On The Banks Of Hatchet Pond has been available for just a year now, and in that time we've sold just over 1000 copies in and around the New Forest. This is a very pleasing achievement for a small publishing venture, but naturally we want to build on the success so far.
Although the book's action takes place in the New Forest, you don't need to live there or be visiting to appreciate it, and because of the book's ISBN people have found and purchased the book online across the country.
We've made that process even easier now by launching a Podge & Dizzy website complete with online shop. Please pay it a visit here.
I posted recently about some cartoons I'd created for about laughing. Well, the book is available now!
It's called "The Pocket Book Of Laughter" and is by Lisa Sturge with a forward by Dr Madan Kataria, and is about the joy of laughter and the benefits it can bring. Some people find it harder to laugh than others, so the book aims to help them find ways to laugh while helping others to discover new ways to giggle and guffaw. Laughing has other benefits too, from strengthening the immune system to increasing confidence and helping us connect with people.
You can find out more at www.laughterlinescoaching.co.uk or if you'd like the ISBN to order a copy it's 9781291380026.
On The Banks Of Hatchet Pond, the children's book written by Val Anne Lee and illustrated by me, has been doing very well, so we've decided to give it its own Facebook page. We're also planning a website too so it can be purchased direct online. The feedback on the book, from retailers, parents and children, has been wonderfully positive, so Val and I have decided we really ought to build upon its success. You can follow Podge and Dizzy on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/PodgeAndDizzy
I used to work with a man called Joe who regularly told me, "You've got to blow your own trumpet, Sonny Jim, because nobody else will", so on that basis, I will.
On The Banks Of Hatchet Pond, the new children's book I've illustrated, has been selling rather splendidly throughout the summer. At one book signing a lady approached me to tell me that she'd already bought the book and taken her three-year-old grandson out to Hatchet Pond in the New Forest and read it to him for the first time on the banks, with them stopping regularly in an attempt to spot Dizzy and Podge. They even went hunting for the lily pads. She said it was a lovely book to share and she'd always treasure the memory of the day, which was all rather wonderful to hear.
I also had this message through via email:
"Just thought I would let you know that my wife has been using your book at Lymington Infants School and the kids absolutely love it and all talk about Hatchet Pond, what they’ve seen there, when they are going again and so on. All in all a great success."
If you'd like a copy then you can order from Waterstones or from shops throughout the New Forest, or if you'd like a signed and dedicated copy, drop me an email.
What with the launch of Val Anne Lee's and my new children's book On The Banks Of Hatchet Pond this week, I thought I'd share a press cutting from my first book launch back in 1994.
Blimey, that seems a long time ago, now.
The launch was for New Forest Friends & The Litterbugs and it took place at Bolton's Bench in Lyndhurst and then across the road in the Lyndhurst Park Hotel. I was very lucky in that Chris Packham, at the time appearing on the Real Wild Show, had been kind enough to write a forward for the book - which he went on to do with both the other New Forest Friends books - and he also made it along to the launch to give a speech.
On the BBC at the time was an adaptation of The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe with a spectacular large-scale Aslan lion puppet. The people that created it made four heads of the book's characters and these were worn by children from Beaulieu Primary School - asked because of the lead character in the book being Beaulieu the Hedgehog. To cap it all off, Beaulieu Motor Museum loaned their Rolls Royce Silver Ghost for the four children wearing the masks to arrive in.
The press coverage was so good that the initial print run sold out in a fortnight, and to date it has sold almost 15,000 copies - not bad when you consider it's only available in the New Forest. It's also appeared as story of the day on the BBC children's programme PlayDays.
I still feel tremendously fortunate that I made it into print so young and in such a manner. It's reached a stage now where adults introduce themselves to me, who were children back then, to tell me they now share the book with their children.
Thank you to all who've bought it.
Always a pleasure to receive a visit from Howard from Fernhill who distribute my children's books across the New Forest. Howard's just called in to stock up after some good Christmas sales!
The books are available from most of the New Forest visitor attractions and camp sites, as well as from independent shops in and around the National Park. Fernhill do a brilliant job of keeping them stocked up, meaning they're selling better than ever.
Or, if you're really stuck and can't make it into the New Forest, you can drop me a line here. The books are £3.99 each - a bargain!
The children's book I wrote and illustrated for the Myositis Support Group charity, Teddy-Bo Is Feeling Tired, is doing well in its purpose to support and educate those who have, or know someone who has, the condition. We also had a soft toy made of Teddy-Bo and he's been off to see all sorts of people to help raise awareness of Myositis. Recently he's been seen hobnobbing with comedian Joe Pasquale, comedian and ventriloquist Paul Zerkin, and Carol Vorderman. If you'd like to learn more about Myositis and the work of the Myositis Support Group, click here.
Thanks once again to Stewart at Splash Display for another book stand. Alongside my wooden tree-shaped stands, created for use in New Forest visitor attractions, I also needed a tabletop display for the up-coming New Forest Show where I'll be drawing cartoons with Longdown Activity Farm (you can check out some of the cartoons I did for them here).
The large wooden tree stands Splash created are doing a brilliant job of getting the books noticed, and I'm hoping that this will do the same over the three days of the show. If you're after creative display units or exhibition stands then I can't recommend them highly enough.
I placed some advertising in the Waterside Network Group's Focus magazine offering all three of my New Forest Friends books for just £10 and the response has been tremendous. Fingers crossed for strong sales at the New Forest Show in a fortnight's time where I'll be drawing cartoon animals and selling my books as part of the Longdown Activity Farm exhibit. Should be very busy, very noisy and, depending on how close I'm sat to the animals, a bit pongy too. Come and say hello if you're coming - it'll be well worth the visit.
Couple of quick pics from the weekend:
Me signing copies of Teddy-Bo's Feeling Tired, and if you peek carefully enough you can see the cuddly version of Teddy-Bo too.
Part of the display outside the conference room to introduce delegates to the book.
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