After the previous reading at the Fruit Cake not going so well, I was back on the phone on Monday to schools in the local area to see if they wanted me to attend and perform a reading to their pupils. After all, the more children are aware of the book then the more likely they are to buy it.
We had quite a good response from a few schools, with Lisburne Lane School booking me in for January 13th and my children's school Great Moor wanting me in even sooner on the 10th December ( and possibly even later to work on some projects with the children.) One Head teacher Kath Conwell rang me back almost straight away and asked
" Could I come tomorrow?"
So off I went to Adswood Primary School, and was instantly greeted by really enthusiastic receptionist's and the effervescent head herself. I was invited to attend the assembly which was more like an aerobics workout, with the children and teachers all singing and dancing along to Ronan Keeting's " Say nothing at all".
This made a really refreshing change from the tuneless durge we had to sing as kids all about the glory of everything. Assuming that I would only be there for about 30 mins, I started to read the Hairy Plug Monster to years 1 and 2 and again the same look of wonderment came over their faces as I read about the monster under the bath.
As soon as I read the book, Kath and the pupils demanded that I read it again, and then the follow up The HPM goes to town. So it proved to be a really enjoyable experience. I was then asked if "I had time would like to read to the rest of the school"
So starting at the bottom, I worked my way up through the classes before finally ending at year 6, who although were above the intended age group loved the story and the interaction with a "real author". Each class had lots of questions and a year 4 class even based the following lesson on creating stories around the Hairy Plug Monster - which they then passed over to me the next day.
I dont know who was the more grateful - them or me. getting the chance to read to over 180 kids was an experience, as well as interacting with a more than enthusiastic audience. Finally 4 hours later, Kath advised that each year she bought a present for the children and could she buy my book?
what she meant was could she buy a copy of my book for every single pupil in the school ?
WOW, not a problem at all, I told that to make it a bit more personal, I would be more than happy to dedicate each book personally as it was the least I could do. So two days later I came back with three huge boxes of books and sat down in the office with a list of names.
As I was signing them, every so often pupils would come up and say "hi" and tell me how much they liked the Plug Monster and "could I read it again?".
"In fact I could do better than that" I told them and organised with the head if I could test drive all my material on the school and get their response. Grass roots market research. I realised that having a group of 60 somethings sat round a table in a boardroom somewhere discussing the merits of my book, is so far removed Now if that isn't going to inspire me to write then I dont know what will.
So after selling a gazillion books as Christmas presents I came home feeling rather chuffed with myself and had an email from Craig in the US, who advised me that the Japanese may offer us a licensing deal to cover the whole of SE Asia and Australia. I cant tell you the nutz and boltz, suffice to say if it comes off then we will be well on the way to global exposure within 5 years.
There is talk of an animated version of the Hairy Plug Monster, and given my contacts in Russian T.V it may well expedite selling the program at least to the Russians.
Obviously with all this good news about there needs to be a balance. Unfortunately it came in the guise that Borders have gone into administration, initially throwing my intended reading into disarray. However they assured me that the reading will still go ahead and I should still turn up...whether they pay me for the books that they have already had remains to be seen.
From what I can gather there will be quite a posse on Saturday so if your planning on coming it may be pertinent to get there early.
Bookings for the coming few weeks
Nov 28 Stockport Borders
Dec 6th Waterstones Trafford Centre
Dec 10 Great Moor Junior School
Dec 13 Waterstones Stockport
Jan 13 Lisburne Lane School