Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Marketing My Children's Picture Books with Children's Craft Classes

For me, the hardest part about being a children’s picture book author is the marketing. One of my most successful, marketing techniques is to teach paper craft and book making to young children. My classes and /or demonstrations are held at schools, book stores, toy stores, museums, galleries, at book fairs and even on the street. I find this is an excellent way to interact with young readers, their parents and grandparents. These classes and demonstrations provide an opportunity to advertise future events, publicize my books and keep my name in the local media. In addition, the places where I teach the classes often allow me to sell my books, or they will sell them for me. These events allow me to develop an email list which I use to send out a newsletter and publicize additional events, any new books and my web and blog sites.

I now have a variety of book forms, from simple accordion books to more complicated forms, to be used in a variety of class situations and even street-side locations. Much depends on the age of the children. I like to limit formal classes to children over the age of seven, because the younger ones do not have the cutting and other skills needed to do the projects. However, if there is an adult present ready to help or the class isn’t too full, younger kids do attend. And with this adult help, they do quite well. Even two-year-olds like to have a piece of paper or book for drawing.
Clap Your Hands Book Form

The young authors and artists are free to decide how to decorate their book, what to write and what color pages and covers to use. It is amazing how creative these children are and how they dive right in and start writing and drawing. I provide a variety of colorful paper choices and pens as well as other supplies to ignite their imagination.  Sometimes I charge a small materials fee and sometimes not, depending on the location.
This may look like chaos but it's really creativity in motion.

I have a pile of my children’s stories available for the kids and parents to examine and read. When the class is over, I hand out brochures detailing my stories and listing the places where they can be purchased, either online or at local stores. Naturally, it’s nice when my books are bought on the spot as happened yesterday afternoon at the Studios on the Park in Paso Robes.

Recently, I have developed  book making projects that directly relate to my published children’s picture books. For example, “Hopping to the Moon” is a story about a frog that dreams he has hopped to the Moon and what he finds there. It’s designed to teach children about the Moon and space travel. The accompanying art projects I call a Moon Book, a circular form with a picture of the Moon on the cover. After reading the story, we talk about the Moon and space travel. They cut out the front and back cover out of card stock and make colorful circular pages that they string together at the top to form a book.  Depending on their age, the kids are encouraged to write a story about life on the Moon, or draw pictures of the Moon surface and decorate their book with the pens, punches and other supplies I provide.  Their final art book is designed to be hung in their room.
Moon Book 

I also have a couple of butterfly book forms that corresponds to “Butterfly Girls” and “When Caterpillars Dream”. Here again, after I read these stories, the children make a book that looks like a suspended butterfly that can be used for story writing or pictures. I’m continuing to develop other book forms that correspond to my other children’s stories. 
Butterfly Books made by kids in my class


Sunday, January 25, 2015

One Young Man at a Book Signing

This past Saturday, I had a book signing for my novel, The River Hideaway. It was a very good day. There were so many highlights in that first hectic two hours, that if I list them I will surely leave people out.

I signed many copies & in some cases below my name, I also signed them as, 'Coach.' Parents, and in one case a sister, bought my book for a Christmas present for men who I once coached in basketball, when they were boys, aged ten to twelve. One of my favorite players, Stephen Wolff, came in with his girl friend. He shared stories with my wife about what he recalls playing ball for me.


There was a lady that my family holds dear in our hearts, for all the love & care she gave to my mom in those last years consumed with dementia. Tiffany, you are an angel and you hold our families deepest thanks always.


My PR angels, Sharon & Wylene, for continually pushing this little story to everyone you can reach. Robbie, for showing up once again & taking pictures of the event as only you can.

My old friend, Gary Barbee, who came from Pinehurst. Thanks for providing the comedic relief. 

A teacher came that taught me typing in the ninth grade. The ninth grade was the first year I was bused to another school to achieve real integration. Several of my classmates of that time came by Saturday.

More times than not the books were purchased by people for Christmas presents. How do I value that? To be a part of Christmas in homes across the region.

