• Kieshia Chun

I won an award!

Saturday 20th February 2021

I'm a little late with the announcement, and a little shy to shout from the rooftops (but I wanted to), but on 20th February, I was awarded a Red Ribbon from the Wishing Shelf Awards for my book, Peter the Picky Polar Bear! This award is given as recognition that it was very much enjoyed by the readers. I'm very proud of this, because Peter is my debut published book, and I put my heart and soul into making sure it was exactly how I wanted it. Of course, I wanted my children, who I dedicate my everything to, but it's equally important to me that other children enjoy my stories too.

Peter the Picky Polar Bear began as a short story in the notes on my phone, after the idea came to me one afternoon, whilst I was out eating with my family. My son (couldn't tell you which one!) was complaining that he didn't like an item of food on his plate, despite having never tried it before, and so the story was born. I'm convinced that he was just more interested in playing in the soft play area, but nevertheless, this was his excuse, and it sparked inspiration so I ran with it. The entire process was so organic, I started writing and didn't stop until I'd finished. Don't get me wrong, not all of my stories are that simple to write, but this one seemed meant to be, as it were.

Once finished, my story sat on my phone for several years, where I read it to my children before bed, until I finally transferred it to my laptop, and shared it with a few friends and members of my family. Further years later, I spoke to my now publisher about the possibility of making it a book, but the idea of it all felt so overwhelmingly terrifying, that I waited years more before actually doing anything about it. So many questions; where do I start? I can't draw, so how do I make it a book with illustrations? How do I afford it? What if people don't like it? The list was endless, and Blue Falcon Publishing were so amazing at putting many of my worries to rest, yet still my fears got the better of me, along with marital problems that resulted in me needing to focus on myself and my children.

Finally, for whatever reason, the universe perhaps, I felt that the time was right and I was in a position to take my story to the next level and found my wonderful illustrator, Charlotte Watkins. From this point, everything seemed to slot into place and snowball. Blue Falcon took the reins and guided me so very well through the process of publishing my first book, and everyone worked very well together. My book was published in December 2020, and continues to find new homes on children's bookshelves.

I would say, that in hind sight, I should've begun marketing much earlier, but I really had no clue what I was doing, having never released a book before, nor been a member of any author pages or groups. Since releasing Peter, I've found an entire community that I feel I belong to and the imposter syndrome is slowly decreasing (not on the novel front, which is a working progress), I only wish I 'd found these other wonderful authors sooner.

#publishing #writing #lessons

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