Sunday, 26 February 2012

Thumbs up!


This week my friends have excelled themselves in supporting both myself and Burly & Grum.
     When Thomas, aged 7, wrote to me asking me what Grum's secret middle name was, he gave me a great idea - why not run a competition on the Burly & Grum website to see what readers thought the name could be? I decided to offer signed copies of the first two books (as they're in print now), but I also wanted to try and involve the Born Free Foundation.  I dropped an email to Joanne who works there, and she suggested that one of the prizes could be a year's adoption of Ginny, the beautiful moon-bear (Burly likes Ginny a lot!). How brilliant is that? But then it got better! My big sister said she would give me £20 (or $25) so I could offer an Amazon voucher. I put the competition up on the website last night and have already had suggestions for Grum's middle name - Poddlemore, Puzzled, Persevere are just three of them. People are incredibly creative and I'm looking forward to see what else is put forward! If you've got any ideas, just let me know - you can write to me via the Burly & Grum Website.
    More locally, Steve from Stephen Alexander Hairdressing in Chelmsford is very enthusiastic about Burly and Grum. I dropped off some Burly & Grum cards for him to give out and he's also taken some colouring-in sheets so that young children and sit and do some colouring in while they're waiting for their mums to have their hair done. A colour poster of Burly & Grum is in their shop front. Pretty cool. Thanks Steve and Sam and Libby and everyone there!
  I've been in touch on and off over the last few months with another author called Jayde Scott. Although Jayde writes for older readers she has been incredibly helpful, offered me practical advice (the self-publishing process is a bit of a minefield so it's always good to have support!) and has put me in touch with another indie children's author, Patricia Puddle, who I look forward to talking to.
  When I get home each week night after a long commute it's sometimes hard to get motivated and start 'work' all over again (it's been especially difficult this week as I've had a rotten head cold...) and frankly I know that I wouldn't have got half as far as I have done without the enthusiastic support of my friends and family, so it's definitely thumbs up to friendship this week!

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Slightly baffled but happy!

This last week I've felt a little like Burly opening one of his birthday presents - surprised, slightly baffled and happy (and I've probably been wearing that same goofy expression on my face!)
  I've had some really positive feedback about the Burly & Grum Tales. Yes, real people out there in the wide world who have read them have actually taken the trouble to drop me a line, including an 8 year old girl called Charlotte who likes Burly and Grum so much she has created a powerpoint presentation about them. Amazing and pretty wonderful! It might sound corny, but when someone writes to say how much they like Burly & Grum, it does make it all worthwhile. So I'd like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has been in touch - I genuinely appreciate it.
  I'd also like to say a personal thank you to everyone at the Born Free Foundation, the charity that Burly & Grum supports. My goodness, they've been patient with me! Joanne, especially, has supported me every step of the way and has complete faith that Burly and Grum will be successful. Thank you Joanne and everyone at Born Free - you are wonderful and I hope that one day I'll be able to give you lots of money to help you protect wild animals!
  As you may have noticed, I really do love Burly and Grum. Burly is everything a bear should be, i.e. dependable, brave, cuddly... and Grum is everything a groblin should be, i.e. unpredictable, a bit strange sometimes but with a heart of gold. I've written three books about them now but want to write more - there are so many adventures still waiting for them! I can also see cuddly toys, colouring books, etc. but for now I think I'd better not get too carried away, concentrate on the three published books and try my hardest to market them.
  Every time I do something new as an indie author I undergo a massive learning curve. For example, this week I've discovered just how wide the gulf is between amazon.com and amazon.co.uk. The first two books were on sale in print version in the US through Createspace within an hour of pressing the 'go ahead' button, but will not be available via .amazon.co.uk for a while. Why is that? No one seems to have the answer.  Patience seems to be a word used a lot in the indie author world! I'll have to take up yoga!
  This coming week I'll be working on turning Burly & Grum and The Birthday Surprise into a print version and will be doing as much marketing as possible. Oh, and I can't forget to tell you that in January over 34,800 copies of The Secret City were downloaded. Thank you to everyone who downloaded and gosh, I hope you enjoyed reading it!
  Have a good week everyone :)