I saw people I had not seen in nearly forty years. But there was one sale that day that resonates the deepest. A young man approached  the table & asked me very directly, "Why did you write this book?"

I shared with him my reasons...my inspirations.

He nodded and said, "I will buy one."

As I was preparing to sign it for him he offered, "I was in the parking lot & I heard two people talking about your book and I just felt like the Lord wanted me to come in here and see you."

He was looking at me eye to eye as he said this. I got goosebumps or as some of us refer to them, God-bumps. We talked a little while longer and I told him that the book has a spiritual theme in it & that it begins with an elderly man having a vision from God.

I thanked him for the encouragement he offered to a no name author, with a small press, struggling to get the word out for this story. I know God is with Julie and I, wherever this goes. But at times I also doubt, worry, & struggle with the things I can't control.

Maybe that is why God reminded me what he could do with one person.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Writing the Western Novel by Dac Crossley

There are two plot lines for western novels: Hero takes a trip and stranger comes to town. I’ve used both of them. In Guns of the Texas Ranger Nacho Ibarra has an unexpected journey through the Rio Grande Border during the time of the bandit raids. In Code of the Texas Ranger the old-time ranger Whitey Wilson upends people’s lives in Kingsville, Texas. What does he want?


Western novels are historical fiction. If you’re gonna write one you better have your facts straight. Put the wrong six-gun in the wrong era and somebody will jump on you in a review. I write about south Texas, the Wild Horse Desert south of the Nueces river, where culture clash yields a rich vein of story lines. I’ve found some old family narratives that set the scenes for me.


I think readers can relate to western stories because, in truth, they are the story of America. That’s what we Americans do -- Make a new start. Move on. Turn the page. Begin again. America’s first western frontier was in East Tennessee, when pioneers defied English law and crossed the Appalachians. We’ve always gone west, even today when ‘‘west’’ is a state of mind.


And America is ‘‘the west’’ to many now living in foreign lands. Immigrants want the chance to start over, turn the page, begin a new life. For them, we are the frontier. They bring a new dimension to the western story.


Dac Crossley (author of Revenge of the Texas Ranger)
January 19, 2015


‘‘Happiness, it turns out, is a destination we reach only when we are trying to get somewhere else.’’ -- Matthew Syed.

Friday, January 23, 2015

WEEKLY ROUND-UP JANUARY 23, 2015

Welcome to the Weekly Round-Up everyone! As always, thank you for dropping in. Oak Tree Press has lots of news in our corral today. Be sure to check out our website, www.oaktreebooks.com/bookstore.html, for a complete list of all the great books we have available. But now, for your reading pleasure, our authors have news, book signings, events, reviews, blogs and more to share with you as we head into the Round-Up…


Need help choosing a great book to read? 


Check out our sample chapters on MANIC READERS! 


We have plenty to choose from.... Click on the title and you will be directed to a free read! These sample chapters will be updated frequently and new releases will also be featured: 


NEW RELEASES
No new releases of books, but new release of information about book giveaways!
What's FREE on Goodreads this Week?
This week on Goodreads we have something special! We are giving away books! The one's that are coming up are: The Fourth Rule, Murder's Last Resort, and Sweet Dreams! Get them now before the offer runs out!


PRIOR EVENTS


Ann K. Howley, author of Confessions of a Do-Gooder Gone Bad, was recently giving a presentation about "How to Write a Memoir" at the Upper Saint Clair Library. She was selling and signing books in addition to her presentation.

Some might not know this, but Ann K. Howley is a long time supporter of the American Cancer Society, and until June 27, 2015, she is donating proceeds from the sale of her book to the ACS to support the South Hills Relay for Life which will take place on that date. Sounds like an awesome way to get a good book and do something good for others!

