[Image description: Cover image of the upcoming middle grade title, Princess Dangerous by Alan Grant and Abby Gray.] Image by Shalla Gray.

When I first started my placement with the independent children’s publisher Curly Tale, I was hoping to learn more about the publishing industry, and while I assumed it would all be quite light-hearted and fun, I was fully prepared to want to go into adult fiction and didn’t expect this placement to change that. 

One of the first things my publishing host Shalla asked me to do was go through submissions. Each week she’d send me a few which we would then go on to discuss in great detail the strengths and weaknesses of, and whether they would be suitable for Curly Tale. 

We discussed the merits of fairies, dinosaurs, unicorns, and dragons. I’d never given much thought to the authenticity of a dinosaur’s voice, but I found that I had lots of opinions about it. 

It got me thinking about my own journey with reading. When I was in primary school, you couldn’t have paid me to read. I rebelled against Storytime, and the only book I wanted to read was The Wind in the Willows, much to my mum’s annoyance. One of the first books that really got me interested in reading was The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton. I loved the magic and adventure, and the way it transported me somewhere else. I would’ve given anything to visit the Land of Enchantment or the Land of Treats. 

My dad also used to read my brother and I The Hobbit before we went to bed, something which has led us to a lifelong love of fantasy books. Reflecting on my own experience with books made me fully appreciate that many children, much like myself, begin to love reading when they find that one book that really speaks to them. 

This was my favourite part of the placement; being a part of the conversations behind the stories that make it to publication. The fact that the books we were discussing could one day make it into the hands of a child who falls in love with the characters or the world they live in. It was a really fantastic feeling.

This is particularly relevant when talking about Curly Tale’s upcoming book release for their middle grade book, Princess Dangerous. The idea for the book was born out of the famous comic book writer Alan Grant’s stories that he used to tell his grandchildren. It came from the fact that he didn’t see a lot of influential female role models in the books he was reading to his children. Alan decided to write his own story and to include a female protagonist who was brave, independent, and amazing at kicking bad guys to the curb. 

As part of my internship, I am working on the marketing plan for Princess Dangerous. This has involved coming up with a timeline of events to market the book, social media content, researching marketing campaigns, and watching hours of book trailers on YouTube (not bad for a Wednesday afternoon). 

It’s been so exciting working on this live book launch, and I am looking forward to seeing the story and message of Princess Dangerous being passed on to lots of families, just as Alan first told it to his.

Princess Dangerous is available for pre-order now on the Curly Tale website.