“I wonder what our pets get up to when we are not around?”
It was this question that inspired a local mother and daughter team to develop a children’s book based on their pet springer spaniel. And so, the loveable character Little Nell was born.
Working with support from St Helens Chamber, Pauline and Laura Davies “Little Nell” books are rapidly increasing in popularity, receiving excellent feedback from not only parents and children, but also gaining acclaim from fellow writers.
Pauline commented: “We developed the idea for the books simply by observing our little dog. She loves to take her ball to her crate each night, and so we developed the idea that the ball and crate together would enable her to go on a series of magical adventures.”
It has certainly been an adventure for the real Nell though when Laura revealed that they had nearly lost her to a life-threatening illness, with several last minute, blood transfusions saving Nell’s life.
Laura commented “We thought we would have to abandon the idea of the book because it would be just too upsetting if we had lost Nell. However, she showed amazing resilience and against the odds made a full recovery. As you can imagine, this made us even more determined to complete our first book.”
Following the release of the first book “Little Nell and Pepper” Laura and Pauline engaged with St Helens Chamber to help develop their business further. The local authors have since had several business sessions with the Chamber discussing ideas, finance and marketing and they have also attended a workshop “How to Create a Dynamic 60 Second Pitch” on pitching the business. The input has helped formulate a forward business plan.
Pauline commented: “Getting an agent or publisher in the children’s book market is notoriously difficult, so we needed some additional input and help in preparation for this. The Chamber has been fantastic and provided us with lots of ideas going forward. The breakfast networking meetings they run have also been really good, and we have been overwhelmed by the support other local businesses have shown us.”
The mother and daughter team have now completed and self-published two books, with Foyle’s bookstore and Amazon listing the Little Nell titles, but it is with the local primary schools that the books are going down a storm.
“We have completed readings at a number of primary schools locally and have had great feedback. It’s a real joy to interact with the children and see how much they enjoy the books, and they come out with some great ideas on what they want Nell to do next.”
With growing impetus and support, Pauline and Laura are now attending various literary festivals.
Laura commented: “Festivals provide us with an opportunity to speak directly to publishers and agents. The profile of the books is rising, but we still have a lot of work to do, but the support we receive locally is invaluable.”
St Helens Chamber is part of Enterprise Hub, the enterprise gateway for business start-up support in Merseyside. Offering expert advice and support to anyone thinking about starting a business, including help to:
- Understand the process of starting a business
- Research a business idea
- Build a comprehensive business plan
- Develop a marketing plan
- Create financial forecasts to understand the costs of running your business and potential income
- Identify sources of finance to get started
Enterprise Hub is funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
For more information about Little Nell, please visit www.littlenellonline.co.uk
For more information about the support available from St Helens Chamber to start a business, call 0845 340 9980 or email firstname.lastname@example.org