Author Interview: Richard Parr
What prompted you to write your book in the first place?
It was never my intention to write a book! The story itself was always in me as it was a real bedtime story I had made up for my 5 year old daughter one bedtime and the story evolved over many nights. Therefore the story has very specific details in it that are special to my daughter and I. After recounting it to various people I was encouraged to put it down “on paper” by my Mother. She noticed the story had lots of early years values and thought it would make an excellent book for pre-school children. As she has worked extensively with this age group and ran Montessori nurseries I felt that this could become something quite special. I would say she was the strongest influence. Also, the thought of wanting to capture a moment in time of my daughters childhood and to share with her for future years was a big pull.
Give us a brief synopsis of your book?
On Katie’s 5th birthday she receives a very special gift from her Nana – The gift, a blanket, takes her on a world of adventure with her trusty sidekick Penny, a well worn but well loved toy dog. Katie is taken to magical lands to solve problems and learns lessons along the way.
Why did you decide to go down the self publishing route?
It became clear after contacting several publishers that very seldom do they take a risk with new Authors. The other alternative would seem to be companies who advertise to “self-publish”, however we know someone personally who has had a very bad experience of using a large, well known, internet based “self publishing” house and were therefore not prepared to risk this project due to the amount of investment both in time and money. Keeping control of the book was key.
What has been the best part of your publishing journey?
There have been many. Ranging from holding the very first printed copy to the first sale to someone we didn’t know. Friends and family have been very supportive but it’s such a special feeling when you know someone has bought your book without our influence. You can’t beat hearing great feedback on the book especially when the journey seems so long.
What has been the worst part of your publishing journey?
Having to finance it ourselves – we’ve had to sacrifice a large amount of income from a one income family to pay for this book.
Would you consider writing another book?
Yes, I am underway with the second one. The story is written and is currently being illustrated, it just needs to go through the editing process and we are hoping to release it in time for Christmas 2012.
What would you have done differently in hindsight?
I would love to have found a local printer for the first book rather than go overseas to reduce costs and by staying local we could have obtained a shorter print run. By going overseas we had to run at a minimum of 1000 copies, which seemed (and sometimes still feels) daunting. However, we have subsequently found a printer based in South Yorkshire for our second book.
What advice would you give a budding author?
Stay true to what it is you want to write and be sure the book on the shelf will be what YOU wrote. Be prepared to invest more of yourself and your money than you might envisage! The price of keeping control of your books destiny does come at a cost, however in the case of my book, the cost of giving it away and losing that control would have been much greater.
Do you feel different in any way now you are an author?
Being a Graphic Designer, there are occasions when I look on a supermarket shelf feel proud to say “I did that” but seeing this book on a shelf and seeing children’s eyes light up in wonder when they hear the story makes me far more proud than anything I have done to date. I guess this is how authors feel when someone tells them they really like their work.
Where can readers purchase your book?
From our website www.magicblankettales.co.uk, Amazon, Hebden Bridge Book Shop, Salts Mill Book shop and at various markets and fairs we attend in Yorkshire.