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Monthly Archives: June 2014

In the business of selling

Capalaba signing small sizeI’m very fortunate to have a fabulous bookshop near me, which not only stocks good books, but offers great reading advice too. They have been super supportive of  my first children’s book, Smooch & Rose, and of my second, Spud & Charli due out in September this year. I often pop in for a chat, and make sure I support them too, as good bookstores are getting harder and harder to find.

I asked them 10 questions about book selling, and this is what they had to say …

How many books do you sell in an average week? Between 500 and 600. (Wow that’s a lot: more than I thought to be honest). 

Which would be your most popular genre of book? Crime Fiction and Kids books. (Mmmm, I thought it would be cook books. Weren’t they all the rage?)

What age group are the most prolific book buyers? Adults (Figures). 

How many new childrens’ books enter the market a week?  There is a lot going on a month in regards with kids books. We only see a small percentage that come through to the Australian market, but to give you an idea in the UK and US there are thousands of new publications every month. Bookshops in Australia don’t reflect the full range that is published monthly. 

How long do you keep a children’s book for before you send it back unsold? Approx 3 months. 

06/12/2013 FEATURES: The Year My Life Broke by John MarsdenWhat sells a kids book? Is it the cover, the way it’s positioned on a shelf, or do the children/adults come in asking for it? A bit of everything: cover, price, well respected author and a good display is always a winner. 

Do adults come in and choose books for children aged 8-12, or do children come in and choose their own books at that age? A bit of both, word of mouth between the kids at school help them to know what is good and what is popular.

How many people ask for your recommendation and go on that alone? About 6 out of 10 (Wow, that’s a lot! So it’s good to get to know your booksellers and keep up a good relationship with them.) 

Is price a problem for many of your customers. Eg: do they think they want a book, but then put it back because of price? (in your opinion?) Yes, price is a major factor in the buying process.

 

going on a bear huntWhat has been your bestselling children’s book ever? Best ever, Going on a Bear Hunt.

And has there been one which has surprised you?  The Wonkey Donkey was a big surprise for us: it sold heaps.

wonkey donkey

 

 

So there you have it folks. Just in case you were wondering … that’s how it works on the cold face.

 

 

 

 

My turn on the dance floor

CAM00387My very first Blog Hop!

Now I feel like a teenager again. How can anyone resist an offer from the talented Michael Gerard Bauer, and then once accepted, not follow through? Not me, chickadee. So here we go, my blog hop about #mywritingprocess. It’s kind of like a chain letter, but via blogs. I get to answer 4 questions about my writing, and then pass the baton on to three others. But before you read on, if you’re not familiar with Michael’s amazing work, check him out at his site: http://michaelgerardbauer.com/ but then, make sure you come back. It’s my turn on the dance floor…

Question one: what are you working on at the moment?

Sam with tortoiseWell … let’s see. My latest children’s book, Spud & Charli, has gone off to the printers (yay!), so no point worrying about that for a while, (it’s out late August, in case you were wondering). My next story is with the people who make the important decisions, (fingers crossed) which leaves me … working on another children’s story! This one is about a tortoise and an old man who’s forgotten he has one. So, a swing to the left on this one – my previous three were all about vulnerable Australian animals, and somehow I don’t think a tortoise quite fits into that category. But I do love them! A lot.

Right, so question two: How do you think your work differs from that of other writers in your genre?852967248dd3e6cb3942a1fe6af42945_S

My stories are a bit different because, although they feature animals, the story is always about the protagonist first, adventure second, and then, by the way, did you know this particular animal (eg the koala, fruit bats) is in serious trouble? Rather than the other way around. They are just the type of story I like to read: where I’m caught up in the story, but also learn something while I’m at it.

Question three: Why do you write what you write?

I write children’s books because I seem to have the right writing voice for that 8-12 year old market. Whenever I’ve tried to write YA or adult fiction, I keep coming back to a younger voice instead. So I’m sticking with it. I also work with kids, so it make sense to write about them. And animals? I love them and having so many of my own, I feel comfortable writing about them, and sharing their stories with readers. It also means I get to meet some amazing, dedicated people along the way. Research is a fabulous gift for a writer.

And, finally, question four: What’s your writing process, and how does it work?

baby koala from facebookI usually swill an idea around in my head for ages before putting anything down. By the time I start writing, I usually have a firm beginning, a pretty clear idea of the characters, but often no real plans for the end. I get to know my characters first draft, and then improve them as neccessary in following drafts. I re-write a lot and my final draft often looks nothing like the first. But funnily enough, those first few opening lines hardly change.

Okay, that’s the #mywritingprocess blog hop questions answered. Phew, I’m exhausted after all that hopping and bopping! It must be someone else’s turn to take the floor? May I introduce the lovely Charmaine Clancy, charming Dimity Powell, and ever squishy, Katherine Battersby to take it from here.

 

Iphone June 2014 073Charmaine Clancy is an author of novels for kids and teens, tutors students for English and runs children’s writing workshops in Brisbane.
She has worked in education, marketing, publication and the film industry – plus she’s had some pretty cool part time jobs like baking cookies and grooming dogs. I was lucky enough to attend her recent book launch of Undead Kev: and was blown away by her enthusiasm and passion for writing. http://charmaineclancy.com

10418249_10152534032763690_3484902613418557195_nDimity Powell is a creator of children’s stories and picture books who says her qualifications for this include Professional Children’s Writing Courses, Motherhood, Director of Marketing in the Leisure, Boating and Hospitality Industries and travelling around the world a couple of times or maybe more. She explains that to read, write and inspire ranks as high for her as wining and dining. http://dimswritestuff.blogspot.com.au

katherine BKatherine Battersby is not only gorgeous, but she’s the critically acclaimed author and illustrator of Squish Rabbit, which was named a CBC Children’s Choice book in the US (2012). It was also shortlisted for the Crichton Award and was a Notable Book in the Australian CBCA Book of the Year Awards (2012). Her second book, Brave Squish Rabbit, was released in 2012 and was shortlisted in the Speech Pathology Book of the Year Awards (2013) and the SCBWI Crystal Kite awards (2013). Check out where she’ll be in her upcoming visit home to Australia, via http://wellreadrabbit.wordpress.com/

 

So, now, its time to fill my glass and kick back and watch the others on the dance floor!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

blog 66: In which I take part in a BLOG HOP.

michael gerard bauer - author

My friend and super-talented Brisbane-based poet, critic and editor Zenobia Frost has invited me to take part in a blog hop. It goes like this: I ask myself the following four questions, answer them and then pass the baton on to three fellow writers to do exactly the same, thus keeping the blog hop rolling for all eternity!

I first met Zen when I presented her with a poetry prize at the 2004 Literary Awards for school students. She was brilliant then and since has become even more dazzlingly brilliant. Check out everything about her here: A Storm of Tea Cups.

Anyway here I go answering my own questions:

  1. Michael, what are you working on at the moment?

Well Michael I don’t usually talk much about my current projects but I like the cut of your jib so I’ll answer you. At present I’m working on completing three stories for younger readers concerning the adventures of Secret Agent Derek…

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