Showing posts with label sh sh sh let the baby sleep. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sh sh sh let the baby sleep. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

AUTHORS: IT MAY BE TIME TO GIVE MORE BOOKS AWAY!

DO YOU KNOW THE PHRASE, "IT TAKES MONEY TO MAKE MONEY?" This is surely true for new authors unless you are already a celebrity.

Give your book away to as many people as you can–particularly people of influence. Not everyone likes the idea of parting with their books for free, but the majority of consumers buy books based on recommendations from media, peers, friends and family. Giving books away is a great way to launch a word-of-mouth marketing campaign.

Spend time on Google searching for key contacts (or hire a smart virtual assistant to do this for you). Find contact information for reporters who cover topics related to your book as well as radio and t.v. shows that report on similar topics.  Do the same with bloggers and internet radio programs.

Send an e-mail first. This gives me a chance to establish a rapport, which can go a long way when it’s time to follow-up. It also ensures that I’m not sending out copies that end up in the recycle bin.

to save some money use a service like Smashwords, you can give away ebook editions (create a coupon for 100% off).

Not every review copy will result in publicity, but the ones that do can make up for all the rest. A feature article in a major media outlet or a recommendation on a popular blog can propel a book to all kinds of success.m not suggesting that you give books to everyone you meet, because not everyone has influence. But you should give them to media professionals including reporters, editors, and producers. You should also give them to bloggers – these folks have more influence than ever before. Bloggers with a loyal audience can have tremendous influence when recommending a book.


As a freelance writer and ghostwriter, Kathy Stemke has published over one hundred articles in directories, magazines and on websites. She is a reviewer for Sylvan Dell Publishing and a former editor for The National Writing for Children Center. As a retired teacher, Kathy has several activities published with Gryphon House Publishing. Stemke is also part of the team at DKV Writing 4 U, a writing services company that includes ghostwriting, copywriting, editing, proofreading, critiquing, and resumes.  http://www.dkvwriting4u.com

Award winning author, Kathy Stemke’s first children’s picture book, Moving Through All Seven Days, was published on Lulu. Her next two picture books, Sh, Sh, Sh Let the Baby Sleep, and Trouble on Earth Day were released in 2011. Both of these books have been awarded the Children’s Literary Classics Seal of Approval.  




Monday, January 2, 2012

School and Library Author Visits


When planning a library or school author visit it is essential to have activities that are fun, memorable and involve child participation. I like to include a movement activity and a craft project they can take with them.
Here’s one version of a one hour visit I use.

1.      Simplified prediction activity to introduce Sh Sh Sh Let the Baby Sleep by looking at the cover to predict the story
2.      Read Sh Sh Sh Let the Baby Sleep

3.      Consonant Blend Jumping (see below)
4.      Shelby Puppet introduces Trouble on Earth Day by bringing out fascinating facts about squirrels (ex: they can jump 12 feet) and predicting the story by looking at the cover and other objects I made from the story (see below) TIP: Puppets are expensive. You can transform a thrift store stuffed animal into a puppet by opening the bottom, removing some stuffing and sewing a sock inside.

5.      Read Trouble on Earth Day
6.      They color a picture of a bird on a nest and glue sticks and pink yarn to the picture.
Consonant Blend Jumping

In my book, Sh Sh Sh Let the Baby sleep I feature the consonant blends sh, ch, br, th, and br. I laminated four of each of these blends and taped them to the floor in a line. At the end of each line I placed a basket with a word that uses the blend attached to the front. The children jump on each blend and shout out its sound and throw a beanbag into the basket as they read the word. I change the movement for different age groups. (jump backwards, hop)

