- Vivian Teo
#SupportLocalSG: 10 New Children’s Books by Singapore Authors (published on Sassy Mama Singapore)
Updated: Dec 26, 2020
Here's an article I wrote for Sassy Mama Singapore - 10 new children’s books by Singapore authors - and how it came about.
Published on Sassy Mama Singapore on 13 April 2020: Now’s a more important time than ever to support local businesses. Here’s how to do it while also keeping your kiddos entertained during the circuit breaker: 10 fab new children’s books by Singapore authors. Read the full article at Sassy Mama Singapore.
3 May 2020 - Additional notes from me on writing this article:
This was a really fun piece to write for Sassy Mama Singapore. I love recommending good reads as you would know from my blog and social media posts. But honestly, book review articles can take quite a bit of time and effort to write. For this slideshow article of ten books, I had to find ten good and new (or at least relatively new) books to feature, have a mix of books for different age groups, approach authors/publishers for review copies, read the books, then write the reviews.
I also had a word count constraint of 100 words per book. It's not a lot and I could have written a simple blurb according to the back cover of the book but I think it would add more value if I could write more than just a synopsis. So the challenge of writing this article was really writing what the book is about and then say why someone should read this book in one concise sentence, or two at most.
Though we had the option of using jpeg book cover images, I had opted for bookstagram-style photos in cases where I had hard copies of the book. I knew bookstagram-style photos would mean more effort compared to using jpeg images but I also knew the bookstagram-style pics would turn out really nice on the website. Here are a few I took (there were a few different versions actually, and I let my editor select the ones she thought looked the nicest):
Here's Leila Boukarim's Everyday Ninja:
Don Bosco's The Secret of the Chatter Blocks:
And my book, My BFF is an Alien:
If you thought I had reviewed my own book in the article, nope I didn't. I wrote what the book was about but used a quote from someone who had read the book, so there was no conflict of interest. For a few of the books, I had also asked for quotes from people who had read them to give the reviews more colour. So part of the work in writing this article was also to source for quotes, which took time as well.
When this piece was almost done and due for publishing soon, the Singapore government announced circuit breaker measures. My first thought was that we would have to postpone the article as bookshops were going to be closed, and publicity for new books at this time would be a wasted effort. But my editor pointed out that some bookshops or publishers could still be taking orders, e-books should still be available and publishing the article would be timely given that many parents would be looking for good books for their children who would be staying home for the next month or so.
So I did a round of checking, and despite the initial uncertainty, some bookshops and publishers confirmed that they would be still taking orders online during circuit breaker period and we went ahead and published this.
And on hindsight, I'm really glad we published this. In times when authors can't sell or launch their books at events, I think this is the time when our local businesses like publishers and bookshops, and authors and illustrators really need the publicity for their books, which hopefully would entice potential readers to purchase the books from available online avenues.
I'm bummed that I can't do a book launch for my book and a school assembly talk I was to do got cancelled, but we are all trying out best to market our books through various internet mediums and social media. To me, every bit counts, so this article cannot be better timed.
I won't know how much the article had helped in book sales but I know it did make many people happy. I received so many heartfelt thanks from the authors and publishers whose books we featured and to me, that in itself was worth all the hard work and effort.
Bookshops like Goguru and Woods in the Books, and publishers like Epigram Books are still taking and delivering orders during this circuit measure period. If you have qualms about delivery possibly taking a while, well I bought some from my publisher Epigram Books recently as a gift to a friend for her birthday and was pleasantly surprised when the parcel arrived at her place within a few days of ordering. Books really make excellent gifts now if you know someone whose birthday is coming up soon.
So if you can, do try to purchase books from our local bookshops and publishers. Other than supporting our local businesses and authors, I think we and our kids can all do with more books especially during these times 😊.
©Vivian Teo. All content and photos are copyrighted to Vivian Teo unless otherwise specified.