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Posted by Tom, November 4, 2015

Researching Nosy Crow – a guest post by two UCL Publishing MA students

Today’s blog post is by Charlotte Parker (above left) and Kate Griffiths, (above right); both students of the UCL publishing MA programme. Charlotte and Kate wrote to us after giving a presentation on Nosy Crow as part of their course, and have kindly written about their experience of researching (and presenting on) Nosy Crow.

We were three days into our MA in publishing course at UCL, had just met roughly sixty new people, and were told to form groups and create a presentation on a publisher of our choosing. In thirty minutes. Charlotte suggested Nosy Crow and off to their website we went. Little did the rest of us know that we had seriously lucked out, the Nosy Crow website was filled to the brim with information and was incredibly easy to navigate.

The subjects we had to touch upon were the background of the company, the range of products available on the website, the target audience, price range, and general services. After a hasty round of introductions we divided ourselves into two people per topic and tried not to freak out every time our lecturer announced the amount of time we had left.

It was a bit of a rush but the amount of information we were able to glean from the Nosy Crow website was amazing, and in the words of our lecturer we had “very good content” which we can only take some credit for.

Formerly from Macmillan Children’s, Kate Wilson broke away in 2010 to create her own, independent children’s publishing house. Since publishing their first book in January 2011, Small Blue Thing by S.C. Ransom, Nosy Crow has gone from strength to strength. Winners of countless Digital Marketing, Innovation and Business of the Year awards, this little indie is regarded as one of the key, creative leaders in children’s publishing.

Nosy Crow say they’re “happy to be small” and it’s plain to see why. Taking a look at Nosy Crow’s social media presence, we were excited by how much they value authentic interaction with their online community. With the freedom to engage with their followers in an open and playful way, Nosy Crow are incredibly active across a number of platforms. Nosy Crow seems to really enjoy getting to know their customers personally with just shy of 21,300 Twitter followers and racking up over 420,000 total Youtube views.

As well as keeping a varied and interesting blog with posts ranging from job and manuscript application advice to fun competitions for the kids, Nosy Crow also run events and workshops which are open to everyone. From masterclasses in writing picture books to author and illustrator meet-and-greets, Nosy Crow caters to the grown ups as well as the little ones to really engage it’s audience with literature of all shapes, sizes and digital persuasions. Hosted and attended by Nosy Crow staff, it’s clear to see that these guys truly love publishing for children and try to give back to their readers as much as possible.

Investigating the range of products made me a) wish I was a child b) wish it was still socially acceptable to do 4 piece jigsaw puzzles as an adult. We were seriously impressed with Nosy Crow’s forward thinking and the range of interactive apps that go alongside their traditional children’s books are incredible. Every picture book comes with a free audiobook version and there’s even a game where you learn about the lifecycle of the penguin while having fun! Amazing.

The meld of fairytale classics combined with apps that look to the future (look up My Brother is a Superhero – even the adults will want a go at it after they see the retro design it has) is such a winning combination. The conclusion we came to was that although at heart Nosy Crow is a children’s publisher, they don’t underestimate their market and they understand that publishing e-books is not the only electronic contribution a publisher has. On the website they clearly state they “embrace new technology” and that “reading shouldn’t be the most boring thing a child can do on a touchscreen”, this is blindingly obvious even after a only quick glance. Our group had no trouble at all coming up with information for our presentation and felt especially lucky to have to research the range of products.

As much I hold in fond regard my experience with my children’s picture books, I am curious and not a little jealous of the children who are growing up now with access to apps and learning experiences off the page. It is definitely a different method of gaining your formative experiences and Nosy Crow seem to be on the forefront of innovation in this particular department. Now if you need us, we’ll be playing the Superhero game.

Thank you, Charlotte and Kate!