Monday, 18 March 2013

HOW TO DO ANYTHING (#1 in a series of 10) - How to become a best selling children’s author

First of all, think of a jolly good story that lots of children will want to read. And when you've done that, write it down somewhere - like a piece of paper or a computer - being careful to avoid any spelling mistakes. Make sure you have lots of  interesting characters, some cracking descripions and a watertight plot, and be extra careful to make it so exciting that your reader won’t ever want to put it down, not even to go to bed.

And then, when you’ve done all that, send it to a publisher and get them to publish it. Or better still, publish it yourself. Sell it to lots and lots of children, and grown-ups too if you have the time, and then when you’ve sold hundreds of thousands of copies you can call yourself a best selling author.


Here are some other HOW TO ideas...

Saturday, 9 March 2013

10 things you didn't know about Bring Me Sunshine… until now.

 Mslexia Children's Novel Competition, short listed authors.
1BRING ME SUNSHINE was RUNNER UP in the Mslexia Children’s Novel Competition, along with Katie Hayoz's book, Untethered, which I look forward to reading. The lucky winner was Lu Hersey whose book, Deep Water, will also be on my reading list… But you know what? I bet they’re all brilliant. The short list was whittled down to 12 out of 1000 applicants, so we should all feel pretty proud of ourselves. I hope to see all of us in print one day, and then we can have ourselves a fabulous Mslexia Readathon. You can see the full short list here.

My own book, Bring Me Sunshine is of course already available to buy as an ebook or paperback. Regular readers of this blog will know all about my journey and how the bright lights of self pub lured me away from the traditionally long winded and tiresome route to mainstream publication.  

2. Bring Me Sunshine is essentially a story about Daisy, a teenage girl, whose dreams of being a drummer and running off into the sunset with the gorgeous Dylan are thwarted by her Dad’s deteriorating mental health. She’s a young carer. She finds herself looking after her dad and little brother, and her own life is put on hold.

What you might not know is that a recent estimate suggested that there may be as many as 700,000 young carers in the UK, with an average age of 12. And that’s something we need to be aware of. We need to be aware of it because these kids need our support, our understanding, and also our cash to provide the services they need to make their lives just a little bit easier. (See below for suggestions.)

3. If you’re a teacher, you might be interested to know that schools' activity packs are available for both KS2 (PSHE) and KS3 (English), focusing on the issues raised in the book. These packs are FREE to download at my website.

4. Bring Me Sunshine was originally called Ladder to the Moon. It underwent many rewrites, including changing the main protagonist from boy to girl, adding a little brother, changing the narrative from past to present tense, introducing a ‘love’ element, ditching a couple of sub-plots, and giving Dad dementia instead of the M.E. But despite these changes, the core of the story was always the same. It was always going to be a story about a child caring for a member of his/her family and finding a way to live with him/herself, happily.

5. Each chapter is named after a real rock song and the real drummer who played on that track. I listened to hundreds of music tracks to come up with the definitive collection and the names of the 46 drummers, both male and female, who are quoted in the book. This was by far the most entertaining piece of research I have ever undertaken for a novel.

6. The story is set in the real and brilliant town of Kendal, Cumbria, UK, and if you want to visit, you will find all the locations are exactly as described.

7. There’s a theme in the book about living in the moment. I was inspired by Eckhart Tolle’s book, The Power of Now.  His belief is that, “In the Now, the present moment, problems do not exist. In the Now, we discover that we are already complete and perfect…” and I wanted to explore this idea in a book for young people.

8. Although the book is aimed at young teens (10 -14 year-olds) the oldest person who has read Bring Me Sunshine (to my knowledge,) is 86. But it has quite a few fans from across the age spectrum so if you are creaking at the joints or developing laughter lines and grey hairs, don’t let the CHILDREN’S BOOK label put you off.

9. You can read the opening chapters for free here...

10. ...Or buy the complete Bring Me Sunshine as an eBook or paperback from Amazon.

Or better still - why not donate to one of the charities who could use a little support to help Young Carers:

Help, advice and support 24/7

A supportive, online community of young carers. Discussions and advice from qualified
youth workers.

Young people caring for someone with cancer.

Information and resources for professionals working with young carers.