Friday, December 16, 2005

Libby Rees: Help, Hope and Happiness

A couple of days ago, a sharp-eyed reader called David Jones wrote to ask whether I'd seen the press reports about the latest book published by the Aultbea stable. And I hadn't, so I went a-looking.

Well, without too much trouble I found lots of publicity for 10-year-old Libby Rees, who has written a book called Help, Hope and Happiness. It's a guide to help other kids to survive their parents' divorce. Lots of UK papers carried the story earlier this week -- e.g. the Telegraph, the Guardian, and the Mirror. And, for all I know, a dozen others.

This morning, however, came the icing on the cake. Young Libby gets a two-inch banner on the front page of the main section of the Times, pointing to a story inside. And in the Times 2 section, Libby's portrait takes up the whole of the front page, while on the inside there is a two-page interview with Penny Wark, plus extract.

Well, stap me vitals. Whatever else may be said about Charles Faulkner, head of Aultbea, you have to admit that he has some formidable skills when it comes to getting free publicity for his young authors. Whether he has the sales team and the distribution channels to be able to take full advantage of it remains to be seen.

In the meantime Charles seems to have set up a nice little deal with the Times, because anyone who is intrigued by the lengthy description of Libby's book can buy a copy from Times Book First. It's 2,200 words in length, and it will cost you £9.45. But look, it's Christmas, OK? Don't be such a Scrooge. Make a kid happy.

As for the rest of you ambitious young writers out there: well, I suspect that some of you are going to have mixed feelings. There you are, struggling to finish that novel, your thirtieth birthday came up and went past, and you're still working on the damn thing, and all of a sudden some kid one third your age taps out a few pages on the computer and gets a contract!

It's a bit bloody much, don't you think?

For those readers who have just joined us, you might care to get up to speed on Mr Faulkner's previous endeavours by reading the Dragon Tamers saga. It's all good clean fun.


MaryB said...

Libby's success doesn't disturb me half as much as Nichole Richie's. Ya' never can tell these days, my friend!

Debra Hamel said...

Well, one thing of interest is that this "book" is only 2200 words long, so we're not talking Proust here. And the excerpt of the book they post at,,7-1933396_1,00.html is a little over 900 words, so almost half of the whole book.

Terra said...

It's a self-help book for young kids whose parents have divorced, written by a young kid. If I was a youngster, I'd rather read something from my own age groups point of veiw than an adults.
As for the price, I beleive it's because it's a full-colour, glossy book. The materials must cost a fair bit for the company, they're gonig to have to make the money back somehow.
I really don't see the need to kick up such a fuss over it. She's hardly stealing away the oppertunity to get novels published from older writers, she's not even competing in the same genre.

Shane said...

I have to take my hat off to Charles Faulkner - he's moving into a new territory and well done also to his young authors. We must all congratulate these people for their tenacity in what they are doing and wish them well in their success. I think the idea from Libby Rees is marvellous and it takes a lot for someone so young to be so frank about their feelings. So many children blame themselves for the breakups and carry it with them for years.

Many of you want to publish a book and if you're having problems with finding a publisher, maybe you should try contacting Aultbea Publishing. Using the newspapers to promote your books free of charge is pretty damn good, I have to say because marketing is a very expensive business. If you've got the contacts, then why not. It's the old saying "it's not what you know, it's who you know". I say, well done!

However, I'm sure you can hear a 'but' coming along. But, what I don't understand is Mr Faulkner's statement from the letter he sent to you about the Dragon Tamers, "What I said at the time was that we had printed 50,000 copies and that I expected to have them sold quickly as the sales trend was encouraging. The press have used that figure and connotation since." Why then are more press releases coming out saying that 50,000 copies flew off the shelves in under 6 weeks? See the Morrisions advert of 6 June and the latest one for the book festival in Inverness in October Mr Faulkner should be ensuring that all press releases portray reality to save confusion or doubt. I'm delighted in hearing that Emma's book is being hunted by the movie directors. A dream that most of us will never touch. Is there any update on this? When are we going to see it on the big screen?

I enjoy reading your blogs. Keep them coming and have a great Christmas.

Benny said...

