Tuesday, 20 October 2015

At Last My New Book - Coyote Tales Retold

I don't normally plug a book but that's exactly what I'm doing today. The reason is I've been working on this book for over a year and it's just so nice to see it up and selling on Amazon. It features a traditonal trickster character, Coyote. Unlike my picture books 'Coyote Tales Retold' is aimed at the older reader and at the moment is only available as an ebook. However you don't have to have an ereader (Kindle) to read it. By simply downloading a free app (the link for this app can be found on the right hand side of this page) you can still download and read on your PC or Mac.

The book contains eight retold traditional Coyote tales which have been enjoyed for generations by the first peoples of America. Whilst researching these stories I discovered that it was traditional to enjoy them during the winter months only, hence its release in October.

The book contains the following stories:

  • Coyote, Bear and the Four Seasons
  • Coyote Places the Stars
  • Coyote, the Dancing Mice and the Old Elk Skull
  • Coyote, Mouse and Elk
  • Coyote Helps Mouse Fool Owl
  • Coyote, Fox and the Fishing Hole
  • Coyote and Turtle Outwit Beaver
  • Coyote and the Stranger
To purchase from the UK Amazon site click here
To purchase from the US Amazon site click here.

I hope you enjoy!


Friday, 28 August 2015

Book Authors Resale Rights (BARR)

I recently stumbled across an old news piece (16/06/14) released by the ALCS (Authors Licensing and Collecting Society) stating they had teamed up with Book Barn International (a second hand book seller) were launching a pilot scheme that would compensate authors when a second-hand version of their book was sold. This system is known as the Book Authors Resale Rights (BARR) and basically pays a small percentage of the sale price to the original author.

At present authors receive nothing on the resale of their book even if the book is still in print, which obviously means they're losing income from sales of their books when sold new. This collaboration between the ALCS and BBI will mean authors will receive an income from second-hand books sales alongside their regular payments from the ALCS.

I must admit it has always been a niggle of mine that under certain circumstances film makers earn when their film is watched, actors receive repeat fees, composers and musicians earn when their work is sold. Yet the hundreds of thousands of second-hand books sold each year earn the writer nothing, even though the copyright on these books is often still owned by the author. 
Out of curiosity I visited Amazon to see how many second-hand copies of my last two picture books were available. I discover there were 5 paperback copies and 4 hardback copies of Dog Did It  for sale and 7 paperbacks and 1 hardback of Bad Manners Benjie for sale. I know we’re not talking huge numbers here. However many authors including myself have seen income drop by 29% since 2005. It is also a stark reality that only “a handful of highly successful authors make a very good living; for the majority, earning from writing falls well below subsistence levels" and nearly 90% of writers now need to earn money from other sources other than writing. Unfortunately I’m one of those 90% so every penny earned from the sale of my books really does count.

In a recent update (30/07/15) William Prior, founder of Book Barn International states "I have tried to persuade Book Barn International’s competitors to adopt BARR. They all tell me they see the justice and point of the scheme, but either their accountants or their commerciality won’t sanction it." Come on folks without us you wouldn't have a product to sell and without our small slice of the pie many of us may have to give up writing in a bid to find an alternate way of making a living. 

To round off this post I urge everyone to source (when ever possible) their second-hand books from Book Barn International and show your support for the BARR system. Also if you have any family or friends who have sway with any second-hand book sellers support the cause and have a chat with them, see if you can talk them into putting 'justice' before profit.   

Last but not least I'd like to thank William Prior for his continued fight on our behalf.     

