Monday, December 27, 2010

A Dozen Ways to Market Your Book If You're a Children's Book Author, by Suzanne Lieurance

Whether you self-publish your books for children or you go with a traditional publisher, most of the marketing for your books will be left up to you, the author. Here are a dozen ways to market your books for kids:

1. Set up a website for your writing and include an opt-in box on the site so people can sign up for your mailing list. Sell your books directly from your site and offer a bonus when they buy the book directly from you. An autographed copy of the book is a GREAT bonus, for example. If you don't wish to keep copies of the book on hand to sell and mail yourself, then include a link from yourself to your publisher's site or other online bookstores that carry your book. But offer to mail anyone who buys your book an autographed bookplate.

2. Try to find some way to relate your book to the school curriculum. Then, create lesson plans, study guides, or discussion questions for your book. Turn these guides into simple .pdf files that teachers, librarians, and parents can download FREE from your site to use with your book. Also, write a press release that tells about your free lesson plans or study guides and how your book that has recently been released is now available to help classroom teachers get specific content across to their students. Submit this press release to online sites that will distribute it to a variety of online sources free.

3. If possible, form a partnership with some large organization that relates to the topic of your book. For example, if you've written a book about exotic animals, offer to partner with your local zoo. When they have special events, offer to be part of these events and show up to sell and sign your book. Incorporate information about the zoo into your promotional literature and in your local presentations.

4. Take part in local events that will give you the chance to sell your book and let people know you're a hometown author. I'm not talking about ONLY book signings at bookstores. Your community probably has some sort of street fair or community event in the fall or spring, where members of the local business association, or just local business owners, can purchase booth (or tent) space to promote their business. You can purchase space at one of these events to sell and sign your book.

5. Create a book trailer or have one created for you to generate more interest in your book. Put this trailer up at your site, of course. Also, get it on youtube.com and teachertube.com and other places online where your readers (and potential readers) are likely to see it. You can also have other friends and associates put the trailer on their websites with a link back to your site for more information about you and your other books.

6. Set up your own local book tour. Co-op with other local authors to do this. Contact your local SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Authors and Illustrators) if you don't know any other local children's authors. Get in touch with a few of these authors and suggest you contact local bookstores to do a Children's Book Day or other event where you can all set up your books at a big table in the store and sell and sign your books. The bookstores might not be as receptive to having one author do a book signings if this is your first book, so no one knows you as an author yet. But, if several children's book authors can be present in the store for a signing - and all are seated at one big table - this will attract attention to people in the store. It will also give the store something to announce ahead of time in their newsletter or at their website. And, with several authors taking part in this, each author's readership (or just family and friends) will draw a crowd to the store, which will interest the person in charge of special events at the bookstore.

7. Take part in virtual book tours through blogs and podcasts. Again, contact members of your local SCBWI chapter. Many of these writers will have websites or blogs and they'd be happy to have you as a "guest blogger" for the day. Line up 5 of these sites to be a "guest blogger" and you've got a week long virtual blog tour!

8. Be sure you offer school visits as part of your marketing efforts. But expand your presentations to include local libraries, recreation or community centers, and even summer camps and after school programs.

9. Write and distribute a press release about your book if your publisher has not already done this. If you have never written a press release, though, hire a professional PR service (or freelance press release writer) to write the release for you and then submit the release to local publications, but also have it sent out by an online PR distribution service.

10. Scout around online and find as many appropriate internet radio shows as you can, then email the person who schedules guests for these shows and offer to be a guest. Start with Book Bites for Kids, of course.

11. Teach workshops about some aspect of writing for children and use your book as part of the class materials. Be sure the cost of the workshop includes the cost of your book.

12. Make article marketing part of your overall plan for selling your book. Find out how to write short articles and submit them to article directories in order to drive traffic to your website or blog.

There are all sorts of ways to market your book. You're only limited by your own creativity and imagination. Listen to Book Bites for Kids every weekday afternoon at 2:00 central time at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/bookbitesforkids for more marketing tips from other children's book authors.

And, when your pen won't budge, read The Morning Nudge. Find out more about The Morning Nudge at http://www.morningnudge.com

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Sunday, December 26, 2010

3 Basic Tools - Learning to Write For Children, by Karen Cioffi

We all know how difficult it is to break into the business of writing for children. Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, it is a tough business and can be overwhelming for those just starting out. While all writing must adhere to certain guidelines, writing for children has additional principles unique to its genre.

To start, the words used in children's writing must be age appropriate. This may sound easy to do, but it can be a difficult task. There are also certain techniques and tricks used specifically in writing for children, such as the Core of Three, sentence structure, and the timeframe in which the story should occur when writing for young children. In addition, it's essential to make sure your conflicts, storyline, and point of view are appropriate for the age group you're writing for.

Along with this, there are general techniques for writing, such as adding sensory details, showing instead of telling, and creating an engaging story that hooks the reader right away, along with great dialogue and correct punctuation.

