Tag Archives: children’s writing

Cover stories and scribblings…

In the days leading up to the reveal of my first-draft book cover, I’ll admit, I was starting to worry a little about what would happen if I didn’t like what was proffered. Of course, I’d just feed that back to the designer and get him to come up with something else, but if he didn’t quite ‘get’ what I wanted from the start, then it had the potential to be a tricky sort of a business…

monkey-1757972_1280Anyway, I needn’t have worried at all. On a morning during the week, I opened my inbox to discover two pretty cool book covers waiting for my approval from Andrew at Design for Writers. I scrolled down quickly for my first viewing and immediately breathed a sigh of relief, which fairly quickly turned to excitement, as I realised my book had become a physical thing. (Well, you know what I mean – it was now something other than words on a page – it had a ‘face’ which will soon be shown to the world).

The way Design for Writers works is to mock up two initial designs for the writer, who then selects the one they prefer to take forward into development. While I was initially taken by both of the designs, I quite quickly felt a better connection with the second cover, which to me, will hopefully appeal more to both boys and girls, and conjures up a different sort of magical landscape/ambience than the first. It combines various elements of what my story is about, and does, I think, get across the idea of an otherworldly adventure, with hidden surprises and suspense along the way…

I’m so tempted to share it with you right now but… I’m going to be patient a while longer, and wait until the final tweaks are done. It was important of course, to go back to assess the cover more critically – as a reader or book buyer might – after the initial approval of the design, and I did go back to Andrew with a few suggestions, so I’m looking forward to seeing how it looks with these slight alterations. There are always things you’ll spot upon closer examination, and little tweaks and refinements will ultimately create something that you’re much more satisfied with. fairy-tales-671406_1280

Exciting cover news aside, I also managed to write a short story in the two weeks since I was last blogging, and have submitted this to a journal. (It’s good to have deadlines like that to work to and you never know – perhaps they’ll publish it.) I also enjoyed a very atmospheric reading in Ballycastle with Bernie McGill and Martina Devlin – two of the female writers included in the newly launched anthology The Glass Shore: Short Stories by Women Writers from the North of Ireland. Meanwhile, this coming week, I’m also planning to attend a three-hour poetry workshop, so we’ll see what comes of that.

Behind the scenes, I’m also working away on developing some sort of strategy on marketing my book when it comes out; making a list of possible reviewers and the like and just thinking of everything I need to put in place before it comes out. I’m also heading down to Dublin at the end of the month to meet my book editor, with a meeting scheduled before that to get some feedback from a few young girls who have been reading my manuscript… So, there’s a lot going on in and around the official working week, but it’s all taking shape and it’s all really rather exciting…

PS Have you self-published and if so, do you have any tips or advice you’d like to share about the process? Or do you know any good children’s book reviewers who might be worth checking out when it comes closer to publication day…? Feel free to contribute in the comments section below – all advice/input is much appreciated!

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Snippets…

It’s been a busy couple of weeks on the writing front, both with book things and poetry. In the past few days I enjoyed reading some of my own poems (in my first poetry slam!), along with a Seamus Heaney one, at an event in Bellaghy which celebrated 50 years of Heaney’s Death of a Naturalist collection, and also his work in general. Held at Bellaghy Bawn and organised by the Poetry House, the day-long event brought together poets and artists, musicians and chefs, with something for everyone to enjoy.

Bellaghy reading

Reading ‘Blackberry Picking’ by Seamus Heaney at Bellaghy Bawn .

 

Earlier in the week, I was also delighted to discover that one of my poems had been selected in the Fourth Annual Bangor Poetry Competition. It’s now hanging (handwritten and framed) in Blackberry Path Art Studios in Bangor, after I dropped it off yesterday morning, and will be exhibited there for two weeks following the official launch event this Friday evening. All of the poems will be subjected to a public vote to decide the winner, who will then read their work at the upcoming Aspects Festival.

As for the manuscript… my self-publishing journey has definitely begun, as I did yet more editing of the book over the past couple of weeks (I have no idea what number I’m on in edits at this stage… I just know it’s been enough that I’ve lost count!) and I found myself some beta readers, including a few ‘age-appropriate’ ones. (Gulp). So, we’ll see what the kids have to say about it all – and I know they’ll be honest (as kids always are!) and won’t spare my feelings, so fingers are firmly crossed…elf-478330_1280

I delayed emailing about copy-editing and cover design in the interim, as I wanted to get the beta readers sorted first, but did make contact with a few people before the weekend, as I know that most of these guys are unlikely to just be able to take you on as soon as you email them. You need to assume it could be a few months and indeed, the editor won’t be free until November and the cover designer October, so that’s why we plan ahead!

This is no rush job though… there’s still lots to be done and, all being well, I’m aiming for publication in spring 2017. However, we’ll see what happens. No-one knows how long the editing process will take and if it’s going to be done, then it’s going to be done right.

News as I have it… 🙂

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