IPG Children's Publisher of the Year

Articles tagged with: s c ransom

Queen of Teen and S C Ransom

Posted by Kate on Jul 07, 2012

On Friday, Dom, author Sue Ransom, her daughter, Ellie (for whose twelfth birthday she wrote Small Blue Thing, and who is in the photo with her mum above), her husband, Pete, and I met up at on the lawn of the swanky Surrey offices of The Book People for their rather joyous and pink Queen of Teen awards.

Maureen Johnson won, but our very own Sue was shortlisted – which was a terrific triumph for someone whose first book was published just last year.


Sue and the other shortlisted authors with the enthroned winner

It’s a great and very generous sort of event: every single shortlisted author gets to sit on the Queen of Teen Throne in a rather lovely Rajasthani tent on the sweep of lawn, while a “super-fan” tells the audience why her chosen author should win the Queen of Teen crown.


Sue enthroned

After being presented with a tiara, the shortlisted author gets to say a few words too.


Sue, speaking, with her super-fan

Pink cupcakes and fizzy wine combined with a “fierce in fuschia” dress-code to make for a very particular and, I suppose, feminine sort of an atmosphere (though one of this year’s shortlisted authors was a man, who wore his tiara and his pink Converse with pride).


Sue and me taking the “fierce in fuschia” dress-code seriously

The fans went away with bags of signed books and, I hope, a sense from the speeches that reading teen fiction was an important gateway into not only adult reading, but grown-up life, and the sense that they too could one day be successful writers.


Sue and her proud publisher

It was a great way to spend a Friday afternoon for readers and for authors and their publishers.

The best romantic novels for teenagers - a Valentine's Day post

Posted by Kate on Feb 14, 2012

Last week, the Romantic Novelists; Association’s Awards 2012 shortlists were announced.

There’s a YA category. Here’s the list of shortlisted YA books:

Artichoke Hearts, by Sita Brahmachari (Pan Macmillan)
Dark Ride, by Caroline Green (Piccadilly Press)
My So-called Phantom Lovelife, by Tamsyn Murray (Piccadilly Press)
Angel Fire, by L A Weatherly (Usborne)

NOSY CROW: ROMANTICALLY CHALLENGED?

At Nosy Crow, we don’t “do” much romantic fiction for teenagers (our focus is generally on books and apps for younger children) but the very first book we published was Small Blue Thing by S C Ransom, the first in the Small Blue Thing Trilogy (book two is Perfectly Reflected and book three is Scattering Like Light. It has many of the hallmarks of a particular kind of teen romance – a sort of Romeo and Juliet model: absolute love at (pretty much) first sight and a huge obstacle (Callum is a ghostly dirge, Alex is a normal London girl).

THE YA ROMANTIC FICTION BOOM IN RECENT YEARS

The shape and look of YA bookshelves has been transformed, of course, of course, over recent years by the Twilight series and other romantic fantasy (or “romantasy”) books, and, as some of that shelf-space has been taken up by dystopian fantasy novels, the romance has remained: Katniss and Peeta in The Hunger Games trilogy, for example.

Lots of these YA novels are being read by adults (and there’s an argument that one of the reasons that these YA categories are doing well in ebook form is that adults can “indulge” their desire to read YA novels without it being obvious to a fellow bus passenger that they’re doing so).

Of course, lots of romantic adult novels are read by teenagers and nearly-teenagers.

OUR RECOMMENDATIONS

1. GROWN-UP BOOKS ABOUT LOVE THAT TEENAGERS RECOMMEND

I write this with two 12 and13 year-old girls on my bed and they nominated the following adult novels that they’d read (or knew through film adaptation) and thought were romantic:

The Go-Between by L P Hartley (there was some debate whether the romance was between Marianne and Ted or between Marianne and Leo.)
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Sense and Sensibility by Janet Austen (“more than Pride and Prej because it’s easier to relate to Marianne than Elizabeth” said one.)
The Alexander Trilogy by Mary Renault (“We are allowed gay romance, aren’t we?” said one.)
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (“though it doesn’t really work for them, does it?”)

