Sunday, 18 March 2012


Earlier this week I did a bit of adding up in my head and thought 'I must be close to 100,000 downloads from Amazon'. I then did some adding up on a calculator and the total came to over 103,000 for The Secret City. I feel very calm about this because although it's a large number I know I've got a long way to go before the Burly & Grum books are taken seriously in the children's book market, which is probably the most competitive in the publishing industry. I feel as though I'm standing at the edge of an exciting adventure and now have to take braver and scarier steps if I want to establish myself in any way. The publishing industry does not take  prisoners! 
   I have been looking at the itinerary for the Bologna Children's Book Fair and it is absolutely fascinating. I'd love to be there! Today, for example, the subject is Tools of Change for Publishing - The Art, Craft & Business of Digital Content for Kids. Engaging children in this digital world is challenging, fascinating, exciting - more and more opportunities are opening up to make reading more accessible to every child. Having worked for the charity Mencap and supported those with learning disabilities I think the expansion of reading material from print to ipads etc will be immensely helpful to those who need more encouragement. A British company, Nosy Crow, is leading the way with apps and has already won many awards. Transforming a story into an app does not detract from it, but can enhance the experience of reading and children love the interaction. The future of children's literature is very exciting!
   Having said that, I don't think that the print book will ever disappear as some people fear. Taking the time to read books to your children builds strong bonds and instills a love of literature. I simply could not imagine a world without print books for children.
   There's a place for both digital books and print books in this world and I'm looking forward seeing how they develop side by side in the future.
    Meanwhile, back to the 100,000 downloads, I'm going to give myself and Rob (Burly & Grum's artist), a tiny pat on the back; last year I didn't even know what a Kindle was (and I'm not sure Rob did either!) - I wonder what we'll have learnt and achieved by this time next year?


Sunday, 11 March 2012

The Conga of Happiness

I'm joining in with all my Burly and Grum friends and doing a little conga of happiness because the entries for the Burly & Grum competition are coming in thick and fast and some of the names people have come up with for Grum's middle name have been absolutely hilarious! Keep me laughing, keep me happy, keep me conga-ing by keeping your entries rolling in! If you want to have a go at the competition and try to win the first two Burly & Grum books in print, a year's adoption of Ginny the fabulous Moon Bear (courtesy of the Born Free Foundation) and £20 of Amazon vouchers then just go to the Burly & Grum web page! Deadline is Friday, 29th March. Good luck!
   I have a wonderful friend called Gem who writes a very interesting and lovely blog (please go and visit it) called Dreams of A Life in the Country. Gem has always been incredibly supportive of my writing and has written about the competition in her blog - I do have the best friends, thank you Gem!
   As well as dancing I've also been busy thinking about marketing. Now the third book is about to go to print and I'll soon have my trilogy complete (who'd have thought?!) I know I need to seriously concentrate on selling the books. As much as I love writing about Burly and Grum, I can't keep churning out stories just for the sake of it, I want them to be successful and that means making sure that children (and adults) know about them.
   One small way to help books climb up the charts on Amazon is for them to have reviews so please, if anyone has read any of the Burly & Grum books, will would you mind writing a review? If you haven't read the books but promise write a review then I will arrange for you to get a free copy of any of the stories you want - just contact me at or leave me a message below and I will get back to you as soon as possible. I should say I'm asking you to give me an honest review - if you don't like the story then that's fair enough, you're more than entitled to say so!
   This week I'll be working hard, putting together a cunning marketing plan; I'm always open to ideas so if anyone reading this thinks they know of a good way to market the Burly & Grum books, please get in touch!  Meanwhile, it's on with the dancing - 'come on do the Conga, come on do the Conga' - gotta go with the flow! Have a great week!