Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Christy's Project and the Magic of Readers' Letters - Sheridan Winn


There’s nothing that gladdens this author’s heart as much as a letter from an enthusiastic reader.

Authors of adult books may keep their readers for years. Genre writers, I suspect, retain loyal readers for decades. But as a children’s author, you capture your reader’s attention for a few years, if you’re lucky. There’s a small window in which your books may be cherished, then your readers are gone, grown and after new stories. But if a child likes your stories, they really like them and your characters become their world.

Chris Winn's design for the new e-book

My Sprite Sister stories are aimed at girl readers aged 7-11 years. Marketing with social media is difficult with this age group. My readers are too young to tweet or use Facebook (I hope), but they write to me on my website (and I ask them to get their parents’ permission). Mostly they write once or twice, often asking for information for their book project. Sometimes they write to me, on and off, over a period of several years. A connection is made, a question answered, an autograph sent.

I have received letters in German, French, Italian, and one in Japanese. Among others, there’s Ellie in Northampton, Daisy in Brighton, Sabina in Switzerland, Hi in New Zealand, Afra in India, Chioma in Nigeria, Meera in Saudi Arabia and Sharon in Myanmar. 

With 200,000 Sprite Sister books sold in Germany, a high proportion of readers’ letters are from there. Here’s typical one I received from from Sophia:-

Dear Sheridan,
my english isn't very good, too (So I hope you can understand me). I've got a question: Are you going to film a movie about the Sprite Sisters?
That would be great! I love the sprite sisters!
And I'm waiting longingly for the 7th book.
bye Sophia
PS When you need an actor for the movie, ask me and I'm instantly there!

Recently, Christy Cheung wrote to me from Hong Kong. She was doing a book launch project in her English class at the Discovery College, and had chosen The Circle of Power, the first of the Sprite Sisters books. Christy wrote a polite letter, asking a number of questions for the author biography. She also said she was making a merchandising solution for the project. I replied with the information and said I would love to see the photos.

I was delighted with the result - and so was Christy, who got 8/10. With Christy's parents' permission, I thought that I would share it with you. It's an imaginative and colourful solution, showing the four Sprite Sisters in their directions, with their colours and musical instruments. They are enclosed in a bowl painted in blue, symbolising the magical blue light of the Circle of Power.

Christy's Sprite Sister merchandising item
To explain the concept of the stories, the Sprite Sisters each have a magic power that relates to one of the four elements and the four directions. Flame, the eldest, has the power of the East and Fire. Marina has the power of the South and Water. Ash’s power is Earth and she stands at the West. Little Ariel has the power of Air and stands at the North. When the sisters work together, their power is balanced and strong. However they are not always balanced and their enemy is very determined – so many adventures ensure.

Here is Christy’s introduction to her merchandising item:-

‘This is a scene from the first spectacular book of the Sprite Sisters – The Circle of Power. With all the sister's powers balanced, I thought that this scene represents the spirit of the sisters the best, all hearts united to fight for one thing together. All the sisters concentrating on their music along with the united powers, it's the best thing you could do and this leads you on to their first adventure and success in the Sprite Sisters series.’

The complete object

The green knob shows the four elements

Another view of Christy's project

Terrific, isn't it!

And, as I work through the Sprite Sister titles, another hits the digital and print-on-demand shelves: The Magic Unfolds. And this is what it looks like.

The latest Sprite Sister e-book


Sheridan Winn is the author of the six Sprite Sister books: The Circle of Power, The Magic Unfolds, The Secret of the Towers, The Ghost in the Tower, New Magic and The Boy With Hawk-like Eyes.

You can contact her through her website: http://www.sheridanwinn.com

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