2. CROSS-OVER BOOKS ABOUT LOVE THAT TEENAGERS RECOMMEND

They didn’t know whether the following were adult or teen novels but they nominated them:

The Book Thief by Markus Zuzak
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

3. BOOKS FOR TEENAGERS ABOUT, OR TOUCHING ON THE SUBJECT OF, LOVE THAT TEENAGERS RECOMMEND

When we talked about books that they definitely thought of as YA, they came up with the following favourites:

The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank, “because the love story {between Peter and Anne] grows regardless of her circumstances and also because it’s the first and last taste of love she’ll ever get.”

Finding Violet Park by Jenny Valentine, “even though the romance [between Martha and Lucas] isn’t really what the book is about, but because the romance isn’t immediate. It’s much more gentle and slow.”

The Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness, “because there’s lots of romance in it as well as Todd and Viola: Lee and Viola; Bradley and Simone; Ben and Cillian; and 1017 and his ‘one in particular’.”

The Anne of Green Gables series by L M Montgomery, “because it’s the blossoming of their love from hate and it’s all innocent and pure and we know before she does how much she loves him.”

The Little Women series by Louisa M Alcott, though the real romance there is the unrequited love of Teddy for Jo, not the realised love between Jo and Professor Bhaer, was the consensus.

How I Live Now by Meg Rossoff “because the love isn’t too sentimental, and it’s quite frank and honest, and because they don’t shut out the whole world so it feels more real.”

Bloody Jack by L A Meyer, “because you really like Jack/Jackie the love story’s so unexpected and it’s written in a way that works for 11 and 12 year-olds because it’s romantic but not so that you feel sick.”

The Mortal Engines books by Philip Reeve, “because the love transcends everything, regardless of what Tom and Hester do to other people and because Hester isn’t exactly conventionally beautiful but Tom still loves her.”

Tristan and Iseult by Rosemary Sutcliff, “because of the last paragraph: ‘And out of Tristan’s heart there grew a hazel tree and out of Iseult’s there grew a honeysuckle and they arched together and clung and intertwined so that they could never be separated any more.’” (I have to say that my own Rosemary Sutcliff romantic memory is the powerful and unconventional romance between Aquila and Ness in The Lantern Bearers – he doesn’t know he loves her until he’s lost her.)

The Noughts and Crosses quartet, because “the books are absolutely compulsive, and the future generation right the wrongs of the earlier generation: you know from the beginning that Sephy and Callum is never going to work out, but you know that the next generation will make it work, because Callie Rose falls in love with Toby. It’s a bit like Wuthering Heights. And Callum loves Sephy so much that he writes the letter that says that he hates her to force her to get over him – they’re really young, and they don’t really understand and they have been brought up in an environment with hate not love, so they find it hard not to mix up love and hate.”

I asked if they could think of anything funny, as these all seemed rather serious.

The named Just William (William and Joan, and William and Violet Elizabeth) and the crushes in Louise Rennison’s novels (and actually one of them said, “Twilight is funny”), but examples of a link between humour and lurve didn’t come as easily as examples of tragic love. They hadn’t, it turned out, read Adrian Mole.

I should say that they think that children of their age shouldn’t have read some of the books that they’re talking about, because “they’re for older children and teenagers, really”.

So what would you nominate?

S.C. Ransom and Fischer filming for Small Blue Thing [video]

Posted by S.C. Ransom on Sep 09, 2011

My first book, Small Blue Thing, has now been translated into German by Fischer Schatzinsel, a very well-respected German publishing company with a terific list. They are really enthusiastic about the book and have been working hard on the publicity and marketing ready for the launch today.

In Germany it’s being called ‘Nur ein Hauch von dir’ which roughly translates as ‘Just a Breath of You’, and they have produced an entirely different hardback cover, with a spooky, handsome face in the background over the London skyline which looks fantastic. They’ve also put a new voice-over on the video.

