2016 Blog of January!

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Happy New Year!

And welcome if you have discovered my blog for the first time. It is a very casual mix as described in the heading, of all things I love: Life, wildlife, and booklife!

I am a children/ young adults author, and am currently working on a non-fantasy fiction with an ecological theme and plenty of fireworks! For news of my latest novel release please keep an eye out here, or on my Facebook Page.

https://www.facebook.com/IsabelBurtNovels/

There are tabs for reviews, novel blurbs and all you may desire from my home page. I hope you enjoy browsing. As to this blog, well, once a month I sit down and post a little something here. There is so much noise online, I think this is enough for me, and hopefully for my followers. Please take a look at those I follow – there are some wonderful creative and spiritual inspirations amongst them.

Once a week I post a quotation – each with its own different emphasis.

I hope they raise a Friday smile, or dream, to cheer your week-end. Today is Friday so I am posting my monthly blog and quote on the same day – let’s see what happens! Please feel free to comment on the quotes…

See you in February, I’m off to the Treetops!

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Blog of November

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There is a French quote : ‘Plus ca change (plus c’est la meme chose)’

The best translation of its meaning I found is that it is ‘used to express resigned acknowledgement of the fundamental immutability of human nature and institutions.’

So I will give my Friday quote a little direction henceforth – my aim is to show this quote in the literature that I love. From children’s literature, to plays, poetry, and philosophy. To show not only it working within the words, but in the writing community.

What was once said by Aristotle can probably be found in a version of its time in the latest kindle bestseller.

‘Plus ca change’

I hope you enjoy the journey – see you on Friday!tumblr_mcu0m7anrT1rqgv0oo1_1280

Blog of September – An interview with Karen Inglis

Time for work
It is September, and a new year for schoolchildren beckons. With fresh beginnings in mind, I decided it would be good to let someone else speak this month!
So, for my very first guest, I would like to introduce Karen Inglis, a very enterprising and successful children’s author. I have come to know Karen through my writing, as we both write for children and young adults.
I asked her to talk about whatever she liked – explaining this blog follows my interests of conservation, philosophy, photography, spirituality, and literature – and not just my life as a writer!
This is her reply:
‘First I thought I could potentially do something about reading current and past children’s books as a way to keep me inspired and informed and to gain nuggets of learning about what does and doesn’t work— for example I read Little Women while on holiday and, before that ‘My Brother Is a Superhero’ which has recently been published by Nosy Crow. But in the end I have gone for something to do with the challenges and opportunities for children’s writers in the digital age — I hope this is okay?’
Absolutely! But  enough of the introduction, let’s meet her, and hear her thoughts, without further delay…
Karen Inglis_headshot_high res

Writing for children – challenges and opportunities

Firstly, many thanks, Isabel, for inviting me your blog. I’m honoured to be the your first ‘guest’.

You gave me a free rein in terms of what to write about – and I thought it would be useful as a fellow children’s author to talk about both the opportunities and challenges we face reaching our readers in this new age of digital publishing.

As with so many authors I was over the moon when self-publishing came along. My first children’s book, a time travel adventure, The Secret Lake  had been turned down by several publishers for being too ‘traditional’ and the ‘wrong length’ (too short) – yet I knew in my heart of hearts that if only children were able to judge it for themselves they would prove me right – and they did!  Since its publication in late 2011 teachers, reading charities and librarians have praised it for its manageable length and for the story’s strong appeal to both girls and boys. I’ve now sold well over 6,000 copies (over half in print and the rest mostly on Kindle). It continues to sell consistently on Amazon and in local bookshops and is always my ‘best seller’ at signings and school visits. As I had suspected all along, our children still love a traditional adventure story and when I wrote it I felt that perhaps there weren’t enough of these around for 8-11 year-olds.

