Welcome to Debut Diaries—One Year On, where SCBWI-BI members share their highs (hopefully lots of these) and lows (hopefully fewer of these) of the post-publication year.
This month, Tizzie welcomes Yasmin Finch, author of Mr Mustachio, to join her for afternoon tea. 

After a whirlwind post-debut year, it’s a chance for Yasmin to put her feet up and share her insights over a cuppa and some carefully chosen sweet treats, which reflect the mood of the months following life after debut.

August 2016A Viennese whirl – tastes great but doesn’t quite balance on the plate!

Book launch month.


I had no idea what I was doing. It was right in the middle of the school summer holidays so I was juggling p/t work (settling into a new job), my boy bears were off school and roaming the house and we squeezed in a summer holiday too.

I got a bit overwhelmed with it all.

BUT I did my best and used online presence as much as I could to celebrate. I learnt you can actually do a whole lot of social media while camping off-grid in a wood.

We did a big book launch at Cambridge Heffers and I got to meet illustrator Abi Tompkins. That was fantastic and a brilliant way to celebrate.

November 2016: Triple layer unicorn cake — Magical!

SCBWI Conference. I’d settled into my published author vibe now. Phew. And celebrating with my tribe at the conference was THE BEST.

But then my publisher said no to the sequel. Mr Mustachio Hates Wearing Shorts is still waiting on my hard drive.

It was time to get writing something new.

March 2017: Creamy Italian Gelato

Something new turned out to be early readers. And then THE IDEA was born.

Post From Panda.

Early readers sent as a weekly, personalised letter from Panda, via Royal Mail.

It sounded amazing.

And super fun. But could I really pull it off?

Could I write that many? And how would I start a business? And would anyone buy it?

Could the gelato melt away?

July 2017: Perfect finger sandwiches with different tasty fillings 

By July I’d learnt just about everything that you can possibly know about UK phonics and reading schemes (researching skills from my PhD came in handy!) and Panda had a weekly unique, funny and engaging story to help children learn to read.

I reawakened my artistic skills (before the PhD I’d studied art) and used a collage technique with a variety of graphics (appropriately bought) to illustrate the letters.

Post From Panda was launched and we got actual customers! It was amazing.

Since then I’ve been growing Post From Panda and getting back to writing and submitting manuscripts to see about that second book…

My Three Top Tips that you wouldn’t think of:

  • Get a coach. I’m a coach and I get coached in my day job. It was a no-brainer that I needed some support launching Mr Mustachio. Do it. You have no idea how much it will help.
  • Opportunities to get yourself and your book out there will keep coming. It may feel that, if you don’t do everything at once, you’ll miss the opportunity—but they will keep coming. There’s time to feed the cat/children/yourself too.
  • Be ready to answer the same question 1000 times. So, you earn as much as J K Rowling now? Err – not yet. So I can buy it in WH Smiths? Err – that would be lovely but my publisher doesn’t sell to them yet. So when’s your next book out? Err – it’s coming.

As a child Yasmin Finch always was more interested in packing her pile of books for holidays instead of clothes. She finally started writing for children properly after she finished her PhD in theology. 

Her first picture book, Mr Mustachio, was published in 2016. She went on to create Post From Panda to help children learn to read. 

She works part-time for the Church and as a coach. She has two rocket-fuelled boys and owns six acres of woodland. You’ll usually find her there planting Christmas trees and picking sloes.

By day, Tizzie Frankish is a mum to two boisterous boys and a part-time University Tutor; by night, an agented writer who is plagued by her characters. She writes better in her dreams than she does in the cold light of day (thank goodness for edits!) and she’s currently working on a number of Young Fiction stories. Her works are often humorous and more often than not include animals; even if she starts out thinking they won’t. 

Twitter: @tizzief

Website: Tizzie Frankish

Photos from the author.

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