Local Bookmaking Workshop!

April 27, 2010 at 1:24 pm | Posted in Education, Kids and reading, Publishing your story, Uncategorized, Writing | Leave a comment
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Here at the Exciting Read Publishing Group we always love when we hear stories about story telling, bookmaking, reading, and writing workshops for children. It’s exciting to know that there are groups that support creative projects. The Children’s Media Project located in Poughkeepsie, will be hosting a free storytelling and bookmaking workshop for children on Saturday, May 1st or June 12th at the Lady Washington Firehouse in Poughkeepsie. Stop by from 1pm-3pm and children can write their own stories! Children’s Media Project (CMP) is a non-profit arts and education organization with a history of empowering “at-risk” youth through the media arts. CMP believes in making a social investment for community transformation by providing access to the skills and tools necessary for creation and appreciation of media as art, as education, and as entrepreneurship. The CMP’s programs encourage youth to not only explore the world around them, but to also be active participants. CMP provides workshops, programs, and projects for youth, artists, and educators that teach critical viewing of the media, that encourage youth to be creatively engaged in using the media to deliver important messages, and that offer employment and growth opportunities for youth. Enjoy!

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New writing games to share

April 13, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Posted in Education, Kids and reading, Mystery books, Parents, Writing | Leave a comment
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I hope that those out there who read this blog, have learned about some great activities that you can use in and outside the classroom. Reading and writing is fun and all you have to do is make a game out it! Here are some more ideas that may inspire your children to read and write:

  • Before beginning a creative writing activity, sitthe children down in a circle and start a story with a fun, silly sentence. Each child in the circle needs to continue the story with one more sentence. You could appoint one child to record the story. After creating this silly, group story, the children will be ready for creative writing.
  • Make three boxes with ideas plot elements. One box should have story starters, another box should have ideas for the middle and the third box should have endings. Ask the children to pick one slip from each box and write a story linking the ideas together. Children will love the random elements of this activity.
  • Enjoy and keep reading for more ideas and activities!

    Katie, Jake and Cooper Love Photoshoots

    April 9, 2010 at 4:03 pm | Posted in Education, Mystery books | Leave a comment
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    Come on out to the Poughkeepsie Galleria this Sunday for Hudson Valley Parent’s Annual Cover Kid Event. There is going to be a free concert, games, crafts and best of all Katie, Jake and Cooper will be stop by to visit! If you want to meet them or learn more about the Undercover Kids book series stop by and visit us. Gloria may even be there to sign books. Hope to see you there, the event starts at 11am and ends at 3pm.

    Kindle in the classroom?

    March 24, 2010 at 10:22 am | Posted in Education, Educators, Kids and reading, Mystery books, Parent Teacher Groups, Parents | Leave a comment
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    Electronic books (eBooks) are becoming more affordable and with devices like the Kindle, Nook, and now the iPad, ebooks are also becoming more practical (as well as environmentally friendly as they save paper.) This trend is predicted to move full-scale into the college scene within the next 2-3 years. Do you see eBooks coming into elementary schools, jr. high’s or high schools too? When I was younger I loved nothing more than cuddling up on a rainy day with a new book and flip through the changes. And, what does this mean for libraries? Will you rent a computer chip instead of an actual book? I see both pluses and minuses to using eBooks, I don’t know what side I’m on yet. If you are a teacher, would you use eBooks in your classroom? What about if you just want to try an eBook for fun, would you get rid of all your books? As you can see, I am torn on the subject!

    Meet Jeff Kinney!

    March 17, 2010 at 10:41 am | Posted in Kids and reading, Publishing your story, Puppets, Writing | 1 Comment
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    After self-publishing a children’s book we know the struggles and hard work a writer has to go through to make their book come to life. We made the Undercover Kids come to life by creating puppets, but often books are turned into movies or television shows. Here at the Exciting Read Publishing group we are always so excited when we get the chance to speak to authors and hear their stories. Last year, we were luck enough to speak to author Jeff Kinney at the 2009 National Book Festival in Washington, DC. Kinney wrote the very popular book  “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.” Jeff’s book was made into a movie and it comes out this Friday. It looks like a lot of fun. We would like to thank Jeff for speaking with us and say good luck with the movie. Did you read “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” and will you be checking out the movie?

    Does your school have a reading program?

    March 10, 2010 at 1:13 pm | Posted in Education, Educators, Kids and reading | Leave a comment
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    When I was in elementary school (wasn’t that long ago, I swear) we had a fun reading program called B.E.A.R., which I believe stood for “Be Excited About Reading.” I think B.E.A.R. is still around and that makes me happy. The goal of B.E.A.R. was to get  children excited and enthusiastic about reading. Pretty simple. My class would hold reading competitions to see how many books you could read and then you could win a prize. I don’t know about making book reading a competition, but i do know that I loved reading a new book and that has stayed with me to this day. I don’t know where I would be without books and I know that my love for them started early. What about your school? Do you have any special reading programs? Maybe The Undercover Kids could be the next book you read for school or for fun!

