BOOK MONTH: WHAT DID THIS AUTHOR GET OUT OF IT?
It’s been a while since I last blogged. But I have a VERY good reason. August for Aussie authors is BOOK MONTH, and this is what my August looked like:
- visited 12 schools
- gave 45 presentations
- spoke to over 3500 kids
- presented at 2 night-time public library events
- presented at 1 Story Crowd Literature Festival
- launched 1 book at The Children’s Bookshop, Beecroft (Koala by Claire Saxby and Julie Vivas)
- attended 1 Literary Lunch (CBCA Illawarra South Coast Sub-Branch)
- attended 2 Book Month related dinners
- presented 1 picture book masterclass at Writer’s Unleashed Festival
- gave 8 one-to-one manuscript consultations at Writer’s Unleashed Festival
- had 6 meetings with authors/clients/children’s lit peeps
- was guest author at the Canowindra Community Reading Day
- drove almost 2000 kms
- had 4 days touring country NSW (and was thoroughly spoilt)
- signed stacks of books – yay!
- quickly shoved the microphone under my arm, so I could turn away and blow my nose 550+ times! (Yep, I had the obligatory Book Week cold.)
- Answered the question “Which book is your favourite?” at least 57 times.
Phew! Just writing that has made me feel tired.
So what does all this mean?
Well, no time or head space left for blogging, that’s for sure. And not a single word added to my WIP all month.
Was it worth it?
BOOK MONTH centres around the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s (CBCA) Book Week and Book of the Year Awards. It is the one time in the calendar where children’s books are in the spotlight, where the joy of reading is celebrated around the country. And I love it.
What did I get out of this year’s festivities?
- Income. I hate to talk money, but it is a fact of life for most Aussie authors that we derive very little from our craft in terms of income. (I’m not complaining: it’s my choice; no one is making me do this.) More than a third of my annual income comes from speaking gigs, primarily school visits, and more than a third of that is earned in BOOK MONTH. So financially, BOOK MONTH is a big deal.
- Joy. I love doing school visits, especially at this time of year, when BOOK LOVE is in the air. There is nothing better than sharing my passion for books and reading, writing and story with excited groups of children. Bliss.
- Encouragement. One of the main things that I took away from this year’s tour was that KIDS LOVE BOOKS. The written word is far from dead. In fact, I think it is thriving. I had so many wonderful discussions with kids of all ages about their favourite books and what they like in a story. And they know, they really know what excites them. They were genuinely interested in the writing process and wanted to know all about my next book. (Cue little happy dance here.) And that is like a shot of pure encouragement straight into my veins.
Finally, I just want to give a huge SHOUT OUT to all the teachers, school and public librarians, CBCA committee members and volunteers, and the children’s lit community generally who work so hard not only during BOOK MONTH but all year round to fuel kid’s interest in books. For this, I thank you.
Oh, and of course, my speakers’ agents extraordinaire – Paul and Beth – from The Children’s Bookshop Speakers’ Agency!
Now get thee to thy writing room, Suzie Q!