× Search

Using Tech for Book Marketing

Kate Gingold from Sprocket WebsitesKate has been building websites with her husband Don since 1996 for all sorts of clients, including authors.

Kate regularly writes about online marketing for Sprocket Websites and provides tips and techniques for entrepreneurs and small-business owners. Since being an author today is not really different from being an entrepreneur with a small business, most of those tips are just as useful to authors.

Kate is an author herself. She writes books on local history, including the award-winning "Ruth by Lake and Prairie," a fictionalized account of the true story of Great Lake pioneering to the shores of Chicago and beyond to found Naperville, Illinois. 

Learn More about
Ruth By Lake and Prairie

Author Tips and Tales

On Roald Dahl and Writing for Children
Kate Gingold Host
/ Categories: Author Tips

On Roald Dahl and Writing for Children

Have you followed the discussions since Puffin announced they would be rewriting some of Roald Dahl’s original content before publishing new editions of his books? There are plenty of knee-jerk reactions regarding “wokeism” and “censorship,” but this topic deserves serious thought.

I read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as a child, but I don’t believe I ever read any other Dahl books. Maybe I didn’t like them. Maybe I never knew there were others. As far as I remember, I liked it okay, but I liked the movie better. (I was ten when the movie was released and smitten with Gene Wilder.)

Just a few years ago, I picked up Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator and I couldn’t read more than a few pages. It felt dated, it wasn’t funny, and the depictions of ethnic stereotypes sounded mean. 

So, should Dahl’s book be rewritten for today’s reader or left in out-of-print limbo? Some authors are adamant that original content should never be rewritten. Some librarians are all for rewriting so they can get controversial books on the shelves for children to read. 

Some parents worry their children will be influenced by such books. If And Tango Makes Three normalizes homosexuality and Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator normalizes xenophobia, should they both be kept from children? Book censorship seems unproductive anyway since I suspect that the written word is way down on the list of what influences children, far below what they watch on digital screens. 

Who decides what is appropriate for children to read? Parents might be the best guides and gatekeepers, but they can’t control everything. When I was a kid, I found plenty of sources for reading books that may not have been appropriate and there was nothing like the internet back then. It’s got to be much easier for kids to find inappropriate reading material these days. If they actually want to read, that is. 

Isn’t this still the violent video game discussion? I couldn’t remember what we as a society finally decided about that, but a quick perusal of various studies on the subject doesn’t show a firm conclusion that playing violent games does or does not lead to violent behavior. Studies do suggest, however, that people prone to violent behavior also play violent video games. Is it possible that the kinds of books a child reads follows a similar pattern?

I don’t believe in any kind of book banning and I’m not certain books are that influential these days anyhow. I also don’t believe in getting in the way of any book a child wants to read. If they like it, they’ll read more and that’s the goal, right? I’m still undecided on rewriting. Is it better to reject the whole book because a portion is hurtful? Or is it okay to edit parts so the rest of it can be enjoyed?

It seems like having two versions makes sense and this is what Puffin has decided to do. Of course, one now wonders if the editing decision was a marketing ploy all along. The author, the book, the reader, the publisher – who wins in a situation like this?

Photo by Sam Lion

Previous Article Making the Pilgrimage to Hemingway’s Key West Writing Studio
Next Article Proof Copies, ARC Readers, Final/Final Edits, and Other Head-Exploding Items
131 Rate this article:
Please login or register to post comments.

Search in the Blogs


Authors Need Websites!

Do you need to get a domain name for your book or name?

Want a website to promote your books?

Get started now without blowing the budget at the SprocketStore.

Full disclosure:  Writing for Sprocket Websites is my day job, so if you have questions about digital marketing, I'm happy to help!


Marketing Author Interview

Following a presentation for In Print Professional Writers Group, Kate's husband (and publisher!) Don was interviewed by author Louise Brass for WBOM Radio. During the conversation, Don shared many of the marketing tips from his presentation. You can listen to it online here.

The Sprocket Report

The Sprocket Report is published every other week with Internet marketing tips, tools and techniques. The archive features articles from 2011 up to the present. You are welcome to read how business owners are using technology to market themselves and apply those tips to your author business.



Get a Book Siging Checklist and our Sprocket Report

Kate will be happy to send you her brief Book Signing Checklist. Treat your book promotion like a business - because it is!

AND, since much of your efforts will be online, she'll also enroll you in her Sprocket Report, an email newsletter sent every other Tuesday, that includes 2 Internet Marketing tips and a post from a guest blogger on related business.

No worries! She won't use your email address for anything else, and you can unsubscribe from the newsletter anytime, but the checklist is yours to keep.

Any questions of Kate? Leave them in the message field and she'll get back to you ASAP.

Your Contact Information

Your Feedback

Terms Of UsePrivacy StatementCopyright 2024 by Gnu Ventures Company
Back To Top