16 May 2018

Four Things You Should Know About Libraries

Four things you need to know about Libraries (That boost readership and earnings for writers)

Here are four amazing facts you may not know about public libraries.

  1. Libraries are full of stories in a whole range of formats that you can borrow, so go to your local library and borrow stuff. Especially stuff written by writers you love. Even if you already own those books or have read them before. You don’t actually have to read them, they can just sit in your car or your understairs cupboard until you return them if you like, but the fact that you’ve taken them out on your ticket will register a loan for the author which will earn them a Public Lending Right (PLR) royalty. It will also help the Library Service. Use it or lose it!
  2. Most Library Services offer a free ebook/eaudiobook service. You just have to download the specified app to your device and register with your library card to get started. Then you can download ebooks or eaudiobooks via the app. This takes even less time and effort than visiting the library yourself. After years of campaigning by the Society of Authors, the law was changed at the end of 2017 so that ebook and eaudiobook loans now earn PLR royalties too. (Edited: This should have happened at start of 2018 but was put on hold and should now take effect on 1st July 2018. Ebook loans is a huge growth area with an increase of 38% in 2017). Again, it doesn’t matter if you don’t even read/listen to the book! (Although it's great if you do.)
  3. If the library doesn’t stock a book you love, you can suggest they buy it – either physically or as an ebook. Speak to library staff or find the relevant link on the website to make a recommendation. You won’t always get what you want, but if you don’t ask you don’t get.
  4. Libraries are almost always happy to accept donations of new or good quality second hand recent books. You can donate copies of your own or friends’ books if the library doesn’t have any/many. (Tip: if you are donating books you have written, tell them you are a Local Author!) Libraries buy lots of new titles every year but they can’t buy everything. If you donate something they don’t have and it proves popular, they will almost certainly buy more copies.
Libraries are a great free resource. Every week events are run in libraries that help to promote stories and reading, especially to children. If you think libraries are a good idea but haven’t been in one recently, go and see what your local library has to offer.

27 November 2017

Ten Things I Love about the SCBWI Conference

Photo: Colleen Cailin Jones
10 things I love about the annual SCBWI conference (and one thing I hate!)

Here goes:
  1. The fantastic Keynotes. This year I was inspired and entertained by the ‘seriously funny’ Liz Pichon and Alex T Smith. Their passion for producing funny children’s books and the hard work they put in, left me awestruck. Industry professional Julia Eccleshare’s thoughtful and realistic view of the current state of children’s publishing was excellent too.
  2. The workshops. I came away buzzing with enthusiasm from Kate Scott’s insights into how to have multiple careers as a writer (and the message you don’t have to be famous to make a living at it). From Joanna Nadin’s practical session, I gained the confidence to believe I could at least try and write something funny.

25 October 2017

Something From the Trolley?

Something from the trolley?

Book Gems I’ve come across accidentally.

I love my job in the library. Not only do I work with fantastic people and get to help wonderful library users, I have fallen in love with so many books I would never have come across if it weren’t for the place I work.

I frequently take advantage of the staff ‘perk’ of free reservations to order in books I’ve heard about, seen advertised or had recommended to me. As a result, I’ve managed to read a lot of great stuff. However, I’ve also done a lot of unplanned reading that has been great too. Books I’ve come across on the returns trolley or on a display shelf or in the course of returning a title to its rightful place on the library shelf. I’ve discovered some brilliant new fiction this way and some incredible new authors, but I’ve also, and more interestingly, found some fantastic non-fiction titles too. Here are just a few of those gems:

9 August 2017

I've started...but will I finish?

I’ve started…but will I finish?

Mum taught me how to use a sewing machine as a child and I’ve been making stuff with it, on and off, ever since. Every so often I set up the machine on the table in the window and, full of enthusiasm, I embark on creating something new in much the same way as I embark on writing a new story.

I don’t know where ideas for stories come from but sometimes it’s a something on the news or overheard in the street and plots and characters demand I do something about them right now. With sewing sometimes it’s some fabric, or a paper pattern that catches my imagination. Often it’s seeing something in a shop that’s way out of my budget and thinking: I could make something like that. But whatever the spark, the process of putting together a sewing project is very much like putting together a story.