Thursday, 4 June 2009

"I won't make you do anything I wouldn't do myself."

Famous last words of the well-meaning publicist.

And I meant them.

It's not easy being an author these day, least of all of children's books. It's simply not enough to sit at your computer, carefully crafting your masterpiece, supplying endless rewrites at the whim of your merciless editor. These days you need to be a 'personality', a 'package'. You've finally got an actual book with your name on the cover, which you can actually go and visit on the shelves of your local bookshop, but the hard work has only just begun. You will be thrust in front of children, teachers, parents and book lovers in general by your enthusiastic (but always well meaning) publicist and expected to 'perform'.

For someone who spends the most part of their working life in isolation, I appreciate this must be a pretty daunting prospect, so naturally it is the publicist's job to do whatever it takes to make the whole experience as lacking in terror as possible. We wouldn't be where we are if we didn't have extensive experience of entertaining children, engaging with education professionals and parents, and as for book lovers - well, we're not in this for the money, are we? It is also a fair bet that each of us has served our time inside a furry Gruffalo/Wibbly Pig/Maisy Mouse costume (delete as appropriate). So when I first uttered those words, I felt confident that I had the lot covered.

But even more terrifying than all of that is the requirement to have an 'online presence'. Is it better to be on Facebook or Bebo? Should every author have their own website? And just what is Twitter? Do your readers really need to know what you had for breakfast?

I understand all of this. I love all of my authors and illustrators (they really are a lovely bunch, no divas here!) and treat each of their books like my new and most favourite niece or nephew. So it wouldn't be right for me to bully them into writing their own blogs without setting the example myself.

So here it is guys - no excuses - get blogging!

(It's probably worth mentioning now that the opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own and whilst I by no means set out to offend anyone, they are not representative of Little Tiger Press, Stripes Publishing or any of their affiliates - the buck stops with me!)

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