This has been a year of growth and fighting to realise a dream. It’s not easy; I’m sure a lot of people who launch a business face challenges, especially in their early years, but I’m so proud at how far we’ve come already and very optimistic about the future of the publishing house.
In these past twelve months, we’ve gone from nothing, to a stable publishing house that is ready to start producing the works of other authors and illustrators. We’ve developed (and continue to develop) good distribution networks, have honed our production techniques, and have started building a team of talented people who bring their skills and passions into the business to help it flourish.
We’re looking ahead at growing bigger and better, bringing you more books and learning resources, providing more opportunities to learn and insights into the science and education aspects of language and literacy difficulties, and so much more.
I hope you’ll continue to follow our journey in the years ahead. We would love to hear from you about what you’d like to see Aulexic do in the future. How can we help you? Send me an email! I’d love to discuss your ideas with you or give you some ideas about what you can do to support Aulexic and support our cause.
In the meantime, lets take a closer look at the year behind us. What did we get up to?
May 23, 2015: Launch Day
We launched Aulexic with a fabulous event and three beautiful books. Readers have absolutely loved our P.I. Penguin series with adults delighting in the stories as they read with their children and students.
But adults aren’t the only ones reading these books! We’ve got able-reader children reading together with emergent readers such as this beautiful pair, 8yo Azalia reading to her 4yo brother Zaedyn. We’ve even seen the books picked up and cherished in school libraries with children asking for them over and over again. They’re clearly a hit with children of all abilities and ages which has really surprised (and delighted) us.
Over the course of the year we’ve discovered the age ranges of our child-fans spans from two years of age to sixteen! Yes, even toddlers and teenagers are delighting in the stories despite the books being written for 8 to 12 year olds. Although, sometimes the younger ones don’t quite last the distance. In this picture my 2yo niece, Daisy couldn’t keep her eyes open as she reads her special, very rare, original proof copy of P.I. Penguin and the Case of the Missing Bottle.
On launch day, we were touched by the stories from audience members about their discoveries with dyslexia and how important and validated our mission was. There was a clear sign that the community needs books and services that support and encourage a love of reading in those who experience language and literacy difficulties. This message has continued to be reinforced the whole year. We’re more committed then ever to making a difference and are so glad we begun the Aulexic adventure.
We launched a total of four books in the past twelve months. All of the books are part of our P.I. Penguin series. We would really love to publish other content, including books and stories from other writers, but it’s clear our P.I. Penguin series is a hit with eager fans awaiting future editions in the series. Book five is scheduled for August 23 and book six is scheduled for November 23. In the meantime, we are open to submissions and keen to welcome other writers into the Aulexic family. I’ve also had some ideas about putting together two anthologies so stay tuned in the coming months when we’ll be looking to collect the stories of adults with dyslexia and parents and teachers of dyslexic children.
- Our Books
- May 23, 2015: P.I. Penguin and the Case of the Missing Bottle
- May 23, 2015: P.I. Penguin and the Case of the Lost Little Penguin
- May 23, 2015: P.I. Penguin and the Case of the Bell Tower Bandit
- April 23, 2016: P.I. Penguin and the Case of the Treetop Tagger
We haven’t really worked at traditional media promotion this year so only have one newspaper article and that was announcing our launch.
This is actually something I’d like to improve on in the coming years, although at the moment the goal has a low priority because I don’t know if newspapers really reach our market. After all, newsprint tends to be a nightmare to read for those of us with dyslexia.
Still, it was fabulous to see Joshua’s smiling face beaming back at us from the local Examiner.
Interviews! Radio, Video, and Text
One thing we absolutely LOVE doing is giving Radio Interviews. We’ve become popular recurring guests on HeritageFM’s Writers Circle SHOW and we love visiting there. The station is our local, just a couple of suburbs over from where we live but it connects with a global audience so it’s fun to imagine listeners tuning in live all over the world. Our appearances on this show have actually helped inspire me to want to give podcasting/videocasting a go so we’ll be looking into that in the coming months. I also have a lot of fun responding to interviews via email and am keen to do more of this.
- HeritageFM 107.3: Writers Circle SHOW with Bernie and Christian (Several appearances)
- HeritageFM 107.3: In Your Neighbourhood with James Wray
- RTR FM 92.1: Breakfast with Caitlin
- Video Interview: Achieving Lexia: What’s behind the name?
- Text Interview: Books Direct with Lynda Dickson
We’ll actually be appearing on the Writers Circle SHOW again on Sunday June 12th from 4pm to 6pm (UTC+8) so tune in your radios or listen to the live stream from the HeritageFM 107.3 website.
Conferences & Industry Events
Over the course of the year Aulexic has attended a range of conferences and industry events. These are fabulous for professional development but can also be fantastic opportunities to network. From having the opportunity to speak for a few minutes before an audience of Young People’s Services Librarians from our state’s public libraries, to mixing and mingling with other small or independent authors and publishers at an expo, these events can lead to wonderful opportunities.
