Tag Archives: Floris Books

10 Ways To Get A Great Publishing Deal ;)

Hobnob With Celebs: Remember that celebrity author you bumped into once at Waitrose/Aldi? (They probably won’t remember you.) Simply stand in the same spot and hope that lightning strikes twice. If it does – hand over your manuscript and wait for their agent to call.

Milk Your Contacts: Ask your best mate’s friend’s aunt’s mother’s cousin’s sister in law who knows someone who works in publishing…to ask her best mate’s friend’s aunt’s mother’s cousin’s sister in law if she would ask someone who works in publishing to publish your book.

How to get a publishing deal

Do Something Unusual: Go around the world on a unicycle while Juggling scorpions.* You’ll probably fall off & require medical attention – which will get you media attention…a book deal, 2 minutes on Oprah, etc.

Do Something Dull: Some YouTubers simply unwrap stuff and get millions of online visitors. Why not fix a camera above your desk and let people see every word as you write it. You’ll be amazed at how folk will love watching you write. And love commenting about your grammar and punctuation.

Get A Pal To Nominate You For ‘The Nobel Prize In Literature’ [In The Hope It Will Get You Noticed]: According to Wikipedia, ‘Each year the Swedish Academy sends out requests for nominations of candidates for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Members of the Academy, members of literature academies and societies, professors of literature and language, former Nobel literature laureates, and the presidents of writers’ organizations are all allowed to nominate a candidate. However, it is not permitted to nominate oneself.’

Marry Into The Royal Family: Then write tales about a helicopter.

Become Famous: To get a great publishing deal, make sure you first get a gold at an Olympic sport. Or present on national TV, play football for a major club. Or sing in a band…

Streak At A High Profile Sporting Event [With Your First Chapter Tattooed On Your Bottom]:  How much you’ll get noticed really depends on the size of your bum.

Go Small:  Write your book on a pinhead and get it into the Guinness Book of World Records.

Send a publisher a big dollop of Porridge: A quirky Scottish cat who once fell in a tin of tartan paint. Hang on, I’ve just done that. Better try one of the other suggestions…

Click the link if you wish to have a peek at or download Loch Ness Mess

*NO SCORPIONS WERE HURT IN THE MAKING OF THIS BLOG POST

Beat Writers Block

Writer’s Block strikes all of us at some time or other so maybe Writers’ Block is a more accurate description?

Here are some ways you might beat the block!

alan dapre,writers block,lightbulb,solve.Open a drawer and pull out a random object and write about that in a style of your choosing. Breathless Mills & Boon prose about a stapler anyone?

Write a list of things you dislike about your main character. Then generate some positives to add balance.

Get away from the typewriter and use a pencil and some sticky note pads. Stick ideas into a small notebook. You can always remove the rubbish ones into the rubbish bin  the next day.

Sniff the way forward by imagining what the location of your story smells like. Throw in unusual scents to generate a sense of place.

Give characters and places a potted history – no more than a paragraph written on the fly.

Ask a question – ‘Why?’ and try to think of a situation that gives you an answer.

Write a verb and get the computer synonym maker to chuck new words out at you – a different or unfamiliar word may get the character talking or acting in a different style.

Turn on the TV and grab a headline (one that is positive) and think about your characters and how they would react to it.

Write a note for your character – the sort you’d find left on a fridge.

Revisit first lines from books in your house – and play with them.

Time yourself and try to write 200 words in 10 minutes – anything.

Think about what your character most needs at the moment. Then try to get it down, jousting its needs with other key characters.

Flip the issue over if it’s a problem that’s stumping you, e.g., if a character is too dull then try to make them too interesting  – by going Over The Top!

Nick ideas from friends & family either by telling them you’re stuck, or by eavesdropping on their conversations. Amazing what you can pick up and play with – just don’t use real names when it comes to publication.

Use rhyme – forcing yourself to think of simple rhythmic sentences. Often, a narrative will come.

The idea here is to just get something down … to clear the blockage. If one thing doesn’t work, try another. And if that does not work then, er, do a blog … Works for me!