So when they asked if I minded helping, I was delighted. I found myself being photographed on the banks of the Thames, with St Paul’s Cathedral as a backdrop, by Maria and Caroline from Fischer. They needed a video of me speaking too, just a short one, to say hello to all the fans of the series in Germany. I really wished that I had paid a bit more attention in all those long-ago German lessons, then I might have been able to do it in German, but sadly it’s not a skill I possess.

They had a copy of the German edition for me too, and it’s great seeing the story I wrote, with all the familiar names and places, in text I can’t quite understand. My daughter Ellie (who I wrote the book for originally) has just started studying the language, and she’s very excited about taking the book into class next term. I’m really looking forward to seeing the rest of the series translated too.

Maria and Caroline from Fischer, photographed in front of the Tate Modern:

You can read more about the book (in German) on Fischer’s website here.

Publication of Olivia's First Term and Perfectly Reflected

Posted by Kate on Jun 07, 2011

Last week (ahem – apologies, but life has got in the way of this post) we published two great new novels in print and ebook formats.

The first is Olivia’s First Term by Lyn Gardner, theatre critic for The Guardian newspaper. This is Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers meets Noel Streatfield’s Ballet Shoes with a bit of Pamela Brown’s The Swish of the Curtain thrown in for deliciously good measure. It’s about friendship, family and performing, and its target audience is girls of 9+.

The Stage says it is “hugely enjoyable”.

Parents in Touch says it’s “the first in a very promising new series from Nosy Crow – a relatively new publisher. I can see the series being an instant hit with girls, who will love the thought of the glamour of stage school – or is it glamorous?”

The School Run says “Girls will love this book, it is a great story, with many messages within the story about friendship… I am sure this series could become as popular as Enid Blytons Malory towers and St Clare’s series! I for one am looking forward to the next in the series to be released.”

The second is Perfectly Reflected by S C Ransom, and is the sequel to Small Blue Thing. A paranormal romance for young teens and pre-teens with an iconic London setting – the focus of the action is the River Thames and St Paul’s Cathedral, it’s about teenage schoolgirl Alex, and her battle with the evil Catherine, who has managed to cross over to our world from the world of the ghostly Dirges, who are doomed to steal the happiness of others in order to survive. Catherine has a grudge, and is determined to make Alex’s life misterable, and what better way to do that than to keep Alex apart from Callum, who is trapped in the world of the Dirges? You can find out more about the books on the series website.

Networked Blogs says, “If Small Blue Thing was a paranormal romance, Perfectly Reflected is a paranormal thriller … There’s always a worry that the second of a series may not live up to the expectations created by the first – happily this is not the case here and the twists and turns will keep you hooked to the last page.”

Congratulations to Lyn Gardner and S C Ransom on publication!

These books bring our total number of print/ebook publications to (drumroll) 12.

An author's view of the printing process: Perfectly Reflected gets real

Posted by Kate on May 14, 2011

S C Ransom, who, as the author of Nosy Crow’s first book, and therefore our inaugural book with Clays gets rather special treatment from them, blogs about visting the printer for a second time:

I recently went to Clays in Suffolk to watch the first printing of my new novel, Perfectly Reflected. It was a specific request on my part as I had so enjoyed watching the first book in the series, Small Blue Thing, being printed last Autumn. I had never seen books being printed before, and the guys at Clays had given us a comprehensive tour and explained all the processes that the book goes through. But for that book there had been bound proofs before there were finished copies, so I had held it in my hand before, albeit without the beautiful, shiny cover.

