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  • Writer's pictureAndy Shepherd

It Takes a Village

Updated: Jun 21, 2018

What’s that old saying, ‘It takes a village to raise a child'. Well, the same could be said about raising a book and getting it out into the world!

It’s a good job there are three books coming out in the series, otherwise the acknowledgements might have taken up as many pages as the actual story!

I won’t go into the details of all those thank-yous here – they will come out in good time with the books.

But I did want to share a few extra things that have helped along the way, to show what an amazing village I am part of.

First off there are my two lovely boys. I came into my eldest’s room one Saturday morning to find the two of them tucked up in bed drawing. (Which given the alternative of shouting at each other is in itself worth celebrating!)

My eldest son had drawn the outline of a dragon and my younger son decided to fill in all the scales and colour it in. It was such a fabulous picture and the fact they had both been a part of creating it just made it even more special. The little dragon has become my personal dragon (Glint) and he now pops up all over the place. So thank you boys for giving me my dragon.

My super clever friend Vik at Maekandoo has even embroidered him onto a kindle rest for me.

I’ve also had him printed onto a bag for school visits.

And here he is on a stamp made by The English Stamp Company, to use at book signings.

And even more exciting, now Vik (Maekandoo) has brought Glint to life –

he proved a huge hit at my first ever festival workshop at Linton Bookfest!

I also have this wonderful felt dragon fruit to take to events made by another friend’s mum. We had great fun using it to hatch and introduce our dragons at the end of my workshop at Linton.

Each piece of felt for this fruit was lovingly hand made.

As you can see you have to have nerves of steel to work with felt – this is the size of the dragon fruit before shrinking!

Piccadilly Press created an amazing trailer for the book, but they needed some music. I mentioned that I had a friend who was a musician and thanks to Dan we now have a specially composed piece of ukulele music to go with the trailer.

And this is where being married to a sound engineer pays off - it was even mixed and had sound effects added by Ian.

There was also the serious learning curve I faced on how to design and set up a website – and here I need to give a huge thanks to our in-house (literally in our house) web designer. Having set up his own website and business several years ago, Ian definitely had the right brains to pick.

And I also cashed in on all my teacher friends on and off line- offering countless cups of tea while discussing what works and doesn’t work in school visits and for teaching resources.

And of course there is the tribe of writers I’ve met on line and in person who share their experiences honestly and are so generous with their advice. Because they don’t mind sharing the downs as well as the ups, anyone following on behind can scribble notes!

And then came the launch.

Hey Dad, fancy making something for my launch event? With 40 years of panto scenery making and special effects under his belt I knew he’d be the man for the job. Here we have my very own dragon fruit tree complete with his own designed and hand sawn dragons for everyone to colour in and stick on!

And of course Nana stepped up with her jammy tarts to fuel everyone. I wonder where my inspiration for Tomas’ grandparents comes from…

There are so many things I hadn’t realized would be part of being a writer.

· getting more tech savvy in order to set up and maintain a website,

· learning how to market your book (and yourself),

· finding, organising and then running events,

· taking a good head shot,

· creating resources for schools,

· sourcing and/or making props,

· filming and editing videos

At first I have to admit it did feel quite overwhelming. But I also quite like that it has made me tackle so many new things. It’s also made me realize how many talented people I know and how generous they are with their support. So thank you and if I don’t mention you personally in the acknowledgements, please know your help has been HUGELY important – and appreciated!

My advice is look to your village, you’re going to need them!

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