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Best Selling Author Motivates Pupils

Tuesday, 08 March 2011

Mark Robson, best-selling author of 'swords-and-sorcery' style adventures for children, visited Bolton School Boys' Division to share with the pupils what it takes to be a successful author and publisher, and to show them that sheer hard work can get you anywhere.

Mark spoke to Year 7 and 8 pupils about his life as a Royal Air Force pilot and how he went from this to being an author. When speaking about his life and career so far Mark's energy and enthusiasm inspired confidence in the boys by showing them that through setting goals, personal motivation and hard work, anything is possible. He spoke of how he started writing his first novel in 1995 due to a throwaway line when he was bored in the Falkland Islands as the weather was too bad to do any flying. Mark's restlessness at the lack of activity prompted his navigator to say "Oh for goodness sake do something useful. Go write a book or something!" Never one to back down from a challenge, Mark made a deal that he would write the Prologue to a book and if the navigator liked it, then Mark would write the rest of the book. Three days later, the Prologue to The Forging of the Sword was dutifully handed over to a positive response and The Darkweaver Legacy was born. Mark spoke of how, after numerous rejections from Publishers, he decided to publish his own book and learned how to market it, never giving up until it was successful and he was eventually signed with a Publishing House and became the successful author he is today.

In the afternoon, Mark ran a Publishing Workshop with Year 9 boys, designed to give them an insight into some of the different disciplines that go into producing and marketing a book. Boys split into four teams, each taking on a different role in the publishing process - editing, proof reading, artwork and marketing. The editorial team were given the first chapter of one of Mark's books and asked to say why it didn't work and how it could be changed, the proof reading team were given a later draft of the chapter and asked to correct any mistakes, the artwork team had to design a front cover and explain why they thought it would help attract readers to the book, and the marketing team had to work out effective ways of selling the book, including exact costing of advertising. Mark offered the boys guidance throughout the session and at the end each team presented their findings and ideas.

Mark was pleased with how the boys managed to reproduce what a publishing house does, particularly how the editorial team even managed to come to the same conclusion as his own editorial team in terms of what should happen in chapter one!

Mr Richard Griffiths, Head of English, said: "The boys had a fantastic day and learned a lot from Mark as he is an interesting motivational speaker as well as an author. He taught them not only about what it takes to write and publish a book but also about having a can do mentality in life - the importance of working hard and never giving up on something you want. The day was cross-curricular in many ways as boys used English, Design, and Marketing skills, as well as gaining useful advice on pursuing a career that interests them."

Mark is now working on a new trilogy that will mark a distinct departure from his previous work. The Devil's Triangle will be an unusual mix of contemporary drama meeting science fiction thriller. The first of these is currently scheduled to release in April 2011.

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Publishing Workshop with author Mark Robson

Author Mark Robson helped boys become a Publishing House for the day

Publishing Workshop with author Mark Robson

The proof reading team get to grips with mistakes

Publishing Workshop with author Mark Robson

The artwork team work on cover designs