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Writing children’s books in Singapore: Sarah Mounsey on becoming an award-winning author

Australian primary school teacher and Singapore expat, Sarah Mounsey, won a bronze medal for her Paw Prints books in the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards in the category for best picture book series. A member of the ANZA (Australia-New Zealand Association) Writers’ Group, she has three boys, whom she thankfully notes were not the inspiration for her very, shall we say, lively characters.


Sarah Mounsey
Sarah Mounsey


Why did you self-publish?
Friends from the Singapore Society of Children’s Book Writers seriously encouraged me to do so. I’d hoped to be published by a traditional publisher, but publishing houses can get hundreds of submissions every month, and may only publish two picture books in the year.

As printing costs in Singapore are a lot lower than in Australia or England, the risk was lower. It was both exciting and daunting to have complete creative control over my books.

What’s involved in the process?
A lot of work! You take on so many roles, including editor, marketer, salesperson, small-business administrator and public speaker. For the editing, I’m lucky to have experienced friends who help me.

After registering my business, Brindal Books, I applied for an ISBN number and got quotes from printing companies. I then looked online to find an illustrator, and found the wonderful Jade Fang. We hardly ever meet up while working on a book together, but are constantly emailing each other.

When the artwork is complete, my graphic designer works with me to lay out the text and prepare the cover. For Paw Prints and the Itchy Spots, we tried over 25 different colour combinations for the cover, and three different illustrations! Then final edits are done and the book is sent to print.

Who is your distributor?
I work with the brilliant Closetful of Books (closetfulofbooks.com), and my books are available in bookstores throughout Singapore, including Bookaburra, Kinokuniya, Playdate Books, Woods in the Books and Tango Mango. They are also sold at Ni-Night and at Groovy Gifts. For signed copies with a personal message from me, you can order through my website.