Monday, December 12, 2011

Children's Book Signing

As a children's book author, I have a number of different issues to deal with than my compatriots who write for adults. Most of the issues are positive, for example, children are often more willing to suspend disbelief than adults. However, when it comes to marketing, life can get a little sticky.

Last Saturday I held a book signing for my latest book, Trapped in Dunston's Cave. Now, I have never planned a book signing for an adult book, but I can imagine my plans would circle around a staid location (a bookstore, a cafe, or something similar), wine and cheese for snacks and a quiet reading of the book followed (hopefully) by an orderly line of people waiting to sign and purchase a copy.

When I think of a children's book signing, the first few lines of Ogden Nash's poem Children's Party comes to mind:
May I join you in the doghouse, Rover?
I wish to retire till the party's over.
Since three o'clock I've done my best
To entertain each tiny guest.
My conscience now I've left behind me,
And if they want me, let them find me.

Parents and children arrived at the location I had chosen, the Nubuke Foundation here in Ghana which supports the Arts and does a lot of work with children and literacy. The children started colouring on the sheets that I provided to entertain them until we got started. This went well with one, two or three little ones, but once we got past four and five, the quiet, organised scene began to unravel as they decided to explore the garden.

It took us some time to round them all up. When we finally got them all seated in the right place at the same time, one child who had been sitting quietly for a while piped up,
"Can I go back to my colouring now?"

I told the children an interactive story and then got them to create a story of their own, line by line, one child at a time. They chose to create a story about a dinosaur which ate the narrator's sister. There was a lot of laughter before we were able to engender some sympathy for the sister and the story turned in a direction that led to her rescue.

After this, the children were released to colour some more and to make bookmarks that they could use as they read their books. They ran in the expansive garden, ate cup cakes and by all accounts had a great time.

I was exhausted at the end, but fully satisfied. I did not sell many books, however, I felt that the children had a very enjoyable experience that could help them to associate reading with fun.


Charles Gramlich said...

Children are certainly exhausting, but rewarding!

Ciara said...

That is impressive. I'm so glad I don't write children's books. I'll stick with YA and adult. Although that looks like an amazing experience.

Liane Spicer said...

Carol, I admire your stamina! I used to think teenagers were exhausting until I had to do a few teaching practice sessions in primary schools. I was happy to return to the teens. :)

That said, I think book signings with children must be way more fulfilling that the other kind.

KeVin K. said...

Just about anything with children is more fulfilling. I started out teaching high school cross-cat (cross categorical, remedial/reinforcement in content areas like science or history) but spent the bulk of my teaching career teaching primary grades.

Carol, sounds like a wonderful book signing and good experience for the kids. Hopefully you inspired a few writers along with the readers.

Carol Mitchell said...

Thanks for the encouragement. I really hope that I made even a small difference!