As our first three books get ready to say goodbye to us, and rush off to the press, we are filled with the kind of anxieties associated with children leaving home (mine is too small but Anushka has done it a couple of times). So many of our collective hopes and dreams are embedded in the three bundles of annotated proofs which now lie on our desk (we have just one!).
In a few weeks they will be out there: two books for seven to nine year olds and one for young adults. And then they will have to hold their own on the bookshelves, amongst all the other books for children and young adults.
We love our books, but one always wonders if the world at large will share the sentiment. It is impossible for a book to be universally loved—we just hope that they will find themselves the readers who like their particular flavour. It is silly to talk about books which “children will love”, as if children were an amorphous collective identity like mud. I am sure there are some kids out there who also dislike Harry Potter!
And so we wonder how we are going to reach out and find the exact children who are going to love these books. Because we believe that if a few kids or young adults love the books passionately, then they will talk to their friends, and make their friends read the books, and hopefully their friends will get equally inspired and make their friends read the book, and their friends and so on.
We need to reach out and talk to our potential readers—and we are looking for spaces where parents of children of different age groups might cluster. So, despite our fundamentally reclusive tendencies, Anushka and I are trying to Facebook and blog. I am mortally afraid of Twitter—it just seems like too much pressure to perform—so we have not got around to exploring that yet. Because of course as publishers, you have to say things that are sensible or funny or interesting, and not resort to empty verbiage just to fill up space.
And before I reach the empty verbiage stage, I shall end—and go say a few prayers.