This is just the beginning though, there is also the business of editing your work, writing a winning query, and following submission guidelines; the list goes on and on.

But, don't get discouraged, there is help. Here are three basic tools to get you started and guide you down the children's writing path:

1. Children's Writer's WORD BOOK by Alijandra Mogilner is a great resource that provides word lists grouped by grades along with a thesaurus of listed words. This allows you to check a word in question to make sure it is appropriate for the age group you're writing for. It also provides reading levels for synonyms. It's a very useful tool and one that I use over and over.

2. Tricks of the Trade: Learn to Write for Children in Just 6 Weeks! e-course by the Children's Writer's Coaching Club creator and director, Suzanne Lieurance, is a gem for learning the ins and outs of writing for children. I have just about finished this course and can say with confidence that it's worth every penny. It's jammed packed with practical, easy to understand, and detailed information. It answers your questions and provides the necessary tools, tips and advice to guide you from the basics of writing for children (books and freelancing) to queries, submissions, networking and more.

The e-course has 6 individual lessons to get you on the road to writing for children and working toward having your work published. Each lesson has three parts with assignments and additional resources.

The Trick of the Trade e-course also includes a 2 month membership in the Children's Writers' Coaching Club. With this membership you have the opportunity to have your assignments professionally reviewed and critiqued by Lieurance or another published children's author on staff at the National Writing for Children Center each week. Lieurance is also including, as a special bonus, 4 additional instructional CDs with tips for freelance writers. With these perks this e-course package is a bargain.

Suzanne Lieurance has created a purposeful 'writing for children' road map. This road map eliminates any guess work or doubt - it provides step-by-step guided instructions to get you where you're heading. Tricks of the Trade: You Can Learn to Write for Children in Just 6 Weeks! is a phenomenal writing navigational tool - it offers top notch writing instruction and guidance.

3. The Frugal Editor by award winning author and editor, Carolyn Howard-Johnson, is a useful book for any writing genre, including children's. It is great resource that guides you through basic editing, to getting the most out of your Word program's features, to providing samples of queries. The author provides great tips and advice that will have you saying, "Ah, so that's how it's done."

I've invested in a number of books, courses and programs in writing and marketing, and know value when I see it; these products have a great deal of value for you as a writer, and they are definitely worth the cost.

I consider these three resources essential tools in my children's writing tool belt. But, the most important aspect of creating a writing career is to actually begin. Remember, you can't succeed if you don't try. It takes that first step to start your journey, and that first step seems to be a huge stumbling block for many of us. Don't let procrastination or fear stop you from moving forward - start writing today!

Karen Cioffi is a freelance writer and co-author of the bedtime picture book, Day's End Lullaby. She is part of the team at DKV Writing 4 U, and is the creator and moderator of the yahoo group VBT - Writers on the Move. This group consists of authors and writers who help promote one another through virtual book tours and other useful strategies. Karen is also a reviewer for BookPleasures.com, and a co-moderator of a Yahoo children's writing critique group. For helpful tips about writing, marketing, self-publishing and much more please visit: http://karenandrobyn.blogspot.com

If you'd like to learn more about the many affordable writing and website services offered at DKV Writing 4 U please visit: http://www.dkvwriting4u.com

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Friday, December 24, 2010

Childrens Book Clubs - Buyer Beware, by Christina Harding

If you have looked at childrens book clubs, you've probably seen the great deals they offer, such as "Get 6 books for $2 plus a free gift!" Sounds great right? It depends. Keep reading to see if joining a club makes sense for you.

Book buying clubs have been around since the 1920's. They're nothing new, and many people are quite happy with their book clubs. If you're looking to build up your kid's home library, a book club may be a great way to get started. You can get quite a few books at a very small price, or even free, with their enticing introductory offers. But many times that's where the value stops with most children's reading clubs. Most buyers don't read past the great introductory offer and before they know it they've signed themselves up for one big headache. So buyer beware!

• Beware of the shipping charges!

Many book clubs offer you books at great prices only to charge extra "shipping and handling" charges. Make sure the club states what these charges are as some are simply called "undisclosed shipping and handling charges".

• Beware of the offers you must refuse!

Most clubs are set up so that after you receive your introductory offer they automatically ship you a new selection every month, whether you want it or not. It's your responsibility to refuse the offer in time or they ship the new book, charging you the shipping and handling charges. If you didn't decline the offer in time, you may also be stuck with the additional cost of shipping it back.

• Beware of the books you MUST purchase!

With most offers, you sign up knowing that you must purchase a certain number of books to fulfill the terms of your membership. What the clubs don't often tell you is that not every book qualifies under your membership terms, so you may not necessarily want a book that you must purchase to fulfill your membership obligation.

• Beware of the fine print!

All childrens book clubs reserve the right to change their policies and offers at any time - and they do! Make sure you read the fine print, the membership agreement and the terms of each offer carefully before you sign up.

