A slightly different approach…?

As I’ve previously mentioned, I am currently at home looking after the wonderful little pickles that are C and H.  With no family nearby and limited funds, I will struggle to get the Story Seekers baby and toddler classes off the ground prior to H at least starting at pre-school in September 2014.  I know that things change all the time and as-yet-unforeseen opportunities may well arise in the meantime, but that’s what I’m aiming for at the moment.

I’m enjoying being able to use this preparation time to research the premise of Story Seekers in depth and I’m hopeful that the classes will be all the better for it.  I have a huge pile of books and reports waiting to be annotated and covered in pink sticky tabs and that definitely makes me feel excited even now.  I am somewhat of a pessimist at times and occasionally struggle to believe that I’ll EVER make Story Seekers a reality, but my husband quite rightly reminds me that even if it does crash and burn, I’ll still have enjoyed the journey.  He’s right, of course (as I grudgingly acknowledge, though I’m not sure if he hears me over my self-pitying snuffles…).

Anyway, the very same lovely husband and I had a meal out at the weekend (first in aaaaaaages) and I was chatting to him about Story Seekers and how starting this blog and getting some feedback via this, and Twitter, had made me even more determined, when something occurred to me…

Could I do the children’s literature festival part of things first????

I was thinking that organising a local small-scale, pop-up children’s literature festival (probably a two day event, at most) would be an offshoot of Story Seekers, but maybe it could be a way to get Story Seekers started?


– I’m pretty good at events organisation

– It wouldn’t require a regular commitment in terms of childcare – I’m much more likely to be able to organise ad hoc, one-off babysitting slots, plus a lot of the work could be done from home

– It would be a good way to introduce Story Seekers to the local area and to show people that I was passionate about what I was offering

– It might be a good way to work in collaboration with local libraries and other literacy-related organisations

– I like supporting the local area and other small businesses (there would hopefully be ways to involve quite a few of them)


– Not sure I have the network within the children’s literature world to pull it off (this is a BIG con!)

– Not sure how these things are funded and I definitely couldn’t provide any money myself (though could provide a LOT of time, effort and enthusiasm!)

Anyone out there with any thoughts / advice on this, please feel free to comment…!



  1. For starters the pro’s outweight the con’s in number so thats a good start.
    In addition to introducing storyseekers it gives you the opportunity to test out different elements of what you want to do and get feedback directly from potential customers. In doing a festival it also gives you the ability to build up a marketing database of potentially interested people for when you want to go out there and start selling your services, so then from day one you have a list of people who you can let know that there is something they might like to attend (maybe give a free first session or discount to those people!)

    Con’s – They are admittedly big con’s, however, they can be overcome. It terms of funding it probably depends on whats available in your area both in terms of grants etc and also through things like sponsorship. I have looked at this area in a bit of detail and there are lots of possible sources. Sign up to the Funding Central website’s funding notification database thing is a good start, in years gone by public sector funding would have been the logical place to start for this type of thing but probably wise to not put all your eggs in that basket giving the pressure on the public purse now. But there are other more creative alternatives such as crowdfunding through sites like Kickstarter, IndieGogo so you could try and get all technological to get some funding. Unltd fund start up ventures so that could be a way of getting no strings attached funding as they specialise in taking risks on people setting up things of social value.

    In terms of contacts in childrens literature, you are on twitter, might be that is all the start you need. I am quite new on Twitter myself and have already had a twitter chat with Michael Rosen (bows down in hero worship pose!) I have a friend who is totally shameless and puts out requests for help on twitter and often gets the help so maybe being cheeky via twitter is a good way to get started! You will also have built contacts who are not rich famous authors though who are interested in the same things as you so its probably about marshalling those contacts to help.

  2. A lot of food for thought – thank you! I’ll definitely investigate the funding ideas you’ve suggested, it’s an area I know nothing about and having a place to start is therefore invaluable.
    I think you’re right and perhaps I do need to get a bit braver on Twitter and just see what happens. I actually really like the idea of supporting new authors and illustrators anyway (although obviously I wouldn’t say not to any huge stars that offered to come along!) so that could all fit together really well.
    P.S. Hooray for the Michael Rosen chat – he’s a hero of mine as well 🙂

  3. Wendy · · Reply

    Do it!! I teach in Coventry and have a teeny network of friends and colleagues who may be useful so might be able to help or enthuse! Have followed you on twitter so tweet or mail if you need anything. Stories are at the heart of who we are , so you are on to a winner!

  4. Thanks Wendy, I’ll definitely be in touch!

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