Lynne Garner

Monday, 20 April 2015

Mixing Story Sacks With Picture Books

We all know (I hope) that reading stories is an invaluable experience for young children. It helps them develop a wide range of important skills including developing their listening and communication skills. But many people seem to stop there with picture books but introduce a story sack to the equation and the learning opportunities expand hugely. A story sack offers opportunities for active, involved, cross-curricular learning. They help bring stories to life and offers practical ideas that support the differing interests and learning styles of young children.
So what is a story sack? 
It's a large cloth bag containing a picture book with supporting materials that stimulate language activities and make reading a memorable and enjoyable experience.
How do you make a story sack? 
Simply find a cloth bag to serve as the sack (even an old pillow case will do) and fill with some or all of the following materials (remember to keep appropriate for the needs and abilities of your child).
  • A copy of the book
  • A CD or DVD of the story, if you can find one (link below to my first picture book A Book For Bramble
  • Related non-fiction books e.g. for my book A Book For Bramble you could explore the life of mice and the other creatures that appear in it - rabbits, squirrels, owls and various bugs etc.
  • Models of characters (soft toys are ideal) and objects from the story for example from my book The Best Jumper you could include (for older children) chunky child friendly knitting needles and wool
  • Activities or games relating to the story - often renaming a favourite traditional game will help you achieve this for example a noughts and crosses game can be easily changed if you use images of the characters as counters
  • Themed art and craft items - Pinterest can you your friend here
  • Linked activity cards - see below
Activity cardsAn activity card lists ideas for things to do based on the book, this could include questions, for example using my book Bad Manners, Benjie! you could ask:
  • What was your favourite bit?
  • What bad manners did Boris have?
  • What good manners did Benjie have?
Or why not write a single activity on a piece of paper, fold it up and place in a jar or small cloth bag. Mix the ideas up then encourage your child to close their eyes, pick one, unfold the paper and read what the activity is. Then complete the task or activity it suggests. Your child can suggest these ideas or you could create your own as a surprise. Activities could include:
  • Enjoy a themed crafting session
  • Make up a song or poem based on something that happens in the story
  • Enjoy the same activity the character did in the story for example go to the park just like Boris, Benjie and Dog did in Bad Manners, Benjie!
I hope you can see what fun you can have with a story sack and this post has given you a few ideas. If you have a few ideas I've not included above please do share.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

A Few Blogging Tips

I teach a number of writing courses that encourage students to earn money from their writing. As part of their marketing campaign I always suggest that writing a blog can be a good option. The reasons I give are the very reasons I blog. They include:

  • It provides you with the opportunity to exercise your writing ‘muscle’
  • Blogging doesn’t cost you anything apart from time – so can be a cost effective marketing tool
  • It allows you to create your USP by proving you know your subject – great if you want to impress an editor
  • It enables you to reach a worldwide audience and market yourself and your work, even when you're asleep

Now when blogging there are things you should do and things you shouldn’t. What follows are a few tips that will hopefully help you create a blog people will want to visit plus a few tips on blogging etiquette.

What you should do when blogging:


Don’t just use it to sell, sell, sell. Write something of interest; create a blog that is useful and provides information, just as I’m hopefully doing with these tips. However remember a blog can be used as a marketing tool and include a link here and there. Be honest you don’t get anything for nothing. As a reader I’m more than happy to gain from someone’s knowledge with the only cost to me being the odd link here and there (which I don't have to follow if I don't want to).  


Include images of anything related to the blog content, you or your work. It makes the page look more enticing and allows you to ‘hide’ a little advert - hence the picture of my latest book – see point one.


Don’t moan about your in-grown toenail, how bad your day has been or what you plan to have to lunch, people don’t care. I refer you back to point one, so write something of interest or of use. 


Ensure you proofread and edit, make the work the best you make it. This will prove you care about your work and hopefully encourage an editor to contact you and offer that book contract you’re looking for. As someone who is an Indie publisher it also proves to possible readers of my work that I can string a sentence together.   

What you shouldn't do when blogging:


Use it as a tool to send spam. 


Steal someone’s copyright (words and or images). You’d be annoyed if it were to happen to you.    


Don’t be rude, cruel, incite hatred, say anything that can be considered libellous, encourage someone to break the law or say something you know is untrue. It damages your reputation, will lose you readers and may lose you work. This also goes if you're leaving comments on a blog post. What you write reflects on you and once your reputation is damaged it can take a long time (if ever) to repair that damage.      


Don’t share information that is personal to you or anyone else.


Don't claim to have done something you haven't or be something you’re not. There will be at least one person who will know you're stretching the truth and will let the world know. As with point three it will simply damage your reputation and people remember.  

Although writing a blog may not directly earn you money you may find you get commissions based upon your on-line presence. I know a couple of my writing friends have and I gained a commission from a US magazine from one of my crafting themed posts. 

I hope you’ve learned a little from this post and I’d love to know why you blog.


As I’ve mentioned I teach a few writing courses I thought just in case anyone was interested I'd included links to three of my courses that start on the 7th March 2015:

See what I did there?