Kristina Harding has reviews of three specific childrens book clubs and more short story fun on her site at Short-Story-Time.com

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Reviews of Frederico, the Mouse Violinist


“Cute and curious, a little mouse transports us into Antonio Stradivari’s magical workshop. In a sweet playful way, Frederico conveys to us his love for the violin, while he introduces us to this marvelous instrument. Lovely tribute to a genius, whose exceptional instruments have delighted us for 300 years!”—Dorina Raileanu, violin teacher, author of the Dorina Violin Method

***

"This delightful story combines the magical element of an anthropomorphic mouse with a famous historic musical figure. Vocabulary words and interesting facts are woven into the story, making this an educational as well as entertaining read. Illustrator, K.C. Snider’s artwork hits all the high notes as well. Her depictions of the intrepid Frederico bring the story to life with vivid and colorful details. Additional information and activities—including a matching pictures game, glossary, and word search—encourage young readers to explore the book’s content in greater depth. The book is available in paperback, hardcover, and eBook versions.

"Congrats to Ms. Calvani on another endearing children’s tale."

--Cynthia Reeg, author of Kitty Kerplunking

***

"Calvani weaves her love of music with a beautiful story that is sure to enchant young readers. Whether your child plays musical instruments or not, he will enjoy reading of the little mouse with big dreams. This is such a unique and fun way to bring an appreciation of music to kids. I would love to see music classrooms in all our elementary schools carrying a copy of this one." --The Book Connection

***

“Frederico’s story is adorable and touching. I’m sure it will entertain many children, teach them a few things about the violin--andwho knows, perhaps even give them the desire to learn to play!”—Francine Engels, Suzuki violin teacher

***

"Frederico is a mouse who watches the famous Stradivari make the finest violins in the world and longs to play one himself. Although a mouse is far too small to play a violin, Frederico keeps trying and one day.... well, I won't give away the ending.

"The illustrator, K.C. Snyder, combines cute mouse and realistic violin pictures to convey both the fictional story and factual information perfectly.

"This book contains just enough about violins and how they work to be both informative and entertaining for kids. It would make a great gift for children from four to eight years old, especially if they're interested in music." --Janet Collins, children's author

***

"Frederico the Mouse Violinist by Mayra Calvani is a delightful story. I expected a fun read, but instead, found an enjoyable and educational story. Calvani hits that magical note where learning becomes exciting. The mouse is adorable as he discovers every part of the violin and when the famous Stradivari creates a gift just for our favorite furry friend, the reader feels the mouse’s joy. This is a book for the keeper shelf. Frederico the Mouse will become every young violinist’s favorite book and become the inspiration for others to play a violin of their own." --J.R. Turner, award-winning author of the Extreme Hauntings series.

***

"Frederico the Mouse Violinist, written by Mayra Calvani, is a sweet story about a small mouse who lives in the workshop of the famous violinist, Antonio Stradivari.

"My family and I loves animal tales. I read it to my seven year old son, Noah, and he loved it.The illustrations are beautiful, and this story will entertain and teach children, ages 4-8, about violins for years to come." --Book Reflections

***

"Author Mayra Calvani has created a story sure to intrigue and educate children and their parents. Included in the text are the names of the parts of the violin in bold-face type. At the end of the story is a glossary of terms, and also some violin-related games for the young reader to play and solve.

"The whimsical and lovely illustrations by award-winning artist K.C. Snider create a mood that supports and enhances this delightful tale. This beautiful book is a must for any child interested in music, and especially for those who are learning a musical instrument. Adults will love it too. There is much to learn for readers of any age. In addition to musical information, implicit in the story are the qualities of passion and perseverance, which are essential to the mastery of any skill. ‘Frederico, the Mouse Violinist’ is highly recommended by this reviewer." --Suzanne Marion, children's author and musician

***

"Frederico, the Mouse Violinist is a delightful children's book that I am happy to recommend. It shares the adventures of Frederico, who watches the famous luthier Stradivari craft great violins. At night, the little mouse sneaks into the shop and tries to play a violin. What happens when Stradivari sees him? You'll have to read it to find out!

"My daughter, almost four, loved the story. She has already asked to have it re-read many times. She also enjoyed the matching activity at the end of the book. The suggested audience are kids ages 4-8. Mayra Calvani has written a charming and educational book sure to be popular in family libraries and on teachers' shelves. Not only is the story lovable, but it teaches major parts of a violin and a little Strad history. The illustrations, by K.C. Snider, are compelling and complement the educational aspect of the story beautifully." --Jansen Family Adventures

***

Purchase from Guardian Angel Publishing.

The hardcover is on sale for $15.95 (normal retail price $19.95).

Also in paperback and ebook!




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Learn to Write Children's Books That Shine, by Lisa Brunel

Are you someone who loves the idea of telling stories to children? Stories are important part of the way that we teach the children around us and writing a children's book is one way to do it! The truth of the matter is that while writing a children's book might be tougher than it looks at first glance, it is actually easier than many people make it out to be and if you learn to write children's books the right way you will be way ahead of those who don't. You need to make sure that you are taking the steps that allow to book to shine, and taking a look at some of the tips below will help you.

