See March 25th for Part I. Penny Noyce is the author of "Lost in Lexicon" and "Ice Castle." She took the Lexicon concept from a self-published book to a fully realized campaign to package the Lexicon world with games, school visits, and, eventually, a academic book publisher. Her story is a lesson to all authors on how to build big from a small beginning. I couldn't resist bold-facing a few thoughts that I found particularly interesting. Now, here's Penny.
Building a Lexicon Platform - Part II
Barnas is now based in Taiwan, so Tumblehome Learning is a bilingual, bicultural company. All our books will appear in both English and traditional Chinese. Last month I visited Taiwan, where we had a booth at the Taiwan International Book Exhibition. We made contacts with bookstores, foreign rights agents and publishers, various government agencies, and a great digital distributor. Shortly afterward, we got an offer to purchase rights for for Diamond Chip from a Korean publisher. Not only that, I learned to eat stinky tofu.
Travel, holding events, speaking at conferences, while meanwhile writing, running a company and continuing to work on science education has been tremendously stimulating but not yet lucrative. I’ve invested a lot more than I’ve earned. Luckily, I have enough financial cushion to do that for now, and I look on my writing career itself, like Tumblehome Learning, as a startup enterprise. Entrepreneurs invest cash and sweat up front in hope of a big payoff in both money and contribution to society later. I’m not naïve enough to expect riches, but I’m already experiencing the thrill of getting my own work and that of others out there and known. Kids send me fan mail with beautiful artwork. What could be better than that? Besides, next week I’m meeting with a museum friend to work on ice and music activities for The Ice Castle, and another friend is busy composing songs for the Lost in Lexicon musical.
Lost in Lexicon
When thirteen year-old cousins Ivan and Daphne complain of boredom, their Aunt Adelaide sends them on a treasure hunt in a land where words and numbers run wild. Before they know it, they’ve taken on a pet thesaurus and the challenge of finding the Land of Lexicon’s lost children.
The cousins travel from village to village, solving challenges, befriending an unlikely lot of characters and gathering clues. When a careless mathematician transports them to the Land of Night, their danger deepens. They have to call on all their courage and creativity to battle kidnapping, imprisonment and blind deceit before they can solve the mystery of the lights in the sky and return the lost children of Lexicon to their homes.
The Ice Castle
Their return to Lexicon is not all that Ivan and Daphne imagined. For one thing, Aunt Adelaide is deathly ill. For another, their musical younger cousin, Lila, has stumbled into their secret land.
Instead of rejoining old friends in the Land of Morning, Ivan and Daphne find themselves tracing Lila through a wintery landscape where what matters most is how well a person sings. Sorted by musical talent and consigned to different lives, the cousins face cold, illness, and attempted murder. Slave, servant or fine lady, each has to escape a kind of imprisonment before they can find one another, foment a revolution and restore spring to the Land of Winter.