"Retirement is murder for this NJ rabbi--Newsworks"
Ilene Schneider, author of Unleavened Dead, was recently featured in the Prime Time section of News Works. This is what she had to say bout the experience: "I'm honored and pleased to be featured today on the Prime Time section of News Works, the blog for WHYY, Philadelphia's PBS station. My thanks to writer Stacia Friedman for doing such a good job distilling the essence of my ramblings. (And for introducing me to such a good veggie Chinese restaurant.) And to photographer Emma Lee for spending so much time trying to figure out how to make staring at a laptop monitor look dynamic." Sounds awesome Ilene, if you want to read the article, you may do so here:
http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/speak-easy/item/77050-retirement-is-murder-for-this-nj-rabbi?l=me



Douglass Seaver, author of The Fourth Rule, recently had a full page feature in a local newspaper announcing the publication of his book.
Moreover, he also had a launch party at R. J. Julia's bookstore. They have a good turn out with roughly 50 people! Douglass Seaver reported that people really enjoyed the look and feel of the published book! To the left you can see the featured article!



UPCOMING EVENTS

Scratch now in paperback from Oak Tree Press: Tale of loyalty, friendship and courage set in the mysterious world of feral cats. A legendary tomcat sets out on a quest to save two warring clans from a greater peril stalking them all. (Reviews on Amazon.com) Book signing, Sat, Jan. 24th, 11:00 AM at Bank Square Books, Mystic. (Copies signed by author!)
  
Druids,
in paperback & Kindle from Oak Tree Press website and Amazon.com
: Magical tale of a teenage mystic who joins with two rival knights to save a ruined land from a druid lord's deranged sorcery. (Reviews on Amazon.com) Available at Bank Square Books, Mystic; Book Trader Etc, Groton; Book Barn, Niantic. (Copies signed by author!)




Thonie Hevron has been tagged to emcee the third Copperfield's Bookstore/Redwood Writers Fiction Book Club on May 26th. She will be introducing author Arletta Dawdy and Huachuca Woman. She will facilitate discussion about the book. Look for Thonie's book, Intent to Hold, for a fall selection!













Ronald WendlingRonald Wendling had this to say about a recent trip: "Last summer I was at a Writers’ Conference in Montrose, PA, where I attended a session devoted to the planning and holding of a Launch Party. Then April Lindner, my colleague in the English Department at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, invited me to the launch of her young adult novel “Love, Lucy,” which will be held at a winery in southeast New Jersey at the end of this month and which my wife and I will be certain to attend. Sometime in the spring I will launch my upcoming memoir, Unsuitable Treasure: An Ex-Jesuit Makes Peace with the Past, and while it may not be the party to end all parties, I think it can’t help but benefit from what I have learned about the launch experiences of other writers. Everybody loves a party!"

Blast From the Past
This shall be a new section where we showcase a book that has been published a few years ago, but still retains its original appeal. This is what Publisher Billie had to say about this seciton: "As part of the exercise of setting up our new web site, I had to review our entire roster of titles, and I was struck at the number of really fine titles in our backlist. So, we are going to highlite titles from prior seasons, so we book shoppers can take a second look."
This week, we feature Elaine Busby. She has done two titles with us, both good stories, engaging romances.


BLOG CORRAL


Robert Weibezahl, author of The Dead Don't Forget, has embarked on a new literary project: to read the complete works of his favorite writer, Graham Greene. He will be chronicling the experience on his new blog, 26 Grahams, which can be found at http://26grahams.wordpress.com/ and he hopes you'll follow his "Adventures in Greeneland."





  Sharon A. Moore, author of Mission Impastable, has some new blogspot information for us. Guest blog opportunity: The second Tuesday of each month is when Sharon has guests posting at her three blogs. If writers want to post at "Parsley, Sage, and Rosemary Time", "Write Away", or "Romance Righter", please contact her at LEADMoore@gamil.com
Also, Sharon is writing a continuing series on Twitter for writers. The latest post is part two of how to get re-tweets.  http://samwriteaway.blogspot.com/2015/01/twitter-for-writers-how-to-construct_20.html



Police Procedural mysteries are very different from cozies. In this continuing series on sub-genres in mystery,Sharon gives the elements and tips for how to write one. http://sharonarthurmoore.blogspot.com/2015/01/the-mystery-of-mysteries-10-tips-for.html



Sharon posted part two on how to use tropes better in writing characters.  http://angelicafrench.blogspot.com/2015/01/tropes-make-your-writing-easier-but-not_20.html






That wraps up the Round-Up for this week. I hope everyone enjoyed this week's Round-Up! I look forward to your emails!

