I’ve had two books out this month – Ask Amy Green: Love and Other Drama-ramas (Amy 4 for short) and Sally Go Round the Stars: Rhymes from an Irish Childhood. I know a lot of people think that all kinds of exciting things happen on publication day like fireworks and lunches with champagne, and maybe they do, if you are JK Rowling!
But nice things do happen if you have the right publishers. Walker Books sent me a Happy Publication Day card, signed by my editors and all the other people I work with. This is a lovely thing to do, very sweet!
The publishers of my adult novels, Pan Macmillan always send me flowers on publication day (although I’m not sure if they still do this in the ‘current climate’ as I don’t have a book out with them this year). Again, a thoughtful, kind thing to do.
Sometimes books have launches, sometimes not. This depends largely on the marketing budget for the particular book, and the publishing house’s policy on launches. I had a very glam dinner for the first Amy Green book, with booksellers, journalists and reviewers. For Amy …
Who represents Eoin Colfer? Who is Darren Shan’s agent? Who helped Derek Landy climb to the top?
As this month I have two new children’s books out – Ask Amy Green: Love and Other Drama-ramas (Walker Books) and Sally Go Round the Stars (O’Brien Press), I thought I’d focus on writing for children.
You’ve written a book for children (or teenagers) and you’d like to get it published, so what’s next?
If you are interested in reaching the widest readership possible and giving your work the best possible chance to be successful, you’ll need to find a good agent.
Why do you need an agent? Can’t you just go it alone?
In Ireland we are lucky to have the O’Brien Press where the editors are happy to read unsolicited manuscripts. You can send your book directly to one of their editors. Details of how to do this are here. But most UK publishers do not accept unsolicited manuscripts so you will need to submit your work through an agent.
What does an agent do exactly?
1/ An agent can advise you on your manuscript and on how to make it more attractive to a publisher. Some of them will act …
Roddy Doyle may be best known as an adult novelist but his children’s books have sold over half a million copies worldwide and have won him many plaudits, including an Irish Book Award in 2008 for ‘Wilderness’. His latest book for readers of 10+, ‘A Grey Hound of a Girl’ is another award winner in the making.
This beautifully crafted and highly original book features four generations of the same family, three alive and one dead – twelve-year-old Mary O’Hara; her mother, Scarlett; Mary’s hospitalised granny, Emer; and finally Tansey (Anastasia), the ghost of Mary’s great-granny.
As the book opens, Mary, a strong, feisty and often ‘cheeky’ girl is bereft. Her best friend, Alva has just moved away and no-one understands how alone and cut off she feels. While walking past Alva’s empty house, Mary spots a woman dressed in old-fashioned clothing and stops to talk to her. As always Doyle’s simple yet telling description of the woman paints a vivid picture for the reader. ‘She was wearing a dress that looked like it came from an old film . . . she looked like a woman who milked cows and threw hay with a pitchfork.’ This …
The Mountains to Sea Book Festival has just finished – phew – and I’m back to my desk. I programmed the children’s events this year and had such fun watching the authors in action and helping at their mammoth signings.
Three authors in particular really impressed me. Cathy Cassidy, Darren Shan and Derek Landy. They have such huge respect for their readers and do everything they can to send every reader home with a big smile on her or his face.
My own nephew isn’t a big reader but after Darren’s inspiring event went home and started writing a zombie story. My sister was astonished. Darren read two extracts from his work – one so spooky it made everyone jump in their seats and scream. Then he talked about his life as a writer and took questions from the floor. And then – then! – he signed for 3 hours solid, greeting each young reader with warmth and interest, chatting away to their parents and grandparents. It was a joy to watch.
Cathy Cassidy was equally charming to her long line of fans. She posed for photos, gave out sweets and chocolate, chatted to the girls and asked them questions about Dublin and what …
This month is a busy one for me, with two new books out: Ask Amy Green: Love and Other Drama-ramas and Sally Go Round the Stars, a nursery rhyme collection. I’m also involved in the Dun Laoghaire Mountains to Sea Book Festival (I’m the Children’s Programmer), which is hard work but a lot of fun.
And I’m also launching this lovely new website. So in true book form, here are my acknowledgements:
Thanks are due to Lisa Haran who designed the site and put up with all my daft questions! She has the patience of a saint and is wonderfully talented to boot – a great combination for a website designer. If you’re interested in hiring Lisa (which I’d highly recommend) you can find her here. Because of Lisa, I can do that clever link thing!
I’d love some feedback on the new site, so do comment below or Facebook me on my new Sarah Webb page - see, did the clever link thing again. OK, I’ll stop slapping myself on the back now. But you have no idea how exciting these things are to a computer muppet like me.
Thanks are also due to the wonderful Sarah Conroy …
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