The first thing that you need to remember when you learn to write for children is that you need to keep the pace up. A book's pacing refers to how it flows and you need to find the pace that suits you. For instance, a book about trying to find a lost puppy might involve a lot of fast pacing and short phrasing, while a book about a lazy Saturday afternoon might have a more slow and soothing pace. Take some time and think about the book that you want to write and make sure that you have chosen the appropriate pace that is good for the story and for the reader, for that story you are trying to tell.

Another thing that you need to do is to learn to write a story that your audience can relate to. Children like to read about children as do adults about adults. Can your audience put itself in the place of your main character, and are the things that your main character is doing something that the audience might do? For this to work, you need to think about how logic works and what other people might do. There are many different ways for you to take your children's book, but at the end of the day, you will find that finding the right path means finding the logical one.

When you want to look into writing a children's book and making your writing shine, remember that you should never talk down to the audience. There have been many authors that do this, and it is a sure sign that children are going to get irritated with the book. Put your trust in your audience to be able to understand what is going on, and don't feel as if you need to explain everything to them. Similarly, do not assume that some things are over their heads. Children are very familiar with negative emotions like anger or jealousy, so if your story calls for them, think seriously about how you are going to present them.

Finally, when you to learn to write a children's book, remember that showing something happening is more important than telling it and you will get a better response if you do. The younger your audience, the more you need to show things happening so they can feel the emotion in the words. The truth is that writing a children's book is something that takes time, effort and dedication. You need to read other authors' books and look at the style of writing they use and you should look into the wealth of information out there. The more you know about children's books, the better off you are going to be, so take some time and really consider what your resources are.

When you learn to write for children, it can be a daunting experience, but not when you have help form those who can show you the right way! Sign up for our free newsletter at http://www.learntowriteachildrensbook.com and start receiving everything you need to know about writing for children.


Lisa Brunel - EzineArticles Expert Author
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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

How to Write Children's Books - Tips in Writing for Children, by Carolyn Anderson

Learning how to write children's books and writing for children in general can be a great experience but of course, it can also be a challenging task. Of course, you have to get the attention of children who are sometimes, or most of the time, have short attention span than adults.

If you want to write for the children, learn what they want to read and what catches their attention. Most often, this means colorful images and creative presentations that come along with your children's book. Of course, it is also important that you know the children's thoughts about the stories they prefer and they like.

Firstly, you have to have the passion in writing if you want to learn how to write children's books. Of course, from the passion in writing, you can move on to learning the basics as well, and focus on what can get the attention of children when it comes to written materials and books.

- Research. You may need to check out what children love reading. You may need to observe children in the bookstore and what makes them like a book. Check out popular children's books and study them. Learn how these bestselling children's books captured its audiences as well.

- Study how to make effective dialogues in children's books. Dialogues should not just be something that your character says, but it should also give descriptions on the character's reactions while saying the dialogue. This will help provide the reader a good description of the character or the event. It is important that your dialogues are something that can also provide a picture of what the character thought, what he says aloud and what he is into while saying the dialogue.

- Develop your characters before writing your story. Most f the time, you would be thinking of how to twist the plot in your story but to write a good story - whether for the children or adults, you have to develop and define your character first before deciding to start with your writing.

- Add humor to your story. Children indeed love humor as much as adults do, so try to incorporate a little bit of humor into your story book. This will help keep their attention as well. Children indeed love to laugh and giving them a reason to laugh in your book can indeed be a good thing to consider if you want to learn how to write children's books.

- Find inspiration in your writing. If you write for the children, it helps a lot to have an inspiration - may it be your own kids or other writings for the children. You can also draw inspiration from other children's books that you find in your local library and be creative in searching for what children love to read.

Keep in mind to entertain children with your book. Aside from adding humor in it, make sure as well that you have conceived your characters well, especially if you are using talking animals. Not all talking animals are appealing to children, You have to make sure that you have a well-developed character that will also be appealing to children.

These are just a few tips to help you learn how to write children's books. Keep in mind that you may not have instant success with just one book. You have to be patient as well.

If you are interested in writing a children's book, check out the guide on how to Write A Great Childrens Book. Also check out Become A Childrens Writer, where you can find great tips on how to write a children's book from a children book writer herself.


Carolyn Anderson - EzineArticles Expert Author
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Monday, December 20, 2010

Complete Your Children's Book Collection, by Cole Rees

One of the most memorable and favourite past times we have as kids is learning to read, and there is nothing better than to get your child into reading and help them build their very own book collection. There are so many great kids books out there, often in the form of vast collections featuring their favourite TV and film characters, that it's easy to help them fall in love with reading. Furthermore there are also many online book stores that offer these collections at affordable prices, so why not get your child into reading with one of their favourite characters?