This time it was different. Before I went to Clays, Perfectly Reflected existed only in my laptop and on great wodges of A4 paper bristling with sticky notes and covered in pencil marks. It had never looked anything like a ‘real’ printed book. I was also particularly interested in seeing the first books coming off the line, as that was something I had missed on the previous occasion. When Andrew and Rebekah gave me the tour, they explained that the operators prefer to show the process when it’s up and running – once all the start-up wrinkles have been ironed out. But they smiled at my excitement, and, as the first bound double book came shooting around the line, someone deftly lifted it off and handed it to me. The next ones went through the process of being sliced into two separate books and then trimmed. At the far end of the line they were sorted into piles, shrink-wrapped and loaded onto pallets. The machines were very loud and very efficient, and wastage was almost nil. At the end of the process I saw just two of my books in the recycling bin; one had a ripped cover and the other had a slightly dented cover. (I couldn’t resist rescuing the dented one, and it has now gone to a good home!)

With incredible speed, the line was running at its usual speed of 12,000 double books per hour, and from where I was standing in the middle, there were copies of my book on every conveyor belt I could see. From never having seen or held one, there were suddenly thousands and thousands of them. My vision and all those months of hard work hunched over the laptop were suddenly transformed into a real live book, bound in a glistening, foiled blue cover.

Everyone from Clays was lovely, answering all of my dumb questions and cheerfully explaining all the various processes. Perhaps having an author there was a novelty, though they must have had to make time to treat me so well.

As we walked around I looked at the monitor listing all the print runs for that particular production line (one of many they have at Clays). The next book up was Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. How’s that for being in exalted company?

It's Nosy Crow's first birthday!

Posted by Kate on Feb 22, 2011

We are one today.

I’ve written about it about it for The Bookseller online, but you can read about it here too:

I’m dating the start of the company from our announcement of our existence, which we sent to the trade press and others on 22 February 2010. In some ways, we didn’t feel quite ready to announce, but our hand was forced by two things. The first was that I had been asked to judge the British Book Awards and had given my job title as “MD of Nosy Crow” for an announcement of the make-up of the judging panels that came out in the week of 22 February 2010. The second was that I’d been messing around with Facebook on the evening of 21 February, working out how to set up a fan page and invite people to it, when I inadvertently sent out a message to my entire address book for a profile that referred to Nosy Crow.

We had, from memory, just three projects signed at the time we announced, and a stated intention to acquire from established talent and from newcomers. We also clearly stated that we intended to create apps from scratch. There were four of us – me, co-founders Camilla Reid and Adrian Soar, and Imogen Blundell – in a single room in an office complex in a Victorian school building.

One year on…

We have three print titles published. In mid-January, we published Small Blue Thing, a debut romantic fantasy that was written by the colleague of the headhunter I consulted when I was thinking I’d get the hell out of the industry. In mid-February, we published Mega Mash-up: Romans v Dinosaurs on Mars Mega Mash-up: Robots v Gorillas in the Desert, innovative two-colour combinations of fiction and doodle-book drawing on popular boy themes by a team who came to us because I’d worked with one of them at Scholastic when he was a designer there.

This year, we will publish 23 print titles for children from 0 to 14, most acquired since February 22 2010. True to our original vision, these are books that children will really enjoy reading: when we acquire a book, we do so with a strong sense of who it’s for. Our books are by established names like Axel Scheffler and Penny Dale and from newer exciting talents. The list – and we’ll be announcing the first six months of 2012 before Bologna – will grow in 2012.

We have one e-book published. Small Blue Thing is our only black-and-white book so far and was the first ebook we created with the support of Faber Factory. I decided that we’d focus our digital aspirations on illustrated publishing and apps.

This year, we will publish 5 straight ebooks.

We have one app published. Last week, we published a cutting-edge story book app, The Three Little Pigs, to quite remarkable reviews (including one from FutureBook, The Bookseller’s digital publishing blog).

This year, we will publish at least two more highly-interactive, cutting-edge, multimedia apps.

From the beginning, we were interested in using websites and social media to communicate with potential consumers – mainly parents in our case – as well as with potential suppliers in the form of authors and illustrators and customers. We launched with a lively website that has evolved over time but remains true to our original plan. We wanted to create something with real personality, that was professional but also warm, honest and informal… and that was updated constantly: we blog several times a week to provide a window into what we do. In our first year, we’ve had a over a quarter of a million page-views from over 20,000 visitors in 129 countries, and, since we’ve had books and apps on the market, visitor numbers have risen sharply. Thank you very much for visiting us.

