This month has been absolutely manic – “Requires Improvement” that ickle tiny blog born only fourteen short months ago from the ashes of a long and roller coaster-esque teaching career is now getting all grown up and has become a young novel. We’ve developed and learned along the way and we’re now toddling about the place knocking stuff over left right and centre. To say I’m quite a proud Dad right now is a bit of an understatement.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not my favourite child by a long way – the first two (the squishy flesh ones) already bagsied that title a long while back. In the words of the Great General Sir Anthony Cecil Hogmanay Melchett, KCB –

“You know, over these last few years, I’ve come to think of you as a sort of son. Not a favourite son, of course – lord, no! – more a sort of illegitimate backstairs sort of sprog, you know: a sort of spotty squit that nobody really likes. But, nonetheless, still fruit of my overactive loins…”

The bond is that strong.
And now the parenting journey continues in a way that to be quite frank, I hadn’t anticipated. We enter the wonderful world of promotion. It’s what they don’t tell you when you’re getting caught up in the passionate throws of creativity – you have to wipe their nose for years afterwards.
Being a self published work means starting from a zero base with regards to publicity, something which it would appear is quite important when it comes to selling books. Shameless self promotion is the name of the game and it appears that using the sentence “Did I mention I’ve written a book” is now a regular occurrence in my everyday life. Going back to the child rearing analogy, you have to continually feed the thing or it starts getting grumpy and refusing to grow on its own. I have to tell you about my book I’m afraid or it will start screaming and raiding the cupboards.
We’ve had some excellent press coverage along the way – local press have picked up the launch story in the Bury Times for example and there’s feature popping up in Lancashire Living in a few weeks time. I’ve also been able to give an interview to a local award winning Podcast (Best Places & Travel 2015 don’t you know…) This is Rammy. Just like my Mum, I’m keeping the clippings in a scrapbook to show prospective partners in twenty years time.
In short, self publishing has caused me to become one of THOSE parents. The ones who stand at the side of the nursery gates, making a fuss of every minor achievement and then posting it in triplicate on every social media platform known to man. You didn’t know that the book has been mentioned by someone who visited the local library and saw it was on sale? Here is a slideshow to demonstrate…

Paul at Rammy library with his strangely rectangular ‘third child’

And now? Where do we go from here? Well, it’s all about experiences. I’m off to take my new right angled toddler to see the world. We start atNorthern Rocks 2016 in Leeds where Crown House Publishing have agreed to let me tag along beside them and sell the book to unsuspecting teachers who didn’t know they wanted a cloned version of my baby. Then it’s back to Ramsbottom on June 27th for my first ‘author event’ at Rammy Library. This is when people turn up to ask me pertinent questions about my oblong child and my parenting style to date. It’s much the same as a visiting the clinic, checking in with the general public to ensure that I’m doing things properly. (Then I sell them yet more cloned copies of my child).

The event at Ramsbottom library on June 27th

In July I’ll be down at Goldsmith’s in London at a teacher/writers event being run by Michael Rosen, which I am very excited about and seeing as an opportunity to meet other proud Mum’s & Dad’s – all of which will be trying to force each other to say that their own kid is brighter. It’ll be an awful lot of fun.
Being a book parent is a lot of hard work but still immensely rewarding. Rest assured I’ll be continuing to mesmerise you with tales of important milestones of its growth in the future, so if I was you, I’d start getting to know this kid. It’s going to be around for a while.
Take care,
PJ