Okay, I'm 21 years old. Despair has long set in as I will be 22 in three months and at 24-26ish, I will no longer be considered a "wunderkind" if I strike it big with my first novel. At 27, I'll merely be "young". With all this worrying, I've been making more frequent visits to the drugstore for gray roots touch-up. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

How pessimistic. I feel deeply awful that you are so keen to thrash down the work of this girl who wasn't TRYING to write Proust or any other masterpiece. Her book is altruistic. She felt that this helped her through a troubled time which some of you will be lucky enough to never experience therefore cannot judge. Yes she wrote a short book and managed to get a publishing contract but why shouldn't she deserve it? Why don't you try thinking positively and enjoy the success of this girl who's obviously been through a lot at such a young age. Her older brother is (a close friend's boyfriend) and so you may say I am biased but there are others who share my view and do not know the family personally.

Anonymous said...

Here's a surprise, someone going to say something nice about the father. We all feel sorry for Libby not seeing her father for almost four years,but believe me when I say it isn't for want of trying. I know the lengths her father has gone to to try and have contact; his efforts are truly amazing. He has written constantly, sent cards, presents, even attended "Parents' Evening" at school, all to no avail. He has kept on trying long after most men would have given up. He deserves a lot of credit for that. He's also an honest guy, he knows he screwed up in how he dealt with things when they ended and admits it freely. So he made a mistake, a huge mistake. But, as God is my judge, as bad as it has been for Libby it's been the same for her father. As for Libby's book, I haven't read it, never will. But I'm so bloody pleased for her! I think her publisher must be really astute, and sincerely hope he can make as much success of the next two as of the first.As for the jealous types out there who are moaning and groaning, blog off!

P. S. Srinivas said...

I am P. S. Srinivas. I have two children like Libby Rees who have been traumatised for having separated from me along with their mother. I would definitely offer this presentation to my son, Sharan who can find some hope on reading this book.

P. S. Srinivas, Surat, India posted this message on 28-12-2005

P. S. Srinivas said...

I am P. S. Srinivas. I have two children like Libby Rees who have been traumatised for having separated from me along with their mother. I would definitely offer this presentation to my son, Sharan who can find some hope on reading this book.

P. S. Srinivas, Surat, India posted this message on 28-12-2005

Anonymous said...

Hia Libby,
I have heard all about your book and i cant wait to read it. I hope you do really well and i bet you will be just like Jaqueline Wilson one day i can belivie that you could be doing a T.V show could you send the dates to me or put them on your web site because i would love to go for an audition,

Thank-you very much and Good luck,

Anonymous said...

How about this 8 year old published author who writes stories and advice on writing for parents, educators and children? Adora Svitak not only published in the US, her book will be published in China, Korea and hopefully many other countries. She has written more than 350,000 words of stories, poems and essays. Her book is called "Flying fingers"--master the tools of learning through the joy writing, check out her website

Anonymous said...

What a sad story of PARENTAL ALIENATION... I feel sorry for her father... but most of all for Libby herself...

Anastasia said...

Millions of kids in the Western world go through divorces, she isn't unique and it only indicates how 'common' many works are. Is my view harsh? Perhaps yes, only because each individual child (of divorce, separation, abuse etc) has their own equally individual story to tell, therefore 'one' child above many others, for me, is elitism.

But I guess, a story written by a child amputee from Iraq/Afghanistan, or any other hell hole is just too 'boring' for white bread publishers.

Yes it is a bit too much, for all the above reasons, not the fact I write, or many other adults write, but millions of other children's stories are ignored in the process.

Divorce, these days, is about as common as eating baked beans and farting.

Anonymous said...

As a close friend of libby herself i am very aware of everything she has been through. I also agree that divorce is common and so you may not feel tempted to praise or even to show any sympathy towards libby, but what isn't so common is a child actually doing something about it. I think the whole book is about positivity something some of you seem to show a lack of, I mean for goodness sake she is an elven year old kid who is trying to make a difference to modern day society and the last thing she needs is you lot being a load of unsensitive bullies'. Oh and whether you know or not Anastasia for every book Libby sells a donation is given to save the children who's work trys to help children like thoose you speak of.

Yours trully
Anon xxxx
P.S As for the sympathy for the father there are alot of things you don't know or understand about Libby's life and I can tell you know dont waist a moment feeling sorry for him!

Anonymous said...

I am a good friend of Libby and I've got to ask, 'when you were ten could you of written a self-help guide?' The answer is probably no. And I think that Libby has done incredibly well. SO THERE!!!

Anonymous said...

восстановление зрения
зеленый лазер

Jenny Lee said...

Great blog...
outsource invoice processing services