Sunday, December 13, 2009

Feeling festive

Just when I thought I'd finished my Christmas fairs, I came across another one - a Victorian Christmas Fair at Hesslington church, yesterday. It was a lovely event complete with a town crier who made announcements such as: Santa arriving, and that there was only one jar of jam left on the preserves stall. It was a really festive and fun event, with Christmas music and mince pies...

I sold 11 books, bringing the grand total from this year's fairs to 122!!

On a personal note - we bought our Christmas tree yesterday, so it feels like Christmas is really on it's way now. At 7ft 3" it's the biggest yet, and so far none of the cats have climbed it. Last year Lister was just a kitten and loved climbing the Christmas tree, but this year he seems a bit wary of it. He fuzzed up the end of his tail to show it how big he was when it arrived home yesterday (only the end of his tail mind - so he wasn't fully committed), maybe he was upstaged by its sheer size, but he hasn't tried anything yet...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Busy times

I've been so busy lately that I've hardly got any writing done - this is quite typical for this time of year when marketing is a priority, and of course there's all the Christmas stuff to do. But this morning I've had a whole morning to work on my book, oh the luxury! It's quite hard to get back into a story when I don't have time to do a bit every day, but the words are flowing again - it's that pesky character Iver No-Idea, there's just no shutting him up once he gets going...

It feels quite odd not to be going to any fairs this week, my first editions have been selling like hot cakes this Christmas, some of them were going home to be read as a bedtime story, some were being read by children, even at the fairs (waiting for raffle prizes to be announced can get quite boring) and it's lovely to think of many of them being opened on Christmas morning...

There's still time to order from my online shop

Monday, December 07, 2009

Book signing at Christmas fairs

Yesterday I did the last of this year's Christmas fairs, and what a season it's been. I've done 7 fairs in 15 days, and at times it's felt like I was on a Christmas fair treadmill, but it was well worth it, I've sold 111 books!!
The people I've met have been so friendly and interested in my books, that it really didn't feel like work at all, in fact sometimes I think I go to fairs for a rest - I don't have to multi task at a fair, I just spend an few hours talking to people about books. I even met a young aspiring author at a school yesterday, and if she's reading this - good luck with your books!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Doodle series

The rewrite of the next doodle book is going well - Eric is on the ski slopes, and having enough trouble staying on his feet, without his doodle, Iver No-Idea turning up with helpful advice, and his doodle dog, HB careering off after ski poles...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Christmas fairs

I've had an excellent first week of Christmas fairs, some have been busier than others, but over all, sales are going well. I've got a bit of a break now before the final 3 fairs next weekend, hopefully I'll be able to get some writing done this week. I'm working on the next book in the Doodle series.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Among the reindeer

Yesterday I had another successful fair among a herd of reindeer (of the cuddly toy variety) at The Farm Shop, Wigginton Road, York. It all got off to an excellent start when my first customer bought 6 assorted books, while I was still setting up!
There was a variety of local craft stalls, and I even managed to fit in a bit of Christmas shopping of my own.
I'm at Knavesmire Primary school tonight - it's all go this week...

Monday, November 23, 2009

Christmas fair

Yesterday I had an excellent start to the Christmas fair season. I sold 40 books at The Main Furniture Company Christmas Fair in Green hammerton! This is a new personal record, beating my previous record of 37, achieved at a Borders book launch.

I talked to lots of interesting people, it was great to see people having a chuckle as they read my books.

My next event is on Wednesday at The Farm Shop, Wigginton Road, there'll be local crafts, and reindeer in the field outside.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Profit from a self published book

My big news of the week is that my second book: Doodle Mayhem has now gone into profit!! I've always said I'd get there in the end.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Unique Christmas gifts

What could be better than a book for Christmas and the time to sit and read it!

Signed books make a unique gift, especially if you meet the author and have the book personalised. I'm getting ready to go round Christmas fairs in my local area selling signed first edition copies of my books, and there's 4 to choose from this year!

Christmas fair dates 2009

22nd Nov. Main Furniture Green Hammerton 10.30am - 4.30pm
25th Nov. The Farm shop Wigginton Road 11am - 3pm
26th Nov. Knavesmire Primary School 7-9pm
27th Nov. Headlands Primary School Haxby 7-9pm
28th Nov. Acomb Primary school (to be confirmed)
4th Dec. Manor School York 6.45 - 8.45pm
5th Dec. Strensall village hall 12-4pm
6th Dec. Fulford school 11am - 3pm
More dates may be added - watch this space!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Christmas books at Borders - York

I supplied Borders in York with a fresh stock of 'Lost in the Christmas Post' yesterday. Then I got lost myself in their lovely array of Christmas books...

Christmas books are great for reading during advent to help to get into the Christmas spirit. I'll be seeking out my own advent read soon, in the hope of getting at least a few quiet moments to read it.