With the run up to Christmas, now is the best time to invest in reading books for your child. If they receive a book as a present they will see it as a treat, which can create positive reinforcements of reading. Then every time you buy them a book in the future they will see this as them receiving a gift and will be more likely to read, and it won't be long before they look forward to receiving the next book for their collection. Buying books this Christmas is also a perfect gift to give to your children as books can sometimes hold sentimental value for them. If they get into reading at a young age, then a certain book can evoke memories of their childhood as they grow up. Another positive outcome of buying books as a gift for children is that they can be very cheap, so if you don't want to splash out on the latest overpriced doll of their favourite TV character then they can still be involved with their idols by getting stuck into a book collection. Many book stores offer popular collections such as In The Night Garden or the classic Winnie the Pooh collection.

Overall it is extremely hard to find any disadvantages in trying to persuade your child to read more. A lot of teachers express how valuable it can be towards a child's education, and children who learn to read at a younger age will often develop key skills more rapidly. Reading can also help children's imaginations to run wild as they create their own picture of the stories in their heads, and for the younger toddlers there are plenty of picture books available online to get them into reading from the moment they start walking.

Buy Children's Books Online and get the widest choice and the best deals on the latest and most popular online books.

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Writing Children's Books - What's Hot Now, by Ursula Lang

Get excited about writing children's books! Write bestselling books for kids! Writing for kids can be rewarding: discover how to write bestselling kids' books by knowing what your target readers want.

Writing Children's Books for a Target Audience

First, choose your target readers: babies, toddlers, preschoolers, beginners or preteens. A story that's a potential bestseller with one age group may fall flat with another.

It's important to decide on the age level before you start writing: this will determine the kind of book you write, the length and complexity of your story, and the number, ages and treatment of your characters.

Studies in childhood development show that as kids grow from babyhood to the preteen years, they look for different kinds of books.

Writing Children's Books for the Earliest Years: Toddler and Baby Books

Babies and toddlers love to listen to simple tales revolving round the familiar world of home, family and friends. Also popular are adventures of mischievous children, talking animals or toys that come alive.

Babies love to hear about the doings of other babies (especially naughty ones) and baby animals. Learn from bestselling baby books like Welcome, Little Baby by Aliki and Spot the Puppy by Eric Hill.

Toddlers enjoy stories with lots of repetition, catchy words and rhymes. Take a cue from favorite children's books like Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown and Jamberry by Bruce Degen. Toddlers also love to hear about the escapades of other kids and talking animals, as in the Alfie stories by Shirley Hughes and the Little Crittur series by Mercer Mayer.

Writing Children's Books for Preschoolers

Although some preschoolers may have started to read by themselves, most will still have adults reading to them. How your story sounds is therefore very important; read it aloud -- does it flow smoothly? Does the story hold your attention?

Books about family and school life are popular with preschoolers, especially if they're funny stories with children or animals as the principal characters. Get a taste of kid humor from bestselling children's books like Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst, and If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff.

Writing Children's Books for Grade School Kids: Beginner Readers and Chapter Books

Beginner books -- also called easy-to-reads -- are for kids just starting to read by themselves. The writer's aim is to make the reading experience a pleasurable one for the child, who can then claim to have read the book "all by myself". This happy result comes about when the vocabulary and sentences are kept simple and concrete. Most beginner books run to only about 1,000 to 1,500 words, or between 40 and 64 pages.

Chapter books are for more advanced readers, and may range from 1,500 words to 10,000 words, or between 40 and 80 pages. They are usually divided into chapters of 3 to 4 pages each.

Grade school kids enjoy funny stories, and fast-paced adventure and fantasy stories revolving round family, school and friends. To understand what appeals to kids, look at popular children's books like Kids of the Polk Street School series by Patricia Reilly Giff, the Babysitters Club series by Ann M Martin, and Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and sequels by Judy Blume.

Writing for Preteens

Preteens want their stories to zip along at a fast pace, with plenty of action, adventure and humor. They prefer protagonists who are their own age or slightly older: active, intelligent, resourceful characters capable of solving problems by themselves.

Preteens look for stories that address relationship and growing-up issues in a way they can identify with: books such as The Divorce Express and Can You Sue Your Parents for Malpractice?, both by Paula Danziger and Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume.

For more tips and ideas on writing children's books, visit Creative Writing Ideas to help you write the best books for kids.

The author, Ursula Lang, is an avid reader, writer and editor of children's books. She runs a publishing business and website, http://creativejuicesbooks.com/ where you'll find lots of free creative writing tips, story writing ideas and other writers' resources to help you write your best book.

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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Great Christmas Tales Your Kids Will Love, by Jeremy White

If you teach your children to love books at an early age you're doing them a lifelong favor. And there's no better place to start than at Christmas. Not only do books make great holiday gifts, but there are hundreds of wonderful children's books that deal with Christmas themes. So, what are you waiting for? Get going.

