Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Proof Book Arrives

Hello again, I am very pleased you are here. I want to tell you more about 'My journey to publication', and I am sure you understand that it is never an easy journey.

The 'Proof' copy of my book arrived, and excitement was high. I read it through, and marvelled at seeing 'my book' for the very first time. The illustrations looked amazing, and with more than 100 of them in the book, they really brought the stories to life. Then I spotted a problem. The back cover was in the wrong colours and had marks where they should not have been. The front cover was 'dull', probably caused by the general fault in the print. It was quite a disappointment, but it did not stop me from showing it to my friends, who failed to notice the faults.

I contacted the publisher and explained the problem, and they assured me that they would get the printing facility to put it right, and then send me another 'proof'. Happy with that, I waited, and waited, but no replacement proof arrived, and it was of course delaying my release date.

This book is for children, and Christmas was fast approaching, and I could see that I would lose the potential sales Christmas could bring. I chased the publisher, but got nowhere, so emailed their 'emergency' line, and found I had contacted the Managing Director. He did say they were having 'technical problems' in resolving the issue, but he would do all he could to speed things up.

It took 5 weeks to 'get it right' and another 2 weeks to arrive with me. This time the cover was perfect, and I signed the book off for release.

Because of this my release date was the 16th December 2008. I had missed the Christmas opportunity, and was disappointed about that.

I was invited to place an order for my 'Author Copies' and I did so. I could barely wait until my precious box of books arrived.

As soon as they did arrive, I arranged for my first 'Book Signing' event. At last I was an 'Author'.

I will tell you about the 'event' on my next blog.

In the meantime, as promised, here is another short excerpt from my book.

The Circus Ponies Visit the Fair:

William the fairground car and his friends thought today would be a quiet day, after all the excitement the clowns and elephants gave them during their visits to the fairground.

Tom arrived to take off their covers, and he had a secret. Tom was smiling and he whispered to them that today would also be very exciting. He would not tell them yet what was going to happen, so William and his friends started playing a guessing game.

William guessed that maybe the President was going to visit them. Jake thought that would not happen, so maybe all their favourite children would be there today.

Joanne the pony said that would not be possible, so they would have to wait until Tom told them.

They all agreed that they would wait until they were told, but they were very excited.

Please visit me again soon, and feel free to 'Share' this blog with your friends and contacts.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

William the Fairground Car

Bookmark and Share Hi everyone, It was Easter here this weekend, and as we had already celebrated the UK Easter, it all seemed great fun but very tiring. Glad it is over now and 'normality' can resume.
Had great fun at one of the Bars in the resort. The bar owner asked me to bake some Hot Cross Buns, as they are not available here, and the 'brits' do miss them.
Spent 4 hours making them, took them to the bar, where they were holding an Auction in aid of a local children's Summer Camp, and I have to say they sold like - well - Hot Cakes!!

When there was just one left, several people wanted it, so it was suggested that 'it' was auctioned for the summer camp.
While they were getting that 'organised' - a lady walked into the bar, said she had enjoyed the bun she had just eaten - lifted the dome, and took the last bun, saying she had already got a plate!!!!

Fortunately, everyone saw the funny side of it, and the lady walked out (with her bun) not knowing what they were all laughing at!

I think I will have a 'Bun Baking' day next Easter.

Hope you all had fun at Easter, and did not eat TOO much chocolate!

Follows is just a very short excerpt from my book. Hope you like it - PLEASE COMMENT (and share this page).

The Circus Comes to Town.
William the fairground car and his friends on the merry-go-round were chatting in very excited voices.

They had heard Tom saying that a circus had set up in a field just down the road, and they were going to have the clowns come to the fairground to meet the children.

They were all looking forward to seeing the clowns, and enjoying the fun they would give to everyone.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Hi everyone,

I have just realized I have been omitting vital information from my blogs.

I want you to able to order my book easily, and did not tell you where from - info follows:

and many other web sites.

Please also check out my other sites:

Thanks for stopping by.
Your comments are very welcome/ join me as a follower please


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

William the Fairground Car

Hello again,
I am so pleased to be back in my blog, and doing the update which is long overdue.
I am also pleased you are here with me. I hope you are finding it interesting.
If you are (or not) please leave a comment - be the first to do so, I value your opinions very much.

More now on my journey to publication.