Think up dramatic, funny, quirky opening lines – and really play with the scene, character or place – pushing them as far as you can. This will lead you into areas that you would not normally go. If you struggle with this then play with the last line. Apparently J.K. Rowling had the last line of her last book ready before she finished the first book. I tend to think about how the action might wind up and conclude – so writing a final line seems to make things more concrete. It always helps me to know where I’m heading narratively.

Wander around the house picking up props – which can easily become prompts for new ideas. Maybe you’ve a figurine from Africa that sparks off a story set there … ?

Get in the car, or put on your boots, and take a journey – heading for an unfamiliar place, object, house – whatever – as long as you examine your feelings when you arrive there. Being in a fresh environment can conjure up vivid new ideas and thoughts that you can mull over on the way back.

Start with the word ‘I’ … and add an action to it – such as ‘jump’ – and then see where it leads – off a cliff – down a hole – who cares as long as you’re writing …

Begin with ‘What If …’ and say aloud something outlandish or mundane. Let the ideas follow on from each other. Maybe it’ll help to dictate to your computer, or chat to the dog? Just getting words out and hearing them gives you ideas a reality that might spur you on imaginatively.

These are just a few writing tips that have worked for me. Hopefully the few minutes spent reading them has got your brain juices flowing … I will add more the next time I’m hit by a wall of my Writer’s blocks.

Alan Dapré is a published children’s author living near Glasgow in Scotland. His latest series is Porridge The Tartan Cat. Packed with hilarious twists and fun wordplay, all with a cat’s-eye view of a zany Scottish family. 

Wee Write! 2017 – Alan Dapre

wee write 2017 alan dapre
Back in 2015, I met the organiser of Wee Write! at an event where new books from Floris were being showcased. It seemed quite surreal to be chatting about half a dozen books I had not yet written. At that time, I was working on my first title – ‘Porridge the Tartan Cat and the Brawsome Bagpipes’ – and creating the style for the series.

Brawsome Bagpipes, alan dapre, author, scotland, floris books, childrens books, humour

The six Porridge books can be read in any order, as they feature recurring characters but stand-alone plots.

Just before the first two books were launched (Feb 2017) I was invited to take part in the Wee Write! schools programme. A great idea that brings schools into the Mitchell Library in Glasgow. It costs schools nothing and the children get lots from the experience. A morning – or afternoon – off school to watch authors and, in my case, engage in some silly wordplay and enjoy plenty of interaction. Yes, if you come to my event then be prepared to volunteer.

Nearly 180 pupils, teachers and helpers filled a large space inside the library, overlooked by big windows and curious office workers. Helped by Janette (an experienced  librarian) and knowledgeable technical staff, I was able to prepare my presentation and props in no time at all. The worst bit was hanging around the back of the projector while I was being introduced. As ever, I couldn’t resist a bit of silly shadow hand puppetry and that got the kids laughing.

wee write book festival 2017 Alan Dapre author

The stage was set for me to start. I was soon chatting about how my Porridge books came about. I then gave the children wee snippets about characters – aided by Yuliya Simona’s brawsome illustrations – and introduced Porridge (in soft toy form).

Porridge the tartan cat, porridge, tartan cat, alan dapre, dapre, toy, plush porridge, Floris,

Plenty of noisy fun ensued with fast-paced tongue-twisters,

alan dapre tongue twister brawsome bagpipes porridge the tartan cat

and kids running about the stage sorting out muddled-up words. A lot of Porridgy goodness was somehow spooned into one hour. At one point, we created our own crazy competitions – aiming to be as daft as Gadget Grandad’s Scottish Shed Racing Championships. There was also a lively joining-in session where children danced around and mimed tapping along to a noisy tripe writer. Next we explored together facts that sound like a load of old (typed) tripe but are actually true!

floris, tripewriter, alan dapre, porridge the tartan cat,

The hour flew by and everyone was hoarse and happy by the time my event ended. A short Q & A brought out some very good questions. “What’s my favourite book?” I was asked. I replied that it’s any book that’s being read. Books are meant to be read, to stimulate and engage.

