And so it begins…

Okay… so you all know about the You Choose books I’ve got coming out with Random House Australia this year? Interactive kids’ books where the reader gets to make decisions about how the story progresses — like the old Choose Your Own Adventure novels from the 1980s. The first two don’t come out until May, but promotions have already started. In fact, I spent a good deal of last week on the publicity trail. With several weeks until their release, what was I doing? Well, let me tell you about it.

Firstly there were bookshop visits. The marketing people from Random House took me to meet some booksellers around Melbourne. These booksellers had already ordered copies from the publisher’s catalogue. But the visits were a great way to gauge their reaction to the books and also to check for interest in hosting promotional events once the books hit the shelves.

Then there were a series of teacher/librarian events hosted by bookstores that service schools in their area — Lamont Books in Hallam, The Little Bookroom in Carlton and Book Bonding in Nidrie. Along with other authors and illustrators (Michael Pryor , Tristan Bancks , Belinda Murrell and Serena Geddes ) and Random House marketing people, I had a chance to make a presentation to the attendees. What did I talk about? The potential for using the You Choose books in schools…

  • Good for reluctant readers because individual pathways through the books are relatively short, insuring a sense of achievement for the reader. And as a former reluctant reader, I cannot stress to you how important that sense of achievement is if a student is to transition from reluctant to avid reader.
  • Good for avid readers because of the interactivity and the ability to re-read the book numerous times to discover new pathways, sidetracks and dead ends.
  • Good for classroom reading, as the short pathways allow for a complete story to be told within one period. And the interactivity is a great way to engage the students, perhaps getting them to vote at the end of each section when a choice needs to made.
  • Good for classroom discussion of story structure, showing how the decisions of a character can drastically alter the direction of a story. And this can then be related to the students’ own lives and the choices they make every day. Lots of potential for discussion!
  • Good for classroom discussion of perspective in literature, as the books are written in second-person, addressing the reader directly.

I even managed to tell them about all the Doctor Who references I’ve slipped into each of the books. (Okay… so that was a little off track. But hey, any excuse to talk about Doctor Who.)

I was blown away by the response from the teachers and librarians, as well as the booksellers. They have all been really positive about the books. I’ve been wandering around with a dazed glowy-happy feeling ever since. :-)

But no time to get complacent, as more promotions are in the pipeworks (watch this space for launch announcements). No rest for the wicked!

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