Prediction Fun

By adding just a few simple questions and activities to your story time, you can help children begin to learn about important reading skills.  Here’s how to introduce  Fur and Feathers by Janet Halfman.
  • Put a heart in a paper bag for each student and tape it closed.
  • In a teacher’s bag put a piece of fur, a feather, a pin cushion, a jar of slime, sequins, pinecone scales, plastic wing with black dots.
Tell the children they are going to be detectives and solve a mystery.  They have to look for clues and guess what’s in their bag.  On the chalkboard write the word "prediction." Pointing to the teacher bag say, "First, let’s guess what’s in my bag." Guide students as they make a prediction about what might be in the paper bag. Ask what clues they are using to make their prediction. For instance, suggest that size, lack of movement, smell, or weight might limit their guess.  Once you have gathered student responses, write them on the board.  Open the bag, and take out the fur. Let them revise their predictions as needed, emphasizing that you have more information to use now. Ask how fur is used, and do they have any fur at home?  Take each item out of the bag and ask what it might represent.  State that this process is the same when you read a book. Your predictions change based on the information you gather as you read.  Show the cover, title, and some illustrations of Janet Halfman’s picture book.  Ask students what the items might have to do with the story you are going to read.  Make final revisions to the predictions emphasizing that the prediction changed based on the information you gathered. 

Read, Fur and Feathers.  Watch their eyes light up as they discover each item is used in the book to cover the animals that lost their coats in a windstorm.  When you finish the book, ask the children to guess what’s in their own bag.  Let them open the bag to find the candy heart, which coincides with the surprise ending of the story. 

Some Other Activities for Library and School Author Visits:

Recycle cardboard and gift wrap to make a bookmark


1.      Cut a cardboard rectangle 2 ½” by 7”.
2.      Wrap it up like a gift.
3.      Cut a 1” by 4” piece of construction paper.
4.      Put each child’s name on the paper.
5.      Glue it to the center of the bookmark.


Sight Word Tree

1.      Draw a large tree on a poster board.
2.      Make several nests large enough to write on.
3.      Write a sight word on the back of each nest and hang them on the tree.
4.      Children take turns picking a nest off the tree and read the sight word.

Sound Effects

Assign each child a sound effect during a reading. (wind, rain, bells, barking, crashing noises, crying, doors closing, etc) Have a practice session by pointing to each child to say their sound. Just mix it up and have fun. The children love this game. When reading your picture book, point to the appropriate child to sync sound effects to the story.

Sight Word Musical Chairs

Arrange chairs in a circle facing out. Put a dolch sight word on each chair. Children walk around the chairs until the music stops. They pick up the sight word and sit. The take turns reading their sight word around the circle.

Stay tuned for my ebook on this subject which will be overflowing with creative ideas for author visits. It will also include advertising techniques such as a poster to place in the school and sending out press releases to local newspapers prior to the visit. I learned the hard way thinking the library staff would advertise the event properly. Don’t forget photo release forms which allow you to use photos of the children in future advertising projects.

Author Bio: Kathy Stemke

Award winning author, Kathy Stemke, has a passion for writing, the arts and all things creative. She has Bachelor degrees from Southern Connecticut State University and Covenant Life Seminary, as well as graduate coursework from New York Institute of Technology and Columbia University. Hanging her hat in the North Georgia Mountains, she has been a teacher, tutor, and writer for many years. 
As a freelance writer and ghostwriter, Kathy has published hundreds of articles in directories, websites and magazines. She is a reviewer for Sylvan Dell Publishing and a former editor for The National Writing for Children Center. As a retired teacher, Kathy has several activities published with Gryphon House Publishing. Kathy is also part of the team at DKV Writing 4 U, a writing services company that includes ghostwriting, copywriting, editing, proofreading, critiquing, and resumes.  http://www.dkvwriting4u.com
Kathy’s first children’s picture book, Moving Through All Seven Days, was published on Lulu. Her next two picture books, Sh, Sh, Sh Let the Baby Sleep, and Trouble on Earth Day were released in 2011. Both of these books have been awarded the Literary Classics Seal of Approval.  Visit her book blog at http://shshshletthebabysleep.blogspot.com
Mrs.Stemke offers great teaching tips and children’s book reviews as well as a monthly newsletter titled, MOVEMENT AND RHYTHM, on her blog. http://educationtipster.blogspot.com

Friday, December 2, 2011

Is your Novel Attractive to Reading Groups/Clubs?