Friday, November 06, 2009

'But I'm Not Sleepy' featured in Writers' News

My book is featured in the December issue of Writers' News!
There's a write up about my newest book But I'm Not Sleepy as well as pictures of me and my book.

It's only a couple weeks now to the start of the Christmas fairs, and that's going to be a busy week with 5 fairs across 7 days, then a cluster in the following week, and a couple still to confirm.

I've been having a good success rate with articles this week, with 3 accepted and 1 awaiting a decision.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Writing cocoon...

It's definitely the time of year to be a writer... sat in a warm cocoon listening to music while the weather rages outside. I don't usually play music as I write as the words can interfere with my train of thought - or I start singing along and get nothing done! But today I was struggling to write an article about bands - and the missing ingredient turned out to be music!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fictional characters

Never work with children and animals - isn't that what they say? Well yet again I'm working with both, all be it fictional characters, they can be just as much trouble as the real thing.

Iver No-Idea and HB are getting up to all sorts on the ski slopes - and it isn't even the ski season yet! But while they're rampaging about... I've booked another Christmas fair, and written another article. Another productive week.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Christmas shopping has begun...

I've sent out my first Christmas order, and sold some more books over the weekend - people are starting their Christmas shopping now which is always a good thing for book sales.

The sketches are coming on well for the next book, it still makes me want to book a skiing holiday though... I suppose I could put it down to research - hmm now there's a good excuse.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Articles accepted

I've had a 3 out of 3 success rate for my articles this week!!
Now I'd better get back to my book...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Getting distracted

Well I've made a start on the illustrations for the next doodle book. It's about a skiing holiday, the trouble is while looking in a ski brochure for inspiration for the drawings I kept getting distracted by all the lovely looking accommodation I could be booking to go on a skiing holiday...

Meanwhile I've been branching out a bit and writing articles for websites to bring in a few extra pennies (not enough for a skiing holiday - but it's a start).

Friday, October 09, 2009

Fairs and book signings

All the Christmas fairs seem to be squashed into the last week of November and the first week of December, as a result those two weeks are going to be manic, and I've already had to turn one event down as it clashed with another.

As October seems to be the calm before the storm I've made a start on the next book. It's the next in the Doodle series, and although it's already been written, I'm doing a rewrite and need to make a start on the illustrations.
I think I'll do the illustrations as I go along, this worked really well with the colour picture books I've done, and although the Doodle books have black and white illustrations rather than colour, once these drawings take shape on the page and start running around taking on a life of their own - who knows what might happen?...

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Feature in Localink

The October issue of York's Localink magazine has just dropped through my door, with a feature about me and my books...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Books in York Library

York library have bought a set of my books for library stock. This is great news, people often ask me at school fairs if my books are in the library.

Bookings for Christmas fairs are still coming in, it's going to be a busy season. But before all that kicks off I'm hoping that October will be the month to get on with my next book - the next in the Doodle series.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Book signing

A sunny day for the finale of my book launch at Wigginton School today. I sold 3 books, but handed out lots more bookmarks and got a contact for a possible signing at Wigginton Farm shop nearer Christmas.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Finale of the launch tour...

Tomorrow I've got the finale of my book launch tour, with some bargains across all my books. Customers can take advantage of 'direct from the author' low prices.

But I'm Not Sleepy is dedicated to the fine tradition of the bedtime story, and tomorrow I'm hoping to send as many books as possible, home with people to share and enjoy as their bedtime story.

So if you're in the area come along and say Hi. I'll be at Wigginton School in York 1 - 4pm for their autumn fair.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Prices reduced

I've reduced the prices in my online shop in the hope of getting more direct sales.

Dates are still coming in for Christmas fairs, and I've still got the last of my launch tour events coming up on Saturday at Wigginton Primary school autumn fair.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Internet... help or distraction?

Yesterday I was without internet connection for the whole morning... what do I do now? I thought. I Know I'll write an article, so I had a productive morning without the internet. I was pleased when the connection returned in the afternoon though so that I could zap my article off to its intended magazine.

Monday, September 14, 2009

windswept at the book signing...

I sold a couple of books at the summer fair yesterday, it was quiet, but a good afternoon, if a little chilly by the end. Here I am getting windswept...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The next date on the launch tour

I'll be in Kelfield for the next date in my book launch tour on Sunday afternoon. It's an outdoor event - an end of summer fair with Look What Mum's Made, on Riccall Lane, so I hope the weather stays good...

It's not all glamour though - yesterday I was catching up on spreadsheets and stocktaking... ahhh!!

But before I get totally bogged down in admin, and forget why I started writing in the first place... I got my manuscript out for the next Doodle book. It'll be getting a rewrite and illustrations, so plenty of work still to do before it's ready to take it's place next to the other books in the doodle series.

