Time For a Spring Reset!

Spring often signifies new beginnings in literature and poetry, a rebirth, if you will. All that which lay dormant in winter now slowwwly stretches its limbs, lets out a big yawn and sigh of relief and comes back out to bask in the sun. The trees are budding, the deer are grazing, we now awake to the calming sounds of birds chirping, the sun stays with us well into the evening, it’s finally warm enough for sandals and everyone seems to be in generally better spirits because of those things aforementioned.

spring stretch

The charm and warmth of spring should not only put a pep in your step in your day to day life, but it should also be a time to pep up your writing and marketing efforts!

 

  1. Let spring be a new beginning for you. Make a list of things you’d like to begin with a fresh start. Do you need to begin editing, creating a marketing plan, blogging, etc? Now’s the time to do it!
  2. Use some springtime writing prompts to get the creative juices flowing and to help you “reset” after winter. Write about how the sunshine affects your mood and creativity, write about spring as a symbol of birth/life, write about the your sensuous experience wandering around in the natural world in springtime, etc. etc.
  3. Host an outdoor reading event in your community. Pick a nice sunny afternoon to encourage members of your community to get outside and share their love of the spoken and written word. This is a great way to network, to connect with other writers in your area and to have some fun in the sun!
  4. Start being more active on social media! Take pictures of the beauty around you, toss in a quote from a work of yours or of your favorite author’s and share with your audience! Blog, post about new developments in your publishing process, connect with readers on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter! Now that the butterflies are back, why not be a little social butterfly?
  5. Spruce up your website. Who knows more about you than…well, you? Write up a fresh author bio that includes recent accomplishments, publications, life developments and so forth.
  6. Join some forums, join Goodreads! These are both terrific venues for marketing your book and they help you connect more intimately with your audience.
  7. Host a drawing contest for the cover of your next book! The winner gets a free copy of your book and gets featured on your website and social media pages!
  8. Add a “Store” page to your website. This is a great way to increase sales and to have your readers buy directly from you rather than some third party website.
  9. Do some spring cleaning of your writing space and bookshelves. See our last few blogs for tips on how to “declutter” as a writer!
  10. Take advantage of this nice weather! Try writing outside, even if it’s just brainstorming. A little vitamin D and time in nature can go a longgg way!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Thank you for reading!  If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or contributions, please use the comment field below or drop us a line at selfpublishingadvice@gmail.com.  And remember to check back each Wednesday for your weekly dose of marketing musings from one indie, hybrid, and self-published author to another. ♠


Kelly

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com

Self-Publishing News: 5.29.2017

And now for the news!

Some highlights from this week in the world of self-publishing:

This week’s Publisher’s Weekly features a piece by Calvin Reid which highlights Jason Pinter, the man who founded the indie publishing house, Polis Books. Pinter found himself inspired by the 2016 election and has decided to return to his passion–writing books. The Castle, Pinter’s political thriller, will be a self-published title and be kept separate from the Polis Books list.

Pinter’s reason for self-publishing? The feeling of the books immanent importance in the wake of our current political situation. Publishing a book by traditional means can take over a year, and this was a book he felt should be published now, and right now. According to Pinter, “several editors liked the book, but said it needed to be out now. I agreed with them.” Another reason for self-publishing was that Pinter didn’t want to cut in front of other authors trying to publish through Polis Books, nor did he want to overshadow the other titles currently being publishing by his press.

Once Polis books got up and running–it will be publishing 27 books in 2017!–Pinter decided that he would make time to return to his passion for writing, which is why he’s devoted himself to publishing The Castle. Don’t expect Pinter to quit working on his publishing company though, he is instead hoping to have the best of both worlds working as an author and a publisher.

In this touching piece by Fiona Ashe, we see the story of a daughter helping her father’s dream come true. When Fiona’s father wrote 31 Years of Hell, documenting the history of the two world wars, she decided that she would edit, produce and self-publish the book herself. While an extremely rewarding process, Fiona wanted to share how it was that she also was able to make this an extremely successful process.

First Fiona reminds us of the importance of having a good editor whom you can trust and whose opinion your trust. Calling the editor “your book’s bouncer,” Fiona says, “It’s completely reasonable to be emotionally attached to your favourite paragraph in which you injected clever humour, shared a personal anecdote and created a slick metaphor. But if it doesn’t serve the story, it has to be consigned to the literary cutting room floor.”

