Monday, 25 May 2009

Nicola Morgan's hilarious DIY video

Yes you can! Make your own promotional video that is - and you don't need a camera or video skills or sound equipment. All you need is a computer, wit and the text-to-movie website Xtranormal ... as Nicola Morgan (Deathwatch
) demonstrates on her blog, Need2bPublished:
If you can't see the video, watch it on YouTube

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Further Education: be published, be seen and be sold.

I admit it. I'm becoming increasingly dependent on YouTube videos to keep my blog updated regularly.

But seriously, you guys, I am interested in your FURTHER EDUCATION. Especially you PUBLISHED writer guys, the ones who are no longer on the slushpile, the ones who have a book out, or a book about to come out, the ones who are still asking yourselves everyday, 'should I have a website?' 'should I blog?' 'should I do a video?' 'is it worth the time?'

My answer is ... AAAARGH. Some people don't deserve their success.

Anyway, here is John Green (again!) showing you guys how to keep faith with your young audience:

If you can't see this, view it on YouTube

Moral of the blog post: if you're about to be published, be seen by your audience and your book will be sold. You can't procrastinate over marketing your book (unlike when you're writing it).

Friday, 22 May 2009

On Retreat with SCBWI

It's been an eventful last few days and I thought I'd blog about it before it was too late as my life is currently feeling like a 33 rpm record running on 45 or was it a 45 running on 33 (remember those? LPs? Record players? If not, then I'm pleased to meet you ... I'm rather keen on younger readers.)

I attended the launch of Devil's Kiss, the goth-lit teenage novel by my fellow SCBWIite Sarwat Chadda. I felt rather underdressed when he greeted us with his spear and shield.

Sarwat Chadda

The Dulwich Picture Gallery was a fab place to hold the launch, the weather held for most of the evening and the food was delicious! People queued to say nice things to Sarwat but I thought the greatest compliment was paid by this teenager sitting outside the crowd of wellwishers, totally glued to the Devil's Kiss.

Devil's Kiss

There were several Undiscovered Voices authors there - Steve Hartley, whose Danny Baker Record Breaker, is due to be published by Macmillan, me, Margaret Carey, and Briony Pearce - who after winning UV, wrote another novel and had another baby (good news about this very soon ... ). Which reminds me, the deadline for the 2009 Undiscovered Voices competition is the 1st of June!

Here is Bryony and family (the baby came in chain mail and her little girl came in a princess gown ... all made by Briony with one hand while typing up her novel with the other.

Bryony Pearce

Immediately after the launch, a small convoy (well, two cars) of SCBWI people drove up the motorway to Pendrell Hall in Wolverhampton to join SCBWI's weekend retreat. Our author in residence was Mary Hoffman, who I think has pretty much reached the status of national treasure. When she began to read from the latest Amazing Grace book Princess Grace, I wanted to climb onto her lap and suck my thumb.

Mary Hoffman

We had two editors spend time with us, Jasmine from Oxford University Press and Non from Catnip. Here's a nice photo of Jasmine:

Jasmine Richards

There's lots to report of course - we learned so much from Mary and the editors, we ate a lot, laughed nonstop, and despite it being a retreat, I was so happy to be writing without any hindrance (and without having to stop to cook for the family!) that I barely slept, pounding away at the laptop into the wee hours! I hope to find the time to blog about the nuts and bolts but for now I just want to share these piccies!

Till next year!

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Maureen Johnson manages to be funny in a serious book video

MJ is one of the funniest YA bloggers around and here's her new video!

It looks  like the Scholastic had this serious video made and Maureen got hold of it before the release.

If you can't see it, watch it on YouTube.

Monday, 11 May 2009

The Textonym for 'BOOK' is 'COOL'

I learned the word 'textonym' for the first time last night on the Radio 4 programme, Front Row.

There was an interview with David Wark of Chambers Dictionary who has actually written a programme to uncover textonyms in the dictionary. Wark explains on his blog:
Some of the these are happily serendipitous, others potentially disastrous, and some yield connections that would probably never otherwise be made.

Employers, be careful if you choose to text your candidates the outcome of their interviews - selection and rejection may be semantically distant, but they are perilously close together in the world of predictive text (keys 735328466). A night out can quickly turn from merriness to messiness, but thankfully it's easy to adjust your message accordingly (637746377). Read more
I'd always found it amusing that texting 'Mum' on predictive text often turned up 'Nun' . On his Facebook profile, my friend, Daoud, now calls himself 'Fante', which comes up when his name is entered in predictive text . My Filipino maiden name 'Quimpo', rather cryptically emerges as 'Ruins'.

But isn't it cool that the textonym for 'Book' is 'Cool'?

How refreshing in an age where its customary for the older generation to bash young people for being into technologies that the oldies themselves are resisting.

Go, young people!

Performing authors and Fiona's video

My friend Fiona Dunbar's new book Tiger-Lily Gold has just come out and to celebrate she made this video (I helped!)
Meanwhile, Nicola Morgan (Deathwatch) is aiming for a world record in school visits.

Anthony Horowitz (The Power of Five: Necropolis) is appearing in a virtual event targetting nine thousand children in 216 schools.

And big name authors are guaranteed roles at a proliferation of children's book festivals to draw the crowds.

The Book Brunch children's column wonders "how much the life of a children’s author has become about personal contact with children as well as contact through books ..."
 Have we lost anything since the days when we only knew writers and illustrators through their books? When we weren’t necessarily sure what sex E B White, E Nesbitt, P L Travers, and L M Montgomery were, let alone what they looked like? (Though A A Milne and C S Lewis and J R R Tolkien had got famous enough for us to know.) Was there something to be said for imagining an author through his or her work? P L Travers looked liked Mary Poppins in my head.

Is the standard of performance getting too high for authors who are "merely" good at writing? So it is not enough to write a gripping tale: you also have to be Eoin Colfer in front of an audience. Or do these showmen do the whole profession the favour of giving it glamour, and making kids want to be in it, as they want to be other kinds of celebrities? Read more
Should we resist the demands of our ever-more-swiftly spinning world? Should we insist that writers be allowed to do only that, write?

I recently acquired a Flip Mino - one of those easy peasy pocket camcorders.

I figure the Flip would make it easier for me to build up some useful footage for a future marketing campaign.

There is never a better time to surrender to the inevitable than now.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Sue and Sarwat Reading at the Crystal Palace Book Festival

Book Crow put this up on his website and I'm thrilled because I went to the book festival but missed these readings by my SCBWI friends -

The Quiet Woman and the Noisy Dog by Sue Eves

Devil's Kiss by Sarwat Chadda

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