Monday, September 07, 2009

A morning in Knaresborough

Well I didn't sell any books at Knaresborough bookshop, which has never happened at a signing before. It's a really good independent bookshop, and it was a pleasant way to spend a Saturday morning, but the few customers who did come in were after specific books, though one woman said she might call back for one...
My books are now in stock in Knaresborough bookshop, so hopefully they'll catch somebodies eye.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Second signing of the launch tour

I'll be in Knaresborough Bookshop tomorrow between 11am and 12 noon on the second stop of my book launch tour. Please come along and say Hi if you're in the area.

Monday, August 31, 2009

New date for launch tour

I have another date on my book launch tour:
Wigginton school PTA autumn fair. At Wigginton Primary School York 26th September 1 - 4 pm

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The next signing

I'm busy printing out bookmarks for my next signing in the launch tour. I'll be at Knaresborough Bookshop on Sat. 5th Sept between 11am and 12 noon if you're in the area please come along and say Hi.

I got my first booking form for a Christmas fair this week - Christmas seems to start earlier every year! Though never as early as last year when I was finishing off Lost in the Christmas Post during the summer, and drawing Santa sat in the garden in the sunshine.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Launch off to a good start

My book launch got off to a good start today at Borders in York. I was on the first floor near the children's department. It was a quiet day upstairs but I still managed to sell 13 books to customers, and a further 9 for Borders stock, this was across my 4 books, not just the new one.

It's funny, people often worry about buying The Monster Under The Bed books in case their children are frightened by it, so now I have But I'm Not Sleepy - with no monsters at all, and yet everyone is still drawn to the monster books, which sold in equal numbers to the Not Sleepy books.

Monday, August 10, 2009

A cool place to sell a book

I was at a Yorkshire vineyard open day on Saturday, a lovely sunny day among the vines. The owners of the vineyard had kindly put a display of my books in the marquee, and a lady bought one at the end. This has to be the coolest place ever I've sold a book!

I'm now on the count down to the start of my book launch tour:
15th Aug. from 11am at Borders - York
5th Sept. 11am - noon. Knareborough Bookshop
13th Sept. an event at Kelfield which is off the A19 below Escrick.

Monday, August 03, 2009

First sale of new book

I sold the first copy of my new book yesterday, many more to go, but it's off to a good start.

I'm busy printing out bookmarks today, to give out at my book signings, and I need to make some posters to advertise my events, then I need to get out there and talk to people and get my books out to as many people as possible...

My website hit counter went past the 500 hits mark this weekend

Friday, July 31, 2009

Publishing on Yorkshire Day 1st Aug.

I've just collected my stock of: But I'm Not Sleepy books from the printers and will publish on:
Yorkshire Day 1st August 2009

The launch is turning into a launch tour, starting at Borders, York on the 15th Aug. Other dates are currently being arranged...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Book launch

The book launch is arranged for;
Saturday 15th August from 11am at Borders York

Monday, July 27, 2009

Books nearly ready

I've just heard that my books should be ready by the end of the week!! So I'd better get on with organising a book launch and signings...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Pause for thought

I often here that writing is a lonely profession, and yet when I'm deep in writing or illustrating a book, I don't find it lonely at all. I get totally immersed in the story I'm working on and time flies by. If I get a phone call at times like these it can take a moment to come back to reality and make sense of what the person on the other end of the line is taking about.

Self publishing on the other hand can feel a bit lonely, with my next book due out next month it's now down to me to make it a success...

Friday, July 03, 2009

Proof copy

I picked up my proof copy from the printers this morning. It looks great, now I have to check through for any last errors.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Listed on amazon

But I'm not Sleepy is now listed on amazon!!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Proud to announce:

Meet Lucy - she's bouncy and full and energy, but she's definitely not sleepy! She's the main character of my forthcoming book 'But I'm Not Sleepy' due to be published in August.
I've registered the book with Nielsen and am currently waiting for the proof copy from the printers.

Monday, June 22, 2009

A landmark day

Friday was a landmark day. I copied my book onto CD, as the file was too large to email because of the colour pictures, and I took it to the printers. It's great having a printer so local that I can just call in at the office. It was a heady feeling to finally finish and hand it over to be printed and bound into a book, ready for the shops.

I've still got a lot of work to do on marketing, but I like to pause and enjoy moments of achievement along the way.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Ready to go to the printers...

I've been a bit bogged down in the technical stuff this week - scanning pictures and formatting, but I think everything is up to standard now and ready to go to the printers. I'll be using YPS (York Publishing Services) again as they did such an excellent job on my last book.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Nearly ready to print

I visited the printers on Tuesday to talk about book size and binding. Size of book is a big consideration as some sizes are not economical due to paper sizes, so yesterday I did a bit of resizing and formatting, and came up with final size and number of colour and black and white pages, ready for a quote...