I was invited by the Agency to go for a marketing system they called 'Aggressive Agent Program'
This was again stacking up the costs, but I knew I had no choice.

The idea was that an agent was appointed to market my manuscript.
Do research into who was publishing my type of work.
Send them the manuscript with a covering letter, pointing out the merits of what they were seeing.
They then followed up by both letter and telephone, to try to get the publishers to accept my work.

The first few they tried made comments like ' good work but not for us at the moment'.
I was told this was 'normal' with publishers.

However it was not too long before Strategic Publishing came in and asked them to get me to contact them directly, as they wanted information about me.

I was delighted to do so, and was pleased that they liked my manuscript.
It was decided that one of the publishers within their group would take my work.
A contract was sent to me - Wow was I thrilled!

Then came my first 'problem'
They needed me to sign a paper to confirm that the illustrations I had used were free from any copyright.
In my ignorance I had downloaded these from 'Clipart', and did not know if I would be able to publish them or not.
I went into their site, and found they were all subject to copyright, but I could perhaps purchase a licence to use images.
I wrote to them to ask. They did not reply.
I wrote again. They again did not reply. I then gave up on them, and decided to organise my own illustrations, to which I would hold the copyright.

I found an artist, local to where I live on the Island.
His name is I.E. du Toit, and he is brilliant.

I gave him prints of my stories, and we discussed what I wanted for each page, as well as the cost.
He started to make line drawings and visited me every day for approval.
He then started to paint in full color.
He worked very hard for seven weeks, and at the end we had 105 brilliant illustrations, which I loved. They really did enhance my stories.
Having an artist produce the illustrations was expensive, but I believe it was worth it.

The publisher was very patient, and was happy to wait while this process was completed.

The illustrator signed the copyright of the illustrations over to me, so I had no further problems on this matter.

We went through the process of preparation with various sections of the publishers organisation.

Finally - They were ready to send me a 'Proof copy' of my book.
I could hardly wait - I found the prospect of seeing 'MY BOOK' in print very exciting.
I am sure all authors will concur with me on that feeling.

I will tell you about 'what happened next' on my next blog. I hope you will join me.
In the meantime I offer another excerpt from my book. I do hope you enjoy reading it.

William Meets the Ride Next Door

William the fairground car and his friends on the merry-go-round were very interested in the new helter-skelter next door that was now working, as William and his friends wanted to see how the children would ride on it.

Some of the children took a small mat from the pile at the bottom of some winding steps, and started to climb up to the top.
They put the mat on the top of the slide and sat on it.
Soon they were whizzing down the slide and bumped to a stop at the bottom.

Some of the children looked a little bit scared, but lots of them were laughing as they ran back to their moms and dads.

Elle and Aaron were back at the fair again today and they thought it looked like fun.
They were soon climbing the steps, with a girl named Vikki, who also thought she would enjoy the slide.

At the top Aaron was not very sure, as it was quite high.
Elle sat him in front of her, and held him around the waist, so they came down the slide together.

They were both laughing and having a good time.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Irene's Children's Stories

Hello again,

I will post more on my journey to publication. I hope perhaps some hopeful author will find this helpful.

After the Agency had seen the critique report, I was told that I now needed to have a full edit carried out, and they gave me a name and site where I could get this done.

I got in touch, and was informed of their fee. When I had paid this, I was allocated to an editor.
I sent him my manuscript, and hoped there would not be too many 'corrections' to do.

He was helpful in some ways, but made suggestions I did not agree with. He wanted to change words, which in my opinion did not improve the flow of my story.

When I 'challenged' this, he came back to say he did in fact agree with me, and perhaps the changes were not after all, necessary. (I started to lose confidence in him)

We battled on to the end, and finally reached agreement, but on my next book, I will find a different editor.

When the Agency was happy my manuscript was ready to start submitting to publishers, I was asked to set up a website for my book, under their 'umbrella'.
Although this was quite expensive, I was pleased with the result.
However, with hindsight, I now wonder if any publisher actually saw my website.

Marketing began, but slowly and in a 'low key' manner.
The Agency did this without charge, so I felt obliged to accept that 'this was the way it was done'

Six months passed, but with no real activity, and it seems the Agency had just put a synopsis on a site they hoped publishers looking for new works, would go to.

I now believe they just do not go searching sites for works, they have enough sent to them directly.

