Tuesday 17 April 2012


Last Saturday the 14th of April, I had the pleasure of attending the national conference of the Federation for Children's Book Groups. I presented 2 seminars on the topic of Children's book apps at the conference, but also had the opportunity to attend other speakers' sessions and visit all the publishers' stands. Needless to say, it was a fantastic day!

The first treat of the day was a session with Axel Scheffler in conversation with Eileen Browne. It was very interesting to hear him talk about his work and it was great to see him in action, drawing us a giant Gruffalo! He made it look so easy! After Axel Scheffler, Nick Lake spoke to us about his latest teen novel, "In Darkness" an interesting talk, touching on how our mind can mix reality with dreams and how this was used in his novel.

The break came along with coffee, tea and the most delicious hand baked cookies. And whilst the next talk was on, I set up the seminar room for my own talk. I thoroughly enjoyed delivering the talk, especially as the audience was truly interested in the topic and had lots of interesting questions. I started the talk with explaining how we made the Fierce Grey Mouse app which you can also read in my blog post from a few months back

I then moved on to talk about the difficulties and opportunities there are with marketing an app book or buying an app book if you are a customer. There are thousands of book apps about, how do you know what is a good book and how do you as a publisher get people to notice your book apps?
I finished the talk by letting people play with the available iPhones and Ipads to give them a sense of how much fun children's book apps can be!

For me the most inspiring talk of the day was by Matt Dickinson about his expedition leading a film crew up Everest and the books he wrote as a result. His latest book is "Mortal Chaos" and is the first in a new trilogy.

Next I decided to visit all the publishers' stands, which was a great idea. So many wonderful new and old books to see! From beautifully illustrated picture books to exciting new YA books, the whole range was presented. And best of all, they happily gave proof copies away for free for us to take home. Their generosity was overwhelming. I came home with 3 bags full of the most fantastic books and am enjoying reading them all and sharing them with friends and family.

Receiving the proof copies gave me an interesting insight in what publishers use to advertise new books to book sellers and what as an aspiring author you might want to be aware of. On the backs of the proofs it listed things like: author available for talks, extensive social media marketing (twitter, blogs, FB), 1st in a series of books, author has previously sold x amount of books and comparisons of the book with well known classics.

More coffee, tea and cookies was had and after a thoroughly enjoyable day it was time to go home again and go back full of inspiration to writing and illustrating my own books and cartoons!

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