our big book launch! plus a madcap pirate draw-off…
Last night my new piratey picture book with Gillian Rogerson, You Can’t Scare a Princess! officially set sail from The Princess of Shoreditch in London’s east end. ARRRRR!
Not only was it our book launch party, but it was also International Talk Like a Pirate Day!
And here’s the fabulous Scholastic Princess and Pirate Team that makes all things happen! From the left, that’s publicists Catherine Alport, Alexandra Sedgwick, me, finance wizard Alyx Price, Gillian, editor Fiz Osborne, our editor Ellie Parkin and designer Zoe Waring. Thanks for all your hard work everyone! They really pulled out all the stops for this party, Gillian and I were totally gobsmacked.
Scholastic’s Publishing Director Lisa Edwards gave a great speech and surprised us by telling us that the first book, You Can’t Eat a Princess! has sold over 30,000 copies in the UK, and even though the new book just came out three weeks ago, it’s already sold over 10,000 copies! And lots of people have been downloading the free pirate activity sheets off my website, I hope I’ll get to see some of the pirates and treasure maps people have been creating!
Gillian gave us a pirate category, and we had three minutes to see what kind of high-speed drawing we could bash out. Here’s Gary’s entry for ‘Zombie Pirate’.
Gary, Philip and I did a few rounds, then other illustrators in the room swung into action! Here are all our shipmates who wielded deadly pens. From the left, Philip, me, my studio mate Ellen Lindner, DFC colleague Woodrow Phoenix, cartoonist and fellow Society of Authors member Ros Asquith, David O’Connell, Alexis Deacon, Gary and Alex Milway.
Here’s Philip’s Zombie Pirate…
…Ros’s ‘Pirate Dinosaur’…
…and Alexis drew a Pirate Dinosaur, too!
Woodrow’s getting started here on his ‘Hairiest Pirate’.
Scholastic provided lots of props, including princess tiaras and pirate hats, but some people brought bits and bobs of their own costumes. Thanks very much to writer Geraldine McCaughrean for lending me her fabulous Captain Hook hat! It’s from the events she does for her official sequel to Peter Pan, Peter Pan in Scarlet. And Alex Milway brought along a fab pirate beard!
Of course, we all had to try on the beard. Here’s my husband Stuart looking ever so… hairy.
Everyone looks better in a pirate hat.
Although the hat-beard combo can be a bit overwhelming…
Here’s my most excellent Monsterville team from East London’s Discover centre! Here we have Eleanor Butler, Paul Callaghan, Racheal Brasier and Sally Goldsworthy. (Do go visit the Monsterville monster village if you haven’t already!)
You can just see Dave’s ‘Hairiest Pirate’ over Catherine’s shoulder, then there’s publisher Alison Green (who runs her own imprint at Scholastic) and writer Candy Gourlay (author of Tall Story). I spent a couple of hours last month interviewing Alison for Ireland’s Inis Magazine, so that will come out in the next issue. She told me so many amazing things that Inis let me have about 2,000 more words than they originally commissioned so we could include more cool stuff.
Here’s Dylan Calder, the lovely chappie who runs London’s Pop-Up Festival. (See my earlier blog post about it here.)
On the right, that’s our fab designer, Zoe. We went through three editors on this book (baby-making is contagious in the children’s book world), but Zoe was my solid anchor through it all. I was really having to work fast by the end of the book and she came up with a better back cover design that I did, for which I was immensely grateful.
Here’s Philip with Caroline Horn from The Bookseller magazine. (If you’re at The Bookseller Children’s Conference on 29 Sept, you’ll hear me speak about social media. Details here.) And to her right is Ann Lazim, one of the key people organising next year’s big conference of the International Board of Books for Young People (IBBY).
Thanks for coming along, Sainbury’s children’s book buyer Mavis Sarfo and Toni Pelari, Rights & Sales Director at Scholastic.
My graffiti knitting studio mate Lauren O’Farrell with full-time book world partygoers David and Jenny Blanch from Carousel magazine and Martin and Sinead Kromer from the Federation of Children’s Book Groups.
Always great to see Lucy Simmonds (left), who’s assistant to my agent Jodie Marsh (right).
Illustrator Heather Kilgour, editor Bridget Hannigan, Alexis and Ellen:
And Anna Mondo getting mauled by the pirate hordes.
Thanks so much to Gillian for her marvelous text, to Scholastic for their hard work and for throwing such a brilliant launch party, to our pirate artists, and to everyone who came along for being so much fun!
(And do be sure to steer your pirate galleon along the shores of the You Can’t Scare a Princess! website!)