We’ve also used Twitter (@nosycrow and @NosyCrowApps) and Nosy Crow on Facebook to connect to the rest of the world. And we built two websites for our first two publications: www.smallbluething.com, featuring a cinema-style trailer and www.megamash-up.com, featuring videos and book-linked activities.

We’ve sold in our first list via Bounce and have promotions with Sainsbury’s, Tesco, ELC/Mothercare, WH Smith, WH Smith Travel, Waterstones and Foyles. Our books are in shops from museum giftshops to Toys ‘R’ Us.
We’ve been active internationally too. In May, Allen and Unwin begins distributing our books in Australia and New Zealand. So far, we’ve sold rights in our books to Germany, France, Holland, Norway, Finland, Sweden, China, Korea and Israel with more good news lined up for announcement over the next few weeks.

There are 11 of us now. We’ve been able to attract the most extraordinary talent to work with us, from games coding genius, Will Bryan, to picture book supremo, Kate Burns. Most of us are parents; several of us work part-time; and several of us work from home and only come into our (slightly bigger) open-plan office occasionally.

There have been challenges and disappointments, and there will undoubtedly be more ahead! There has been constant, grinding, sometimes dull hard work.

We worry – of course we do – about the book market and our place in the print and digital future that is unfolding. But it’s been fun.

It’s been a good year!

Things we haven’t loved so much about this year:

  • Queuing at the post-office.
  • Being responsible for all the boring stuff like printer maintenance.
  • Cold-calling people without a big name behind us.

Things we’ve loved:

  • Being able to buy great books from authors and illustrators we want to work with as they develop.
  • Being able to act quickly and decisively.
  • Selling our books!
  • The conversations that have opened up online between us and readers, parents, creators and sellers.
  • Working with great colleagues in a relaxed and fun environment fuelled by cake.

Ladies who lunch (for a change) - a date with Small Blue Thing author S C Ransom

Posted by Kate on Feb 02, 2011

Kirsty writes:

“I met S C Ransom for lunch on Wednesday, to hand over the beautiful Small Blue Thing bracelet for Sue to take to events with her (let’s hope she doesn’t start seeing gorgeous drowned boys on her way home) and to pick up Sue’s set of Perfectly Reflected proofs. Mostly, though, it was to hang out with Sue and have a nice time, which we did.

I was relieved to have handed over the bracelet safely (I wasn’t relishing the idea of telling Kate I’d left it on a bus), and full of chocolate cake (‘cos I was on Nosy Crow business and therefore it was My Duty), I prepared to take delivery of Sue’s proofs.

Now I’ve seen many sets of proofs in my thousand years in publishing but I’ve never seen any as beautiful as these Perfectly Reflected proofs (pictured on the table in front of Sue). They were helpfully flagged and perfectly colour-coded. I resisted the urge to fall upon Sue’s neck in gratitude, and took a picture instead. So thank you, Sue, for a lovely lunch and for your lovely proofs – you have raised the bar high and we salute you for it.”

Making films: the Small Blue Thing book trailer

Posted by Deb on Jan 14, 2011

Yesterday, we published Small Blue Thing and launched our first video trailer which you can see at www.smallbluething.com and on the book’s Facebook fan page.

We worked with the wonderful team (David, Ed and Jade) at Fancy. Their brief was to pull together something that felt truly cinematic – the book itself feels very filmable! – instead of the nice-but-basic “slideshow of stills” approach that we see more usually.

Our key visual starting points were flowing water and flowing hair: the Thames river and the Fleet river play a key part in the book, and her long, blond hair is one of Alex’s defining features.

On a December afternoon, the team, who’d shot another forthcoming video for us in the morning (stay tuned!), filmed in London and then went back to Somerset, where they supplemented the footage, by, for example, dropping the bracelet that we had made to feature on the book covers into water.

