Sunday, April 3, 2011

'Alby' nominated for another award

I am very excited!!!! After the disappointment of the Cybils Awards I have just learned that 'Alby and the Cat: Showbusiness' has been nominated for the 2011 Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Awards. To be eligible for nomination, a book had to be nominated by a member and meet the following criteria: 1. a strong narrative format; 2. contain characters that appeal to the intended audience; 3. encourage the reader to explore new ideas and concepts; 4. encourage the development of imagination and curiousity; 5. use appropriate language; 6. be engaging; 7. be well presented and be attractive to children, with appropriate pictures and an appealing layout. My distributor now has to send off 12 copies of the book so that they can be read by a judging panel who will then decide on a shortlist. Fingers crossed that a little luck will be with me this time!!!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Thank you libraries!

It's always wonderful to see your books in schools, libraries and bookshops. It's nice to know people read them. Once my son was on a train on his way back from Melbourne and a young girl opposite him was reading my book, 'Quizzical'. He was pretty blown away by that. I'm sure he thought nobody would ever read my books. After all, he didn't! But then he's not into books, unlike my youngest son, who's eleven. He absolutely loves books, and reads religiously for up to an hour each night before bed. I've found the libraries extremely supportive of my books. Some even have them on standing order. That's when, as soon as a book is released by a particular author, they automatically order them in. Some libraries in Melbourne, Queensland and Sydney have multiple copies of my books, and in one library in particular (The Hills Shire Library) my books are consistently booked out. As an author, this is very heartening to see! So, to all the libraries that support authors like me, and especially those who are prepared to give new authors a go, thankyou! It is appreciated more than you know!

What's coming up?

I know I've said this before ... lots ... but I love author visits to schools and libraries! And I have several coming up in the next few weeks, which I'm really looking forward to. Each school is different, some are big, some are small, but no matter how big or small, in every school I've visited so far, I am always made to feel welcome. The teachers are always friendly and welcoming, and the children delightful. A typical session of mine will include some information about myself and my books, and background on how a book is put together. I'm sure that when you go into a bookshop or library, the last thing you think about is the process behind how a book is made. But, take it from me, it's very interesting. I use examples from the different stages of my latest book, Puzzle Palace. Then, after some question time, we launch into 'Interactive Quizzical', the quiz show I bring into the classroom (or library) to help promote literacy and to encourage student participation in a fun way. The questions are designed to promote thinking, but they're not hard - some are probably even too easy, but I'd rather students know the answer to an easy question than struggle and subsequently feel embarrassed if they are thrown a question that's too hard - and the emphasis is never about winning, it's about getting up and having a go. Instead of giving prizes to the winners I hand out raffle tickets at the start of the session, and at the end of the session we have a draw for spot prizes, where everyone has an equal chance of winning something. It's a lot of fun! And it's one of my favourite things about being an author!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

And then there was ... disappointment!

As is the case in life, it pays to have a thick skin. Things don't always go to plan, and there are always disappointments, but we just have to pick ourselves up and move on. That particularly applies to me at the moment!

After my blog about 'Alby and the Cat: Showbusiness' being nominated for the 2010 Cybils Awards, I've just learned that it was made ineligible, with the reason given that it had a 2008 copyright, whereas the competition's rules state that the copyright must be within the 12 months of the previous year's Cybils Awards. I can tell you right now, though, that 'Alby and the Cat: Showbusiness' had a 2010 copyright; it was my first Alby book, 'Alby and the Cat', that had the 2008 copyright so, infact, 'Alby and the Cat: Showbusiness' was eligible for the Awards.

I emailed the contact address that was given on the blog site, however did not hear back, so followed that up a couple of weeks later, and received a reply saying that the organisers check the publication date against WorldCat, which is a massive online catalogue. Apparently they had the publication date as 2008 (which was correct for the first Alby book). I'm assuming that when someone nominates a book, they may not actually send in a copy of the book to the organisers, but I'd have thought the organisers would have sought more details of the book in question, ie. ISBN at least, and not relied so heavily upon a 'massive online catalogue' that is clearly not foolproof.

After corresponding with Anne from the Cybils blog site a few times, it appears that the book cannot be reinstated now, so I just have to accept that this was all just a bit of bad luck. I can be happy, though, in the knowledge that someone liked 'Alby and the Cat: Showbusiness' enough to nominate it for an award. But it would have been just SOOOOOOO good if it had been given the opportunity to go further in the competition. It's hard enough for us authors to get our books 'out there' because it's such a competitive market, and book competitions are great in that regard. They can introduce you to an author whose books may otherwise have laid sitting dormant on bookshelves.

As for me, I'm just going to put this little setback behind me. Put it down to another of life's little lessons - one of many to still come, I'm sure!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

2010 Cybils Awards nomination

Most writers just love writing. I know I do. I can get a bit cranky if I don't set aside some time to write at some stage through my day. At other times, though, I can be doing things that relate to writing, like contacting people to make them aware of a new book, or contacting schools to see if they're interested in a possible author visit, and that can be just as productive and rewarding for me.

When I write, it is always with the thought: 'I hope someone who reads this will enjoy it'. So, imagine how thrilled I was to have my most recent Alby book, 'Alby and the Cat: Showbusiness' nominated for the 2010 Cybils Awards. In case you aren't yet aware of these awards, they are Children's and Young Adult Bloggers Literary Awards.

Their aim is to reward children's and young adult authors and illustrators whose books combine the highest literary merit and 'kid appeal'. They have panelists in each category who read the nominated books between October-January, and after that a second group of judges reads all the finalists' books and subsequently pick the winners which are announced on Valentine's Day.

So, I'm both thrilled and delighted to have received a nomination. I'm very proud of the Alby books. As you know, they hold a very special place in my heart.

Fingers crossed!