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THE BEDTIME BAND – A FANTASY PICTURE BOOK

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Local Redlands children’s author, Michelle Worthington, has released her first children’s picture book, The Bedtime Band.

Michelle grew up in the Redlands and has always enjoyed writing stories and sharing them with others.

She reads to her children every night and believes in the benefits of sharing quality time with children by reading them bedtime stories.

Since graduating from the University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Arts, she has travelled extensively and enjoys learning about new cultures and sharing new experiences.

In 2012,  Michelle will be releasing a further two children’s picture books, as well as her first book for adults. An energetic and dynamic storyteller, Michelle is dedicated to encouraging a strong love of reading and writing in young children and conducts school visits, library storytelling and writing workshops for primary school aged children.

ABOUT THE BEDTIME BAND

When the sun goes down, the night comes alive. Have you ever wondered what the animals get up to while you are sleeping? Dont be scared of the bangs, clangs and creaks. Get ready, get setty…it’s the Bedtime Band!

Available at www.wombatbooks.com.au

Ask for it at your favourite bookstore

MARKETING YOUR NEW BOOK

Michelle has some great tips about marketing your new book.

A little known side effect of getting your book publishing is having to learn how to market yourself as an author, as well as selling your book.  Publicists have limited time and budget when it comes to promotion, especially for a new author. A successful author is also a sales person, an accountant, an administration officer, a graphic designer and a self-promotion guru.

As an author marketing your book locally, it is definitely a case of “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”  Use the contacts you already have, such as your children, grandchildren or friends schools to get your first storytelling visits. Ask for a minimal fee or do it free until you feel you are giving them value for money and always ask for the opportunity to sell you books by pre-order or post-order form and on the day.

Create your own book launch until your name is known or ask to be included in events that suit your book and marketing plan. Local women’s groups, seniors groups and interest groups that your book relates to are often happy to have you set up a trade table in exchange for the cost of admission and a lucky door prize. Have a short speech prepared in case you are asked to say something about yourself and your journey to getting your book published. Your local council website will list events in your area that you may be able to participate in.

Approach your local book store and library as they will already have time set aside for story telling and are always in need of new people and new books. Libraries also have rooms that are available to hire for your book launch or event.  Your aim is to draw a crowd, and book stores love a captive audience. Have a photographer friend take photos and offer them to the book store to put on their website.

Make sure you book are booked up with events that fit your individual schedule for 4 weeks in advance, to give you enough time to get new engagements if some cancel. Don’t take on more than you can handle and always be professional, when it comes to your marketing material, your phone manner and what you wear on the day. If your book has a theme, kids love dress ups and interactive play, so let your imagination run wild!

Register for writer’s festivals and conferences to learn from others about how they market their book, as well as making friendships with other local authors and illustrators. Join local Writers Groups and Member organisations that allow members to promote their book and book launch on their facebook, newsletter and website at little or no cost. Network with other authors, illustrators and publishers via facebook, LinkedIn, an author fan page or a website. Remember that if you can help others, they may be in a position to help you in return.

The biggest hurdle new author’s face in marketing their book is their own inhibitions. Don’t be afraid to ask. The worst thing they can say is “no”.

FREE WRITING ACTIVITY

1. The Bedtime Band uses pictures and words to tell the story. It can sometimes be very hard to write a children’s book, because they have to be concise and easy to read.

Can you write a story for children in under 100 words and use pictures to help tell the story?

2. Words are powerful. They can be descriptive, musical and animated. Write a list of 20 words and make them look like they sound. For example. write the word ‘haunted’ in ghost writing or ‘furious’ in a very angry face. Choose words that form a picture in your mind.

Don’t forget to enter our FREE fantasy writing competition for kids and adults


 


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LIAN TANNER – THE HEART OF A STORY

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Today I’m pleased to welcome wonderful Australian author, Lian Tanner. Lian is the author of the very popular Keepers Trilogy and today she’s going to share some tips on how she puts her stories together.

