Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Baby Days (or Daze?)!

It's all been happening again in our family! Here's our gorgeous latest new addition, little Alice Molly, who was born early on Saturday morning:

I can still hardly believe she's here, having (somehow, ridiculously) missed two text messages the previous evening, telling us that she was on her way - and not finding out till the morning that she'd actually arrived! Yes, I seem to be in a daze these days!

Alice is almost exactly six weeks younger than her cousin Caitlin - here's a really nice

pic of both the new mums with their babies.

We're already imagining the fun these little girls are going to have, growing up together, and how much little Noah is going to enjoy bossing them around - especially when his own new brother or sister (due in October) is here too!

I always liked the idea of having a big family ... but the reality was that three children were plenty to cope with! My girls were really lucky to grow up so close together and maybe now we're belatedly getting that big family!

Just so he isn't left out - here's my latest photo of Noah, too - enjoying a snack at his new home, where they'd just moved into.

I told you it was all happening in our family! They've all been so busy, working so hard - I feel tired just thinking about it! We're a very happy Nanny and Granddad.

Friday, 12 August 2011

The Big Red Read

I’ve just found out that one of my books (‘Sweet Nothings’) has been shortlisted for the ‘Big Red Read’ run by Redbridge district libraries as part of the East London Libraries Festival. I’ve never been shortlisted for anything before so it’s quite exciting.

If you feel you'd like vote for the book, please just send an e-mail to:

bigredreadvoting@visionrcl.org.uk - just saying you vote for Sweet Nothings by Sheila Norton.

If you want to see more about the Big Red Read and the other shortlisted books, here’s the website:


Thank you very much!

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Library lendings

I've just found out about something new, and feeling quite excited about it so I thought I'd share it with you! I'm sure you all know about PLR (Public Lending Right) - where authors get paid a few pence every time their books are borrowed from a public library. But did you know there's a new facility on the PLR website where authors can see the statistics for each book, for each edition, for each year and even for each library area? Wow - I was so impressed when I found it, needless to say I've wasted a lot of time looking at it!

It isn't quite as straightforward as it sounds, because PLR is based on a different sample of library areas each year. So, for instance, my own area (Essex) isn't included every year - and I've always assumed that most of my book lendings are from libraries in Essex, because that's where I'm best known. Not that my personal friends run back and forth to the local libraries taking out my books just to boost my income! - but because I do library events and talks in the Essex area, and interviews on local radio and in local papers etc, which I hope all helps to promote the books. So when Essex Libraries aren't included in the PLR sample, I would have expected my payments to be less - but in fact, I'm pleased to say they've been pretty good each year, naturally increasing each time a new book has come out.

Studying the stats on the website last night, I was amazed by the variation in the different library areas. For instance, I seem to do well in Northern Ireland! And in West Sussex. And Lancashire, and sometimes Leicestershire. Each of these areas has sometimes lent out more of my books than Essex. London, Northumbria, Devon and Cornwall are other areas where I've sometimes had a good 'score'.

As I said, I'm afraid I spent far longer than I intended, browsing these stats and wondering about them. I can't help wondering WHY one particular book would do particularly well in Devon, for instance, or why they all seemed to be popular in Northern Ireland and West Sussex! (Thanks, everyone in those areas!). Obviously some library areas must have ordered more copies of one, or all, or my books than other areas did - or they've placed them in more beneficial places on the shelves perhaps! But why? I'd love to know whether there were librarians in some places who just liked my books, or whether it really was that readers in those areas were enjoying them and recommending them to their friends. It's a lovely thought but I bet the answer is more prosaic than that!

It was interesting too, to see how the lendings peaked - usually in the year AFTER publication - and then began to tail off, but the earlier books are still being borrowed. My first book 'The Trouble With Ally' was published in 2003, and was still being borrowed a few hundred times during the last year that figures are available for (2009/10). That's quite reassuring and also confirms what I've always said: that when books are actually out there, being seen, people can choose books they like the look of, read them and hopefully enjoy them. But sadly when they're on sale in the shops it's for such a short time, and unless you're a best-selling author they're often tucked away on the back shelves - so they don't even get seen.

Thank God for PLR - thank God for the library service and readers who borrow from libraries!
If you're a published author pop over to the PLR website now and have a look at your stats. And if you work in a library maybe you can help to explain those variations to us!

Monday, 1 August 2011

Competition Winner!

Just to let you know that the draw has now been made, for the competition on my website to win a signed book - and the winner is Katie Bowles from Staines in Middlesex. Katie has chosen to receive a copy of 'Tales From a Honeymoon Hotel' and says she's looking forward to sitting in the garden reading it in the sunshine. As it's an ideal story for a holiday read, set on the lovely Croatian island of Korcula, I think she's made a good choice!

I had 113 entrants to the competition, and I'm just sorry everybody couldn't have been a winner. But thank you to everyone who entered - or at least, any who may be reading this blog!