I'm delighted to say that my debut children's picture book, Hocus Pocus Diplodocus is now out there in the world. It was released about a week earlier than expected, in mid-May. Now begins the challenging task of getting it noticed in the crowded world of children's picture books.
In the sadly shrinking bookshops of the UK, shelf space is at a premium, which means it's increasingly difficult for a debut author to get their book on display to the public. My publisher, Maverick Books, works hard to sell the book into the major booksellers, while its army of sales agents promote the book to a host of other distributors, independent booskshops and outlets.
Away from physical retailers, the book is now widely available to order from online outlets, including Amazon, Waterstone's, The Book Depository and many more.
In a bid to get it noticed and talked about, Maverick has also sent the book out to a long list of book reviewers. It's been a joy to read the early reviews which, I'm pleased to say, have been very positive. Here's a sample: Reviews4kids, The Book Bag and Parents in Touch.
It's extremely rewarding to read comments from people I've never met who are enjoying my story. It's even better to find out that children are enjoying it!
I've done my first interview as an author too, for the 'Reviews4kids' website - which was great fun. Here it is: Interview with Steve Howson
While the publishers do all they can to promote the book, it's also up to me to get out there and bring it to new audiences. This process kicks off in earnest on 21 June, when I'll be doing a 'Meet the author' event at York Waterstones. I'll be there from 1pm-3pm, if you'd care to pop along. Hopefully we'll get plenty of children in to enjoy the book and take part in some ever-popular colouring-in activites.
Finally, I should say that whatever happens to the book from now on, nothing can beat the feeling of having a real book published for the first time. I'm so pleased with the way my story has been brought to life by Kate Daubney's bright, funny, lively illustrations.
If you ever get your hands on a copy, I'd love to know what you think.