Where to start? With our list of the best Christmas books for kids, of course. Making a best-of list is always tricky. The process is subjective to begin with. And you're always going to offend someone by leaving off their personal favorite. Believe us, we know we're going to leave off lots of great books. Okay, enough apologizing. Onto our list, which is presented in no particular order and designed to appeal to various age groups of children:

How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Dr. Seuss - You can't have a list of great children's books and not include a Dr. Seuss work. You just can't. Enough said.

No Peeking!, Charles Reasoner - What's inside all those gleaming presents under the tree? Every kid is dying to know ... but they have to wait until Christmas morning. Don't make your little one wait until Christmas morning to read this wonderful book!

A is for Angel: A Christmas Alphabet and Activity Book, Debbie Trafton O'Neal - Just like it sounds, this book uses the alphabet to teach children about the spirit and meaning of celebrating Christmas.

Why the Chimes Rang: A Christmas Classic, Raymond Macdonald Alden - A classic indeed. The original is nearly 100 years old, but this version has been updated with modern artistry to make the book fresh for a whole new generation of young readers.

The Night Before Christmas, Clement C. Moore - Can you complete this line: "'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring..." Yeah, we thought so. Based upon the classic poem we all know and love, this book is a winner.

The Polar Express, Chris Van Allsburg - Despite the fanfare, many found the movie to be disappointing. The same won't be said for the book. This tale is becoming a modern classic. Let your little one take the ride.

The Littlest Christmas Tree, Janie Jasin - Think back to when you were a child and looked up to older kids and adults. Didn't you yearn to grow up fast, to be big? Now, wouldn't you do just about anything to be a child again, if only for one more day? In this book, a small seedling wants desperately to grow up into a large Christmas tree. But it learns to be patient. It's a great lesson for your child - and a great trip into yesteryear for you!

The Christmas Hero, Golden Books - We all know and love the classic, animated Rudolph that runs on network television each holiday season. This book, which doubles as a coloring book, recreates that tale and stays true to the cartoon kids have watched for generations. Read it to your little one as she colors the pages.

The Legend of the Candy Cane, Lori Walburg - Do you know anything about the fascinating history of the candy cane? We didn't either, until we read this book. We won't spoil anything for you, so let us just say this: anytime you look at or eat a candy can again you'll be reminded of the true meaning of Christmas.

Twelve Days of Christmas, Alison Inches - This Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy book plays upon a perennial favorite. Your kids will love it!

Brought to you by Imaginary Greetings, a regular contributor of valuable family oriented content. For safe, family-friendly games and activities visit the official Santa Claus Home Page.

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Fridays with Irene: Too Fat? Too Thin? The Healthy Eating Handbook


Too Fat? Too Thin?

The Healthy Eating Handbook

Dr. Melissa Sayer

Crabtree Publishing Company

This is a wonderfully crafted and highly informative book about how adolescents can maintain a healthy body image and ensure that they refrain from comparing themselves with celebrities or people in the media.


This book is especially needed in our culture. Adolescents are bombarded with images of how they ‘should’ look in order to be accepted by their peers.

Although girls seem to be targeted the most by advertisers, boys are also feeling the negative affects of advertising. Because of this, most adolescents’ struggle with negative body image problems in the hands of advertisers who are all too ready to sell products much to the detriment of an adolescent’s self-image and self-esteem.


This book is like a breath of fresh air for adolescents. The book is divided into four main chapters with several subheadings in each chapter. Chapter 1 encourages the reader to re-evaluate his/her negative body image, ending with a positive exercise about body image. Chapter 2 discusses about how an adolescent’s body shape changes throughout puberty and how adolescents should strive to eat healthy and exercise and not worry about any other fad diets. Chapter 3 discusses eating disorders that some teenagers are prone to, and Chapter 4 talks about how an adolescent can be healthy by eating a balanced diet and exercising.


This book could be very useful in the classroom to teach adolescents how to accept their bodies and strive to be healthy. The books has a few quizzes that the reader could take to evaluate body image and to get on the positive track. There is a glossary of terms and further information on eating disorders, exercise, diets, obesity, and calorie counting.


Thus, I think this book has a lot of educational potential. If only educators would use this book in the classroom, we may have fewer adolescent with eating disorders with negative image problems. But most of all, we may have less obesity and more health conscious adolescents.


~ Irene Roth

Irene Roth writes fiction and nonfiction for teens and tweens. In addition, she writes reviews for Blogcritics Magazine, Booksneeze, Tynsdale Publishers, The Muse, and is review editor for Humane Medicine International. She has written over 200 reviews, articles, and stories, both online and in print. Irene is a members of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), CBI Clubhouse, and the Children’s Writer’s Coaching Club. Visit her websites at: http://irenesbookreviewsmyblog.wordpress.com

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tree Houses Inspire Children's Imaginations


Ever since the publication of Johann David Wyss’ Swiss Family Robinson in 1812, children have been captivated by tree houses. Later, Mary Pope Osborne's popular Magic Tree House series (http://www.magictreehouse.com) made the idea even more appealing for kids. Tree houses equal fantasy and adventure, a way for kids to get out and experience nature while having some time alone away from parents and still remain safe in their own garden.

