Our first review! (yes, you read that right)
Self-publishing a book or, as I like to think, starting a publishing company from scratch comes with a host of challenges.
For us, a lot of those have come while designing, printing and distributing our book. However, these are all phases of our development that have been largely within our control and were solvable after concerted research and advice from fellow self-publishers.
However, possibly the toughest challenge for self-starters in the publishing industry is establishing legitimacy in a world stacked with gate-keepers. And I get it too - the lower the barrier for entry, the lower the common denominator of quality is within the industry. I've witnessed that in the music industry where six-year-olds tapping out app-driven, cartoonish electronic tracks frequently join the 300,000+ songs uploaded to Spotify every week of every year.
So the gate-keepers play an essential role in regulating which books rise to prominence within the book industry's own promotional machines, for example: big-box book stores, sales charts and... reviews.
The vast majority of recognised publications that review picture books will only accept submissions from established publishing companies; and those that don't are so overwhelmed with submissions from self-published books that they only offer brief windows of opportunity to submit - windows and publication times that may occur months after you've been doing the bulk of your book marketing campaign.
We've sent our book to a number of different potential reviewers since its launch in November and we finally had our first write-up published last week - just in time for the launch of our second edition.
So we must say thank you to NZ Booklovers firstly for being open to receiving a copy of an independently-published book and, secondly, actually writing about it - we appreciate the consideration taken.
Finally, below is a snippet of what Chris Reed wrote about Sing Like A Unicorn while the full review can be read HERE.
As a story, Redmore pushes the idea that if unicorns could sing they would most certainly have a unique sound and by extension so too do we all as individuals. Structurally the influence of songwriting comes through in spades, he uses the rhyme to help the story bounce along in a jaunty sort of way. The rhythm adds to the overall whimsical nature of the narrative and clearly connects with a musicality. Writing wise, Redmore shows a strong understanding of the thematic development throughout with a strong message for young readers. It’s okay to be yourself.
The illustrations of Crowley are visually on point, focused on the loveable unicorn figure as the close friend of a young lad who struggles with his own belief but finds strength in the unicorn. The drawings are unique in their own right, and they bring Crowley’s personality to the fore. A valuable lesson on confidence and resilience.
Overall, the voice that Redmore uses throughout is quite something - part music, part story, all heart. He is an inspired creative doing exciting things in the space when musicians are struggling with lock down restrictions. This book is the culmination of multiple years of work and is cause for celebration. Sing Like a Unicorn is here to stay and should be part of all school libraries as recommended reading.