Penguin: Week 3


Really delayed post! This week’s been full of visits and a trip to the tennis at the O2 (might post some pics of this soon), so here’s a belated review of last week at Penguin.

The week kicked off with more Wimpy Kid activities. This time I had to write a ‘Dear Bookseller’ letter to Waterstones’ stores, instructing them how to use the Wimpy Kid event kits that go along with the release of the book. Plenty of other research to do too, including Doctor Who (where do fans hang out online), and advertising spaces.

Calm before the storm: We sent out hundreds and hundreds of books last week. For the Xmas round up it was about 50 packages of 18 books each – heavy!

There were HEAPS of books to send out last week! It was mostly Christmas round-up stuff, so Alice and I got a pretty mean production line going on all that. We also got to take home a lovely new anniversary edition of The BFG.

One of the highlights was being asked to read the new ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ book, to devise some interactive questions for the Facebook page, which should be appearing soon. The book’s great, and I read it in an hour and a half, so perfect for a quick read. That’s the kind of work I could get used to.

The BFG slipcase edition – would make a great present for any Dahl fan

Another highlight was phoning libraries on Wednesday, to bump up promotion for Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney’s UK tour. Got to say, I hadn’t previously had much experience of cold calling, but it went surprisingly well – I didn’t offend anyone, didn’t forget what on earth I was doing, and didn’t make the tour crash and burn. In fact, I managed to get promotional material to every library in Somerset, so I was pretty pleased.

This was the first time I’d interacted with my office phone in any way, and as soon as I put it down, it rang. It was a lady with an excellent name (think confectionery) complaining about a book not working. I should explain – it was a book with sound buttons called ‘Noisy Noisy Bird’; the gist was that Noisy Noisy Bird was suspiciously quiet. She was reluctant to accept that I couldn’t be much help to her, as reception apparently gave her my number specifically (clearly they were bored and thought they’d have a laugh). Anyway, I gave her the right number and I like to think she and her Noisy Bird have been reunited.

The end of the week was sad. Three weeks seemed to have flown by, and I felt like I was really getting to grips with it all just as I had to leave. Ruined everyone in the office’s diets by bringing in fudge, and Alice and I feasted on Celebrations and Starburst. The good news is – I’ll be returning to Penguin in March, this time to the editorial department to try my hand at that side of publishing. Really excited about that, and I’ve come away from these three weeks with even more conviction that publishing is exciting, challenging, and is definitely for me. 🙂

Tig (@TigWallace)

p.s Third Wheel is out now – so cool to see all the posters everywhere, and to see it on bookshelves. Great to have a sense of what’s gone on to make all that happen!


Wimpy Kid and Related Fun!

The highlight of this week at Penguin has been the build up to the release of ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel’ which is looking set to be the biggest children’s book of the year. Add to that the buzz about the Penguin – Randomhouse merger, and you’ve got one very exciting week!

I got the chance to write a blog for Waterstones about the new Wimpy Kid book, including a look back at the series so far. This went live on their website on Thursday – really chuffed about that 😀 The whole blog can be found here, and below is an excerpt from it:

“7. The Third Wheel

Can things get any more complicated for Greg? Well, love is in the air, but what does that mean for Greg Heffley? A Valentine’s Day dance at Greg’s school has turned his world upside down. As Greg scrambles to find a date, he’s worried he’ll be left out in the cold on the big night. His bestfriend, Rowley, doesn’t have any prospects either but that’s small consolation.

Then an unexpected twist gives Greg a partner for the dance and leaves Rowley the odd man out. But a lot can happen in one night, and in the end, you never know who’s going to be lucky in love…

You can pre-order The Third Wheel for half price now at your local Waterstones bookshop ( or online at (”

Other highlights of the week included:

– Making showcards (like big A2 stands with posters attached) for the Wimpy Kid launch at Waterstones, and sending them out across the country. (Alice, the other intern, and I, got a little overexposed to the adhesive spray fumes, and spent the afternoon stumbling around in a giddy haze. I then opened a competition entry full of glitter which stuck to me for 24 hours)

– Writing press releases for new books, including Dragon Frontier and TimeRiders

-Sending out LOADS of books to competition winners and judges. On Monday we’ve got to send out 30 lots of 18 books for a Christmas round-up – will be living in a pile of books and boxes for a couple of days! The porters at Penguin despair every time I pick up the phone…

– Looking forward to some more Wimpy Kid goodness next week! I’ve been asked to write a letter to all the UK Waterstones to introduce the Wimpy Kid party packs that will coincide with the launch – should be fun!

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter where I’m tweeting about my day to day activities  @TigWallace 🙂

Thanks for reading!