There are as many types of book clubs as there are people to belong to them. When setting up a book club, one should keep in mind one's target audience and adjust things to suit their needs. The purpose of a book club is to read the book and have fun discussing it with each other.

Genre-Specific Clubs: Book clubs are comprised of people who enjoy reading. Some clubs' members are more like-minded than you would find in a basic book club. These clubs are the genre-specific clubs, whose members prefer to read in one topic area.

One City-One Book Club: Rochelle Township High School in Rochelle, IL, is attempting the "One City/One Book" program for the first time. All high school students, staff, and eighth graders from the middle school will read Irene Hunt's No Promises in the Wind. Here are some basic steps that high school librarian Debby Van Dyke has followed to pull the program together, based on the success of other programs across the nation.

1. Van Dyke recruited faculty members from many departments to read many books over the summer. After three meetings of intense debate, No Promises in the Wind was selected due to its readability and the treatment of parent/child relationships. The railroad theme was another benefit, as Rochelle is a major railroad hub.

2. Van Dyke secured the support of the administration through the school's North Central Accreditation goals. The principal has agreed that everyone will stop work to read for at least 5 minutes a day.

3. Van Dyke secured funding through local businesses and organizations so that the books will be free to all student readers. She has also applied for several grants.

4. Committee members have planned enrichment activities for both the school day and at night. Guest speakers and demonstrations are planned. Speech classes will visit local nursing homes to interview residents about the Great Depression. Art classes are involved in the planning as well.

5. A cross-curricular group of faculty members is writing discussion questions to be discussed in the same class period once a week. By keeping the same discussion groups, Van Dyke hopes that even reluctant students will become comfortable participants by the end of the program.

6. Members of the community may pick up copies of the book in the high school library.

7. The editor of the local paper wrote an article in support of the program, where he challenged the community to get involved. The area association of realtors is distributing copies of the book to new community members.

On-Line Book Clubs: A listserv book club is an email list that discusses elements of the book. Users subscribe to the listserv by e-mail, specifying which list they would like to join. BR_Cafe is a listserv for kids hosted by Western Carolina University; click here to see subscription details.

Public Library Book Clubs: Because public libraries have such a wide patron base, they are able to offer variety in the kinds of book clubs that they sponsor. One club cannot please everyone, so clubs within the different departments address the interests and needs of the patrons. Librarians provide their expertise in book selection, while some library foundations provide free copies of the books.

School Book Clubs: Many schools have book clubs in which both students and teachers participate. These clubs often have a theme such as banned books or mysteries. The book club provides an interesting place for students to share their opinions about books with teachers in the absence of a classroom setting.

Although it's impossible to select a book to please everyone, there are some suggestions to consider when selecting a book for the school book club:

1. What is the reading level of the students? The book club is intended to be fun, but a truly difficult word might me more challenging than fun.

2. What are the interests of the students? If students are allowed to offer their suggestions, they will feel greater ownership of the group.

3. For what age/maturity range is this book club? A fifth grader may not enjoy topics that an eighth grader finds fascinating, while a freshman may not be mature enough to handle a work that challenges a college-bound senior.

4. Are there any special curricular themes we could tie in? During Red Ribbon Week, the club might read a book about drug abuse. During Latino History Month, the club might read a book by Sandra Cisneros.