We’re really pleased with the result. They are, too!

Let us know what you think. And if you like it, go ahead and buy the book.. :-)

Nosy Crow publishes its first book!

Posted by Kate on Jan 13, 2011

Today, we publish our very first book!

For regular readers of this blog it’s no surprise that our first book is Small Blue Thing by S C Ransom. It’s a paranormal romance set, unusually, in the UK, about the love between seventeen year-old schoolgirl Alex and the ghostly but gorgeous Callum, who drowned in the Fleet river, and is condemned to a half-life of stealing memories.

We have a very, very respectable 21,000 copies of the book in print, with promotions in Sainsbury’s, WHS, WHS Travel and Foyles as well as strong support from other bookshops and from Scholastic, Travelling Book Fairs and Red House. Allen and Unwin will release our edition of the book book in Australia in May, and we’ve sold rights to Fischer in Germany and Amber in Poland.

Looking back through the email trail, I see that I made the offer to publish the book a year ago yesterday, and we’re publishing the book just ten months after announcing that we were launching Nosy Crow.

This is a really exciting moment, for Nosy Crow, and I’m happy that Small Blue Thing is our first book. It’s the kind of reader-focused publishing that’s at the heart of Nosy Crow: as soon as I read the manuscript, I immediately felt I knew readers who’d love it. I read the manuscript at a point when I was thinking I might leave publishing altogether, but reading it made me realise that I know and love this business too much. Essentially, I decided to set up a publishing company to publish this book, so it’s particularly appropriate that this is Nosy Crow’s first title.

Deb has been working on the digital marketing for the book. She says, “For several weeks, Sue and Nosy Crow have been talking about the book on Twitter so our followers know all about it, and we’ve just launched a dedicated microsite. We’ll be focusing our efforts in places where teen readers spend their screen time, particularly Facebook, where the book’s fans are discussing friendship and pop culture, chatting with S C Ransom, participating in contests and swapping insights about the series.”

Sue says, “I’m thrilled that my debut novel is being published this week. It’s such a privilege to be able to share the story I wrote as a present for my daughter with so many other girls. I hope they enjoy it as much as she did! Nosy Crow has acted as the best of midwives, helping me shape and edit the story and putting in place a fantastic marketing plan with press pieces in publications as diverse as Bliss and Good Housekeeping! I really look forward to our continuing collaboration as we publish the rest of the trilogy.”

We’re publishing Perfectly Reflected, the second book in the trilogy, in June 2011 and Scattering Like Light, the third book in the trilogy, is published in January 2012.

Nosy Crow staff are having a fizzy wine brunch today in the office to celebrate a milestone in Nosy Crow’s journey (here we are in the picture), and we’re having dinner with Sue at my house in the evening.

It's that time of year... when you present highlights to key accounts

Posted by Kate on Jan 07, 2011

Kate writes:

“I was off to Waterstones today, to show them material on our books from May to August. May is the first month in which we have more than one book or pair of books from the same series, so that felt like a bit of a breakthrough.

The photo is a glimpse of the inside of my case.

Some of the books, as the eagle-eyed among you will see, were continuations of series published between January and April of this year. Mega Mash-up: Mad Scientists and Aliens under the Ocean is the June follow up to February’s Mega Mash-up: Romans and Dinosaurs on Mars and Mega Mash-up: Robots and Gorillas in the Desert ; Perfectly Reflected is the sequel to Small Bue Thing ; and Bizzy Bear: Off We Go! (in which Bizzy Bear goes on holiday and seems to meet a very nice female koala) and Bizzy Bear: Let’s Get to Work! (in which Bizzy Bear works on a contruction site… presumably to finance his travels) are June sequels to March’s Bizzy Bear: Fun on the Farm and Bizzy Bear: Let’s Go and Play!.

