Archive for the ‘Publishing Pitstop’ Category

As part 2 of AFCC Kid Portions (my countdown to the Asian Festival of Children’s Content), I will be giving away 2 titles from my Toy Series! More of that later in the post.

Meantime, the 3-day Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference track of AFCC looks bookelicious!

I, will for one, be going for a few yummy items on the menu:

Candy-Gourlay_200_250_90_s_c1Why Asia Needs more Writers for Children & Young People

Candy Gourlay will provide give this Keynote speech on how young people seeing themselves in books will empower them, while providing the rest of the world with a window to our diverse cultures.

Based in London, Candy’s debut novel Tall Story was nominated for the Carnegie Medal and shortlisted for 13 awards. It won the 2012 National Children’s Book Award in the Philippines as well as the 2011 Crystal Kite Award for Europe. Her second book SHINE won Candy her second Crystal Kite Award last year, and was nominated for the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize.

ACWIC_Ying_Chang_Compestine_200_250_90_s_c1Children’s Books by the Asian Diaspora and their Relevance to Asian Children

Ying Chang Compestine will also give a Keynote speech, sharing her journey from East to West and discussing challenges an Asian author faces in the Western world.

Based in the U.S., Ying is the versatile and prolific author of 20 books and named one of “50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading” by the Author’s Show in the U.S.. Her highly acclaimed novel about her life growing up in China during the Chinese Cultural Revolution, Revolution Is Not a Dinner Party, has received over 33 national awards.


Transmedia Publishing and Publishing in the Digital World

Alison-Norrington_200_250_90_s_c1Alison Norrington will compare the traditional book and transmedia stories and how transmedia stories has helped children enjoy reading. Sarah Odedina will discuss the changing landscape of publishing in the digital age and exciting innovations that affect readers, writers and publishers.

Alison Norrington is a writer, producer, CEO and founder of storycentral, a London-based entertainment studio that incubates and develops transmedia properties with global partners.

Sarah-Odedina_200_250_90_s_c1Sarah Odedina served as publishing director of the children’s list of Bloomsbury Publishing – including overseeing and managing the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. She is the founder of the successful and award-winning Hot Key Books publishing company.




The Nuts and Bolts of Self-Publishing: The Good, the Bad and the Fabulous

Finally, I will have the pleasure of moderating a panel of three self-published Singapore-based authors Sarah Mounsey, Emma Nicholson and Hidayah Amin who will advise on the nuts and bolts of the business, including designing, printing and marketing.

Hop over to the Asian Festival of Children’s Content 2015 to check out the full menu!


Children's Picture Book on friendship, sacrifice and self-acceptance

Children’s Picture Book on friendship, sacrifice and self-acceptance

Children's Picture Book on identity and individuality

Children’s Picture Book on identity and individuality

To stand a chance to win my award-winning titles The Tale of Rusty Horse and Just Teddy, simply share this post on your blog or Facebook page. Leave a comment here with the shared link.

Closing date is 17 May and I will randomly draw 1 winner for the 2-book giveaway.

So share away with your friends about the the Biggest Festival on Children’s Content in Asia!


The Random Draw Winner is Robert Sim!

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Today, I am thrilled to be having a conversation with SCBWI friend Sarah Mounsey. Over the past three years,  Sarah has successfully written and self-published 3 titles in her Purple Paw Prints picture book series. Her talented illustrator Jade Fang is also the illustrator for my Tibby The Tiger Bunny and upcoming Tibby & Duckie.

Author & Publisher Sarah Mounsey and Illustrator Jade Fang

Author & Publisher Sarah Mounsey and Illustrator Jade Fang


1. How long had you been writing before you decided to self-publish your first book?

Sarah: Forever!  I wanted to be an author when I was in primary school and always had my nose in a book or was writing stories, poems, letters and diary entries.  Then I worked as a primary school teacher and fell in love with picture books all over again and decided that one day I would attempt to write them.  It was not until I was on maternity leave with my first son, William, that I started to actively do something about it.  I was living in London and enrolled in some writing for children courses and started to write regularly again.  Four years (plus one more son and a new country) later I took the plunge and self-published Purple Paw Prints.



