Sunday, 29 April 2012

So close, so close and yet so far!

Although all three Burly and Grum books are available as e-books, only two of them are available in print. I've been waiting for what seems like forever for the proof copy of the third book to arrive and yesterday, finally, it did!  It was waiting for me on the doorstep when I got back from shopping and I have to confess I did a little jig of happiness as I unwrapped it. Finally, I have a trilogy!
    The cover looks great (thank you Richard for the expert tidying up!) and, flipping through the pages, I could see that the print and images are clear and easy to read (although my old camera doesn't do it justice, sorry!). I have to admit I was very happy.

    But a proof copy is a proof copy for a reason so I settled down last night and went through it with a fine tooth comb. I have to admit I was pretty confident I wouldn't have to change much because, frankly, I'd already proof read it a thousand times. Hah, that'll teach me!  The book now has about 30 yellow tabs hanging out of the side and each one refers to a change I've made!  This morning I went on Kindle Direct Marketing page and updated the Kindle version and this afternoon I've worked through the Createspace version making sure everything is in order. That final print version will have to wait a few more weeks because I do want it to be as near perfect as possible.
   In my last blog I mentioned that I was thinking about recording sections of the Burly & Grum books (maybe even all of the books!) but that I had to do some research to find out what children wanted. I've been out and about collecting opinions to find out what kids thought and you know what? They're a sophisticated lot - never under estimate a 7 year old! I aim to start working on this project very soon.
    I also thought I'd like to improve the Burly & Grum website and create some games for children. I put in 'Spot the Difference' game and received some very positive feedback. My son is working on word search and, again, I've got a few other ideas bubbling away in the background. They might not be the most sophisticated games but I'm working on improving things to the best of my technical and financial ability! One website I absolutely love is the most wonderful Magicbelles - if you have a moment, do go on it, it is fabulous, just the kind of website I'd love Burly & Grum to have! 
    When that proof copy arrived yesterday I momentarily felt that that was it, I'd completed everything I'd set out to do with Burly & Grum. Who did I think I was kidding?!  Today I've submitted an updated version, I've looked at ways of recording the books and improving the website and I still have a lot to do on the marketing side. I don't think I'll ever properly 'finish' Burly & Grum - there will always be something else to do, to learn and frankly, I'm having a great time!

Sunday, 15 April 2012

A Burly & Grum Recording - A Good Idea?

I had a lot of fun last week creating the new trailer but, of course, I'm always trying to think of new ideas to spread the word about the Burly and Grum books. I had coffee with a friend yesterday and he said that although he loved the new trailer because it had just the  right type of bottom-wriggling music that children loved, he thought that I should be highlighting the writing as well as the art work. What about recording an extract from the book he suggested brightly and, funnily enough, I thought that was a pretty good idea.
     As I walked home I ran it through my mind; at first the idea seemed straightforward, even pretty easy, but the more I thought about it, the more   complicated it became. If I read out extracts then should they be purely audio or audio/visual? If they're visual then will the expectation be that the artwork should be animated? What about creating an app? The conclusion I came too was that it wasn't really up to me - I have to find out what children want so I'm going to ask a few I know to see what they think and then I'll work out what to do. Luckily I have a few test subjects with very strong opinions so I'm going to ask them.
     As you can tell from the above picture, Burly and Grum also have strong opinions about who should be reading extracts but I figure that if I can publish to Kindle, battle for an ITIN number, write a blog and run a website then I can sort out a short recording in whatever format children want by whoever wants to do the recording!  She says...
   Watch this space!
   And by the way, if anyone - childen, adults, anyone! - wants to put forward their thoughts about what they think would be best way to go then please do let me know! :)

Sunday, 8 April 2012

New Burly & Grum Trailer!

I would like to thank my most wonderful friend, Stuart, for helping me to put together a new trailer for Burly & Grum. It's not just the fact he has the technology (way beyond mine!) to create a fantastic trailer but he has the patience of a saint! I'm really pleased with the result and I hope you like it too!

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Mums Rule. OK?!

The weather was glorious last week and, as I sat in my office in London gazing up at the blue sky above, I bet myself that the week I was off, i.e. this week, wouldn't be as nice. And yes, right on cue the temperature dropped, grey clouds formed and rain is now moving in... I suppose it's probably just as well, sunny weather would distract me from my List. Yes, like most mothers I have a List and for this coming week it's as long as my arm - take cats to vet, go to dentist (check-up only thank goodness), prepare car for MOT, print third book, write blog, etc. It covers two sides of A4 and is pinned to the notice board in my kitchen.
       At the top of the list is 'make sure prize winner gets prizes'. Yes! The Burly & Grum competition came to an end on Friday. For those of you who may not know what I'm talking about, I asked readers to guess Grum's middle name, which begins with a P. Every email I opened made me smile - there are a lot of people out there with great imaginations! Pantswasher was one of my favourites but there also Pembo, Pierre Plin Paul, Pickalo, Peregrine, Parker,Pepin, Pee, Puzzled, Poddlemore, Persevere - just brilliant names!! The winner was Kim who came up with the name Pungent - I really loved this name because although Grum does actually smell a bit, it makes him sound quite refined as well, a nice combination. So well done Kim!

      Now, what else is on my list? Ah yes, mums! Mums are fab, wonderful people and most of them, like me, endlessly juggle and run around trying to do a million things at one. The Easter break is almost here so I'd like to offer all you hard working mums my second book Burly & Grum and The Secret City for FREE*! Hopefully you can get a bit of break while the kids read it :) If you read it to them yourself, make sure you make yourself a nice cup of tea and relax. Click on either of these two links to download - The Secret City - UK or The Secret City - US.
      I met a group of three wonderful mums on Friday evening and they were so interested in what I doing and were very encouraging, offering me good advice. They all said that most mums don't especially want their children to have Kindles - they love the experience of sitting down with their children and reading to them from a book. I totally agree, there is nothing like reading a story to your children and I sincerely hope this will never change - books should be read and loved, dog-eared and taken everywhere, they're brilliant! However, having said that, I do think there's room for both ebooks and print books in this world and one of my friends says her 9 year old daughter loves her Kindle - she's at the age she likes reading to herself and can have all her favourites in one place (doesn't get out of bed so much was the phrase that kept cropping up!). She also helps her two younger brothers to read by making the print larger so it's easier for them to follow. As I say, there's definitely room for both!
      I must get on with my list and do a bit of gardening before the rain sets in. Have a good week everyone, especially all you mums out there! :)
*The offer is for ebooks only.