When I decided to put out chapters of The Ickabog for free during last year’s first lockdown, the response was phenomenal and reminded me just how much I love writing for children. From reader engagement to the avalanche of the children’s pictures submitted to the illustration competition, sharing The Ickabog was a wonderful experience during a very dark time.
I had no idea what to expect in terms of sales of the book, because so many people had already read the story for free. I certainly hoped we’d be able to shift a few copies, because all my royalties would be donated to my charitable trust, Volant, which would then distribute them to charities supporting groups particularly hard-hit by the pandemic, but in truth, sales figures were the last thing on my mind. The Ickabog had been such a special project, I considered that it had done its job even if the printed book didn’t sell very well.
To my absolute astonishment, you bought the book in such numbers that Volant has so far been able to donate millions of pounds to charities helping mitigate the wide-ranging effects of coronavirus, supporting some very vulnerable people who’ve been severely impacted by the pandemic. (you can find out more here)
I was already happy that I’d brought The Ickabog down from the attic, but your extraordinary generosity has made this one of the most meaningful experiences of my writing career. I could never have dreamed what would come of letting Daisy, Bert, Martha and Roderick finish their adventure and I want to thank every single person who bought a copy of their story: yours is the credit for helping change lives and your kindness and generosity will never be forgotten by this author.
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