For all those apriring writer mums I hope this guest post helps! Over to Sarah….
My name is Sarahjane Funnell and I work as a PR Officer for Lush Cosmetics and also work part time as a Children’s Author. My debut picture book Phillipa Knickerbocker Glory and the Ice Cream Castle launched in March 2012 and is published by Gibson Publishing.
The story, which features lead character Phillipa along with her fluffy white cat Little Miss Whiskers, is an exciting adventure to a magical ice cream castle, which includes an ice cream queen and all sorts of flavours of ice cream, in this deliciously exciting story. There is also an activity based website that includes free colouring-in pages, recipes and screen savers!
Author story and advice:
Writing has always been a hobby of mine – even as a child. Whilst studying my degree in Fashion Journalism I found I was researching lots of fashion narratives in books and through this research along with popular films being released such as Alice in Wonderland, my love for writing stories re emerged.
After working on a few stories, I sent off various manuscripts to publishers and agents but didn’t have much luck until I sent one story – Princess Rose and the Royal Tea Castle – for consideration to be published within a Children’s Anthology. The story was I fact accepted and once it was printed in the book this gave me hope of writing further stories and having my own series of books.
About a year ago, I was thinking about writing more stories and knew I wanted to write a series with a leading girl character that embarks on lots of different adventures. In May 2011, I saw a picture of an ice cream cone on the cover of a magazine and instantly became inspired to write a story about a magical ice cream world. I named the character Phillipa, wrote the basis of the story in a matter of hours and Phillipa Knickerbocker Glory and the Ice Cream Castle was written.
A few weeks later, after attending a How To Get Published event at the Marie Claire magazine head quarters, I decided to self-publish my book. During the event and on the advice of several industry professionals who informed me that, with the use of social media self-publishing can act as a platform to launch your career as a writer and make yourself known to industry professionals, I decided to take the plunge.
I then came across Gibson Publishing after a friend had met another self-published author who then gave me her card. After researching the company and finding an illustrator, I then secured bank loan and decided to go ahead with self publishing. Working on the direction of the pages for about four months and with the book finally going to print in March 2012, it was then accepted as a stock title with the UK’s leading book wholesaler. This means the book can be supplied to the likes of WH Smith and Waterstone’s and, although it doesn’t automatically become stocked within all their stores, working with local managers has enabled me to organise many events and have the book stocked locally. By building up awareness on a local scale, hopefully I can then branch out to areas further a field.
Doing all of this and working full time in my professional job takes a lot of determination and energy but, if it’s a passion you have be it writing or another area, my advice would be to go for it. If you don’t have the finance or the time to take a big project on right now, then even small steps will count towards achieving your goal. Doing things such as starting a blog or building a Twitter profile in the field you wish to enter is a great way to make a start and build contacts and research competitors.
My website which I also directed, is a great tool to build not only an awareness of the book but also provide readers with that little bit extra. With complimentary activities the website acts like as a thank you for those who have bought the book and also for those who may wish to find out more about the story or possibly buy at another time, the free colouring-in pages mean there is something for everyone. Great as a follow on activity from reading and also a wonderful free group activity for children’s parties.
For more information on the book Phillipa Knickerbocker Glory and the Ice Cream Castle or for questions on self-publishing please visit www.phillipaknickerbockerglory.co.uk and ‘Like’ us on Facebook for news, author events, competitions and more www.facebook.com/phillipaknickerbockerglory