After explaining the im portance of editing, she goes on to elaborate on the stylistic and interior formatting components of self-publishing. She says,“One thing to consider when designing the interior pages of your book is whether you understand your target market’s reading habits. Do they binge-read the way people binge-watch TV drama on Netflix? Or do they dip in and out of books periodically?” It was decided that the audience of a WWI/II book would most likely dip in and out of it, “In order to facilitate this episodic reading behaviour, we chose to break up the text with subheadings and add timelines at the end of each chapter.” Further, Fiona says she “also illustrated the book with maps and emotionally evocative photographs to enhance the storytelling.”

Read more from the article above for some more stellar advice from Fiona, the daughter of the year!


spa-news

As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry.This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog every Monday to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

KellyABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.

Saturday Book Review: “Sheila: Quest for the Golden Sapphire”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.

When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review, courtesy of Midwest Book Review:

Sheila: Quest for the Golden Sapphire Shawn Caldwell

Sheila: Quest for the Golden Sapphire

by Shawn Caldwell

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781478771036

Synopsis*:

Sheila Domino is turning 15 . . . and her life will never be the same again. On the twilight of her 15th birthday, while blissing out on the screaming guitar of a Jimi Hendrix tune, tomboy Sheila Domino and her best friend are attacked by a clan of werewolves. Even worse, while fending off the mangy mongrels, Sheila realizes that her body is transforming into the likeness of her attackers… What the hell?! A dark stranger rescues the girls, ushering them into a new land called Thera. Once unsurpassed in elegance and beauty, Thera is now scarred by darkness and poverty. The stranger informs Sheila that her destiny is to save Thera from the tyranny of Benan, leader of the lycan clan called The Devil Dogs, but Sheila is unimpressed. She only wants to know how to make the physical changes stop before her boy crush realizes that they share the same interest in food and movies-as well as an abundance of back hair. But when her foster parents are brutally murdered by The Devil Dogs, Sheila must learn to use her gift of transmogrification to fight back. Will she be able to locate the golden sapphire and save Thera from total annihilation? Find out in Sheila: Quest For The Golden Sapphire, an enthralling new novel with a fun, fierce heroine.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Critique:

 “Sheila: Quest For The Golden Sapphire” is a riveting read from cover to cover and clearly showcases author Shawn Caldwell as having a genuine flair for original and deftly crafted storytelling, making this fantasy action/adventure novel unreservedly recommended for school and community library YA Fantasy Fiction collections in general, and the personal reading lists of dedicated werewolf fans of all ages in particular!

reviewed on the Fantasy/SciFi Shelf of Midwest Book Review ]

Here’s what some other reviewers are saying:

This book was awesome! Full of adventure and excitement! Could not put it down. I cant wait to read more from the writer!

– Amazon Reviewer Sheri

Interview With Blog Talk Radio:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/someuniquemag/2016/10/20/the-magic-of-fantasyya-author-shawn-caldwell


saturday self-published book review

Thanks for reading!  Keep up with the latest in the world of indie and self-published books by watching this space every Saturday!

Self Publishing Advisor

selfpubicon1

Conversations: 5/26/2017

WRITE YOUR CHILDREN’S BOOK TO INSPIRE!

Recently I was inspired by a famous news commentator who said, “Even though our world seems to be more than fifty percent influenced by hate—by evil—it is up to us to talk about and write about the good, ethical and moral things of life. Our children need to know—must know—their futures are bright.” This television news celebrity was speaking to my small group of writers and sharing some amazing (really miraculous) things that have happened in her life—demonstrating just how much power she/we have in the words we choose to “broadcast.”

At the next writers’ workshop each of us still felt her passionate message and agreed that no matter what project we were developing, somewhere—some way—we would include something to inspire our readers. So it is today that I’ve selected two books to demonstrate inspired writing. The first is a recently published children’s book and the second is a classic novel that bridges the juvenile/young adult/adult categories.

