Showing posts with label children's book. Show all posts
Showing posts with label children's book. Show all posts

Know Your Audience

Getting to know your target audience can be as fun as it is enlightning. The focus of this post is on children, but the ideas set forth can work for any audience.

General Resources
No matter what your association is with children, a good way to reach them is by keeping a scrapbook-style binder. The binder can be organized in sections. Ideas for topics can be:
  • Articles
  • Research: Three excellent resources are, where interesting facts can be found on major historic events and current issues of many countries and facts on birth rates, child labor information, children under the age of 5 years underweight, found on the home page under "People and Society;" under "Easy Stats" for topics such as Housing, People and Education; and the InfoTrac Periodical and Reference Database at your local library, to research sources such as academic journals, books and magazines.
  • Photos and pictures cut out of magazines and ads to pose as story characters
  • Kids' favorite books and pastimes
  • Notes on snippets of conversation, the way your audience dresses, funny and poignant incidences, etc.
  • Mining your own childhood experiences, the people you have known and your memories: Occasionally when I browse through personal journals that I've kept through the years, I put subject notations on post-its and stick the post-its on the sides, like tabs; this way the information is easily accessible while composing. Also, I created a photoscrapbook of my growing-up years to jog my memory, and have found how true it is that the story is in the pictures.
  • Index on the subjects and locations of data saved on your computer.
Zeroing in on Kids' Needs
An excellent resource for understanding all aspects of writing for children is Writing for Children & Teenagers, by Lee Wyndham. Part of Wyndham's philosophy speaks to those writers who may not be "up" on the latest fads and trends (though many terrific and entertaining writers are). She wrote that writers can focus instead on the the universality of people's basic needs, young and old, and how these needs never change; summarized from Wyndam's book here: 
  •  The need to love and be loved: No one ever outgrows the need for love. Stories of deep and   moving significance can  be woven around this subject.  
  •  The need to belong: Children desperately want to be accepted by one's family and peers.
  •  The need to achieve: Wyndam wrote that, "To do or be something . . . not only gives  one a feeling of personal satisfaction and worth, but also elicits respect from others . . ."
  •  The need for security--materially, emotionally, spiritually: How one faces or does not face anxieties and fears provides innumerable story themes. "The youthful character can be badly warped by . . . tensions, or  tempered and strengthened by adversity, depending on the influences he or she comes under." 
  • The need to know: Tap into children's natural curiosity by satisfying their desire to know the how and why of things.
Addressing Children's Problems
Two resources that are helpful in understanding what children are like at each age are Child Behavior: The Classic Child Care Manual from the Gesell Institute of Human Development by Frances L. Ilg, Louis Bates Ames, and Signey M. Baker, and Youth: The Years from Ten to Sixteen by Gesell, Ilg and Ames. The two books serve as helpful references when stuck with how a child
might react to certain situations.

Problems common among children are best addressed by age group. Here is a partial list I have put together over the years from various sources:

Ages 3-8
  • Starting school
  • Desire for a pet
  • Learning to share
  • Getting along with siblings
Ages 9-12
  • Friendship: how to make and keep friends
  • Bullying
  • Accepting responsibiity for one's own actions
  • Getting along in social situations
  • Romance: dating, the meaning of love, personal conduct with the opposite sex
  • Acceptance of oneself and those who are "different" in some way
  • Faith/Religion
  • Being goal-directed vs being focused on social situations
  • Plans for the future
In between projects or in the middle of one, your "Audience Binder" will help keep you on track and perhaps give you ideas on how to expand important parts of your story that may not have occurred to you. Because you have taken the time to really get to know your audience you will be rewarded many times over, and continue to have fun adding to your treasure trove of knowledge about some of your favorite people.

Photo: Courtesy of

Linda Wilson, a former elementary teacher and ICL graduate, recently completed Joyce Sweeney's  Fiction Essentials online course and is currently taking Sweeney's Picture Book Essentials online course. She has published over 40 articles for children and adults, six short stories for children, and is in the final editing stages of her first book, a mystery story for 7-9 year olds. Follow Linda on Facebook. 


How to get more people to notice your Facebook page

Today, I have the pleasure of featuring Jo Linsdell and her new rhyming children's picture book OUT AND ABOUT AT THE ZOO.

But, first Jo has some great information on using Facebook.

