PLAN TO PROVIDE INFO FOR PARENTS ABOUT LOCALLY PRODUCED BOOKS
I’ve been thinking of expanding the book review element in the blog. So far, it’s been on an ad hoc basis – when Baby and I go book shopping /when an author visits her school.
But one of the challenges I’ve previously spoken about is that as a parent, I don’t easily find information about African books – as in what's been launched, what’s the story about, where can I find it, how much it costs, what other people think of the book.
By the time Baby and I do our monthly book shopping local/African authors have to compete with international authors, and most of the time, local authors lose out (because of lack of visibility on bookshelves)
So I thought why not help out parents like me who’d buy children’s books by local authors if they had the information at hand?
The plan is to start with the 8-12 year age category, mostly because Baby is almost 9 and she has a pile of friends in the same age group. So I could even read the book to them and record their reaction to the story/book.
Time permitting, I might do a short Q & A session with the author, just to give the parents insight him/her. Later, I would look at other age groups.
The main challenge I had was that I didn’t know where to start sourcing books. Obviously I can’t afford to buy more books as they hit the bookstores, and I hardly know anyone in publishing to ask how to do it.
I also don’t have the time to devote too much time to the project – creative writing remains my top priority over and above my family and job responsibilities, and the blog is just something that’s evolving as I go along.
I think the key is that I put systems in place to get the books coming in and then just get the reviews going. Ideally, publishers would send me a book as they prepare for launch, and I’d send a quick email acknowledging receipt and another quick one when the review is posted.
But how do I get the publishers to take me seriously? I sent out some feelers to people who could help me, and so far I got enough input to be able to get a rough plan in place.
It will take some time before I get things moving, but watch this space for further developments.
I wrote an essay about writing and submitted it to Writer’s Digest. Not holding my breath about a possible acceptance, but it doesn’t hurt to try.
Plan to send out my submission to Staaf this weekend.