Over the past couple of weeks, I have been involved with a variety of admin tasks across the marketing, editorial, and rights departments at Andersen. Elmer the Patchwork Elephant, the popular children’s book character and a series which shaped my early reading experiences, is published by Andersen Press. It’s coming up to Elmer Day (25th May) and it’s also the 30th anniversary of Elmer so everyone in the office has been busy preparing for it. I have been sending out Party Packs, featuring stickers, colouring pages, and other DIY activities around Elmer, to schools, bookshops and libraries so that they can hold their own events for Elmer Day. The Elmer Day website also includes an event map and a page to upload information about events for people to find.
For the past year, the Emma Press has been working with the Reading Agency to help promote some of our children’s titles, particularly The Dog Who Found Sorrow and the Bicki-Books. We have created activity packs to send to schools and libraries similar to the Elmer Day packs, for reading groups and clubs to run their own sessions focused on the books. This included posters, stickers, and various DIY acitivities. We also have some of our titles featured in their newsletters, social media, and occasionally run giveaways.
Our promotions help us to connect with children in schools and libraries across the UK. It’s always really interesting to see feedback from directly from children (as opposed to adult reviewers), as they are our target audience for these books. It’s also useful for us to see how our translated books are received in the UK. The responses from children are usually very creative and sincere and as the team worked hard on creating the activities, for example, discussion ideas, writing exercises, and origami activities, it’s lovely to see some of the results.
As a smaller publisher, it’s helpful to have the Reading Agency’s network to promote the books. However, I wondered if it would be possible to run a promotion independently, similar to the Elmer Day events. While the Emma Press children’s books don’t have a 30 year legacy (yet), it might be an idea to have a similar promotion (with bookshops and libraries to run their own book events) as a way to introduce our translated children’s list to children in the UK. Generally, the translated books we’ve published are very well-known (and loved) in their original languages and we already run various children’s events, usually with author visits, at bookshops, festivals, and libraries. Particularly with our recent ACE grant to develop our children’s publishing programme and partnerships with local libraries, it might be possible to take this further and be more involved.