Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Barley Hall Experience

Barley Hall is a beautiful historic house hidden away off Stonegate in the centre of York, and I had hoped for a busy weekend at their Christmas event, however trade was very slow, and I think they must have been relying on people numbers to raise the temperature in the building, as I have never been so cold in my life whilst indoors as I was on Saturday. By lunchtime we were brought an unconvincing ‘heater’ which took about 3 hours to raise the temperature to the point that we could no longer see peoples’ breath!

It was a shame the event wasn’t better attended, as there were some very talented and interesting craft people there, selling textiles, pottery, leather goods, and even Christmas decorations made from dried chilli peppers, to name but a few. Some were doing demonstrations, and all were happy to explain to people the processes involved in making their product.

I was signing copies of my 2 children’s books: Doodle Mayhem and The Monster Under The Bed. The thing that struck me throughout the weekend was that everyone who looked at the two titles said “Ah …The Monster Under The Bed.” Which led me to wonder why they all said that title out loud rather than the much shorter, snappier title of Doodle Mayhem? I came to the conclusion that it was because everyone can relate to the idea of a monster under the bed, either from their own childhood memories, or from their children’s.

Some people shared their stories with me, and one young lady called her sister over and said: “You’ve got to read this… it’s about us.” Some parents view the title with slight suspicion and fear it might scare their child, but most are won over if they read to the end, and find the funny twist that shows the monster’s identity – and if you want to know what that is, you’ll have to buy the book, or find me at an event for a sneak preview.

So to sum up: It was a quiet event and very cold, but I did manage a small profit, and met some very interesting people, both customers and fellow traders. Some more of my books will now find their way into Christmas stockings and under Christmas trees, and hopefully I’ll have hooked a few more readers who will look out for my next book, a follow up to Doodle Mayhem which I hope to publish next summer/autumn.

Please feel free to leave comments on my blog so that I know I’m not talking into an abyss.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Christmas events

Well December sales are looking good already, and I've got a busy weekend coming up at a Christmas shopping event at Barley Hall - off Stonegate in York, so if you're in the area come along and have a chat and maybe even buy a signed book.

Monday, December 03, 2007

November sales

Doodle Mayhem: 32
The Monster Under The Bed: 16

The article I mentioned in my last post has been accepted for the Self publishing magazine - probably March issue.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Target in sight

I've just been updating my spreadsheet, and I'M A THIRD OF THE WAY TO BREAK-EVEN POINT ON DOODLE MAYHEM.

Quite a busy month; I had another feature in Writers' News this month (Dec. issue). I've got fairs coming up, and at the same time trying to get back to a bit of what I set out to do - write! I've got an article (to generate publicity) and a short story (I'm still after a competition win!) drafted out on good old fashioned pen and paper - it's good to go back to basics sometimes, especially after struggling with my website again.

I've got a children's story part way through a rewrite, which I hope to send out to publishers before getting down to illustrating my next 'Doodle' book.

So, as ever loads of different projects, all at different stages; which sometimes feels like a balancing act, but at least when one project is completed, or away being considered, I've got more to keep me busy.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Fairs and events for November & December 2007

3rd Nov. Craft fair Bishopthorpe Road, York.
9th Nov. Christmas shopping evening 6.30 – 8.30 Huntington Primary school, York.
23rd Nov. Christmas fair 6.30 - 8.30 Knavesmire Primary school, York.

7th Dec. Christmas fair 6.45 – 8.45 Manor school, York.
8th Dec. Christmas fair 11am - 1pm Acomb Primary school.
15th & 16th Dec. Christmas shopping event - Barley Hall, 2 Coffee Yard, off Stonegate, York

Monday, November 05, 2007

October sales

Sales for October were:

Doodle Mayhem 9
The Monster Under The bed 9

My next event is: A Christmas shopping evening on Friday 9th November at Huntington Primary school, York 6.30 - 8.30pm

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Fairs and marketing

I'm attending an autumn craft fair on Saturday 3rd Nov. at Southlands Methodist Church on Bishopthorpe Road, York. This is a bit of a first for me, as I've only done events where I have a table to myself previously. I'll be joining the ladies from 'Look What Mum's Made' on their stall. They are a York and local area mum's company, selling a whole range of products made by local mums, including my books. They currently trade from the first floor of Blossom and Walker, Lord Mayors Walk, York, every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


My October project has been to build a website. I bought a book - an absolute beginers guide, and read all about codes, only to end up using an easy upload site - well it's a start!