The next step was much better - real marketing, and I will tell you about that on my next post.

As promised - here is another short excerpt from my book. I hope you are enjoying it.

The fairground was full of children today, so the merry-go-round would need to work very hard.

Megan the swan was very popular today, and was very proud so many children wanted to ride on her.

Jake the boat was giving his biggest smile and trying to help the children imagine they were sailing on the lake.

Joanne the pony was very elegant, and had lots of older children riding on her back. She was enjoying herself a lot.

One little boy named Steven, who was holding an ice cream, climbed onto Karl the tiger, and he dropped it on the tigers head.
Everyone laughed and Tom came to clean the sticky ice cream away before the ride could start.

I will be back soon.
I welcome your comments, but please keep them 'on subject'


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Now I have time to start work

Well, this has been quite a month. I set up this blog, full of enthusiasm, and then my computer decided it would not switch on. Engineer says 'the mother board has gone'. I ordered a new computer but lost all my info, except for the items on my external memory (thank heavens for that)
My publisher set me on a 'marketing mission', and so I have been to the Internet Cafe every day to keep up with the work.
I now have my lovely new computer, the work is 'up to date', so I now have time to start work on my blog. I do hope you will join me with comments. I need your input!.

Back to my 'journey to publication'

I started to write my series of stories about two years ago, without the least thought of getting them published.
My friends and family loved my stories and started to order copies for their children. They pushed me to offer them for publication, so I decided to try.

I did not know much about getting a book published (I am learning fast now!), but I did know that most publishers will not even look at the manuscript, unless you are signed up by a reputable agent.

I went 'online' and found a list of agents. I clicked on one of them, made contact via a 'submit' button (I did not know where they were).
They invited me to send details about myself and a synopsis for their consideration.
They came back telling me who they were and where they were, and asked me to send my manuscript online.

It took just a week, and they said they liked my work and offered to represent me.
I was so excited - I said 'yes please' and a contract was sent to me.
The contract was fair, so I signed it, and I was 'on my way'.

The Agency turned out to be a very well known one in the USA, and they worked hard to get my manuscript ready to offer to publishers.

There were a few costs on the way. First I needed a critique. The lady they suggested accepted the commission, but gave me warning comments like:
'If it looks like a lemon it is usually sour'
'If I don't like the opening paragraph I usually file it in 'the round bin'
'If the title is weak, I also expect the book to be weak'

Hey, was I scared!!!!. I waited in trepidation for her comments, but when they arrived I was reduced to tears (of happiness)

I will quote from her report:
1) The opening 3-5 sentences: 'These sentences are powerful. They introduce the character, a setting, and they set the tone. This is a nice beginning'

2) 'The dialogue is perfect for the target market'

3) Conclusion: This is a fun and entertaining manuscript. The characters are fabulous, as is the plot. The readers will enjoy this material tremendously. I am impressed with your imagination.
This will be a success.

As you can see, I thought this was going to easy - how wrong I was, but I will tell you more about my 'journey to publication' in my next blog.

In the meantime, here is another short extract from my book.

William and his seven carriage friends were looking forward to the new day.

Megan the swan was looking especially beautiful, and she hoped many children would want to ride on her today.

Connor the engine was looking very smart, and he really wanted to enjoy the fun with the children. He said he hoped the children would blow his whistle, and make as much noise as they could.

William noticed a new ride had been put up close to his merry-go-round, and it was a
helter-skelter slide. It was painted in lots of different colors, and stood very tall. It had a shiny winding path down the outside. He was not sure how the children would use it, but he was going to watch, as he really wanted to find out.

Suddenly I have a lot to do. Be back soon, please send your comments and questions.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

My journey to publishing my first book

I have just had my first book published in the US (Dec 08), and would like to share the experiences I had on the way. Some good, some not so good, but eventual success is everything!

I am very proud and excited.

Over the next few postings I will tell you all about it. I hope I can help other hopeful authors achieve their dream.

I will show you short excerpts from my book, along with a few of the illustrations.

William's First Day

There was great excitement in the workshop.

William the Fairground was finally finished. He was a very smart white with a shiny green trim. His seats were black; he had two seat belts and could take two children at a time.

He was ready to come out of the workshop and see the outside world for the very first time.

He was really looking forward to being fitted to the merry-go-round, and going to the fairground to give the children rides.

I will be back soon. I welcome your comments.