Saturday 20 June 2015


I have had quite a fun-filled children’s book-related month so far, I have been to some promotional events, I have even been promoted myself and there are some great opportunities for more promotion to be had, not just for me but for other aspiring children’s picture book author and illustrators too!

Promotional Events
First up was Seven Stories’ Jodi Picoult talk and signing at the lovely Tyneside Cinema.  Jodi and her daughter, Samantha Van Leer, have co-written a YA (Young Adult) novel “Between the Lines” that is a book about a book, a fairytale book, with characters coming out of the page.  Jodi and Sammi gave a great talk, the pair of them in conversation, no compere!  The book also features striking illustrations by Yvonne Gilbert and enchanting silhouettes by Scott M. Fischer.  Let’s hope we see more YA novels with illustration adorning their pages in the future.


Next up was the launch of Gabrielle Kent’s Middle Grade novel “Alfie Bloom and the Secrets of Hexbridge Castle” at Stockton Library.  I’m so excited by the book because I’m a friend of Gabrielle. We met at Teesside University when she was my tutor and then, when I worked there, my colleague.  “Alfie Bloom and the Secrets of Hexbridge Castle” is her debut and it is the start of a series.  It was a lovely book launch with readings, signings and fun activities for children and Stockton Library looked like a really good libary.  I’m so pleased for Gabrielle and look forward to seeing how her writing career turns out and I know she is cheering me on in my own writing endeavours.


The last of the events that I went to were some illustrator talks that kicked off The Festival of Illustration in Hartlepool.  The talks that I attended were great, they were by Chris Riddell, John McCrea (comic artist) and Sara Ogilvie. The festival has been well-organised by Cleveland College of Art and Design and the main illustration exhibition and is held in the beautiful former church, Hartlepool Art Gallery.  The exhibition runs between the 4th June to the 4th July and it is well worth a look (and a second visit from me) as it features some top illustrators all-round and as well as children’s picture book illustrators.   I attended with some SCBWI friends and it was nice to meet Chris Riddell, little did we know he was about to become the Children’s Laureate, check out his five point plan for the role. 

Left to Right: Lucy Farfort, Claire O'Brien, Maureen Lynas,
Chris Riddell, Cathy Brumby and Katherine Lynas

Chris Riddell by Claire O'Brien 

Promotion of Me
This month saw the release of my first ever interview!  It was for the brilliant Kidlit TV who have featured me as their Community Member of the Month for June.  KidlitTV is a great community and YouTube channel that features original Kidlit content, particularly fantastic interviews with authors and illustrators in their ‘Story Makers’ series (a title I came up with).  As well as providing great content, the Facebook group is a mine of information about video creation and marketing, so if you make videos, you need to join.

SCBWI has launched a new email magazine INSIGHT, every month there is a drawing prompt for members, everyone who submits gets included in the gallery and two are picked to be featured in the email itself.  This email will reach agents and editors so it is worth submitting to.  You can see my entry for the ‘Bounce’ prompt here, leave me comment if you look.

Let’s Get Promoted
I have already mentioned being featured in SCBWI’s Draw This prompt, this month’s prompt is ‘Adventure’, here are the guidelines if you’re a SCBWI member and wish to submit, but hurry, the deadline is June 20th.

Another SCBWI opportunity is Undiscovered Voices, a competition for unpublished and unagented children's book writers and illustrators living in the EU.  Submissions are open on the 1st of July and close on the 16th August.  The illustration criteria give the opportunity for drawing some twisted fairy tales 

Here’s a contest to win a critique from talented illustrator, teacher and YouTuber Will Terry and $30 credit to his SVS online courses by submitting an illustration to the prompt of: “Amanda was so excited for her first day at the cottage until…”.  The deadline is 12:00 noon EST, June 25th.

And just for fun and cool prizes there is Susannah Hill’s illustration contest on the theme of Discovery, you have until the 26t of June to submit.

Good luck with these if you enter, why don’t you post a link if you do, I’d love to see.  Thanks for reading.

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