Monday, June 08, 2009

Market research?

Today I was in a book shop doing a bit of market research on book prices, ahead of going to talk to a printer and getting a quote for printing my book. Then I came across 'Diary of a Wombat', a lovely picture book, which made me laugh so much I had to buy it. As I don't have anyone of the target age group to buy it for, I'll just have to admit that I bought it for myself. I think I'm just a lost cause when it comes to children's books, especially if they make me laugh!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Scanning and formatting.

I've started the scanning of art work and formatting for my book. If i did this a bit more often I'm sure it would be easier, but I learn something new every time - so in a few decades I'll be an expert...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Illustrations done!!

Finally the illustrations are done, they're spread out on the kitchen table drying - I even remembered to shut the door in case any cats decided to add their mark! Next I'll have to scan all the art work and do final formatting, then there's just the cover to do...

Friday, May 22, 2009


I've been painting this week, and the illustrations are nearly done.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Topping the charts!

I have 2 books in the top 5 Independent Authors book chart for April!

Doodle Mayhem at no.1
The Monster Under The Bed at no.3

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Talking sheep...

OK I've cracked it - the sheep were in a strop that they didn't get to speak. So... several days in the sunshine with pencil and paper, followed by a rainy day sat at the computer and, barring any last minute tweaks I have my story!!
Now to pencil in the last few illustrations and get the paints out.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Sheep trouble...

They say never work with children and animals; does that apply to fictional one as well I wonder?
I'm still working on my picture book, and for once the words are putting up more of a fight than the pictures. You wouldn't think that a book with so few words could cause so many problems. It's those pesky sheep again, maybe it's because the don't get to speak...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Another article published!

I have an article published in this month's Self Publishing magazine. This was an article which the editor approached me about in the autumn and asked me to write a piece about book signings and launches, for a special feature. It was interested to read about other authors approaches to book launches.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

New outlet

I'm always on the lookout for new outlets and my books are now in stock at: Knaresborough Bookshop, an excellent independent bookshop on the High Street in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire

Friday, April 03, 2009

Rounded up

I've rounded up the characters and they now appear on the right pages, though still refuse to be moved around on the page to where I want them. Maybe that's why some books have their pictures clustered together, no, it's nothing to do with saving on printing costs, it's simply the characters escaped to that part of the book to have a party!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Characters on the lose!

I've started formatting my book so that I have a clear idea of the illustrations I need and where they appear. My computer has chosen this week to start playing up! When I try to 'insert' a picture it inserts an empty box - I'm beginning to wonder if computers have a sense of humour - if so, this one has a warped one!!

Or maybe the characters have gone off for a little sortie of their own, and vanished without a trace... I think I need to round them up and get them printed and bound into a book before they cause too much trouble. If they get into my 'doodle file' and interact with the characters from the doodle series anything could happen!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Coming together at last...

I've now made a start on the final illustrations for the book, so after endless random sketches it's all starting to come together. The last few pages are not yet written, but then some of the characters are sheep - and they're a bit unruly. Every book needs some mischievous characters, this one seems to have a flock of them!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Another sale in the US

I've just checked my author section on the Trafford website and found that another Monster Under The Bed book has sold in the US!

I was over in Canada last week skiing, and even having a go at some off road driving, but now I must get back to work on my book, this year seems to be running away with itself already. Why do I always have more things to do than I can ever fit in?

Monday, January 26, 2009

A new picture book

Well I've lost a few weeks to a bad case of flu, but even through the fog of flu remedies I've managed to get a bit done on my new picture book. I've got a first draft written, and some illustrations done. I'm doing the text and pictures together with this one, as I did with my first picture book 'The Monster Under The Bed' as the two need to evolve together.

When working on pictures I find that I do a lot of sketches before I finally 'meet' my character face to face, then I have to practice drawing the same character with different expressions. Often new dialogue with come once the characters have a face and their characters start to take shape.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Happy New Year

Well here we are at the beginning of a new year, and back to getting up in the dark!

As usual I have more ideas in my head than I have time to commit to paper or computer. I have the next in the Doodle series to edit/rewrite, do illustrations for and publish, but that's on a back burner for now at least as I have a picture book whizzing round in my head and if I don't get it written soon it's not going to let me get any sleep!

Also I need to do some work on my website, and work out some marketing and publicity to get some book sales moving along in the coming months. This is the down side of doing everything myself! The last time I had a concerted effort on doing my website, spreadsheets, and all the other things that I class as admin and the theory part of writing, I found that stripping wallpaper was the perfect antidote to follow a morning of thinking too hard! There's nothing like being destructive to get over stress caused by computers!