I've also made a start on illustrations and a bit of rewriting for another book, which may or may not be launched into the slush piles!
The doodle series won't be getting sent out to any more slush piles, if sales go well I'll publish the second one next year.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The first month

At the end of the first month my sales are:

Doodle Mayhem 36
18 out on sale or return

The Monster under The Bed 9 this month - I haven't had a month without a sale for over a year now.

Today I planted a tree, as a living celebration of the publication of my book.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Going global

My Doodle Mayhem books will soon be in 4 countries! It's already here in the UK, Canada and Spain, and one is currently winging its way to New Zealand.

Please let me know if you buy one in or for another country.

My Monster Under the Bed books are in the UK, Canada, USA, and Slovakia.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Successful Book Launch!

Today my book really reached its destination – the bookshop. A big thank you to everyone at Borders; for giving new authors like me a chance to do book signings in a major high street bookshop.

Thank you to everyone who came and talked to me, and especially the ones who bought my books and made it a very successful day.

I sold 26 Doodle Mayhem books,
and 9 The Monster Under The bed ( I’ll be restocking Borders on Monday as I sold out of monster books today, but have more in stock at home).

It was lovely to meet people who already have, and enjoy my first book, feedback is always welcome:


If sales continue to go as well as today I hope to publish a sequel to Doodle Mayhem next year, so look out for me.

I’ll be doing more book signings in the next few months, and there are signed copies of my book in stock at Borders – York. It can be ordered from any good bookshop or amazon.co.uk

Email me if you would like a personalised signed copy but missed me on Saturday.

Thank you for your interest and watch this space to see where I go from here.

Monday, September 17, 2007

How did I miss that?

Last week I was sorting through some old copies of Writers News when I came across one containing the ‘email short story’ competition winner; as I’d entered this competition last year I put it to one side to read later. Today I finally got round to reading it, and it wasn’t until I got to the end that I looked down the names that were shortlisted – and there was my name!!!

I don’t know how I missed that back in January (Feb issue)!

The good news keeps coming: 4 Doodle Mayhem books have already sold - even before the officail launch!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Book launch Borders York

Book Launch
At Borders York Saturday 22nd September
From 11am

Find out what happens when Eric’s doodle comes to life and starts creating havoc.

New paperback for 5 - 8 year olds by local author
Anne M Stephenson
Meet the author and buy a signed copy – just £4.50

(By the same author as The Monster Under The Bed – to be found in the children’s picture book section at Borders)

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

I like my book so much I bought 300 copies!

Yesterday I collected my first 300 Doodle Mayhem books from the printer.
My book is now available on Amazon

Friday, August 24, 2007

Book launch

If you look back at an entry nearly a year ago (Sept. 06) you'll find the entry titled 'Journey of a book - Destination bookshop' well my book is nearly there. Today I left a sample copy of my book at Borders book shop in York, ready for a book launch and signing on 22nd September. I've achieved my goal, but the journey goes on, I'll be attending fairs and events to get my book out to as many people as possible.
There's a lot of work ahead, but it's good to pause and enjoy the milestones along the way.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Doodle Mayhem

Doodle Mayhem will be published on 30th August by Four O' Clock Press; an imprint of Discovered Authors. I've ordered 300 copies, so I'm going to have a very busy autumn marketing.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Publication date 30th August!

I'm delighted to announce the imminent publication of Doodle Mayhem

Eric would rather doodle than write a story, but when the words start to disappear off the page in front of him, and his doodle starts talking to him, he thinks he must be dreaming.
Eric’s doodle has come to life, and he’s getting bored; he jumps into Miranda’s story, where he gets attacked by a rubber, then he’s blown off his feet when Natasha sneezes. Miss Roper is getting angrier by the second. How will Eric ever finish his story, when his doodle just wants to have fun, and create havoc?

More details to follow - watch this space!

Monday, August 13, 2007


My proof copy arrived today so I've been going around with a silly grin, and feeling on top of the world.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Awaiting my author copy

My cover files have been turned into a book cover amd my author copy should be ready soon. Soon all the hard work will pay off and I'll have my book in my hands.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Nearly there?

