Book Reviews Update

It’s been a while since I wrote anything so I just thought I’d drop in a line to let you all know that I had to take a two months break from writing book reviews due to personal reasons.

But I’m now back!

I have started again since last friday with the fabulous and unique “There is a Bear in my Chair” by Ross Collins. Which I highly recommend by the way.

Next Friday we have another book by one of my favourite author illustrators Emily Gravett. And its no other than “Monkey and Me”. So don’t forget to sign up for those reviews at Reading to Baby

There is a Bear in My Chair  by Ross Collins

There is a Bear in My Chair by Ross Collins

Monkey and Me by Emily Gravett

Monkey and Me by Emily Gravett

Draw for Animals 

I love a good cause, and I believe I have found one recently that is close to my heart. So I’ve decided to participate. My participation consists of giving away a print of one of my illustrations featuring animals. Want to know more? Head on to http://drawforanimals.weebly.com

If you want to bid for this illustration, you’ll need to wait for them to announce it.

Draw for Animals

An illustration for a good cause

What’s in a Cover?

Great blog post about Whats in a cover. Have a read through.

WRITERS' RUMPUS

Guest Post by Hazel Mitchell

How’s that saying go? ‘Never judge a book by it’s cover’? Wise words when applied to people, but as far as picture books go — the cover is certainly the first thing we judge. No matter how wonderful the contents of the book if the cover doesn’t appeal to the viewer, it’s all over. And viewers come in so many different guises–marketing people, reviewers, book buyers, librarians, teachers, parents, readers–and your book has to compete with a gazillion other books for shelf space or on a  website or in a catalog. So baby, that cover had better have vavavoom!

In days gone the cover image was often an illustration from an interior spread. Now the cover is usually a completely separate illustration.

Think of it as a movie trailer or a poster. It’s the first selling point of your book. You are looking to sell the best parts of…

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Insights from fellow writer and illustrator Brittanny Handiboe

Recently, fellow writer and illustrator Brittanny Handiboe attended a conference in the US where she met various professionals and learned a great deal on how to improve her craft. I loved her insight blog posts so much that i asked for her permission to share them with you. Feel free to ask her any questions and don’t forget to follow her on her blog and social media to watch the progress she makes on her journey.

Here are her insights:

  • She had a portfolio critique done on her current work from two different panels. It’s always interesting to hear what others have to say about different portfolios. It’s an insight that might help each of us improve our own: From Dreaming to Doing.
  • How to write and personalise a query letter to an agent / publisher: Query Letter Notes.
  • A brief summary of the type of publishers out there and the differences between them. That was particularly interesting to me as I am currently researching these for my own work: Small Press vs Large Press

Thank you Brittanny for allowing me to share these here.

You can follow Brittanny here:

And a sweet taster of her artwork just for you .

Brittanny Handiboe 2017

Book Reviews

Some of you are probably already aware of this, and some maybe not. I run another blog online where I only do picture book reviews. It’s called Reading to Baby and you can find it here.

Since I have received a few requests to review books, and consequently to explain my review process, I thought I’d just write a little about it here so that those of you who have published a book and would like me to review it, can find all the information you need. I only review, however, hardback or paperback books to which i have access, so if you would like me to write a review about your book, the first condition is that you send me a copy of your book by post.

The blog started with books I borrowed from the local library to read to baby when he was still just an infant. It’s grown a lot since i started and I havent missed a weekly post yet.

Reviews are published every Friday of every week of the year.
My reviews usually start with first impressions, from my part and especially from my little 2yo boy (provided the book is appropriate for his age). He loves books. He knows which ones he likes and which ones he doesn’t like.
  • Here are a few things I look at:
  • How did he react to the book?
  • Did he pick it up ? Did he turn the pages or did he loose interest quickly?
  • Did he open it more than once?
If the book is meant for an older audience, i review the book myself.
In terms of images, I share the book cover image and an inside illustrated double spread of the book.
What I share in my review are the following items:
  • Book Title
  • Author, Illustrator or Author/ Illustrator
  • Date it was first published
  • Publisher name
  • Themes, Topics
  • Opening Sentence
Then its looking at its structure in more depth:
  • Number of pages
  • Illustrative Style
  • Page Numbers
  • End Pages
  • Additional notes and comments about things like the story structure, the impact, or a special page, what works for me, what doesn’t , what i really liked or what i didn’t like. And I’m fairly honest. And these are my views of the book, or my boy’s perception. No one else.

