Saturday, February 27, 2016

Writing for a Younger Audience

By: Stephanie Burkhart 

Question: I’m confused! Is my story a children’s story, middle grade (MG) , young adult, (YA) or new adult (NA?)

Answer: Here’s the target age for the following: children’s stories: 3-7 years old, middle grade: 8-12 years old, young adult: 13-18 years old, and new adult: 18-30 years old. 

Question: So what’s the difference between middle grade and young adult?

Answer: In middle grade stories, a protagonist usually deals with rites of passage and first times. Voice is so important in these stories, so it’s essential to capture the voice of a young protagonist with believability.

In young adult stories our protagonist will be a bit more introspective and possess a little more sophistication. Again, voice is key here. When a story’s narrator sounds like an adult and not a youth, then the story loses credibility. 

Question: What type of stories appeal to a younger audience?

Answer: Something unique and diverse. The world is full of different cultures and ethnicities. There’s different abilities, different socio-economics and unique settings. Our younger readers know the world is full of vast cultures and unique people so bring that out in your writing.

Consider that deceased parents, spunky heroines, and dystopias have flood the recent market. Consider a different spin or a different approach.
When writing for a younger audience consider the following: #1: the narrator’s voice must sound like a young person, not an adult. #2: dialogue must not be too stiff or frequent. It must sound authentic. #3: No information dumps. Show! Don’t tell everything to the reader in the first 30 pages. Unravel the story slowly and savor the discovery. 

Reference: Writer’s Digest, MAR/APR 2016, “4 on 4,” complied by Jessica Strawser, pages 28-29.
Question: Good, well written, young adult also appeals to the adult audience. Think Harry Potter, Hunger Games, and the Maze Runner. Who was your favorite character in the Harry Potter Series?  Why?

Author Bio: Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 dispatcher for LAPD. She enjoys coffee, adores chocolate, and is a Den Leader for her son’s Cub Scout den. Her books with 4RV Publishing include: The Giving Meadow, Brady’s Lost Blanket, Joseph’s Cradle, and First Flag of New Hampshire.

Caterpillar travels through a meadow learning how to care and share. 
5 Stars, Tami Dee, Amazon Reviewer:  The Giving Meadow is a charming story about friendship, generosity, kindness, and support when changes occur which are out of our control.

5 Stars, Katherine Boyer, Amazon Reviewer:  The lessons depicted in this lovely, brightly illustrated book include, but are not limited to, sharing, friendship, acceptance, understanding and generosity.

5 stars, Beverly Stowe McClure, Amazon Reviewer:The Giving Meadow is a nice book to add to a child's library. Early childhood and kindergarten teachers could use this book in their classes as a fun read to teach children about the small creatures in their world. I recommend this book for little ones ages 4-8, for animal lovers, even the crawly kind, and for everyone who enjoys nature and a gentle read at bedtime. 


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

New release coming from 4RV: Blue-Eyed Doll by Deanna K. Klingle

February 24, 2016

I'm being lazy and copying the post created by Aidana WillowRaven for her blog. Aidana created the cover art and designed the book, which will be released next week.


'Blue-Eyed Doll', cover art and design for Deanna K. Klingle (@deannaklingel) and 4RV Publishing (@4RV)

My latest cover creation for 4RV Publishing, Blue-Eyed Doll, by Deanna K. Klingel ...
This coming-of-age story is set in San Francisco in 1926 when eight-year-old Ruth Mary wants to be part of her class project to send blue-eyed dolls with notes of friendship to school children in Japan to procure world peace. This historical project was put in place by Dr. Sidney Gulick, a missionary to Japan. Her bigoted and blustery father, a banker, will not allow this. In an era of bigotry and mistrust of all things Japanese, creative and feisty Ruth Mary connives to overturn his ultimatum. With her siblings aiding and abetting, she prevails. An unusual doll wearing eye glasses becomes her unlikely choice. She names the doll Isabella. 

Isabella returns to Ruth Mary after the war.  Ruth Mary, her husband, and her baby daughter embark on a cross-country quest to find the lost Japanese Ambassador dolls left in museums and forgotten over the war. As an adult, with the doll beside her, she restarts the friendship doll program of long ago. She returns home with Isabella to San Francisco to a sick mother and an aging father. Isabella brings an unexpected peace to the home of Ruth Mary’s childhood. The aging people overcome their bigotry as a result of the blue-eyed doll, Isabella. 
Be sure to order your copies from 4RV Publishing, where you get a considerable discount compared to ordering from Amazon, not to mention bulk order capabilities for your school, library, or store. If you don't see it in the online bookstore yet, contact the publisher directly. Blue-Eyed Doll is available for order now, and will be available from 4RV before all other online retailers.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

New 4RV Winter Release - Willard the Dragon:Sneeze-Fire

     4RV newcomer Suzanne Cordatos brings fun to children of all ages with her first book in her Willard the Dragon series, Willard the Dragon: Sneeze-Fire. Luisa Gioffre-Suzuki used her whimsical illustrations to bring Cordatos' words to life.