If you have something you would like to submit to the Round-Up, send me an email at jesu.martinez@outlook.com
Big or small, old or new, I would like to keep our blog updated! Comments, questions or suggestions are welcome too.



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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Evening of the Dragonfly

Cover Reveal - Painting First, Then the Book

"Evening of the Dragonfly" watercolor ©MMSikes
A couple of years ago when I completed a mixed water media painting, I thought it would someday become the cover of a book. As I studied the painting more closely, I discovered the image of a dragonfly emerging in the green and yellow mist, formed by spraying the surface of Yupo with beautiful paints created by Robert Doak in his Brooklyn studio. Because I had developed a special love of Dragonflies as I wrote my novel, Night Watch, I knew at that moment the painting would have special significance.

You can imagine how excited I was when dragonflies became a part of the story in my new novel, Evening of the Dragonfly. Like the dragonfly in the painting, these dragonflies emerged spontaneously and flew into my writing. I now had a book to go with my dragonfly painting.

What is it about dragonflies? I've read that they are filled with magic and spiritual energy. They have the ability to travel into another dimension, then re-emerge. They relate to water and are able to move across it. They symbolize deeper meaning and growth beyond the limitations of the physical. The life of a dragonfly can be two to three years or more with most of that time spent in the aquatic phase.

Here is the final cover of the just-released book. I do not yet have a copy to hold in my hands. In the months to come, I hope that my readers will enjoy and understand the symbolism of the dragonflies in my story. I would love to hear thoughts on my book and, also, on the ways authors use symbolism in their own writing.


BTW, this is a Timeless Love story. My novel, Hearts Across Forever, was Oak Tree's first Timeless Love book.



Mary Montague Sikes (from my blog, Notes Along the Way)


Monday, January 19, 2015

I Am Expecting a Book--Not Unlike Expecting a Baby

Well--it is a bit different, but this is what I do when I know my latest is about to be a reality.

First, the only way for people to know you have a new book coming is to tell them. This takes a bit of planning. Everyone seems to have their own ideas for promotion, but whatever it may be it needs to be organized ahead of time.

Because I like to do blog tours, I have to start planning long before the book comes out. Finding blog hosts and arranging the dates takes time. Once that's done, then original posts for each one must be written. This takes a lot of time, so it's best to do one at a time--I usually do it later in the day when I through with other writing chores. But if I think of a good topic at another time, I'll jot it down so I don't forget.

In the meantime I try to schedule some in-person events. I'll be participating in a Local Author's Day at the Madera County Library in February. In April two events, a Mystery Authors' Symposium in Fresno, and a solo event at the Porterville Library which I may turn into my launch party.

I have a phone interview scheduled in June, and in July the Public Safety Writers Association's annual conference.

I'm sure other events will come up as the year progresses.

On a regular basis, I post on Facebook and groups on Facebook.

This is just the beginning of my marketing plan which is an on-going process.

Oh, you want to know the name of my new baby? It's Violent Departures, the next one in my Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery series.

No, I don't have a cover yet, but it's coming.

If you haven't tried this series yet, the one that arrived last year was Murder in the Worst Degree. I had a great time writing and promoting that one.

Marilyn aka F. M. Meredith


It's available as a print and Kindle book.

You can visit me at http://fictionforyou.com
and
my own blog at http://marilynmeredith.blogspot.com


Blurb for the latest RBPD mystery, Murder in the Worst Degree: The body that washes up on the beach leads Detectives Milligan and Zachary on a murder investigation that includes the victim’s family members, his housekeeper, three long-time friends, and a mystery woman.

