Quick Overview of Nosy Crow’s Children’s Writing Conference

master_crow_with_bleed_hi-resI spent yesterday (Saturday 13th Sept) at the 2014 Nosy Crow conference and thought I’d knock together a quick post to serve as a recap for this year’s attendees … and a teaser for next year’s  (note: I was awake for over 20 hours straight yesterday, so you may have to excuse the odd typo here and there!)

What is NCConf?

It’s a one day conference held in London and hosted by children’s book publisher Nosy Crow. It’s currently in its second year. It’s open to everyone but geared towards authors and illustrators who are not yet established. The title of the conference sums it up best: “Everything you wanted to know about children’s publishing but were afraid to ask.” (hashtag #NCConf) [Read more…]

The Making of a Very Cheap & Slightly Rubbish Superhero Costume!

tshirt transfer printer paperAh the joys of having a three year old. This Saturday we will not be sunning ourselves in the garden or enjoying a cheeky half in the pub. No, instead we will be escorting Max to a Superheroes and Princesses party.

Rather than buy an off-the-shelf outfit we thought it would be fun to make something bespoke – a good excuse to buy some transfer paper, a plain white t-shirt and have a go at t-shirt transfers.

Superheroes have to accessorise of course, so in addition to the t-shirt materials we bought an eye mask, ‘superhero bracelets’ (sweat bands) and had a cape made for us (£3!). All that was left was to figure out a superhero name and logo …


The logo was easy – I had an old one sitting around (*cough* check the logo on this site which is meant to represent an open and closed speech mark, but also happens to look like a superhero style letter “S”), and as for the name, well the obvious choice was “Super Max”! Not just because his name is Max, but also because in U.S. parlance a “supermax” is a prison intended to hold the “worst of the worst” – a most suitable moniker for a three year old, don’t you think? 😉

Expand Your Text … To Increase Your Productivity!

For writers: I love my productivity tools, and one I can’t live without is TextExpander – when you see what it can do, you may not be able to live without it either. This particular bit of software is Mac only, but there are various great alternatives available for both Windows and Mac. So what is a text expander and why is it so useful? Well, here are a few examples …  [Read more…]

How To Create 3D Books, Boxes, CDs and Merchandise Mockups For Free

halloween monsters bookHave you ever wanted to create a 3D rendered image of your book cover, like I’ve done here, for use on your website or for use in promotional material?

What about putting your own images on to software boxes, t-shirts, CDs, mugs and so on? [Read more…]

Why I’ve Fallen In Love With Scrivener

A post for fellow writers …
I’ve heard a lot of good things about Scrivener but I wasn’t convinced it would be the right tool for me, particularly as my current project, writing location-based rhymes, seemed like a bit of an odd use-case (note: although my use-case is unusual, the solution is something I believe will be incredibly useful to most of you in the context of your work).

I took the plunge, and I’m delighted to say that Scrivener has been proving phenomenally useful. I only discovered it at the tail end of the writing process, but I can see how incredibly valuable it will be during the upcoming editing phase. One feature in particular stands out for me, Collections, and so I thought I’d write a short post about them, and how they’re helping to ease my workload …


A problem to solve

This year my very first book will be published. It’s a rhyming story for children; Technically it will be my very first 30+ book titles, as there are location-based variations such as “A Halloween Scare in Texas”, “A Halloween Scare in Kentucky”, “A Halloween Scare in Bristol” and so on (I’ll be announcing more details soon on my mailing list if you’re interested).  This format required me to write a core rhyme, and then write a number of bespoke verses for each locale. Here’s an example of the kind of thing I needed to do: [Read more…]