Posts Tagged ‘Pen Pal Whizz’

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

Following my earlier post on Survival Skills 1-3, I’m reproducing a condensed extract of Skills 4&5:

Picture Book launch Bunny Finds The Right stuff

4th picture book launch (2009)

Collecting shiny badges. Once my first book was published, I looked for overseas competitions to enter my first book to raise its marketing profile. Providentially, the Director of the National Spasmodic Dysphonia Association (the support organisation for people with my voice condition) emailed me about a competition which I qualified for. I wasn’t hopeful but entered anyway.

In 2008, Prince Bear & Pauper Bear became the first book in Southeast Asia to win a medal at the Independent Publisher Book Awards (the world’s largest book awards competition) since the competition started in 1996. A few more shiny medals have come my way since  and helped in the marketing of my books.

Selling beyond bookshelves. Given that it was hard to sustain visible shelf space in bookstores, I explored other avenues to get my books out in the market. I tied up with a leading floral company to design floral arrangements around each of my books for sale as “book-quets”. I got my books into Toys R Us and a specialty teddy bear shop, on the basis of my books having toys and teddy bear themes.

And I forged strategic marketing partnerships.

AFCC Launch for Prince Bear & Pauper Bear Theatre Show

AFCC Launch for Prince Bear & Pauper Bear Theatre Show

The Learning Connection (TLC), an arts-integrated learning organisation, staged Prince Bear & Pauper Bear in 2013 as the first mobile children’s theatre show in Singapore. This 45-minute full theatre show travelled to preschools and we sold many books to schools that booked the shows.

I also linked up with JLB Educational Technology, which produces Pen Pal Whizz, a pen device with an MP3 player and recorder which ‘reads’ the books by tapping on the book pages as well as records vocal notes to help young readers improve their pronunciation.

Smart pen which reads my picture books

Smart pen which reads my picture books

I liked how the technology added an interactive layer to my titles whilst retaining the printed form. So, I wrote scripts for all the characters in my four titles and included story questions on every page – which JLB then recorded into audio files along with the story narration. These were configured with my printing files – so Pen Pal Whizz users have that added content with my paperback editions.

JLB sells my books alongside their educational products through direct sales to preschools and enrichment centres.

Next Up: Going beyond Borders and Other Mediums



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In Prince Bear & Pauper Bear, a sad teddy bear without a mouth finds his voice when a boy brings him home and repairs him.

Now, Pauper Bear, Rusty Horse, Just Teddy and Bunny have all found new voices…thanks to compatibility with smart pen Pen Pal Whizz!

books + penPrince Bear & Pauper Bear, The Tale of Rusty Horse, Just Teddy and Bunny Finds The Right Stuff have just been reprinted in a new paperback edition with features similar to a print version of a book app, so to speak.

With the tap of smart pen Pen Pal Whizz,
– a narrator reads the story
– the book characters speak (with additional scripts which tie with the story text)
– bonus game questions on each page spread reinforce key points of the story

Check it out here!

My paperback titles are now available in Singapore through:
– Leading bookstores in Singapore
JLB Educational Technology (exclusive distributor for Pen Pal whizz)
The Learning Connection‘s Prince Bear & Pauper Bear mobile theatre shows to preschools
– Marketasia Distributors

For a demo of the pen and my book, you can go to JLB’s year-long booth at MPH Bookstore at Raffles City or contact JLB directly.

Related link:

The Gingerbread Mum – review of The Tale of Rusty Horse and Bunny Finds The Right Stuff

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