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World Book Day (from an author's perspective)

Updated: Apr 26, 2023

I like children. That's why I became a teacher, had five of my own and now write books for them.

Being an author isn't nearly as straightforward as I imagined. It's not a case of writing a book, getting it published and writing the next one while the first goes out into the world all by itself. Pity really because that would make everything a lot easier.

It's almost impossible to make a living as an author. You have to sell thousands of books every year. Most of the money goes to Amazon or your publishing team (if you are traditionally published), usually leaving you with less than £1.oo per book.

This is why a lot of authors branch out and become 'marketing gurus'. They have spent years working out how best to sell their own books, and they are keen to pass on their knowledge. It's great for people like me who are completely clueless about marketing (although I'm getting better). They generously post free video/blog/podcast courses and then, when they've hooked you in, they offer you a paid course for a small fortune. Who can blame them?

For children's writers there is another route to supplement one's income: school author visits. As a teacher, I wasn't particularly phased about going into schools to talk to a hall-full of ten and eleven years olds, but I didn't expect to find it quite so rewarding.

For World Book Day week, I visited two different schools. Little Reddings is a lovely school with very enthusiastic teachers and pupils. I was greeted by the extremely polite head girl and deputy head boy who escorted me to the school hall.

The children were dressed as wicked queens, detectives, mad hatters and Harry Potter amongst others. They listened attentively and asked fabulous questions such as, 'What does an editor do?' and "Who designs the cover?"

Some offered their own tales: 'My aunt paid someone to make a book cover, and when it was published, someone else's book had exactly the same cover!'

I like to think my school visits are a bit different. It's good to sell a few books of course, but my main aim is not to promote my books, but to show what it's like to be a writer, to talk through the process and explain that, although there are a lot of processes to go through, it's a very rewarding experience. You can't beat that moment when you see your own book sitting proudly on a shelf in a book shop!

The other school I visited was Cherry Tree Primary - a school I am very fond of. There is a lot I want to say about Cherry Tree, far too much for this blog so that will be for next time.

If you haven't already, do read my short story, The Secret Young Life of Dmitri Molchalin - click here.

And if you enjoy that, maybe you'll read the sequel, It's Raining in Moscow and I Forgot my Umbrella, and even be kind enough to put a review on Amazon.

Finally, here is another very easy recipe. Mrs Molchalin's Mushroom Risotto. Click here to go to my recipe page.

@littleredding @cherrytreeprimary #author visits


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