2. What prompted the decision to take the self-publishing route?

Sarah: I was a member of The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) in London and then joined the group in Singapore. I had never thought about self-publishing until two friends from that group in Singapore really encouraged me because they had both been involved in self-published picture books. Thank you to David Seow and Kenneth Quek for this encouragement! The last few years of my life would have been very different if they had not helped me to make this decision!

PP and the Magic Sofa LR

What 3 tips or words of advice would you give someone venturing the self-publishing route?

Sarah: 3 tips or words of advice…

  1. Be prepared to work very hard if you want your books to sell. They do not sell themselves.
  2. Understand that you will have to become an editor, decision maker, marketer, sales person, administrator for a small business and public speaker as well as being an author. Of course, I have had lots of people including my amazing illustrator, Jade Fang, and great editors to help me along the way but when you self-publish you have to do the vast bulk of the work and there is a lot to do. Fortunately I have just signed with a great distributor, Closetful of Books, and they are helping me with some of this work.
  3. If you are happy to do all of this, you can make your dreams come and true and be involved in all the decisions to create books that you believe in.

3. How do you see the children’s books writing scene in Singapore since you moved here?

Sarah: It seems to be really expanding with lots of new titles being created, which is wonderful. The writing community is very small here and it is great to get to know so many people who share the same passion.

4. Which is your favourite children’s book from childhood. Why?

Sarah: I have so many but to choose just one that I still have, then it would have to be my copy of The Cat in the Hat which is personally signed by the great Dr Seuss.

Paw Prints and the Itchy Spots

5. Congratulations on the launch of Paw Prints book 3 at the recent AFCC and also your win at the Moonbeam book awards! Can you give us a sneak-peek of your next book project?

Sarah: Thank you. It has been an exciting year! I am not sure what my next book will be but I am working on two writing pieces at the moment. One is a picture book about reducing plastic. This is a topic that is very important to me and my family. We are talking about it a lot and getting involved in Plastic Free July http://www.plasticfreejuly.org/ I am trying to create a story that is fun without being too didactic.   But it is challenging to create humour that also leaves children and their parents with the important message that we really need to reduce the amount of plastic that we use. So many people think that by recycling we are making a big difference but reducing waste is even more important. I am struggling with getting this story where I want it to go so I don’t think it will be finished for a long time. The other piece is another Paw Prints book, called Eddie Spaghetti and the Paw Prints. I first wrote this almost two years ago but this one also needs a lot of re-writing.

Toddler & the Itchy Gums

Toddler & the Itchy Gums

Mummum: Thanks for sharing your experience with your lovely picture book series. Congrats again on your successes and look forward to hearing more to come! Check out Sarah’s books here!




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I was invited to write an essay “Survival & Success as a Singapore Author” for One Big Story – Delving Deeper into Asian Children’s Literature, launched at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content 2014.

Following my earlier post on Survival Skills 4&5, I’m reproducing a condensed extract of Skill 6&7:

Toy Titles in Chinese Translation

Toy Titles in Chinese Translation

Going beyond national borders

Given that Singapore is a small market, I travelled to the Bologna Book Fair in 2009 and knocked on doors of publishers there to get my books into other countries. After multiple rejections from publishers there, I eventually ended up at the booth of a foreign rights agent. I must have looked sad and pathetic because she invited me to sit down and asked if she could do anything for me. Never mind that after hearing me out, she told me that she did not market children’s picture books. I continued to stay in touch by occasionally spamming her updates of my books and writing. Over a year later, she remembered me and we closed my first translation rights contract with a Korean publisher. Since then, I have signed more deals for my self-published Toy Series picture books with publishers in Korea, China and Malaysia.

Toy Titles in Korean edition

Toy Titles in Korean edition

On e-books and exploring other mediums

In 2010,I partnered up with a games developer who did a great job developing Prince Bear & Pauper Bear as a book app.We had about 8,000 downloads when we put the app to rest a few months later as as we did not have the muscle to make it stand out in a crowded market.

Children's Book App

Children’s Book App

In 2012, Mediacorp’s newly formed I Love Books e-bookstore sold the e-book version of my titles. Unfortunately, I Love Books closed soon after. I came to a preliminary conclusion that one needs the budget to make the ebooks really interactive and increase its visibility out of the quadrillion of available apps in the Apps store.

Up next: Right Commissioners, Write Support

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