Children’s Book Readers Wanted!

DiemHow to find that reader/reviewer?

I am constantly looking for readers reviewers, but am I doing enough to find them?

Sometimes I feel that I write to a dozen or so people who appear to want to read and review my books, I send a polite request and then wait … and wait … and … nothing.

Amazon’s policy on reviews has made things a lot harder for some authors and frightened a few people off. I don’t know, but deleting reviews ‘made up’ or written by friends and family, may not be a bad thing? It would be great if the playing field levels out a little – not much, but a little. We will have to wait and see.

To find readers/reviewers, I’ve offered free books, permafree books and giveaways. Money on advertisements, via Amazon, Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter etc., give little results. You can count my mailing list via mailchimp on two pairs of hands. I am not doing very well!

How about companies who follow Amazon’s T&C’s to the letter and send out your adverts/books to thousands of people?

I have studied their costs. I would need a marketing budget of around £5,000 pa to do that sort of promotion on a regular basis. If you’re like me, I want to see £5,000 coming into my bank account, not going out!

I send these companies the same query, and this is it:

I am a children’s author and so my target audience are children. I cannot target children (for obvious reasons). I need to aim my adverts towards parents, grandparents and guardians, can you help me?

The usual answer is ‘no’.

The majority gear up towards targeting adults and adults’ categories, (Horror, Romance, etc).

So how can I reach my audience?

If I knew the answer, I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this;-)

And if you were selling millions of books, you wouldn’t be reading it either, other than to offer a poor writer a hand;-)

I decided it’s a case of rolling my sleeves up and trawling through reviewer lists and bloggers.
I am currently using two lists, one from Melanie Rockett and one from Indieview.
I would like to spend an hour a day on these lists.

Unfortunately, my days are crammed with unexpected happenings. Every minute of every day is different – trust me when I say this – it’s all true! Anyone who knows me or has read my latest book, Jack goes to Hospital, will understand what I mean. My wife and I have just one priority; to care for our poorly grandson above all else.

I have managed to send out requests to 10 readers from Melanie Rockett’s list and another 10 from Indieview. Result = zero. These reviewers/bloggers who offer this free service are already inundated with requests.

I am reading a book at the moment on marketing in 90 days, I will use this guide and the above two blogs and put my results here. The book is 5 Minute Marketing for Authors by Barb Asselin.

If anyone wants to tag along and try out some of these reviewers, by all means, do so. You can then drop me a line and let me know how you’re doing.

And anyone out there reading this blog, we do need your reviews, voluntarily of course!

Please Remember – An author offers a book to a reader without any conditions. The readers DO NOT have to supply a review if they don’t want to!

Later on, if the reader chooses to review the book, in either a negative or positive way, it is of their own volition.

DON’T forget to make a list of who you contacted, there’s nothing worse than asking the same person again. It shows a lack of professionalism. And don’t forget to thank people!

5 Minute Marketing for Authors by Barb Asselin

This is a great little book with plenty of ideas. It’s even got a Marketing Plan template for you to follow so that you don’t forget anything!

5 resources from

That’s about it for now, if you want to add any hints or tips, please do so!


Jack goes to Hospital


Do you think that reading a book can make you mentally and physically stronger?

An interesting question, and one with which some of you will either agree or disagree.


My wife and I look after our grandchildren. We do not ask for payment and neither would we accept any. Two years ago, our eldest grandson Jack, then just four years of age, stopped walking and was unable to stand. Many, many tests later, he was diagnosed with Polyarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. He has suffered operation after operation, visits to Hospital 3 times a week, weekly chemo injections and other painful fortnightly injections.

Over the last 18 months I have worked on the book ‘Jack goes to Hospital’, asking Jack for his thoughts on illustrations and the story. During the first few months, Jack would shy away from the book, his memories of that time still raw.

I completed the book recently and added several Hints and Tips sheets, games and ideas of what parents should take into Hospital to keep their children calm. You see, each time I have been into Hospital with Jack, I have seen anxious looking parents and frustrated, frightened children. Two years down the line and Jack’s parents know exactly what to take with them. Preparation is the key.