Melissa Brown just released her book, COUNTRY ZOO: Gretchen the Runt, in Februarycountry zoo melissa brown this year. A baby giraffe has just been born and joined the other giraffe’s in their outdoor enclosure. She’s been named Gretchen and it’s quite obvious that she’s smaller than normal. She can’t reach the tastiest leaves to eat or play games that the big animals play. She doesn’t like being small at all! In time, she grows bigger and new adjustments must be made.

There are wonderfully insightful comparisons made in this story to help children understand a few of the complexities life gives us all—when we are different. You will appreciate the humor and heartwarming compassion used to teach children (and parents) to value themselves and appreciate the special person(s) we are.

I predict this little picture book will become a favorite “keepsake” story in every home because: (1st) it is so well written and, (2nd) because it inspires parents and children in tandem. Thank you, Melissa Brown, for giving future writers such an excellent example and for donating a portion of your royalties to The Pacer Center to prevent bullying of children and teens.

My classic novel example is SHOELESS JOE (1982) by W. P. Kinsella, a Canadian author who inspired Readers with “…his own brand of magic realism, comic sense, sentimental and sometimes edgy” writing style” (V. Sayers, Professor of English, Notre Dame).

  • As a writer, I immediately loved two things about this novel. First, the author named the main character after himself—well, the last name, anyway. Second, the author writes in his own search for writing support and inspiration as the main character goes in search of the reclusive (real) writer J. D. Salinger. (Today we can “talk” with most of our favorite author’s via websites, Facebook messaging, etc.) BIG point to remember: if you must give someone’s real name in your book(s), be sure you have their written and signed permission.
  • Then I learned that Kinsella wrote his first draft while attending a writers’ workshop in Iowa! WOW! What a great environment! If you’ve ever been to a week or weekend retreat with other writers you already know how inspiring that dynamic energy can be.
  • In 1989 this book became a movie—FIELD OF DREAMS. The screenplay was tweaked a bit here and there, but the basic story is all there. And, they changed the “reclusive” author’s name to Terence Mann who delivered this great quote: “I want them to start thinking for themselves!” (Isn’t that what we want for all our children—to think clearly enough for themselves that they will not fall prey to those who would lead them into trouble?)

May all your writing adventures be inspired, my friends, and when you’ve come to THE END of the story, GET IT PUBLISHED. Let’s make this world a better place for our children! ⚓︎


Royalene

ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene has been writing something since before kindergarten days and continues to love the process. Through her small business—DOYLE WRITING SERVICES—she brings more than 40 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their projects. This is a nice fit as she develops these blogs for Outskirts Press (OP) a leading self-publisher, and occasionally accepts a ghostwriting project from one of their clients. Her recent book release (with OP) titled FIREPROOF PROVERBS, A Writer’s Study of Words, is already receiving excellent reviews including several professional writer’s endorsements given on the book’s back cover.  

Royalene’s writing experience grew through a wide variety of positions from Office Manager and Administrative Assistant to Teacher of Literature and Advanced Writing courses and editor/writer for an International Christian ministry. Her willingness to listen to struggling authors, learn their goals and expectations and discern their writing voice has brought many manuscripts into the published books arena.

In Your Corner: Use Facebook to Promote Your Book!

Facebook

It’s not exactly breaking news anymore when we say “Facebook can help you sell books and create a platform!” to our readers here on the blog, since we’ve written about it before and maybe even a brace, a thicket, a luxuration of times—but it can never be said frequently enough, in my opinion.

Facebook can help you sell books and create a platform!

There, whew. We can all go home now.

Or can we?

There are hundreds upon thousands of resources out there specifying how and when to take advantage of Facebook, but the greater challenge is deciding which of those multitudes is actually useful for you, isn’t it? Being “findable” (there’s a five-dollar word for you!) doesn’t mean much if the platform isn’t providing you with something sustainable and enriching on your own terms.