Judging from the reaction of staff and the kind comments afterward, the children went away motivated and excited. If libraries and authors can get children enthused by the written word then we are all onto a winner.

porridge, language, made up, tartan cat, alan dapre, me-wow, mewow, cat talk,

 

Wee Write! is in someways an off-shoot of Aye Write! but it has its own special atmosphere. It offers a wee glimpse of the magic of books – and writing – to any kids (young or old) lucky enough to attend.

I loved it. Good job too because I did it all again that afternoon.

brawsome bagpipes, bashcrashding,alan dapre, dapre, porridge the tartan cat, tartan cat, floris

Porridge The Tartan Cat Series – launching Feb 2017

I know I really should have been blogging this year but most of my time has been spent writing an exciting new 6 book series for Floris Books, a large publisher based in Scotland.

The Series: 
Each story stars a member of the McFun family. Gadget Grandad, Groovy Gran, Mini Mum, Dino Dad, Roaring Ross and Invisible Sister. Nothing is ever what it seems in this fantastic family. Everyone has a surprising secret – and a knack of getting into trouble. Luckily, Porridge is around to lend a helping paw and save the day. All it takes is courage and a box of brain-boosting Fishy Biscuits.

The first two books come out in February 2017. Here’s the cover for:

“Porridge The Tartan Cat and the Brawsome Bagpipes”

It’s brilliantly illustrated by Yuliya Somina, who has illustrated for Bill Bryson’s bestseller ‘A Really Short History Of Nearly Everything’.

porridge-1-cover

That’s the cover. Here’s a quick summary of the story:

Gadget Grandad does nothing on Sundays. Me-yawn. However, Porridge and the McFun twins soon discover he spends the rest of the week doing incredible things – like Walter ski-ing with a shark called Walter, or catching sneaky Scotch Pies (spies). All the while, mouldy old Fergus McFungus is stealing ingredients to cook up a secret secret recipe for disaster. Can anyone (anycat) stop him from destroying the world and volcanoes and fishy biscuits and elephants!”

***

The other book being launched is:

“Porridge The Tartan Cat and the Bash-Crash-Ding”

Here’s what it’s about:

Groovy Gran was once in a band called The Tattie Scones, but it split in mysterious circumstances many years ago. Porridge, the twins and Groovy Gran go on a mission to reunite the band members and put on a special one-off Big Gig. Unfortunately the dastardly Dug o Doom is on the prowl, trying to thwart their every move. Porridge is determined to save the day – and the show. Claws-crossed it will end with a fantastic Bash-Crash-Ding!

 

porridge-2-cover

 

I’ve seen the illustrations so far and they look very impressive. Energetic, fun and just right to capture the imagination of 6 to 8 year old readers. That said, there is enough word-play and imaginative quirkiness for grown-ups to enjoy too.

Well, I’d better crack on. More stories to write. I’ll post more thoughts and exciting news later.

Catch me on Twitter: Alan Dapre On Twitter

or Facebook: Alan Dapre on Facebook

 

Launch of the ‘Young Kelpies’ range of new books. Mine included.

I was delighted to be invited to attend the launch of the new Young Kelpies range. It features four series from exciting authors. ‘Axe throwing’, ‘goal scoring’, ‘mysterious’ and ‘adventurous’ are the key words for each series.

Mine is the adventurous one…with lots of gags, wordplay and exciting action.

Each brilliant series has six books and is written for children aged six to eight. If you want funny and engaging stories then Young Kelpies will do the business for you.

The launch was a light hearted affair where each author read an extract in front of the great and the good from the publishing trade. I was on last and could see how well the other authors were being received.

I ate a bacon buttie and threw myself into my performance.

Alan Dapre Porridge The Tartan Cat

Alan Dapre reads an extract from his Porridge The Tartan Cat Series

There was certainly a lot of interest for my Porridge The Tartan Cat series.

When Porridge was wee he fell into a tin of tartan paint. A tin of tartan paint. Not easy to say or do. Porridge loves sharing tales about the McFun family. He has even cat-a-logged all their funny adventures. Six books coming out in 2017.

Can’t wait. Guess I’ll have to 🙂

More info on my books and lots of others can be found on twitter #discoverkelpies