Reasons Children Like Tree Houses

I recently asked a group of 8-10 year olds why they loved tree houses and this is what they had to say:

“You can shut yourself out from the world.”

“You can create a club in it.”

“It’s high up and you can see everything around you.”

“You can get away from parents—especially if they make you angry—and still be safe in the garden.”

“It can be a hiding place.”

“It’s a quiet, peaceful place to read a book, listen music, or do yoga/meditation.”

“It’s a private place to play games with friends.”

Resources for Parents and Teachers

For those people who have large trees in their gardens, there are many websites online that sell tree house kits. These kits range from simple and affordable to sophisticated and expensive. If building a tree house isn’t an option, parents and teachers can introduce tree house stories to children and engage them in various fun and educational activities. Besides introducing them to Swiss Family Robinson and the Magic Tree House series, another resource is Rachelle Burk’s children’s story, Tree House in a Storm (http://www.rachelleburk.blogspot.com). This book includes a free teacher’s guide with various activities for kids, from K-1 to grades 2-6. Among Burk’s suggested activities are taking children outdoors to spot trees that could hold a tree house, having them draw/design their dream tree house, and/or write a story about what they would do in a tree house.

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Personalized Children's Books - The Gift Every Child Will Love, by Richard Lave

What is a personalized children's book?

Quite simply it is one in which the child actually becomes an integral part of the story by his or her name becoming the hero or heroine. Modern technology in the printing world has now made this quite wonderful idea an affordable reality for everyone.

Personalized children's books are usually based upon animal themes or fairy stories that all children seem to love. They often introduce an educational element too. However, the fact that the boy or girl is actually in the story brings them to life in a totally new, different and fascinating way. You can see the child's excitement build as they realize they have actually been woven into the story. They see their own names, their friends and their home town actually playing a key role as events unfold.

Why should you purchase a personalized children's book?

Of course these books make wonderful gifts. Children are invariably absolutely delighted when they see that they are the hero or heroine of one of their favorite stories.

Across the United States ever increasing numbers of parents and grandparents are purchasing personalized children's books for their young relatives. They become items that are treasured by the child and parent alike. The personalized book is something that will be enjoyed by the child right now but will remain a treasured item and reminder of the growing up period for many years.

Personalized children's books can be given to children at almost any occasion. They make wonderful gifts for all celebrations including Christmas, birthdays and kindergarten graduation ceremonies.

How are these personalized children's books produced?

Personalized books are printed by the use of a modern digital press that allows every single sheet of paper coming out to be completely unique every time. This relatively recent technology allows the creation and printing of books with different content on every page. Printing is just another area where digital processes make new things possible and affordable.

The benefits of personalized children's books

Personalized children's books are educationally sound because they are written and produced by people who understand the different stages of a child growing up. The involvement of the child in the story sparks imagination and acts a stimulus to reading and understanding the book. This can have a positive effect on rapid literary development.

Another benefit is that the child being the central figure in the story helps them develop their own self-confidence. As they read their own story they start to see themselves as individuals; self-esteem and self-worth build.

One final major and often unconsidered advantage of personalized children's books is that they make great fundraising items. Because they are so popular they are easy to sell. This means that they are ideal for neighbourhood or charitable fundraising efforts. What works for a lot of fundraisers is to take local advance orders and then give the books to the children during the actual event.

So, whether or not you are planning a fundraising event or simply want a very special gift for a much loved little boy or girl, do give thought to the unusual idea of a personalized children's book. The recipient will without doubt be glad that you did.

There is a superb selection of personalized children's books available through the unique Babydazey site.

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Frederico the Mouse Violinist is out!


Hi all,

I'd like to announce the release of my latest children's picture book, Frederico the Mouse Violinist!

Blurb:

Frederico is a tiny mouse with a big dream: he wants to become a violinist. Each day he watches as Stradivari makes his famous violins. Each night, he sneaks into the workshop to play. But the violins are too big! Then, unbeknown to Frederico, Stradivari sees him playing and begins carving a tiny device. Could it be a famous Strad especially for Frederico?

The book is available in ebook, paperback and hardback formats from Guardian Angel Publishing. It should also be on Amazon, B&N and other online retail stores in about 1-2 weeks.

Purchase from Guardian Angel Publishing.

Thanks!

Mayra www.tips-fb.com

Feature Article: 12 Things Authors do to Sabotage Their Success, by Penny Sansevieri

Writing, publishing, promoting, publicizing. It all seems quite daunting, doesn't it? Well, it doesn't have to be. First you need to start out by doing the right things and knowing what can help, or harm, your success. Keep in mind that while there is always a creative element, publishing is a business. It's important to know your business to be successful. Here are a dozen ideas that I hope will help you on your journey from writer to successful author.

