It’s taken a while to learn how to build a digital publication, longer than I thought, but it’s finally done. It will be available throughout January on the iBookstore, Amazon and on Issuu.
If you don’t know, Chicken Newspaper is a unique way to bring current affairs into the primary school classroom because it’s written and designed especially for them.
It is available in print and now digital three times a year.
I started the project because there are many stories that are good, but not books. They are more about how life is, or about what is happening elsewhere right now. These are the kind of stories that parents might discuss with children on the way to school, or that children might overhear, or they might be news stories that need further explaining.
We’ve managed to see pit free for schools for the last four years, but the realities of publishing means that is about to change. Still, subscription isn’t expensive (from £7.95 a year, which is roughly $10.00). ITs been an exciting and fulfilling project so far!
This phrase is essential of you are travelling to or living in a West Indian neighbourhood .(that’s ‘neighorhood’ to all the Americans in the house). It means, ‘What’s going on?’ in the Marvin Gaye sense.
It has a few versions, namely Wa’ Gwaan, ‘Wa’pn’, and can be used in many situations. like the one illustrated below;
At the African Carribean market when buying your weekly supply of yams,
It was great to be entertaining children this weekend. Exhausting (felt that afterwards) but really, really enjoyable. Our next event is in July in London. It promises to be bigger and better, but it will have a hard time toping this one! We had Sarwat Chadda and Zena Edwards, Julia Golding, Ed Vere with a Jazz band, Sylvia Cohen, Manja Stojic, Chris Mould and his Emporium, Jane Ray, James Mayhew, Sarah Dyer, Storyteller Rich Sylvester, Kayo Chingonyi and Usifu Jalloh. In short there was something for all age groups. Plus we had fantastic sets built by the Royal opera hOuse and its amazing team of local volunteers.
May 3 is the second Pop Up Festival. This time it’s in Purfleet, Essex. Here’s a layout of the venue, and the schedule for the day. The exciting line up includes Jane Ray, Sarwat Chadda, Julia Golding, Kayo Chingonyi, Sita Bamchari, Ed Vere, Chris Mould, Jane Ray, James Mayhew, Sarah Dyer, Rich Mayhew and yours truly.
What a short month it has been! It’s been a few weeks of behind the scenes work: So I have a newspaper to publish, what about getting people to see it, whose going to pay for the thing, how any people do we need to keep it alive? Note all who are thinking of producing something for an audience. The idea is the easiest part!
This month we set up:
Payment systems for the coming chicken website
Finalised paper stock and tabloid size
Narrowed down the printer to a choice of two
Held a meeting with someone who will hopefully be the print and production manager
Set up a schedule of social media activity to promote chicken!
Networked like crazy after learning to tell the story of chicken in less than two minutes
Spoke with the first of the sponsors, who asked for more information, so…
Prepared further information for potential sponsors to make it easier of them to decide to do it
Prepared the first draft of the next issue
I think that’s about it… So far. We want this to work and for as long as possible. Back to the creative stuff for a few weeks. I’m thinking f a fresh way to describe the readers and users of the publication:
Toddlers = eggs
Children = chicken
Grown ups = hens and roosters
It’s been an incredible few months.I’ve been slowly and steadily heading back to doing books full-time and it hasn’t been easy at all.
The plan was to return to the days when there were only books and book ideas on my work list. I have a couple of titles to try as ebooks and started planning for the Bologna Book Fair 2014.
But the idea of becoming a book publisher and a micro sized book publisher at that, worried me. That hasn’t gone away. It may be my vocation, but it’s still business, right? All that lies before me is an incredible schedule of trying to get the titles noticed, paying for a print run and then worrying about when (if) it will make the invested money back. It ooh several more weeks looking at numbers trying to find another way to minimise the risk. With th sol school publishing knowledge I have, it feels like the path gets narrower the further down it one travels. And its great like that; you might brush against a revolutionary new idea and succeed. But you might also brush against something disastrous.
The past few years I have started to value community. These are the people that we can all count on, in however small way. Your neighbourhood, your family, your friends around the world are all incredibly important. I struggled to tell these stories in book form for children. Its better when they are experienced in a different way, somehow. I’ve also been designing and editing newspapers and magazines so have been aware of the many ways to tell a story.
All this preamble is a fitting introduction to the subject of this post. I think I’ve cracked it; the other way to tell stories and still get everything I want!
It won’t be available everywhere. It starts in my neighbourhood early next year. It’s a quarterly. It involves its audience and their grown ups. It brings children’s content to the fore, not just children’s books and I think it’s the closes thing to a physical blog that have ever worked on. If it works, then it will grow and spread. Time will tell.