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PAM ROYDS 1924 - 2016

Pam Royds on Grasmere , 1971 with Sally Christie, children’s author and daughter of Philippa Pearce. I was just twenty two when I fir...

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My blog is about writing and illustrating children's books which I have been doing since 1974. www.gillianmcclure.com has all my books. I also have another blog: www.paulcoltman.blogspot.com where I publish my father's poems.

Friday, 28 September 2012


When an email came from Companies House inviting me to a free Information Day in my home town, I decided to go because filing company returns and accounts hold the same terrors as submitting VAT and tax returns,with big fines if you muck up.

   The smiling faces of the Companies House staff, offering refreshments on arrival, immediately dispelled all my fears. This is a non-profit making orgsanisation; their prices are coming down this year when everywhere else prices are going up. As for the fines, they don’t go into Companies House coffers but into those of the Treasury. The point of the Information Day was to help new directors avoid giving money to the Treasury and offering some clever tips on avoiding trouble.

  As well as all the practical information, it was an entertaining afternoon too. We all loved hearing about the tricks people get up to when forming a company – like making their dog the director in order to avoid  fines . Or their two-year-old son, arguing, “But that’s all he ever wanted for his birthday – to become a company director!"

    So if you’re an author running a publishing company and get an invitation to go to one of these  Information Days - go.


Tuesday, 18 September 2012


‘Self publishing’ kept cropping up at the CWIG Conference, Joined Up Reading, last weekend.

On Saturday, the tone of the sessions was gloomy.  Everyone knew there were big changes afoot in the publishing industry yet nobody had a clear idea about where it was all leading. As the weekend wore on, I ran across a few less gloomy authors who had embarked on self publishing ventures and others who were thinking about it; getting back the rights of their out-of-print books and then publishing them as e-books on Amazon or spotting a niche market and publishing small print runs of their own physical books.
The self publishing session, run by Susan Price, Martin West and myself, was first thing on Sunday morning and a good number of authors got out of bed for it.

Susan got things going, talking about Do Authors Dream of Electric Books? publishing e-books. She was witty and made people laugh which meant they were a bit more awake when it was my turn to talk about Plaister Press publishing physical picture books and the problems of being so small in an industry geared to big. My only attempt at wit was this drawing of cartons of books left on a palette in a lay-by when the delivery lorry couldn’t get down my street. 
Finally, Martin, being a publisher, gave the audience some salutary advice about venturing into self publishing physical books before introducing his new organisation, Authorisation! which helps authors publishing independently with warehousing, distribution and sales.

The audience looked as though they were starting to feel positive again as they saw a choice of self publishing routes that could lead them out of the gloom.

Then came a surprise; a session on The State of the Industry followed ours and during it Philippa Dickinson, Managing Director of Random House Children’s Books said that she would be venturing into self publishing herself – bringing back into print her father’s books. She’s the daughter of the highly acclaimed children’s author, Peter Dickinson - now in his eighties and with all his books out-of-print. It seemed a paradox that the MD of Random House is moving from big to small and choosing the self publishing route to bring her father’s books back into print.
 There's a full account of the content of this self publishing session on Susan Price's 25 September blog post for  Do Authors Dream of Electric Books? 

Saturday, 8 September 2012


The 5th Pearce Memorial Lecture was held at Homerton College, Cambridge last Thursday and Malorie Blackman was the speaker. The title of her talk was: 21st Century Storytelling: Will the advent of new technology create a paradigm shift in the writing and reading of children's literature?
Here she is with Jill Paton Walsh
 and with Philppa Pearce’s daughter, Sally and grandchildren Nat and Will.

Malorie opened up a big discussion about the merits of both the physical book and the enhanced e-book. I guess that anyone attending this lecture series would be a lover of the physical book but possibly open minded about the merits of interactive links to stories and on-line reviews by young bloggers. So it was good to hear one book form could compliment the other and there would still be a place for the quality book to treasure, touch and hand on down to grandchildren.

It was interesting, also, to hear that Julia Donaldson was against The Gruffalo becoming an e-book.

All the lectures can be downloaded from the website:

The Pearce Lecture

Sunday, 2 September 2012


Well, the coloured typeface in We're Going to build as Dam did all change – for two reasons: coloured font presents problems for overseas translation if it’s part of the colour plate and if it’s going to have to be printed separately then that’s extra cost. The other reason was aesthetic – the black font looks good with the black line. It’s all a bit stronger. Now I have to decide whether the boys voices are going to be differentiated in tones of black – the more emphatic character in bold possibly. However, the more I read the story on its own without pictures, the more I’m in favour of leaving them undifferentiated. They are simply two boys – anonymous.
     The two boys who inspired them both happened to be called Calum – or more often ‘the two Calums’ - as if they were one. Here’s a photo of them having just made their dam on Kiloran beach. On a rare sunny day all those years ago!