HOW I WRITE

City of Lies, the second book in the Keepers trilogy, began with a little pottery tower made by a man called John Watson. I saw the tower in a shop, and it immediately gave me a shivery feeling, the one that tells me an idea is growing somewhere in the back of my mind. So I bought the tower and put it on my mantlepiece, and waited for the idea to make itself known.

It didn’t take long. A couple of days later I was struck by the thought that the tower looked like the sort of place where someone might be imprisoned – where children might be imprisoned.

And there was the heart of the story straight away; in this new book, Goldie, Toadspit and Bonnie, the children from the first Keepers book, Museum of Thieves, were going to be stolen by villains and imprisoned in a tower.

Of course, ideas change as you work on them, and by the time I had finished my outline and started writing, it was Toadspit and Bonnie who had been stolen, and Goldie was trying to rescue them. Not only that, but the tower had become a teetering five-storey house with bars on its windows and two men guarding it.

So how on earth was Goldie going to rescue her friends from this very well guarded house without being caught herself? I had no idea. So I did what I usually do when I’m stuck – a brainstorming session.
I took a huge bit of paper and some nice thick felt pens. I wrote the question across the top: ‘How does Goldie rescue her friends?’ Then I set a timer for ten minutes, and I started to throw ideas onto the paper, as quickly as I could. A lot of them were really silly, but I wrote them down anyway. I wrote down the good ones, the bad ones, the impossible ones, the absurd ones, the ‘maybe’ ones, scribbling like mad with my big felt pens. Sometimes I wrote extra notes, or drew circles and arrows, or put a big red exclamation mark next to one of them. But I didn’t stop and think. I didn’t slow down – I kept pouring out ideas right up until the timer went ping.

Then I stopped and looked at what I had written.

Some of the ideas made me laugh, they were so silly. Some of them were impossible. Others were possible, but not very interesting.

And right in the middle of them was one that was both possible and interesting. Really interesting. It involved a slaughterbird and a smoke bomb and … no, I won’t tell you any more. I’ll just say that when Goldie tried it, it worked beautifully.

FREE WRITING ACTIVITY

BRAINSTORMING
You can use brainstorming for practically anything. You can use it to get ideas as to what you want to write about. You can use it to find out more about one of your characters. Or you can use it – as I did – to answer a perplexing question.

WHAT YOU NEED
You’ll need big felt pens and a big sheet of paper to start – I like butchers’ paper or blank newsprint, because it gives me lots of room to be messy and to muck around. That’s what brainstorming is about – mucking around. Being serious and sensible is very useful for some things, but it’s no good for getting creative ideas. So when we brainstorm, we put our sensible brain to one side, and become playful.

WHAT TO DO

1.  Write your question across the top of the paper.

2.  Set a timer for five minutes.

3.  Take a deep breath and imagine that you are setting off on a mysterious, exciting voyage, and have no idea where you will end up …

4.  Now start the timer and scribble down the first idea that comes to mind, and the next, and the next. Don’t worry about whether they’re good ideas or not. Work as quickly as you can, without thinking too much. Write in lists or in sentences or in blobs or in big circles – it doesn’t matter. Be messy. Have fun. (Pretend you’re a little kid doing finger painting!) Don’t try and spell properly. Don’t worry if the ideas seem weird or silly or pathetic, just keep going until your time is up. Your aim is to get as many ideas as possible.

5.  When the timer goes off, sit back and look at what you have written. Eeek! What a mess!

6.  But now you switch your sensible brain back on and read it through. Probably there will be a lot of ideas that you don’t like, but in among them will hopefully be some useful ones, or some that excite you and make you want to go and write about them, or some that might be good for another story, but not this one.

The more you practise brainstorming, the better you will get at it. But always remember, have fun!

Museum of Thieves and City of Lies, the first two books in the Keepers trilogy, can be bought at http://www.booktopia.com.au/ Book 3, Path of Beasts, will be published in October 2012.

I love using Lian Tanner’s method of brainstorming. That’s how I start my stories too.

If you like writing fantasy stories like Lian, don’t forget to enter our current Free fantasy writing competition for kids and adults.

Happy writing:)

Dee 

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