Here are my top five recommendations for putting Facebook to work:

  1. Build a fanbase. Facebook is great as a bulletin board space, but its real power is in mobilizing large groups of people who all share a passionate interest in something, and you won’t mobilize anyone if you yourself aren’t on your page, engaging with readers, reviewers, and more generally, fans—on a regular and sustainable basis! Make it worth their while, too: upload “behind the scenes” videos and create events, use QR codes to direct traffic to your page and paper-bomb your town with it, guerrilla-style! Once you have a large fanbase, you’ll be able to do pretty much everything else that you want as well.
  2. Use your Facebook account to link with other websites. Whether it’s your email signature or those wonderful “log in using Facebook!” ancillary websites, which allow you to create and link your Facebook account in order to streamline the login process, interlinkage is a useful stratagem on many fronts. It gets your name and face out there, yes, but it also makes it extremely easy for fans to follow your movements around the internet—from Twitter to Instagram to Goodreads to Ko-Fi to Kickstarter and more! That way, even though you’re making use of all of these websites’ useful and peculiar features, you’re working with one central account.
  3. Go elsewhere. By this, I mean: use your Facebook account to interact with other authors, on their turf. Facebook is about community, and no community thrives when it’s one-sided, so don’t expect everyone to come to your page without first having something to offer on theirs! You can do a little market research while you’re at it, too, and steal ideas from authors whose pages reflect the kind of presence you yourself want to establish. You can share specific posts that you enjoyed on your own timeline, which also builds that community spirit.
  4. Keep it visual. You’ve probably heard the word “clickbait” floating around on the interwebs, but if you haven’t, the term refers to material which takes full advantage of social media users’ predilection for clicking on links which have immediate visual appeal—usually a catchy image or an equally catchy, brief, and possibly controversial headline. You don’t need to dip into the controversy side of things, but you too have a good reason to pay attention to this particular market trend, and to pay attention to the psychology behind it! Facebook users are equally as visual as those on Instagram and Pinterest, so don’t skimp on posting images to your account and your timeline. Photos bring in clicks and views more than anything else! It doesn’t just have to be images of your book, of course, although some of my favorite accounts carry out a kind of “book scavenger hunt” or “book road trip” activity, where the author takes pictures of their books in interesting locations—or ask readers to take pictures and then share those pictures to your timeline as well!
  5. Make a meal of Facebook Insights. This is the Facebook equivalent of Google Analytics, since even without a paid account, Facebook keeps detailed track of what users are looking at your page and when, how long they spend, what they interact with, and more! It’s profoundly useful, for example, to know when your “peak viewing” period is—when the highest percentage of people access your page every day—and post new material right then, for them to enjoy. It’s also useful to know, for example, that your readers really do prefer your images over your text posts—and by a factor of … well, it will vary from person to person! Once you know your fans’ habits, it may be time to explore paying for a Facebook ad … or you may not need one, depending on the circumstances!

However you choose to use Facebook, you’re not wrong. But there may be a few things you can tweak in order to do even better, as I am learning every day.

You are not alone. ♣︎


Elizabeth

ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 18 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, pre-production specialists, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.

From the Archives: The Book Doctor Weighs In On Apostrophes

Welcome back to our Tuesday segment, where we’ll be revisiting some of our most popular posts from the last few years.  What’s stayed the same?  And what’s changed?  We’ll be updating you on the facts, and taking a new (and hopefully refreshing) angle on a few timeless classics of Self Publishing Advisor.

∗∗∗∗∗

[ Originally posted: October 26, 2010 ]

The Book Doctor sets it straight on apostrophe usage for writing on the road to publishing…

Q: When it comes to plurals for last names, which is correct? Hueys or Huey’s or Hueys’? The Robersons or Roberson’s or Robersons’? Microsoft Word always flags these as misspelled. I can never tell the difference.

A: Microsoft Word probably flags them because the words themselves, Hueys and Robersons, are not in the dictionary, plus the computer program cannot decipher whether the name is plural or possessive.

If it is strictly plural, it takes no apostrophe. Examples:
We ate dinner with Joe Huey and the rest of the Hueys.
Mike Roberson said all the Robersons are visiting next week.

If it is plural possessive, it needs an apostrophe. Examples:
We ate dinner at the Hueys’ house.
The Robersons’ dog is visiting, too.

Note that if the name ends in an s, the plural possessive for book style is to add an apostrophe and an s. Examples:
The Jones’s house is painted white.
I agree with all of the Samuels’s suggestions.