How to get more people to notice your Facebook page

By Jo Linsdell

Facebook is one of the giants of social media and as such is the perfect place to reach out to your readers and build a following.

First you need to decide on the type of Facebook fan page you want and set it up. Once that's done you need people to notice it.

Creating a large and active community for your Facebook page isn't an easy task and usually takes quite a while to build. Here's a few tips to get people to notice your page:

•    Personalise your page for a professional look. Add a Timeline cover image, make sure your description is filled out in the 'About' box and add page tabs with personalised images.

•    Post everyday if you can. This has recently been made easier by the introduction of scheduled posts which allow you to plan status updates in advance.

•    Post content that is likely to go viral. The more people share your posts the more people will find out about your page. Images are content gold! Post some pictures for high impact. Quotes tend to go down well too. Just make sure you stay on topic. All content must be relevant to the page.

•    Share the page link everywhere you can. Post it to your website and other social media profiles encouraging people to drop by.

•    Interlink your social media profiles. If you have a blog, set it to automatically post to your page and then link your page to your twitter account so it posts there too. If your twitter account is also feed to other networks like LinkedIn, Myspace etc... each one then feeds back to the others helping increase traffic. This one thing saves loads of time as you just need to update your blog for it to post to all your accounts.

•    Use the' invite' feature to let your contacts know about your page and ask for a like.

•    Interact with people on your page. Encourage them to post to your wall and ask questions.

•    Highlight a fan of the week to show appreciation to active page users. There are application you can use that will automatically select a frequent user at the same time each week or you can just pick one yourself from those that have posted, shared, liked and commented during the week.

Obviously you want to let your followers know about your books but instead of going in for the hard sell, post about things related to your book. Share recent guest posts you've done and articles you've written or links to interviews. They want to know more about you and what you do not just see a spammy 2buy my book message".

How are you getting people to notice your Facebook Page?


Now onto Jo's new book, which she wrote and illustrated. We'll start with the details:

Title: Out and About at the Zoo
Author and Illustrator: Jo Linsdell
ISBN/EAN 13: 1477446591 / 9781477446591
Page Count: 32

And, here are two wonderful 5 Star reviews:

Its all Happening at the Zoo!

I review many books. When I see a children's picture book, I tend to savour the artistic way the writer and the artist tend to mesh. Sometimes it’s the blending that makes a simple child's book something really worth reading.

Out and About at the Zoo is a combination of the artist and the writer being the same person Jo Linsdell. She crafted a very cute and adorable children's volume. This simple children's book with bright colors of animals from the zoo is crisp in it poetic delivery. The art sparkles in its simple characters of the zoo animals.

Ms Linsdell seems to know her target audience and gives them a bright a images for them to enjoy. These young children will delight in this books rhythms that come from its verses and art. It is a good book to give for those young and young at heart".

By Bennet Pomerantz


This is a fun, short book for the grandkids! If you love reading to your children or grandchildren, this book will become a family favorite quite fast. The simple wording and bright interaction of characters makes it easy for very young readers and exciting for toddlers still listening.

Jo puts some serious thought into toddler reactions and includes those in the book. My favorite part was the last page, because my toddlers decided immediately that we needed to take a trip to the Denver Zoo. "Yay!!! I get to see the elephants!" (Okay, that part was ME not them. But they get to go too.)"

By Jan Verhoeff


You can get your copy of Out and About at the Zoo at: Amazon.

About the author:

Jo Linsdell is a freelance writer, author and illustrator. Originallyfr om the UK, she now lives in Rome, Italy with her husband and their two young sons.

Jo's website:

To keep up with writing and marketing information, along with Free webinars - signup for The Writing World newsletter on the right top sidebar!

Karen Cioffi
Multi-award Winning Author, Freelance/Ghostwriter, Editor, Marketer
Writer’s Digest Website of the Week, June 25, 2012

Walking Through Walls Nominated in Predators and Editors Readers Poll

I got some important news today, so am posting twice. My children's middle-grade fantasy adventure, Walking Through Walls, is nominated in Predators and Editors Readers Poll under Children's Novel.

I'm excited, but this means I need votes, so I'm putting the call out.

If you're unfamiliar with Walking Through Walls, you can check out a number of reviews at:

Just click on the Reviews Page.