Example of Book Club Questions:

The Secret Life of Bees

Set in the American South in 1964, the year of the Civil Rights Act and intensifying racial unrest, Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees is a powerful story of coming-of-age, of the ability of love to transform our lives, and the often unacknowledged longing for the universal feminine divine. Addressing the wounds of loss, betrayal, and the scarcity of love, Kidd demonstrates the power of women coming together to heal those wounds, to mother each other and themselves, and to create a sanctuary of true family and home.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1.      Were you surprised to learn that T. Ray used to be different, that once he truly loved Deborah? How do you think Deborah's leaving affected him? Did it shed any light on why T. Ray was so cruel and abusive to Lily?

2.      Had you ever heard of "kneeling on grits"? What qualities did Lily have that allowed her to survive, endure, and eventually thrive, despite T. Ray?

3.      Who is the queen bee in this story?

4.      Lily's relationship to her dead mother was complex, ranging from guilt to idealization, to hatred, to acceptance. What happens to a daughter when she discovers her mother once abandoned her? Is Lily rightwould people generally rather die than forgive? Was it harder for Lily to forgive her mother or herself?

5.      Lily grew up without her mother, but in the end she finds a house full of them. Have you ever had a mother figure in your life who wasn't your true mother? Have you ever had to leave home to find home?

6.      What compelled Rosaleen to spit on the three men's shoes? What does it take for a person to stand up with conviction against brutalizing injustice? What did you like best about Rosaleen?

7.      Had you ever heard of the Black Madonna? What do you think of the story surrounding the Black Madonna in the novel? How would the story be different if it had been a picture of a white Virgin Mary? Do you know women whose lives have been deepened or enriched by a connection to an empowering Divine Mother?

8.      Why is it important that women come together? What did you think of the "Calendar Sisters" and the Daughters of Mary? How did being in the company of this circle of females transform Lily?

9.      May built a wailing wall to help her come to terms with the pain she felt. Even though we don't have May's condition, do we also need "rituals," like wailing walls, to help us deal with our grief and suffering?

10.  How would you describe Lily and Zach's relationship? What drew them together? Did you root for them to be together?

11.  Project into the future. Does Lily ever see her father again? Does she become a beekeeper? A writer? What happens to Rosaleen? What happens to Lily and Zach? Who would Zach be today?

I don’t know about you, but book clubs intrigue me. As I finish my first novel, Winnie’s War, I’m going to keep in mind how it would fit into various reading clubs. I’m going to create questions in the appendix for clubs to use.

Recently I discovered that you can set up a book club on Goodreads! What ideas do you have about getting your books into book clubs?
Author Bio:
Award winning author, Kathy Stemke, has a passion for writing, the arts and all things creative. She has Bachelor degrees from Southern Connecticut State University and Covenant Life Seminary, as well as graduate coursework from New York Institute of Technology and Columbia University. Hanging her hat in the North Georgia Mountains, she has been a teacher, tutor, and writer for many years.
As a freelance writer and ghostwriter, Kathy has published hundreds of articles in directories, websites and magazines. She is a reviewer for Sylvan Dell Publishing and a former editor for The National Writing for Children Center. As a retired teacher, Kathy has several activities published with Gryphon House Publishing. Kathy is also part of the team at DKV Writing 4 U, a writing services company that includes ghostwriting, copywriting, editing, proofreading, critiquing, and resumes.  http://www.dkvwriting4u.com
Kathy’s first children’s picture book, Moving Through All Seven Days, was published on Lulu. Her next two picture books, Sh, Sh, Sh Let the Baby Sleep, and Trouble on Earth Day were released in 2011.  These two books were awarded the Classic Literary Seal of Approval. Visit her book blog at http://shshshletthebabysleep.blogspot.com
Mrs.Stemke offers great teaching tips and children’s book reviews as well as a monthly newsletter titled, MOVEMENT AND RHYTHM, on her blog. http://educationtipster.blogspot.com

Carolyn Howard-Johnson Shares How to Make Reviews into Marketing Workhorses

  July 5, 2022, #1 How to Make Reviews into Marketing Workhorses By Carolyn Howard-Johnson This is the first of a series of guest posts for ...