However, there is much that’s new:

Lyn Gardner is a terrific children’s writer and a Guardian theatre critic, who has brought her skill, her passion and her knowledge together to create the Olivia books, which are classy-but-commercial Ballet Shoes meets Malory Towers for today’s 8+ girl reader. The first book in the series, Olivia’s First Term publishes in June.

Dinosaur Dig! is Penny Dale’s innovative combination of two things little boys (in particular) love: dinosaurs and diggers. These dinosaurs are (spoiler alert!) digging a swimming pool and making a lot of noise about it. The book was inspired by Penny’s construction vehicle-obsessed grandson, Zachary, to whom the book is dedicated. The book publishes in May.

The Noodle books by French illustrator Marion Billet are touch and feel books with a very attractive panda character whose life reflects the daily activities and excitements of most babies under the age of 18 months. Two books publish in May and two in August.

Where possible, we try to make sure that books with a summery themes, featuring holidays, or swimming, or beaches, which are, therefore, possible summer reading promotion contenders, are published in these months, so the ocean setting of the third Mega Mash-up, the beach holiday theme of Bizzy Bear: Off We Go! and of Noodle Loves the Beach, as well as the swimming pool finale of Dinosaur Dig! all make them books we think babies and children would be in the right frame of mind for as the weather gets warmer. Trudging through the rain, weaving round discarded and dessicated Christmas trees this morning, it was hard to believe we’d ever see summer again, but publishing is always about thinking ahead: full-colour books take months to get from the printer to the warehouse, and we are selling rights and doing highlights presentations up nine months, and even more, ahead of the books being available to readers.

The first presentation – to Waterstones – went very well. Lots more presentations to come…”

Small Blue Thing website launches!

Posted by Deb on Jan 04, 2011

It’s a momentous day here at Nosy Crow.

It’s the first week of 2011 and we’ve just launched our first website for our debut publication, Small Blue Thing, which is S.C. Ransom’s first novel and the first book in the Small Blue Thing trilogy. Lots of firsts!

At www.SmallBlueThing.com readers can learn more about the book, join the Facebook fan page, download a sample sample chapter, see reviews and post their own, pre-order a copy, and go behind the scenes with S.C. Ransom. Most of the fan activity will take place on Facebook, but we’ll be adding more to the site in the coming days and months, too. Check back soon for a very cool Small Blue Thing book
trailer.

The Birmingham Post recently called Small Blue Thing “a great story, well written with terrific characters.” Read the full review

In just 9 more days – when Small Blue Thing officially hits book shops across the UK on 13 January- you’ll be able to read it, too! We look forward to hearing what you think.

Apps and conferences

Posted by Kate on Dec 15, 2010

Yesterday, Kate met up with Neal Hoskins (pictured) of Winged Chariot in the Crow’s Nest to talk about the opportunities for collaboration amongst apps publishers, and, specifically, children’s apps publishers. For all of us involved in apps publishing, the challenge is how people – parents in our case – find good apps among the ever-growing sea of apps on the store.

They also talked about the Bologna Tools of Change Conference 2011, which Neal is heavily involved in, and at which Kate will be a keynote speaker.

Then Kate and Imogen left for the Bounce Marketing sales conference for April to August titles in Islington, wrapping fizzy wine in the back of the car to give to the Bounce reps so they could drink to Nosy Crow’s first book (Small Blue Thing) being published on 13 January 2011. Kate presented to an enthusiastic audience of 18, and it was great to see how many of the reps had already read many of the titles: Bizzy Bear and Pip and Posy were being enthusiastically read by one sales manager’s two year-old. The six year-old “reluctant artist” son of one of the reps had loved completing his first Mega Mash-up book. And one of the reps told everyone how much she’d LOVED Olivia’s First Term.

After a meeting at the Publisher’s Association about World Book Day 2012 (which’ll be the subject of another post), Kate met up with Imogen and Kirsty at Bounce’s Christmas Party, and Kirsty and Kate had to be asked to leave as the pub was closing. A fine time was had by all.