Bio: F. M. Meredith aka Marilyn Meredith is the author of over 35 published books. She enjoys writing about police officers and their families and how what happens on the job affects the family and vice versa. Having several members of her own family involved in law enforcement, as well as many friends, she’s witnessed some of this first-hand. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

WEEKLY ROUND-UP JANUARY 16, 2015

Welcome to the Weekly Round-Up everyone! As always, thank you for dropping in. Oak Tree Press has lots of news in our corral today. Be sure to check out our website, www.oaktreebooks.com/bookstore.html, for a complete list of all the great books we have available. But now, for your reading pleasure, our authors have news, book signings, events, reviews, blogs and more to share with you as we head into the Round-Up…


Need help choosing a great book to read? 


Check out our sample chapters on MANIC READERS! 


We have plenty to choose from.... Click on the title and you will be directed to a free read! These sample chapters will be updated frequently and new releases will also be featured: 


NEW RELEASES
Not a book release, but after a few months of work, we have updated our website and you may view it here: www.oaktreebooks.com

Upon publishing it, we noticed some errors such as some book covers not uploading; however, we will fix it soon enough. Please be patient. If you have any technical issues, find some errors, or have a photo request/update please email me: jesu.martienz@outlook.com. Thank you.



PRIOR EVENTS


Beryl Reichenberg, OTP children's book author, was at the Discovery Museum in Santa Maria on Saturday, Jan. 10 at 3 PM to read her kid's book Hopping to the Moon and teaching a paper craft/bookmaking project for kids over the age of 7. "[She spoke] about what it might be like to live on the Moon, and the children [were] asked to write in their book about how, as a kid, they might live and play in a Moon colony." 

Beryl was also selling her children's books at the January 13 meeting of the SLO Nightwriters at 5:30. The monthly meeting is held at the United Christian Church of Christ on Los Osos Valley Road in San Luis Obispo, CA.  "The meetings are usually lively and informative and anyone can attend. I urge you if you live in the area to attend."



Beryl Reichenberg
Artist and Author of Children's Books


Order children's picture books by Beryl from
your local bookstore, Amazon, www.oaktreebooks.com or Ingram



Recently, Chanukah Guilt's author, Ilene Schneider, was featured in a PBS interview. Here's what she to say about the experience: "I'm honored and pleased to be featured today on the Prime Time section of News Works, the blog for WHYY, Philadelphia's PBS station. My thanks to writer Stacia Friedman for doing such a good job distilling the essence of my ramblings. (And for introducing me to such a good veggie Chinese restaurant.) And to photographer Emma Lee for spending so much time trying to figure out how to make staring at a laptop monitor look dynamic."


You can read more here:

http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/speak-easy/item/77050-retirement-is-murder-for-this-nj-rabbi?l=me


UPCOMING EVENTS
OTP has a booth at the TUCSON FESTIVAL OF BOOKS!!
We are very excited to be participating in this prestigious event this year. OTP authors JL Greger, Virgil Alexander, Robert Richter, Amy Bennett, DR Ransdell, Carolyn Niethammer will be attending and helping man the booth as well as inscribe books for their fans. Currently, We are mulling over what sales materials we want to take with us, and other items to decorate our booth. We requested a corner location...hopefully this will enhance our visibility to the expected  throng of visitors to the Festival!!

Festival Dates are March 13-15, 2015...if you are going to be in the area, stop and see us!


BLOG CORRAL



F.M. (Marilyn) Meredith is planning another blog book tour for the next Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery, Violent Departures. If you have a blog and are interested in hosting her, you may send her a message at mmeredith@ocsnet.net

She's glad to write on a topic of your choice.














That wraps up the Round-Up for this week. I hope everyone enjoyed this week's Round-Up! I look forward to your emails!

If you have something you would like to submit to the Round-Up, send me an email at jesu.martinez@outlook.com
Big or small, old or new, I would like to keep our blog updated! Comments, questions or suggestions are welcome too.



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