1. Waiting too long to market. When it comes to marketing, some authors wait too long to get the word out there. If you're sitting on top of your publication date wondering where to start with your marketing, you're about six months behind the curve. Book marketing is what I call the long runway of promotion. A great campaign will consist not only of a focused marketing plan, but a plan that starts early enough to support the ramp up that a good book marketing campaign needs. And this isn't just for the self-published market, any book that's being released these days needs a minimum of a six-month ramp up. This doesn't mean that you are marketing during that time, but ideally you are getting ready for your launch by having a website designed, starting a newsletter, building your mailing list, building your media list, planning your events, etc.

2. Not having enough money. I see it all the time; authors spend all their money on the book process (book cover, editing, etc.) and then don't have enough for the marketing. That's like opening up a store and not having money to stock it with inventory. Before you jump headlong into publishing a book, make sure you have the funds to do so. So, how much is enough? It depends on what you want to accomplish. Be clear on your goals and market, then sit down with someone who can help you determine a budget.

3. Not getting to know others in their market. Who else is writing about your topic? If you're not sure, then you should do your research. Getting to know your fellow genre authors is not only important, but it can really help you with your marketing. How? Because most readers don't just buy one self-help book, or one dating book, they will generally buy in multiples. So getting to know others within your market can not only help you market your book, but it could also help you connect with fellow authors, and there is truth to the fact that there is power in numbers.

4. Ignoring social media. While social media may seem confusing to most of us, it's important to know that it can sometimes be a make or break situation when it comes to marketing your book. If you can't make heads or tails out of Twitter vs. Facebook, then hire someone who can help you or guide you through your choices.

5. Thinking bookstores don't matter. While it's nice to think that most of us do our shopping online and via Amazon, bookstores (especially local stores) can really help or hurt your marketing efforts. If your book isn't going into bookstores, then you'll want to get to know your local area stores to see if you can present your book to them for consideration and/or do an event in their store. Having a local presence in bookstores is important, especially if you are doing local events and local media. If the bookstore won't stock the book (and many of them won't if you're a first time author), then make sure at the very least that your book can be ordered. You don't want people walking into your neighborhood store and being told "Sorry, we can't get that book."

6. Printing too many copies. In order to get large printing discounts, authors will often print huge numbers of their books. I've seen ranges from 10,000 on up. Generally I recommend a run of no more than 2,000. You can always go back to print and likely when you do, you'll want to make changes to the book, possibly adding new testimonials, endorsements, and reviews. Also, you have better things to do with your marketing dollars than spend them on storage space.

7. Not spending enough time researching their market. If you were going to open up a store in a mall, let's say a yogurt shop, would you ever consider opening a store without doing the proper research? Probably not. Yet every day authors publish books and haven't done market research. This research, while it can be tedious, could save you hundreds of dollars in promotion and/or cover design.

8. Not hiring a professional to do their book cover. In tight financial times, it's ok to cut corners in marketing or find less expensive ways to do things. But one corner you shouldn't cut is on your book cover. Your cover is important because it's the first impression your audience has of your book. Don't shortcut your success by creating a cover that doesn't sell. In the long run, the money you save on the cover design could cost you four times that in book sales.

9. Not having their work professionally edited. Your book is your resume; not only that but it's your reader's experience as well. What kind of experience do you want to give them? If the answer is a great one (and it likely is) make sure the work you do on your book mirrors that. Your work should always be professionally edited, no excuse. If you don't have enough money to do this, then ask yourself if publishing this book is really a good idea. Perhaps waiting until you have the funds to get the book released the right way is a better idea.

10. Expecting immediate book sales. Nothing happens immediately, especially book sales. The sales process for books can be lengthy, especially when you're dealing with multiple reporting agencies. Most authors don't know that places like Amazon, Baker & Taylor, and Ingram don't all pay on the same timeframe. They all have particular cycles to how they pay. For example, Amazon might pay 90 days after the sale, whereas some folks I've talked to say that Baker & Taylor sometimes lags five months behind. What this means is that if you are pushing your book in December and hope to see the fruits of your labor in January, that timeline isn't realistic. Don't end up disappointed if your royalty statements aren't reflecting the promotion you've done. It could be that the agencies just haven't caught up with your sales.

11. Not having a website. Someone once asked me if all authors should have a website, to which I responded: does your book need a book cover? Every author should have a website. It doesn't have to be fancy, lengthy, or expensive, but it's a 24/7 sales tool and the only way to build credibility online.

12. Giving up on their book too soon. Like anything, book marketing takes time. I see authors all the time who start to grow impatient after a few months, wondering where their success is. How long will it take? That depends. But you might not be the best person to determine that. If you've been marketing your book for a while and can't figure out why nothing has taken off, spend an hour with a professional who can tell you if you're on the right track. Do this before you decide to throw in the towel. You might be inches away from success; don't give up before you do your research.

Making headway in marketing is as much about the good decisions, as it is avoiding the bad. Good luck in your publishing journey!


Reprinted from "The Book Marketing Expert newsletter," a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques. http://www.amarketingexpert.com
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