So, if you're so inclined, I'd appreciate your vote:

Just scroll down till you see Walking Through Walls. Vote for my book and they'll send you a confirmation email - you'll need to click on the link for it to take.

And, Please share this post!

Thanks so much,

Other 4RV Nominations are:

Science Fiction - Time Pullers by Horton Deakins

Print Book and e Publishing ( yes, both) - 4RV Publishing

Until next time,

Karen Cioffi
Author, Ghostwriter, Freelance Writer, Editor, Marketer

Karen’s Books Page:

Karen Cioffi Writing and Marketing
DKV Writing 4 U


Marketing Matters-World of Ink Author Spotlight: VS Grenier

Marketing Matters with VS Grenier

When I first got the go on my picture book, Babysitting SugarPaw being published, I started my email blasts. I had press releases sent out, I posted on all my social sites, talked about it in SFC Newsletter for Writers, did radio interviews, etc. I wanted to build the hype about my book before it even became available. Once it did, I did not stop my marketing campaign. In fact, I stepped it up a notch once it came out.

My publisher sent an email blast about my picture book to their contact list with the cover art, my photo, a blurb on the book. I had them send me a copy of the blast so I could do the same with my contact list. I also had post cards made up of the blast to send out. I sent them to every school, library, preschool, daycare, children’s store, doctors, dentist, and bookstore I could think of or find in my phonebook. I did give-a-ways. I had free coloring pages available on my site. I did contest. I sent copies to blog review sites. You name it . . . I pretty much did it and I was not even done yet with the ideas I was coming up with either.

Things changed however and my marketing plans fell flat. Time passed and I thought I missed the boat on getting the word out about my book. It's been two years since my book, Babysitting SugarPaw was first printed. I've sold a few hundred copies, but now I'm back with a new marketing plan as my book is getting ready to be releases as an eBook!

Just because a book campaign did not go the way you would like does not mean you should give up on your book. It just means you need to rethink, redo, or adjust it. In my case, it means do all the things now I could not do before.

Books can only do so much on their own. A great book cover and blurb will help if someone picks it up at the store, but it is the author who really makes the sales happen. A long time ago, publishers used to put effort into marketing new releases. Now they focus on their best-selling authors. But if you want to be a best-selling author, you are going to have to work at it because no one is going to do it for you. If you want to see thousands of your books selling, you are going to have to work at marketing your book and building your name.

If you really think about it, why do you know the names of Hollywood Star, Singers, Book Authors, or any celebrity for that matter? It’s all about the marketing.

VS Grenier is an award-winning children’s author, founder & owner of Stories for Children Publishing, LLC., award-winning editor-in-chief of Stories for Children Magazine and chief editor for Halo Publishing, Int.; in addition, to running her own editorial and critique services.  

Her picture book "Babysitting SugarPaw" has received high ranking reviews from mommy bloggers, book reviewers and children's caregivers. "The perfect book for children who will have their first babysitter soon and also for someone who is going to be a babysitter for the first time."

"Babysitting Sugarpaw, written by award winning author Virginia Grenier,and illustrated by Kevin Collier is a must buy for children. This book will satisfy adults, as it brings back memories, and for children who love to laugh." ~American Chronicle

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW ~ "Anyone who has ever done babysitting will be able to empathize with Bonnie and her plight. For that matter, so will anyone who has ever been babysat! Author V. S. Grenier has created a tender, heartwarming story that children will enjoy having read to them and that parents will enjoy reading to them."


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Writing for Young Children with Ronda Eden

Although I mainly illustrate, I find it easy to write for young children. I was an Early Childhood Elementary Teacher for many years and know what young children tend to respond to. There needs to be rhythm and repetition and it should be kept short and bold. Like a staff meeting!

It doesn’t necessarily have to be simple, but if it’s not, it should have some redeeming qualities such as sheer silliness. For example...Dr Seuss! Kids love things that are a little TABOO! Gross things like snot and poo work really well!

Having said that, we need to be aware that most of the time, we are not only writing for kids. It needs to clear customs first! Editors are seldom children, but more like security guards placed strategically to protect children from writers and illustrators that may lead them down the wrong path. Lucky for writer/illustrators like yours truly, ‘snot’ and ‘poo’ just scrape in these days as we all know there is so much worse out there for them to be protected from.