– by Bobbie Christmas

quotation marks apostropheApostrophes can be hard work. These busy little signifiers of ownership have a lot to do with how we interpret the texts we read, and it can be disastrous to get it wrong. Consider the following example:

apostrophes

All you have to do in order to get a good feel for how very, very wrong apostrophes can go is to hop on Google and search for “apostrophe errors”–the internet is rife with records of our many mistakes, including signs, newspaper headlines, and more. And of course, there’s always the worst kind of error–the kind which you tattoo on your body for permanent enjoyment/frustration:

tattoo apostrophe mistake

Here, as you can see, this person has made a simple plural into a possessive, which doesn’t suit the grammar of the sentence … at all. So, first of all, have someone else who’s familiar with the laws of apostrophe use look over your writing before you publish … and secondly, have that person read your tattoo design before you commit!

There are two great resources I’d point you to if you’re looking to re-familiarize yourself with apostrophe usage. The first comes from hashtagcritic.com and includes a really handy infographic which presents the information beautifully and succinctly:

From hashtagcritic.com.

You can find the other parts of this infographic (this is just part one!) at the link.

Another great resources is this ThoughtCo article on the subject. Again, the material is delivered in a wonderfully streamlined fashion, this time optimized for those of us who like bullet points or who need to view our apostrophe reminders on a mobile-friendly screen. (Infographics are great! But mostly at higher resolution and on larger screens.)

Long story short:

  • check your apostrophes;
  • have someone else check your apostrophes;
  • don’t tattoo anything on yourself without consulting your editor;
  • and …

apostrophe

That’s it! That’s all you need to remember about apostrophes in 2017!

Thanks for reading.  If you have any other ideas, I’d love to hear them.  Drop me a line in the comments section below and I’ll respond as quickly as I can.  ♠


Kelly

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.

Saturday Book Review: “Dual Mission”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.

When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review, courtesy of Midwest Book Review:

Dual Mission Nino Perrotta

Dual Mission

by Nino Perrotta

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781478761259

Synopsis*:

A true story of one agent and his investigative experience as a United States Secret Service special agent assigned to the New York Field Office which was at one time located at 7 WTC. Dual Mission is a true story that at times reads as a novel. It is the account of one ordinary person who vanishes into the “uncharted waters” of long term investigations at an agency where such work is an unknown. His personal mission to take down the New York Mafia, the rogue pitcher, Denny McLain and other global investigations become his mission. A mission with a dual purpose.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Critique:

An incredible and complex account that is as inherently compelling as it is informed and informative, “Dual Mission” is very highly recommended, especially for community and academic library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that “Dual Mission” is also available in a Kindle format ($4.99).

reviewed on the Criminology Shelf of Midwest Book Review ]

Here’s what some other reviewers are saying:

I am a retired Assistant Special Agent in Charge with the Secret Service’s International Programs Division and had administrative oversight for the foreign offices during Nino’s tenure overseas. The Secret Service was riding a tidal wave of overseas expansion under President Clinton’s International Crime Control Strategy. Unfortunately that came to a crashing slowdown with the attack on the World Trade Towers on September 11th.

As Nino explained out so well in this book – the Secret Service has always had a dual mission of protection and investigations. On the one hand, the relationships developed with state and local police bring value added to our protective mission. But on the other hand, anyone that is being honest understands that the core mission of the Secret Service is on the steps of the White House. It is a struggle – and continues to be a struggle to this day – for the fine men and women of the Secret Service to find balance between these two missions and to somehow find balance in their personal lives.

There are quality of life issues presented by the job that has led to retention issues unheard of during my tenure on the job. Nino – as you can tell right away from the less than polished dialogue – did not use a ghost writer during the development of this book. I have known Nino for a long time and I’d say two things – one, everything in the book is true and second, what you read in the pages of this book is pure Nino. He is not only honest about his on job experiences, but gives us a glimpse into his youth and family history, as well as his very unique personality. The man is a ball of fire! I wouldn’t want to be the bad guy he is chasing – he is relentless. I highly recommend this book!

– Amazon Reviewer James M. Caldwell

This book is both entertaining and full of factual and not-spun representations of what its really like to work real complex criminal cases. The interagency coordination and rivalries, the characters that he meets along the way, and how he uses his determination, skill and ability to connect with people to be successful at a dangerous game. Now put that in front of the backdrop of the Secret Service, an agency first founded in 1865 signed into existence shortly before Lincoln was assassinated, not to protect the president, but to be the first federal investigative agency. Fast forward 150 years to the present day – and most everyone knows is its protective mission and its work with high profile government officials. But, there still exists another mission and that’s fraud, counterfeiting, cyber crime, and the USSS are some of the best at accomplishing great results in the investigative arena. Nino’s story is an example of finding success in that mission in spite of the additional demands of protection, and in the most active office in the agency, New York City Field office.

