It’s New Year’s Eve 2012. Jeez! Where did that year go? I thought I might have a look back over the year and ponder the next…
Looking back at my Beachy Review of 2011 and a brief look ahead it might be worth seeing if any of my bold 2012 New Year Resolutions actually came to fruition:
“1) Publish a new Jack and Boo book”
Ah…er… well I didn’t actually publish any new Jack and Boo books – or, indeed, any books!
To be fair that was actually due to a change of strategy after I’d made this resolution.
I felt I hadn’t marketed and sold our existing books (or my skills!) enough and really wanted to explore different ways to sell, promote and market our books. And these are some of the ways I attempted this…
I promoted our books in local schools and worked with children to help them create their own story books and got them thinking about nature and wildlife mentioned in our books – Jack and Boo visit Holy Cross School and Poetry and story writing at Hunnyhill Primary School. I really enjoyed visiting schools and I hope some of the children were inspired. I seemed to get a good response but it would have been nice to have official feedback from the schools and perhaps photos of finished books or comments from the children. I would advise authors to try and get feedback on-site before you leave as teachers are busy people.
I did a few author interviews discussing my writing and some of our books – Author Interview on Writing.ie and Interview for IOW Makers and How would you describe your book? and The Next Big Thing Blog Hop – Jack and Boo’s Snowy Day and finally here Stork Press Twenty Questions.
Me and my illustrating wife attended our first literary festival: Beachy Books goes to The IOW Literary Festival and I did a little writer-in-residence spot Jack and Boo go to The Needles Old Battery.
I launched Beachy Books Training and Beachy Books in Residence with great (modestly small but promising) success, but I had a bit of a fail with an idea to get other fans of our books to sell them with my Beachy Books Seller Scheme. I did it because I wanted to try it out and some people had suggested the idea. I didn’t advertise it much but I didn’t have much of a response in any case. I think I need a bigger catalogue of books to make this work, so I aim to try again in the future.
We got some lovely reviews of our winter book Jack and Boo’s Snowy Day, which has helped promote the book and Jack and Boo brand on the web. Thanks to all reviewers!
I completed an epic task (with the help of my fabulous mother) of contacting loads of independent bookshops to tell them about our children’s books. It took ages and as a result we got some great feedback from booksellers and some bookshops ordering, so it was worth the effort.
Oh and even though I didn’t blog about it the most rewarding promotional activities I did were talks to local groups where I read out our books and talked about how they were made. I sold more books at these two events than any other!
“2) Publish a new fiction book for children that’s nothing to do with Jack and Boo (shock!).”
Er… well, yes, as I mentioned above, I didn’t do this either. But I am working on a number of children’s books. I have a picture book idea about half-way through and a novel-length project on the go. My issue is, do I publish these under Beachy Books or go in search of a publisher. I’m still not sure, but it all depends if I think my finished stories are appropriate for a particular publisher’s list. I think a healthy mix of traditional publishing and self-publishing is the future. I do love indie publishing but it’s such an uphill struggle if you want to even attempt to compete with the “establishment”. The pros and cons of indie publishing are a big subject and I’ve learned loads, so I’ll follow this up in a future blog post.
“3) Commence an exciting publishing project with a local primary school.”
I did this one! Hooray! Read all about it: Beachy Books and Newchurch Year 5 children publish a book for Reception. This project lead me to be awarded some grant money from the local council to deliver 3 book publishing projects working with community groups in 2013: Beachy Books Awarded Community Book Publishing Grant.
“4) Jack and Boo wild walks for the 2012 Isle of Wight Walking Festival.”
Did this one too! See here Spring Wild Wood Walking Festival Walk! and I also did the Autumn Walking Festival but it was wet and there was a poor turn-out. Next year I’m doing guided walks with activities. The idea came from me working with a local school to take the children out and challenge them in a wood. They had a great time, their parents got involved and they (and I) learned a few things: Wild Wood Challenge – Learning in Nature.
“5) Start Project X (not even I know the exact details of this).”
I cannot remember which one of my many projects was Project X to be honest but this was alluding in general to brand new writing projects that had nothing to do with Jack and Boo or, in some cases, not even anything to do with children’s writing. In that department I had a good mini-success and more projects are on the boil.
“6) Save the planet.”
I’m still working on this. I like to think a book can change a mind, so I live in hope.
Any of my followers on Twitter will be aware I continued to tweet, often inappropriately and at times when I should have been doing other things.
My 2013 New Year Resolutions…
See, I did do a few things I said I would. I think it’s much more likely I’ll get something done, achieve a goal or meet a target if I write it down. And sure, they’ll be lots of things I won’t get done in the time I said I would, and they’ll be some things that won’t go so well or even fail in a most spectacular way, but that’s all part of trying to be ambitious and successful. Or did I just expect far too much of myself or set impossible targets?
So, with that in mind these are my 2013 New Year Resolutions…
1) Deliver 3 exciting Community Publishing Projects working with local groups on Isle of Wight.
2) Following my successful pilot of some private Beachy Books Training courses I aim to offer and deliver training courses on various subjects, such as blogging, twitter, aspects of writing, publishing, and creating presentations.
3) Work with schools and community groups to offer my services to them.
4) Publish a new Jack and Boo picture book under Beachy Books – This WILL happen, I promise.
5) Complete a new picture book and either publish under Beachy Books or send to another publisher.
6) Finish a workable draft of “the children’s novel”.
Happy New Year All!
What are your writing resolutions?