However, while self-publishing allowed me to clear my first major hurdle – by allowing me to make my story available for my target audience – I quickly realised I had a new challenge. Unlike authors writing for YA and adults, I couldn’t take advantage of the other key development in the digital age and market to my readers through social media. Age 13 is the lower limit for Facebook and Twitter – and for good reasons (though I’m pretty sure this rule is regularly flouted!). But even if my target audience of age 8-11 were reachable this way, they don’t hold the purse strings, so impulse purchases are generally out of the question!  I did for a period try the alternative of targeting blogs and sites frequented by ‘parents’ but quickly ran out of steam as my comments and posts felt too close to a self-promotion feed, and this didn’t sit comfortably with me. Networking with children’s book bloggers has felt a more natural option and I do this sporadically – and I’ve had lovely reviews for my books from several of these. How many book sales this has led to it’s hard to say so I tend to view these as PR opportunities rather than getting hung up on whether I see a change in my print or Kindle sales.

While lack of access to my target audience frustrated me in my early days everything changed when I started doing book signings in local Waterstones and – most importantly – going into schools. It was then that I realised it was a case of swings and roundabouts. A key advantage that children’s authors have over writers of adult fiction is that we can reach our readers in huge numbers face to face – and in most cases make healthy sales at the same time. Naturally you need a good story to start with (which, of course, must be professionally edited and presented) and ideally you need an appealing website to refer bookshops and schools to at the outset. Beyond that it still takes a lot of organisation, self-belief and persistence to set up successful visits or bookshop signings – but where there is a will there is a way, and the rewards in seeing children’s reactions to your readings and answering their questions about your story and being a writer are priceless. The sales at the end of the day are simply the icing on the cake! I happen to write across a range of age groups so have on many occasions spent a whole day in a school and presented my books across all of their intakes – exhausting but hugely rewarding!

There isn’t space here to go into the many tips I have for approaching bookshops and schools but if you head over to my marketing tips page at selfpublishingadventures.com you’ll find lots of information.

To read more about my school visits also see my author website at kareninglisauthor.com  

The Secret Lake 72dpi cover

Karen Inglis lives in London, and since 2011 she has published four children’s books, including The Secret Lake, a time travel mystery for ages 8-11; Eeek! The Runaway Alien and Henry Haynes and the Great Escape — both graphic novels for ages 7-10 and 6-8, and Ferdinand Fox’s Big Sleep a rhyming picture book for ages 3-5. She has also produced an interactive children’s book app and an enhanced ebook of Ferdinand Fox.

BLOG OF JULY

Safety!

When I was tagging this blog, I realised the tags represent some of the themes in TOXICS, and its sequel, OCEANS.

Adventure – Alternative worlds – Life – Lovers of mystical worlds – Nature – Fantasy for children – Ecofiction – Felicity and Reuben – Conservation –

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I joined the PDSA at a very young age – illicitly using my pocket money – and my bemused mother would pass me my membership envelopes from the small animal care organisation, trying to understand her strange child!  IMG_0296

I have continued, by adopting animals, and educating my children. We have supported a variety of wildlife. Adopted through three conservation establishments, and adored by my children. Although my human children have all but left the nest, their sister, Sonje, is still protected, and learning to survive in the wild, a step at a time.

Wildlife conservation, and therefore the protection of their habitat, and then by definition our ecosystems, is, I accept, an incredibly difficult balance, but the survival of humans must share itself with the survival of animals, and our global habitat! How can we not care to support that aim, in whatever way we can?

Only a very stupid creature would destroy its very life-source, wouldn’t it?

Peter Rabbit

In Toxics and Oceans, the Old World is threatened by ignorance.

I have a magnet on my fridge that says to me ‘ Relax – all the worries of the world are not yours to bear.’ No, we can’t solve the world, only something greater than us could do that. But one man or woman with a dream can change many things. For us, and for our wildlife.

If you want to know more about the wonderful people who strive for a better world for our friends, please click on the links below, and warm your heart. Maybe you will be moved to help, in a way that you feel is right for you.

Have a lovely July.

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Durrell Wildlife Trust

Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

Ocean ConservationFootprints in the sand

More Ocean Conservation

Helen Keller

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I wasn’t going to post another quote – but this jumped out at me!

I hope you have a lovely week-end – whether full of adventure or not :)

‘Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.’

Helen Keller