Sshh... don't tell.

I’ve been distracted this week by preparations for youngest daughter’s 18th birthday – cooking acres of lasagne and slabs of chocolate cake while devising ingenious ways to get people to mix at the party. I’m also staring defiantly at two end of the month work deadlines and being firm about the fact that Monday and Tuesday are still April. So broadcasting Words & Pictures hasn’t received as much of my attention as it should.

sshh, 'don’t tell anyone’

Consequently, I was delighted when Candy, drew my attention to an article on Linkedin on 'how to go viral'. It suggests that the secret is ssssshhh 'don’t tell anyone’. Give people the ‘social currency’ of making them think they’re part of an exclusive group that knows this amazing thing - like a bar hidden inside a hot dog restaurant in New York. Or, let them share in an emotional life changing experience, like Susan Boyle’s first appearance on Britain’s Got Talent, for example, or indeed, Bryony's post the other week, and word of mouth will do all the hard work for you. Nicky, in her excellent marketing feature this week, agrees.

'Word of mouth', of course, only works if you have something worth talking about, if it’s remarkable in some way and sometimes, remarkable is really bad. I’m sure we can think of examples of 'really bad' that don’t need any more exposure. Remarkable, however, can also be surprising; the kind of thing that as children, would have made us whisper to our friends in the playground “you’ll never guess what…” Susan Boyle’s debut was definitely surprising.

Youngest daughter, she say no.
As children’s book creators we’re after really good, even surprisingly good, so good that children and young people will go on and on to their friends about our book and perhaps more importantly to their parents for money to buy it. Barry Cunningham, in his top tips for writing great children’s fiction says that children are not the best at giving feedback he says 'they’ll love your book, whatever it is'. He hasn’t met youngest daughter, now frighteningly adult.

This week, I loved Layn Marlow’s ‘slow evolution’ to published author/illustrator. Her banner image is sooo sweet, as are all her images – look out for Christmas Tree Bear! We asked publisher Sara O’Connor and she delivered this week, too. I think we’ve only begun to discover how much we don’t know about the publishing process. Send her your questions for next month via or leave her a comment.

I’ve certainly begun to learn from Sheila, just how much I don’t know about social media – I hope Sheila’s posts and Nicky’s marketing expertise are useful for authors and illustrators whose publishers expect them to take on a lot of their own promotion. Click on 'Pulse' in the left hand menu for posts of especial relevance to published authors and illustrators.

I do hope that whatever stage you're at, you find Words & Pictures worth whispering about.

Now, ssshhhh…. next week...

With news, celebrations, and Nick’s blog break, here are the other treats in store:
There’s a new Writing Space from Michelle Newell – look in on Monday to find out whose.
Also on Monday, Nooo! Yes. It's true.... Maureen Lynas has been online dating, SCBWI style.
On Wednesday, Rosie Bird Hawkins has a feature choc-full of ideas on how to discover stories, launching our theme for May – can you guess what that is?
And on Friday, very quietly, it’s episode two of Amanda Lillywite’s wonderful webcomic Duck & Bear.

Pass it on...

Jan Carr

Jan Carr is the editor of Words & Pictures. Her fiction is older middle grade, she blogs occasionally and loves to write in magenta.

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