Jack has a younger brother, Oliver, who has watched all of this happen over the last two years and it obviously affects him too.

I received the proofs of the book and let Jack and Oliver read through it. Jack and Oliver were actually laughing at certain places through the book.

They each took a book into Primary School. The teachers read it to their classes.

Jack’s teacher wrote a letter thanking me for the book and added Jack was very proud of ‘his book’.

So, two years on, Jack now walks to school with his brother. Jack is strong, confident and Hospital holds no fear for him. Oliver helps out with jack’s weekly injections and is a great lad too.

I personally feel the book has been one of the things that helped in Jack’s tough journey back to mental and physical fitness.

And so as writers, given a ‘gift’ to write, we must remember one important thing.

If we only sell one single book we must not despair, for deep down we know, that one book has given its reader, comfort and enjoyment.

Our purpose to give joy through our writing has been fulfilled.

Jack goes to Hospital can be previewed here

Jack goes to Hospital is available in e-book & paperback.

Just Giving

Anyone who purchases the paperback version of Jack goes to Hospital, £2 from every sale goes to the Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Birmingham, UK, for the Rheumatology and Eye Departments.

Donations can be submitted via the Just Giving link above or simply by purchasing the book from Amazon, the monies will be submitted to Just Giving.




(& what software I use)

People are interested in how I make my picture books, like Animal Alphabet Search, Santa Claus is a ZOMBIE! and My Dinosaur is ALIVE!

I thought I’d put this little book together to show you how I managed to complete my books, and if it helps anyone, great!

I actually started searching for illustrators and these illustrators did some great cover work for me, but when I tried to get costings for covers and 32 colour pictures inside a book, well, you can imagine the costs involved.

I use two pieces of software, Pixelmator (for Mac) & Drag n Drop Illustrator.

The reason I use both will be very clear shortly, but basically if I can’t get everything done in one piece of software I have to use both.

So here goes:

I’m working on a book about my grandson who was diagnosed recently with a terrible disease called Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. It’s been a terrible, frightening struggle for him, his parents and brother, and the rest of the family.

From never going to hospital, he now attends three, sometimes four times a week.

It’s a horrible experience and extremely frightening for adults, never mind a four year old boy.

This is a fresh canvas on Drag n Drop Illustrator:




So, when I’ve found a picture I want to use but it’s not quite ready, I put it into D and D Ilustrator first:


Now I want to change eye colour, hair etc and add background, so I save it as a JPEG in a NEW FOLDER and will then find the image and open it in Preview or in Pixelmator and then highlight and COPY it in order to paste into another canvas on Pixelmator.

REMEMBER – when you open Pixelmator you need to open a NEW document (or canvas) and adjust to your own particular size. I use A4 blank canvas and then paste in the jpeg and I get this:


You can see that the little ‘sizing boxes’ are visible so that you can resize the image to fit in with whatever you need it to.

Now I’m going to do my alterations.

I’ve now got a full-size ‘Jack’ with brown eyes and an X-ray in his hands:


Now I’ll go through the same process to add Doctor and tables etc: but first I’ll go back to Doctor Tickle and remove the white background in Pixelmator:



You can see that the white background has been removed so that the transparent doctor easily goes onto any page in my book.

I found a better female Doctor for my book and found that the above image was ideal as Jack’s mum, so in Pixemator I coloured her coat etc and then after drawing a template that contained two hospital beds in a ward, I began adding the images to it – REMEMBER – always make a DUPLICATE of your work prior to adding characters etc., otherwise you will end up ruining the original and having to start all over again!

So now I have this picture ready with Jack, his Mum:


And then paste in the ‘new’ Doctor:


I then ‘flipped’ the Mum, placed her where the Doctor was, and added his Dad.


So really, that’s about it, you just add or delete what you need using Pixelmator or Drag n’ Drop Illustrator.

Just play around with it, keep copies of your work and enjoy it!

Drag ‘n’ Drop Illustrator link:

Pixelmator (for MAC) can be obtained via


Please note: Should you click through the drag n’ drop link and purchase this product, I will receive a small remuneration ;-)!