    What could be more miserable than a little dragon with a cold, one with a cold that makes others miserable, as Willard's friends discover. Brr! Curl up with a dragon this winter. New picture book Sneeze-Fire will warm you up.     

     Sneeze-Fire can be found on the 4RV online bookstore, other online stores, and through brick and mortar stores. 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Star of the Team receives Gold Seal from Literary Classics


     Star of the Team by Beverly Stowe McClure won the coveted Gold Seal from Literary Classics. Literary Classics will review books that are submitted, and authors can enter their books for consideration for the LC awards.

      The book, a 4RV Tweens & Teens imprint, is Beverly's fourth book released by 4RV, and she has others in the works. The author manages to get into the mind of pre-teen and teen aged girls.

      The blurb on the back of Star of the Team reads: A girl. A dream. An accident. A dream shattered. Eleven-year-old Kate Taylor dreams of being the star of her basketball team, Angels. When Kate's tooth is knocked out at one of the games, and her mother, who is also her coach, says she can't play until the tooth the dentist replants heals, Kate's dreams are in jeopardy. Add Emily, the new girl at school who claims she's the best, and Kate faces a challenge to prove that she is the star. Will Kate succeed? Or will Emily ruin Kate's plans?  

      An editorial review by Michelle Robertson for Readers' Favorite states: Star of the Team by Beverly Stowe McClure is a wonderful children's book introducing young readers to the concepts of patience, teamwork, and friendship. The author does a great job portraying those concepts with creative character development and a heartfelt dialog throughout the book. The text is written as though it is coming straight from an 11-year-old's thoughts.

     The pure innocence of a youthful mind is both humbling and humorous. The life lesson and message included in the story are powerful.

      The review by Literary Classics follows:

     Author Beverly Stowe McClure continues to captivate young audiences with her book, STAR OF THE TEAM, which speaks to girls on many levels. Her ability to portray the myriad of hopes, fears and frustrations of her young characters is a big part of what makes McClure an exceptional writer. Fans of McClure's writing will not be disappointed with this book, which will appeal to young readers, even those who may not follow basketball.

     STAR OF THE TEAM has earned the Literary Classics Seal of Approval. Top Honors Youth Book Awards. Seal of Approval.

      Star of the Team may be found on the 4RV online bookstore, other online bookstores, and brick and mortar stores.

NOTE: This post was created in November but inadvertently saved as a draft rather than published. 

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Book Marketing and Beyond Book Sales: Marketing and Diversification

By Karen Cioffi

I love the internet . . . you can find almost anything and learn just about anything by doing a search. In a webinar provided by Steve Harrison of Quantum Leap, the guest speaker was Jack Canfield. For those of you who haven’t yet hear of him (this would be amazing if you are in the writing field), Canfield is the co-creator of Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen had a dream. They would have a New York Times best selling book. But, the road to success wasn’t easy . . . they received 144 rejections from publishers. This did not stop them—they moved forward with visualization and positive projection techniques. Chicken Soup for the Soul came out in 1993. Since they didn’t have enough money for a publicist so they did their own marketing. By 1995, they won the Abby Award and the Southern California Publicist Award.

This was the second teleseminar I was able to attend that featured Canfield. The information offered was geared toward the strategies needed to make money publishing books through marketing and diversification. This concept is very similar to a video clip I watched of Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad Poor Dad, which was also presented by Steve Harrison.

So, what exactly are the concepts of book marketing and diversification?

Book Marketing and Diversification Tips to Make Money

1. Build a platform

Start your platform when you are thinking of writing a book—don’t wait until you are published. Creating connections, contacts, and readers, and buzz, takes time.

2. Realize you will most probably not get rich writing books.

Yes, that’s right. You will not automatically become wealthy from book publication. But, while you won’t get rich, it will open doors that will not otherwise be open. This is the opportunity for diversification—don’t just look straight ahead—use your peripheral vision.

3. Learn how to market and sell YOU and your books.

Never stop learning about writing and book marketing. Read about the subjects; attend conferences and teleseminars; join writing and marketing groups; and follow blogs that provide valuable and up-to-date information. But, remember, you don’t want to just sell your books, you want to sell what you have to offer along with your books.

4. Research areas you can diversify in.

If you are published there are a number of doors that will magically open. You can create e-books; you can present teleseminars, webinars, or workshops; you can offer classes or coaching; you can even write a book about your experiences and successes.

Tip: Before you start charging for your expertise, offer some free services. This will help establish you as an expert in your field.

5. Never stop selling.
Find new avenues to sell your books and services. Utilize some of the suggestions in #4 above.

6. Build your subscriber list.

According to expert marketer Jim Edwards, if you don't have a list that's continually growing, you're sunk.

You'll need to develop a trusting relationship with your readers by providing quality information on a regular basis, along with quality products.

7. Believe you can do it.

This is probably the most important tip for success. Canfield is a firm believer in the power of tweaking your subconscious and projection. I am too!

8. Pay it forward.

As the Bible tells us, “There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.” New World Translation, Acts 20:35.

Aside from being good for you as a writer and marketer, giving back is good for the universe.

Karen Cioffi is an author, ghostwriter, and content marketing instructor.
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