Choosing words carefully is very important. I believe the sound of the word is more important than the meaning. If the words sound inviting the child will seek out its meaning and use the word themselves repetitively in the process of gaining more knowledge.

Tips to Remember When Writing:

    Keep it short
    Have fun and add some silliness
    Choose words carefully and make every one of them count
    Make the writing inviting to your reader/Hook

Here is a piece I wrote a couple of years ago. I put myself into the mood of a kid about 8-10 years old and wrote this as a synopsis for a story along the same lines.

Mutants in the Fridge

By: Ronda Eden

There’s mutants in the fridge and I don’t know what to do
Slimy bits of watermelon and all this yucky goo
Something green and furry, something all gone black
Some chips all dried and shriveled and what looks like a Big Mac!
No one likes to clean the fridge they’d rather let it be
They’re scared to take the lids off things
They’re scared of what they’ll see
The meat’s gone green and slimy and it’s really on the nose
The cheese has grown an overcoat and all the spuds have toes!
The veggies are quite clever; they take care of themselves
They turn themselves to liquid and move to other shelves
And if they’re left there long enough, they head toward the door
Then when you open up the fridge, they ooze onto the floor
Each day they’re growing bigger and changing shape and color
Some are getting brighter and some are getting duller
One day they might turn into, huge gigantic toads
And just keep getting bigger until the fridge explodes!
Then what a job will that be, to clean up that big mess
We’ll have to think of something
We’ll have to move I guess
Just thinking of this makes me tried
And makes me hungry too
But there mutants in the fridge and I don’t know what to do.

Ronda Eden’s been a teacher, storyteller, writer, touring art curator, gallery owner, horse trainer and artist A.O.T. (Among Other Things). Ronda’s hobbies include the joy of  hiking, climbing, wind surfing, belly dancing, jogging, traveling, swimming, daydreaming, listening to music and of course, horse riding. Ronda loves it right where she is, doing exactly what she is doing. Ronda manages to be an artist A.O.T (Among Other Things) in between feeding, riding and shoveling poop, but her horses come first. 

Steve Cormey has entertained the people of Grand County and Colorado for over thirty years. An award winning songwriter, he has written, produced and released six very successful CDs while playing an always full schedule of live performances. His background in Folk ,bluegrass, rock and traditional music is evident whether live or on CD. Colorado Blue, Somewhere with a Beach, Never Summer..forever home, Walking Stick and the all solo-acoustic Pure & Simple CDs offer a potpourri of musical styles, and his Old Fashioned Christmas is a Yule Tide favorite. Steve’s live performances show off a talented mix of danceable music, humor and fun!


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Super Ben's Dirty Hands - A Children's Picture Book Review

Title: Super Ben’s Dirty Hands
Author: Shelley Marshall
Illustrator: Ben Mahan
Publisher: Enslow Publishers, Inc.
ISBN: 13: 978-0-7660-3513-3
Reviewer: Karen Cioffi

What child doesn’t get his or her hands dirty? Well, Super Ben’s Dirty Hands addresses just this issue. Aimed at ages 5-8, and only 24 pages, this wonderfully colorful illustrated picture book will help make children aware of the importance of washing their hands, especially before eating. It also touches on the importance of sneezing into your arm, to help avoid spreading germs.

With colds, viruses and the flu making their rounds regularly, Super Ben’s Dirty Hands is a must have book to help introduce the topic of cleanliness, considerateness,  and staying healthy to young children . . . young children who are constantly touching toys, along with anything, and everything else in their path.

In a fun and engaging story, the little bear Ben, and his friend Molly, have an adventurous outing at the park. When it’s time to eat, Ben’s ready to dig in. But, sensible Molly reminds him of all the things they touched throughout the day. Ben readily agrees, “Let’s wash our hands. We do not want to be super sick heroes.”

With the knowledge that one of the best preventive strategies children and adults can take to prevent the passing of germs is washing your hands, it’s a good idea to instill this practice in little ones as soon as possible. Super Ben’s Dirty Hands will be a useful tool to accomplish this.

Karen Cioffi is an award-winning children’s author and children’s ghostwriter/ rewriter. For tips on writing for children OR if you need help with your project, contact me at Writing for Children with Karen Cioffi. Sign up for the newsletter while you're there!

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