Round the world in 11 days

Posted by Kate on Nov 29, 2010

Since the beginning of October, Kate has been to Germany three times (OK, once it was for the Frankfurt Book Fair, but still…), has been to France and Holland once each and has been round the world in 11 days, flying from London to the East Coast of America and then on to Sydney (a trip that involved two 21 hour flights in 3 days).

The purpose of all this travel? She’s trying to find homes for Nosy Crow’s titles in different countries and languages. There’s lots of interest from lots of people in lots of things. Kate (with Adrian) saw 120 people in Frankfurt and 30+ publishers or imprints of publishers in the USA over 5 days (it was like speed-dating, really: her most remarkable day involved 11 appointments in 14 hours).

We’re following all the expressions of interest up diligently,and will have more to announce soon, but one important big deal has come out of all the travelling so far: we’ve appointed our Australian distributor, Allen and Unwin. As well as being Australia’s biggest and best Australian publisher (they’ve won the Publisher of the Year award nine times), they’re independent and… very nice, being enthusiastic and easy to deal with. And they’re based in Crows Nest, which is a bit of Sydney. How good an omen is that?

As well as distributing Nosy Crow, they distribute a handful of important UK publishers like Faber, Profile and Bloomsbury. It is, really, a privilege to have been added to their portfolio, because they don’t say “yes” to just anyone.

As Robert Corman, who is the CEO of Allen and Unwin, said in a press release:

“At Allen and Unwin we love partnering with clever independent publishers. That is why we are delighted to be representing Nosy Crow in Australia and New Zealand. We greatly look forward to helping them grow their business in the ANZ market.”

And Liz Bray, Children’s Book Director of Allen and Unwin, says:

“We’ve been following Nosy Crow’s activities with great interest since they announced their establishment in the UK earlier this year and admired the energy, savvy and passion of their team as well as the books they’re producing. We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to work with them in Australia and New Zealand on books from much-loved creators like Axel Scheffler as well as new stars including S.C. Ransom. Nosy Crow’s innovative, child-focused books have great potential in our markets and will be a fantastic complement to our own publishing and the wonderful children’s lists we distribute.”

So that’s another important part of Nosy Crow’s jigsaw in place, and we are very chuffed.

Guest post: A writer's first year by S C Ransom

Posted by Kate on Nov 18, 2010

S. C. Ransom, author of Small Blue Thing writes a guest post for our blog:

Exactly a year ago today, on the 18th November 2009, I sat at my computer, took a deep breath, and pressed “send”.

The email was addressed to Kate Wilson, a contact of a colleague, who I had been told would be happy to give me a view on whether the book I had written for my daughter’s 12th birthday was anywhere near publishable. I had already submitted to one agent but not yet heard anything. By return, I got a nice response from Kate approving the Suzanne Vega reference in the title. That was was encouraging. Then on the 20th (I keep a note of these things!) I got an email back asking for the full manuscript and suggesting that we meet up.

Hugely excited, I sent off the vast file and sat back to wait. And wait. And then wait some more. I didn’t want to approach any more agents as I was hoping that Kate (who hadn’t even started up Nosy Crow at this point) would give me an ‘in’ which might short-circuit the slushpile. But Kate was busy (very busy, I discovered later), and I heard nothing more for a while. I got a rejection from the first agent. It seemed that my novel was destined to be a family affair, not an international bestseller.

In the New Year, I gave Kate a gentle prompt, and – hurrah! – we finally arranged to have that coffee. We met in Café Valerie near Sloane Square on the 12th January. Sizing each other up, we decided we liked what we saw, and by the end of the meeting I had an offer for the book which was to be Nosy Crow’s launch publication. On the 27th January, I met with Kate and Camilla at the Nosy Crow “North London Office” – the Wellcome Trust Cafe on Euston Road – and signed a contract for not just Small Blue Thing, but for a trilogy of books. (The photograph is of Kate and me, with Kate signing the contract.)

My feet haven’t touched the ground since!