    How a book is born: Sales at special events

    March 2, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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    My first idea for getting attention for our newly published book, The Trunk in the Attic, was to encourage local parenting publications to write reviews. But it offered a poor yield. If you have read my past blog, you know my motto:  Be ready to make mistakes and move on with confidence.

    The Trunk in the Attic, our first Undercover Kids adventure takes our characters to Holland. The celebration of the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s sailing from the Netherlands to New York was celebrated in 2009. That is what inspired me to commission the writing of the first Undercover Kids adventure.

    I was told that New York was investing millions of dollars to promote events up and down the Hudson River. And each event would attract 1,000s of people. Great! My next great marketing idea was to attend these events. After all, this would attract families and everyone would be interested in Henry Hudson. We developed a wonderful booth and were ready to roll out our book.

    Along came the crashed financial market and the slashed housing market. New York was broke. And with the crashing and slashing the quadricentenial money disappeared.

    We attended five events. Our booth worked well. Our staff was well-trained. And our author, Gloria Smith Zawaski, was well-received.

    We sold up to 40 books per event. Although others in the industry say that is a good number, as far as I was concerned it was a bust. Too much time invested. Too much staffing required. Too little return.

    Back to the drawing board.

    A note about events: There is an annual children’s book fair held in our region, which I was hoping to attend. Our application was rejected because space is limited and they don’t invite first-time authors. I will try again next year.

    How a book is born: Author signings

    March 2, 2010 at 3:27 pm | Posted in about life, Mystery books, Publishing your story, Writing | Leave a comment
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    Authors always wonder if they should participate in book signings as a route to increased sales. I am not sold on the idea.

    The other night my husband and I were in Barnes & Noble. A good cup of coffee and a good book for an hour of relaxation. (If a B & N manager is reading this blog, I do buy books…my credit card will attest to that.) At their entrance was a local author displaying her works and ready to sign her book. She is not a new author, by any means, but no one entering the store stopped at her table. It is true that the traffic was light that night, but that was an expensive night out for this author.

    Gloria Smith Zawaski, the author of The Trunk in the Attic, loves meeting kids. But I feel that a book signing event for an author who is not well-known just doesn’t work.

    Who would you wait in line for…Jeff Kenny, the author of the Whimpy Kids series or Gloria Smith Zawaski, the author of The Undercover Kids book series? Kenny wins hands down!

    Last night I met the manager of our local B & N bookstore at a PTA event. She heard of our book through one of her employees. And she knew that we were not on the B & N online book site. But she said they do author signings for local authors, even if the store does not carry the book. My first questions was, ‘who would show up?’ Her response, “People show up for children’s author signings.” “I figure young children but the eight to eleven year old crowd?” I asked. We are going to meet next week to discuss the process, and then I’ll decide how best to proceed.

    I will say that when Gloria participated in events, the kids who bought her books really enjoyed meeting her.  But in general, I don’t think book signings for unknown authors are the way to go.

    In my opinion, you have to really work at promoting the author and promoting the book before you begin the book signing route.

    How a book is born: The independent book stores

    February 17, 2010 at 12:31 pm | Posted in Education, Fundraising, Kids and reading, Publishing your story, Writing | Leave a comment
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    Looking for distribution that gets your books into the hands of kids while earning you money? That’s the ultimate challenge.

    I downloaded a list of independent bookstores from the web. They all specialize in children’s books. But will that work?

    Studies show that:

    1.  Fewer people are reading
    2.  Online services are ruining  brick and mortar stores
    3.  Book readers like the Kindle, are making printed material obsolete.

    The statistics are against me, but I was going to plow forward. Based on what is going on in the book industry, my independent search results were not surprising. First, I started by calling stores in New York State where I am located. Some were too small to do any volume and others were not quite making it. Others were only interested in purchasing from national distributors.  And still others would carry  but only if they get 65% of the sales price. Plus I have to pay for shipping the books to the store and the shipping for returns.

    At this point, I only have three local stories who have agreed to carry the book. I will use their logo in my local advertising to encourage people to go to their stories to buy.

    Personally, I think our one book will get lost on the shelf and is not worth the investment.

    I have also placed our book on Amazon.com. They sold ten books in the last six months. I will also look into Barnes and Noble online. I have placed my book on Amazon not because I thought it was a great distribution stream but it gives us credibility. I found that some online book reviewers will only review the book if you are on at least one of the online booksellers. (Does that include Wal-Mart…only a joke.)

    It does take work to make your book stand out. If bookstores or the online booksellers are not the best distribution stream, then what’s next?

    Favorite Snow Day Book?

    February 12, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Posted in about life, Education, Kids and reading, Mystery books, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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    With winter still hanging around I recently started thinking about my favorite winter activity: reading. Do you have a favorite book that you like to read on the snow day? I like to read a good scary story even though Halloween is long gone. With the snow falling outside, everything is grey and dark and it’s nice to cuddle up with a good read. I always make some hot chocolate too. What about you? What do you like to read? Leave a comment and tell us and don’t forget to keep reading!

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