A new online platform connecting children’s authors and schools will launch this April.
The platform, called Authorfy, was set up by Melanie Taylor-Bessent, who runs the Little Star Writing company, which offers creative writing workshops in London and Surrey. Authorfy will act as a hub connecting writers and children in schools, as well as providing resources such as creative writing activities.
Taylor-Bessent said she has three aims: to inspire children, support teachers and promote authors.
“With the introduction of the new national curriculum a couple of years ago, we’ve witnessed more and more children lose their flair for writing, become less engaged in literacy lessons, and even become afraid of writing altogether,” she told The Bookseller. “As everyone knows, teachers are under immense amounts of pressure to ensure students leave school with the grades and knowledge expected. It’s no wonder that the enjoyment of writing is being lost in schools.”
Authorfy will help schools promote creative writing by providing resources, worksheets and activities based on an author’s books. The site will feature a ‘parent page’ and teacher newsletters, as well as click-through links so users can buy the books.
The site will raise money by charging schools a yearly subscription fee, as well as selling advertising slots to publishers.
The advantage for authors is that they will be able to promote their work to large groups of children at the same time, said Taylor-Bessent. “Imagine hundreds of thousands of children watching an author video at once then working through resources, worksheets and activities based on their books for a few weeks afterwards. It would give authors a captive audience and promote their work in a high-impact, engaging way that appeals to the YouTube generation.”
She will run competitions such as book giveaways and book visits to schools and has appointed five authors as official “ambassadors” – Cressida Cowell, Laura Dockrill, Abi Elphinstone, Piers Torday and SF Said – to promote the business.