- October 30-31, 2015: Celebrate Reading Conference
- November 12, 2015: YPS Meet The Talent
- December 5, 2015: Gosnells Writers Circle Self Publishing Expo
- February 19-21, 2016: Perth Writers Festival
- March 3, 2016: CBCA Night With Our Stars
Workshops and Talks
We LOVE giving workshops and talks. Now that Kaylie is homeschooled too we’re enjoying being able to include her when we give workshops at schools and libraries around the state. And Josh has really flourished in his confidence, choosing to attend smaller events and finding them really enjoyable.
Initially I started with just the Kids Can Make Picture Books workshops which can be presented in a rushed one hour or as a more comprehensive series. It’s adapted for two age groups 6-12 and 12-17. Because we’ve had people asking us to come back again to give more workshops for the same groups of children I’m starting to build new courses. The next will be a workshop that looks at rhyme and alliteration. It shows children how to make these literary connections and how we work at finding the right rhymes to create fun sentences for our P.I. Penguin books.
I’d also like to find ways to incorporate dyslexia and autism awareness into workshops for children so that we can help children understand and empathise with people who experience these neurological differences. A lot of dyslexic children face bully in school. I think the best way to combat this is by raising awareness of the truth behind disabilities and difference. Children are very capable of empathy and can be wonderfully supportive of each other when they’re empowered and informed.
I’d also love to do more talks for parents and teachers to help raise awareness about language and literacy disabilities, their impact on learning, and what we can do to help inspire a love of reading in children with dyslexia, autism, or specific language impairment. I’ve found these talks are highly rewarding. Parents and teachers really connect with the sense of understanding and hope that comes from these talks.
This year I’ve had the joy of helping some parents of dyslexic children get in touch with their own challenges and acknowledge that maybe they have dyslexia too which often leads to tears of relief feeling like they understand and finally have the answer to a question they’ve asked their whole lives. I’ve also helped parents of dyslexic children who don’t have dyslexia to better understand how truly challenging it is for their child and how their understanding, patience, and support makes a big difference. But most importantly, I love to empower adults and children to look at the positives that come from these learning differences and to know that facing challenges does not mean facing defeat.
We’d love to increase to a minimum of two workshops and two talks per month so if your school or library is interested shoot us an email to see what we can bring your way!
- August 22-28, 2015: Children’s Book Week
- August 25, 2015: Kids Can Make Picture Books (Belmont)
- April 23, 2016: Kids Can Make Picture Books (Kwinana)
- April 23, 2016: Kids Can Make Picture Books (Balga)
- May 19, 2016: Inspiring A Love Of Reading Talk (Armadale)
Market Stalls & Distribution
Now, I have to admit I’m not a natural fan of market stalls. They usually require being outside in the sun for several hours. I have too much of my Irish grandfather’s blood (or perhaps skin) to enjoy that idea (#sunburnisnotfun).
Kaylie, on the other hand, absolutely LOVES market stalls. She loves the lively atmosphere. She loves the sense of pride and ownership as she mans our stall, handling sales and customer service like an old pro. She’s charming and engaging.
The opportunity to network and get the name of the business out there, tied with Kaylie’s absolute joy in doing it, has lead me to agree to commit to more of these in the future. The actual conversion of sales on the day vs hours spent doing it don’t feel like great ROI (return on investment) but there are unmeasurable quantifiers that do make it worthwhile and Kaylie’s joy tops those.
- Market Stalls
- January 18, 2015: LPS Teacher’s Market
- April 16, 2016: Fresh Prints Market Festival
On the distribution front, there hasn’t been too much action. A huge thanks to Bernie who was able to talk to Kaleido Books, a bookshop above the Perth Train Station; they now currently stock our books. Beyond that I’ve made a few tentative queries.
The Perth Bell Tower is a big fan of our P.I. Penguin and the Case of the Bell Tower Bandit and keep those well stocked. And this month I was able to connect with the wonderful people at WestBooks who supply books for schools and libraries around the state. I’ve also just sent off an expression of interest to Aspects which is the gift shop at King’s Park and have some details about the Perth Zoo gift shop that I need to follow up on soon.
It would be fabulous to continue to broaden distribution, but in the months ahead I’m looking to direct sales where possible and hoping to connect with Young People’s Services librarians and School Principals and School Librarians to see if I can establish relationships directly with those customers rather than through distributors. I’d much rather have a better opportunity to connect directly with our customers and therefore our readers so despite liking the idea of having our books available in bookshops our priority at the moment is going direct.
- May 21, 2015: Australian Library Service
- June 2, 2015: Bell Tower Distribution
- November 12, 2015: State Library Bookshop
- November 25, 2015: James Bennett
- March 1, 2016: Kaleido Books at Perth Train Station
- May 13, 2016: WestBooks Distribution
Wow! It’s been a BIG year!
It really has! And the year ahead looks to be bigger and better still. We’ve done some wonderful things like bring on some fabulous writers to help create informative and educational blog posts that can help raise awareness and educate parents and teachers. We’re doing what we can to produce more products and resources and would love your feedback about what you need and what you would love us to work on next. And in keeping with my word of the year, we’re striving for REACH. We’re getting the word out there that Aulexic exists and that we’re committed to making a difference in the lives of children with language and literacy difficulties.
Thank you for your support and for following us on this journey!