Oooooh I am getting in to the final stretches of the first set (you can reserve a first run on my dedicated webpage) and it is so exciting. I will then be able to approach bookshops which of course is a whole other aspect of publishing a book and one I am looking forward to getting to grips with.

Meanwhile I have been busy painting, using some stunning photos as references (and a few of my own rather scrappy images!) so it’s been really fun.

These are all for Ponds & River – I have finished the artwork for Forest & Farm and Urban, and F&F have gone to my proofreaders (thanks Mum and Dad!) for Latin checking and any wonkiness. I am getting better at widows and orphans and dodgy hyphenation in the text but I don’t have spellcheck enabled so typos are inevitable. I will write the copy for Urban and then Ponds, and I need to do the copy for Notting Hill, Westminster and the Cuckoo Trail, and the cover/dps for the latter two titles. I also need to paint an Egyptian goose and a buzzard for those!

I am so pleased that the feedback has not only been positive (phew!) but also people who both don’t know birds and those who do are buying them. I really want to encourage a connection and observation, and from the initial response, that’s exactly what’s happening. I have parents saying it will be good to do with their children which is just amazing – it’s perfect for homeschoolers and I would love to think that they are the sort of book you can stick in your bag and if there’s a few minutes waiting at a bus or station or supermarket, you can look around and spot some birds.

We used to play “I spy with my little eye, something beginning with……” and although I am a terrible one for scrolling on my phone, I now keep my bird book in my bag. A friend (who isn’t a birdwatcher) is taking one on a much-needed trip to Cornwall and I am really looking forward to hearing how it worked. My mum – who has been recording her garden birds for the BTO for years says it’s nice to have space to write rather than simply logging numbers, and hopefully there’s a mix of common and less likely birds to keep folk looking.

I have printed off the covers, just so I can get an idea beyond the screen:

I am so pleased with how they look!

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