Self promotion in your own back yard

Activities & Play, african, design, Events, idea, illustration, Ken Wilson-Max, London, pre school books, publishing

It’s a rainy summer Sunday in London. Another one. I am due to perform at a festival called Zim Arts day, in South East London. Last weekend I performed at the Pop Up Festival of Literature, which was a great success.

I had a chance to watch James Mayhew in action, which was really good. I first met him when I worked at Orchard Books back in the 80’s. I worked on some of his books – his rich, saturated Chagall-like colour stood outing a sea of subtlety.

But I digress. At that time, promotion was a choice. It was not expected of writers and illustrators. It was controlled by the publishers and agents, all comfortable in the knowledge that it wasn’t necessary, really. They knew the prices they were selling the books were not likely to change as the had made agreements with book stores to keep them at a certain level. The Net book agreement is a topic for another post.

Jump to this decade and things are very different. Children’s publishing is a shadow of its former self. Authors and illustrators who don’t promote themselves are forgotten. It is part of the job. The biggest challenge is to wrestle your list of fans and followers away from your publishers and into your own control, if you are published. If you are not, the challenge is to build that community for yourself.

The event today is one of those opportunities. I have books published in 10 languages, from Estonian to Korean, around 60 books sunder my belt and my own countrymen don’t know me or any of this. It will be interesting.


Pop Up Festival of Stories

Activities & Play, idea, illustration, kids, London, North London

The festival should be a lot of fun. If you’re in London with a spare few hours, come along and join in!



idea, Ken Wilson-Max, London


Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.

Winter is here.

african, design, idea, illustration, iPhone illustrations, London, North London

It’s all about warmth and comfort and hibernation. We get t to use most of our clothes and then cover them up with thick, long coats. We go to work in the dark. We get back home in the dark. In England the annual complaint season starts. The authorities know what’s coming ahead but they don’t prepare because , in their view, England doesn’t need all that ‘stuff’ that the rest of Europe has to deal with cold weather…

The problem is, it needs something more than what it has.  Grown up s could take a leaf out of student’s books; they have made their feelings known about the proposed rise in tuition fees. Every single Londoner has come to expect poor service from their council in winter, rather than pressuring them to use the money they collect in taxes to make life better.

Once you have travelled…

design, illustration, iPhone illustrations, Ken Wilson-Max, London

“Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers, that the mind can never break off from the journey”.
Pat ConroyThe Prince of Tides
US novelist (1945 –