be done. I started from scratch. I knew nothing. But I never gave up and eventually – eventually – I was published.
One of my first-ever book launches. This one was for Totally Twins.
Here I am with the wildly talented author of the series, Serena Geddes.
My hope is that I can help others to learn from my mistakes. Together, we can be stronger, better book creators. We can be more successful. We can achieve our dreams of being published and of sharing out stories with the world. I look forward to talking to you more over coming months about the challenges, joys and triumphs of being an author in the amazing world of publishing.