Marketing strategy

Just popped into an award winning book shop in Cheshire to loosely inquire if they stock self-published material. The owner pointed disdainfully to a corner of the shop (labelled self-published) so bleak I may have detected damp. Who exactly is going to look in the self-published section for a children’s book? And I’d just spent £25 on Dan’s valentine present Collins Complete Book of DIY. Who said having kids kills the romance? Anyway I digress. My new marketing strategy is to sell Whooosshh in anywhere that isn’t a book shop…right off to the hairdressers.

Dreaming up ideas for children’s books

The theory goes that everybody has a novel or book in them somewhere. But to label yourself an author, you probably need to publish more than one title to be deserving of that title. Whilst waiting for Whooosshh to emerge in its entirety I have been busy writing more books. Out of guilt, I have written one for Barnaby which encapsulates his rebellious nature and for which he probably won’t thank me and the third one is written with the “OCD and feisty” character of my niece in mind. Very soon I will run out of children to write about and then it’s career over. But the point is that writing with a character in mind really works for me as it helps me to get “the voice” of the book right, which is really important. The Horrid Henry series by Francesca Simon http://www.horridhenry.co.uk and similarly all of Roald Dahl’s books are so appealing and visual because of the strength and complexities of the main characters.
Once the character is developed, the rest is a complete mystery. You hurl the character into the unknown and hope they lead the way for you. In an interview in Bookwitch http://www.bookwitch.wordpress.com children’s author and illustrator Debi Gliori makes reference to writer Philip Pullman’s dislike of planning. “ He wrote a piece that I cut out and have kept and quoted from extensively, about how looking for ideas is a little like going out fishing at night, you push your boat out in the dark, you have your little lantern, and he talks about the amazing creatures you pull out from the depths, and I just thought “Yes! He has nailed that down so well.”

More stumbling blocks:

Helen and I have become slightly obsessed with the way men sit. I’ve never noticed before but it’s difficult for a man to assume a seated position without looking curiously camp. To cross or not to cross? That is the question.

Stumbling blocks

I may have just answered my own question in the previous blog as to why there are few children’s books about fathers and daughters. ..It is a tragic sign of the times when you can’t draw a man in a child’s bedroom without it looking creepy.

Was there life before google

Helen and I have just ‘fessed up that we owe all our creativity to google. She is using google images to find what “a flying child” looks like and I have embarrassingly admitted to using “what rhymes with higher”. We comforted ourselves with the fact that if Jim Morrison had have been alive during the google awakening, he would have come up with something better than fire, higher, liar and erm pyre.

What’s the story?

To outdo last year’s thoughtful anniversary gift to my husband of Terry Wogan’s autobiography oh and the previous year’s gift of erm… nothing, this year the pressure was on to deliver something truly meaningful, so I presented him with Whooossshh, the story of our little girl Audrey who goes on a magical journey on her daddy’s shoulders.
It was 3 weeks late of course in line with my on going battle with timekeeping. There were tears. (Not mine, his) My god, there were actual tears. Amazingly as the only time I have ever seen him cry was whilst watching Seabiscuit on a long-haul flight to New Zealand . But nevertheless if I could reduce someone as emotionally challenged as my husband to tears, then this was a clear sign that Whoooooosh might just take off. Audrey’s god mummy and artist Helen agreed to do the illustrations, although she still insists she can’t draw – judge for yourselves at a sneak preview. We’ve decided to self-publish (albeit blindly) to retain some control over our product but mainly because agents and publishers take such colossal commission. And although the recession has hit big industries such as publishing, cottage industries seem to be flourishing more than ever, thanks to social networking sites. So aside from this being the most gorgeous story ever, it’s also a rite of passage – the tale of a reluctant journalist and a flitting artist who have committed themselves to writing children’s books.It’s a big ask from two work – commitment phobes – but hey we’re doing it for the kids!