– Amazon Reviewer bishop

Book Trailer


saturday self-published book review

Thanks for reading!  Keep up with the latest in the world of indie and self-published books by watching this space every Saturday!

Self Publishing Advisor

selfpubicon1

Conversations: 5/19/2017

WRITE YOUR CHILDREN’S BOOK TO TEACH!

Teaching is IN my DNA. I also believe it is in the DNA of every author. Last week I wrote about developing messages of encouragement in our Children’s books utilizing themes that, while reinforcing good qualities, also teach our young readers “how-to” cultivate habits that will benefit them throughout their whole lives. It is my premise today that Teaching and Encouraging need to be synonymous purposes at the core of our children’s books. The inquiring minds of our children need to be exposed to only the best of content and quality writing techniques.

So it is that first, I’ll offer a couple of websites to writers who will take their writing gift seriously enough and go the extra mile to research what is currently perceived as the best quality of Children’s, Juvenile and Young Adult books on the market. The following Parent’s websites, are created to “clue us in” to what our children find on bookshelves and online bookstores today.

http://www.scholastic.com/parents/resources/article/guides-to-reading/parent-guide-to-book-genres-fantasy Here I found an excellent combination of classic and current book titles as well an several well-thought-out discussion points that will help me discuss stories with my grandchildren. It also leads to other parts of the Scholastic site for further research.

https://www.commonsensemedia.org This site offers “practical tips for parents of exceptional readers” to help parents (and teachers—and writers) find age-appropriate books to challenge and engage the “thinking” reader.

THEN we have the book: The New York Times Parent’s Guide to the Best Books for Children. The 3rd revised edition was released in 2000, and the 4th should be coming out any time now. However, the information available in this one is well worth having at your fingertips because it is organized in six sections according to reading level: Wordless, Picture, Story, Early Reading, Middle Reading, and Young Adult.

IF you’re writing in the Juvenile/Young Adult genres, you already know that the task of creating a quality story—that sells—is a challenge. Today’s youth appreciate very different worlds from the adventures of western lawmen or the deep jungle exploits of Tarzan or the daring explorations of sci-fi heroes like John Carter. Here are a few threads that connect past writing successes with current Reader-expectations:

  • Hidden Treasure: The intrigue of unknown wealth continue to draw the attention of Readers.
  • Surprise Discoveries: Whether the surprise comes in the form of dragons, or elves or giants, young readers will come back for more.
  • Family and Friends: Juvenile and young adult readers are trying to figure out how these relationships work. Give them excellent examples.
  • Develop REAL characters in REAL situations—even if the world they’re living in is a fantasy planet. This will give your Readers the opportunity to “step into the pages” of the story and (again) figure things out (maybe in their real lives) for themselves.

RESEARCH AND REMEMBER WHO ARE READERS ARE. We’re writing for our neighbor’s grandchildren who spend a lot of time in virtual words (online or purchased video games) where the “action” is extremely fast-paced and almost anything can (does) happen. However, these same children are also going to school and studying fractions. The stories we write for them can (should) help them balance their lives and prepare them for adulthood⚓︎

children's picture books
Children reading a book sitting on the roof of the house. Boy and girl reading by the light of a flashlight at night.

Royalene

ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene has been writing something since before kindergarten days and continues to love the process. Through her small business—DOYLE WRITING SERVICES—she brings more than 40 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their projects. This is a nice fit as she develops these blogs for Outskirts Press (OP) a leading self-publisher, and occasionally accepts a ghostwriting project from one of their clients. Her recent book release (with OP) titled FIREPROOF PROVERBS, A Writer’s Study of Words, is already receiving excellent reviews including several professional writer’s endorsements given on the book’s back cover.  

Royalene’s writing experience grew through a wide variety of positions from Office Manager and Administrative Assistant to Teacher of Literature and Advanced Writing courses and editor/writer for an International Christian ministry. Her willingness to listen to struggling authors, learn their goals and expectations and discern their writing voice has brought many manuscripts into the published books arena.