Archive for March, 2010|Monthly archive page

Running hell for leather into reading for pleasure

I think it would be fair to say that I tend to run headlong into things. Once I’ve decided I’ll do it, I just do it. This has had disastrous results at times – marriage and divorce springs to mind – but something good generally comes of it all – in that case a couple of kids who are pretty good company at times and a bit of wisdom, not to mention some great ideas for poems and stories.

So, at the beginning of the year I applied for a job as Creative Practitioner at a local comp – the remit being to encourage and enthuse year 8s about reading for pleasure. My interview was by a panel of six students, the teacher who heads up literacy at the school and the regional manager of the project as a whole – he’s called the Creative Agent – what a great title.

I was thrilled to be appointed and rushed headlong towards the project as is my wont. However, after our first planning meeting I had to meet with HR – they needed all my details for the enhanced CRB check – now you see where I’m going with this… weeks have passed… 6 in fact. Then I discover that the local council sat on the paper work for 4 weeks before passing it on. CRB reckon to clear applications within 4 weeks of receipt – at this rate the summer term will be over!

I was really impressed with the group I am supposed to be working with, maybe there is hope for the future after all – and I’m not talking about a carefully selected group of high achievers either, the group are made up from a cross-section of pupils, some ‘reluctant readers’ or dyslexic, some may have ADHD etc – although to me they just seemed like regular human beings – which I think is the great thing about outsiders going in to schools to work with pupils.

Given the constraints of the curriculum at the moment teachers seem hard pushed, targets get in the way, meeting guidelines, statementing children in order to gain extra funding bla bla bla.

The thing about what I can do is that I flit in and flit out none the wiser, so if some kid is known as having  some kind of ‘statement’ I’ve no need to know, I just get on with the task in hand.

I have great plans about what to do and how to approach the project. The head of dept wants a reading cafe in the school, I want to get them blogging and writing and to feel free to read whatever they want to read rather than what they feel they should be reading. I LOVE to read, whether it’s the Metro for a good shout or something deep and meaningful.

If only that one piece of paper would come through and allow me to get stuck in there!

So what about Matador?

Well I’ve had another rejection, from another publisher – a quick three liner this time. So I’m thinking about self publishing again. I’ve stumbled across Matador – they say this on thewir website…

“Matador is part of Troubador Publishing Ltd, which has its own commercial publishing programme with respected book lists in several areas. We also undertake publishing work for other publishers like Cambridge University Press, Elsevier and many others (see our client list for information). Troubador is also a member of the Independent Publishers Guild. All of our self-publishing authors thus have the guarantee that their book is in the hands of a professional publishing house. We know how important your manuscript is to you and we won’t let you down because we respect your work.”

They say that they reject 25% of manuscripts submitted, they offer a variety of services , full proof reading, marketing, print on demand, storage of books etc. They offer a tailor made quote to any author who enquires about their services. It looks like it would come in at around £1000.

Now I could have funded ths with the fee from my new job. I had been very excited about being appointed as a Creative Practitioner at a local secondary school, on a project to promote reading for pleasure to year 8 students – alas – CRB check has got in the way and six weeks down the line I am still waiting to start – I’ve just found out that the local council had sat on the paperwork for four weeks and the CRB had only received the application a week ago – so I’m looking at waiting another 3 – 4 weeks! In the meantime we have lost the first half of the term and will now have to cram in the project to a few remaining weeks . On top of this the finance department at the school want to put practitioners on the payroll rather than pay invoices – which has huge implications for tax for me as I am still employed in my PAYE job as well. I suppose nobody said it would be easy.  

Anyone know anything about Matador? Do let me know.