And is you want me to, I can also share where readers can buy the book or find you. Up to you.

So? Is this something that’s of interest to you? Yes? Lovely. Get in touch on Reading To Baby’s Contact Page. I always reply to messages and I promise I won’t bite. You can access that page directly by just clicking here.

Tata for now !

Why I’m not going to the London Book Fair

It’s been really tempting to buy the discounted SCBWI member ticket and go to the London Book Fair, considering I am in London and as you know, passionate about books. But in the end, after carefully reflecting and making a pros and cons list, I’ve decided against it. I havent found any articles on why not to go to the book fair. So I thought I’d share my thoughts on the subject.

From what I gather, the fair will be full of companies and agencies that have a relationship to books, major publishing houses, literary agents, self publishing, digital publishing and video/film… etc…. That IS a lot of companies and agencies. It would be really interesting to go and get a feel of the market and see what they are working on, their portfolios, the current trends and what they are looking for.  But most of these companies will be networking with other companies and agencies. They’ll be interested in speaking with their authors or illustrators, already published authors or illustrators, investors and the like. They will not be able to spend time with other individuals such as myself, who althought are self published , do not represent an interesting enough time or money investment during those three days. At least that is what i gather from all the articles and reviews of past book fairs I have found online.

If I were to go, I would have the following expectations:

  • Be able to speak to major publishing houses about my work and whether or not i would be a fit.
  • Be able to get a critique about my portfolio of illustrations with several agencies where i would seek representation
  • Attend a few talks about the market, traditional vs self publishing, the need or not to have an agent, how to market your own books, how to find a niche market , just to name a few…
  • Meet similar individuals and forge lasting relationships

Of all my expectations, three would not be met. Let me explain.

I live at the opposite side of London. Which means it would roughly take me 2 hours commute back and forth to get to the fair. I wouldn’t be able to leave home before 9 and I would need to be back by 17:00. That means that I will have at the fair, just around about four hours ( 11:00 – 15:00). And since I will only be able to go on the one day, I don’t think I’ll manage to do much else but walk about as fast as i can to absorb everything, without having the opportunity to speak to anyone, let alone to try and organize a meet any other time. There you have it. The major element for my decision not to go, is time.

Obviously when you factor in the price of the ticket for just those four hours at the fair, even theprice of the discounted SCBWI ticket, it’s really not worth it. At least not for me, and not this year. Maybe next year?

As far as meeting similar individuals and forging lasting relationships, well, I can thank Facebook for this. With groups online where we can share our thoughts and views on the market, ask questions, and get feedback on anything really, I have already made a few friends and I am confident that this is just the beginning of those lasting relationships.

That being said, I’ll be looking forward to hearing what others have to say about the fair during and after the event. So let me know if you went and what were your thoughts about it !

One Week Later

Its been more than a week now that i self published my bilingual animal book and i thought i’d write a review of the whole process i went through, the finished quality of the book and the outcome.

I am pleased to say that i received several requests to translate the book in different languages. I have customised and personalised a Romanian version, a Vietnamese version is in the works as well as an Arabic Version. I’ve received numerous compliments on the art and the work i’ve done, from friends, family and total strangers too. It’s always a good thing to hear for an artist.

My baby’s reaction to the book was priceless. He snatched it from my hands before i even got a chance to look at it, and started turning the pages, naming the animals one by one in French. To me, that was pure joy. Next step should be to teach him the words in English. The book is now on his book shelf and he grabs it every day, at least once, to look at the animals. Pure delight.

This has encouraged me to think of future projects. Maybe a collection of moving vehicles? Random Objects? What do you think?

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