I've signed up with Discovered Authors; formally Bookforce. I've emailed my files to them, but the cover files are currently causing a bit of a problem, so a bit more work to do there.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Ready to go…

The learning curve I mentioned in a previous entry turned into a sheer cliff face over the last couple of weeks. Writers’ forums have proved to be a lifeline for help and advice over formatting and turning my files into PDF. As I’d already done my own illustrations for the book I decided to design the cover myself, then with help from my daughter coloured them on the computer and saved them as tiff. I think I’m going to let the publishers format them.
I’ve decided to buy the ISBN through the publisher too, it’s time to hand over a few of the tasks and get back to what I really set out to do – and that’s writing.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The end is in sight?

I keep thinking I've got everthing ready to publish, then something else crops up. Last week I realised I had got my formatting all wrong, and my pictures weren't at a high enough dpi. I've scanned all my illustrations again, and now need to reformat and rearrange the illustrations - then I should be ready to go...

Monday, June 25, 2007

Illustrations done

Well my illustrations are finally complete, and I’m working on the book cover and formatting. I’ve emailed for quotes from a couple of self-publishing companies, but disappointingly not had a reply yet.
Sales of my first book are still plodding along, with news of two sales from a bookshop, and a school fair do at the weekend – I just hope it stops raining.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

My book is now almost ready for publication!

Now that I am looking at self-publishing again I will have to do far more myself than if I had published with a mainstream publisher, which is at the same time, both daunting and very exciting! I had my MS polished and well presented for submission to publishers, but now I need to take that to book stage myself.
It is a children’s book, for ages 5-8 with a word count of 3,500 and black and white illustrations throughout. I’ve been looking at other books aimed at the same age group and am looking towards a 48 page paperback perfect bound book. I’ve been spending the past few weeks working on illustration, so that I can start getting quotes for self-publishing, and thinking about such details as whether to apply for my own ISBN or arrange it through the publisher, and whether to do my own formatting. As a former technophobe some of these things involve a steep learning curve, but I find that if I want to do something badly enough I will find a way to overcome any obstacles. With my first book I used a package from Trafford, but for my second book I feel more confident to take on more myself.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Self-publish - Here I go again!

This week I received the disappointing news that Bluemoose will not after all be publishing my next book. They’re a new independent publisher and will only publish two titles this year, though they have expressed an interest in working with me in the future.

But on a brighter note; on Saturday my copy of The Self Publishing magazine slipped through my letter box, carrying a double page spread of my article about my experience of self-publishing my first book, The Monster Under The Bed.

My way ahead is once again clear, I've waited long enough for main stream publishing – I’ll be gathering my information and quotes for another self-publish!
The industry has moved on a lot in the two years since my first book was published, and my next book is for an older age group, and though it will have illustrations, they'll be black and white not full colour.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Book signing at Borders - York

Book signing at Borders - York

The Monster Under The Bed

On Saturday 3rd February 2007 I did my first book signing in a book shop! I’d done signings at school fairs, at a library which I opened and even a swimming gala, but this was my first time in a bookshop.
I arrived at noon as arranged and set up on a table at the top of the stairs, near the children’s books. All the staff at Borders were very friendly and helpful. I had my trusty stock of bookmarks to hand out, which I find are the best way to spark up a conversation and get people interested who might otherwise have walked past. I met a lot of interesting people, many of whom, even if they didn’t buy my book, enjoyed looking through it and reading it. As I attend more book signings I come across people who have already bought my book and they all say how their children have enjoyed it – and that’s what it’s all about, getting as many books out there as possible for people to enjoy.
So if you’re reading this after coming to see me on Saturday, then thank you for your interest in my work, and look out for me again; I’ve got another book ready for publication, and more in the pipeline. If you bought a book on Saturday I hope you’re enjoying it, if not, there are signed copies in stock at Borders – York, or email me for a personalised copy.

The Monster Under The Bed - sample pages

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Order a signed copy

Come and see me at Borders, or order a signed copy of :
The Monster Under The Bed for just £4.50

email me: steph2005@btinternet.com

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Book signing at Borders

While I wait for news of how my second book is getting on at the publishers, I have arranged a book signing for my first book:

The Monster Under The Bed - at Borders in York. Saturday 3rd February