Children’s Book Week

Literacy is learned. One study shows that two-thirds of people who cannot read proficiently by the end of fourth grade will end up in jail or on welfare.


Children’s Book Week is the nation’s longest-running literacy initiative, now in its 93rd year. The purpose of the program is to raise awareness of the importance of children’s books as they relate to lifelong literacy, education, and the development and betterment of the lives of young people. In other words, get children reading by fourth grade and their chances of success in life are higher.

This year, Children’s Book Week is May 13-19. Not only does this week promote reading for children, it also provides authors and publishers of books for children a natural vehicle to promote your children’s books. Here are four ideas on ways to jump on Children’s Book Week to garner some publicity for your books.

  1. Donate copies of your book to a local school for use in classrooms and in the library. Then, send a press release to your local media about your donation, linking it to Children’s Book Week. Be sure to include a photo with the school principle or librarian receiving the books.
  2. Host a story contest for a local elementary school. Provide the teachers with guidelines for the contest and host an author appearance at the close of Children’s Book Week to collect the entries. Be sure to provide prizes for the winners. Again, send a press release to your local media about your contest and another one highlighting the winners.
  3. Host a book giveaway during Children’s Book Week. Encourage people to enter for a chance to win a children’s book on your website or blog. Not only will you gain publicity for your book, you will collect an email from each entrant for your mailing list. You can use these collected emails for future publicity campaigns.
  4. Offer to host a book reading for children at your local public library during Children’s Book Week. Give each child attending a bookmark with a picture of your book on it. Also, ask permission to sell autographed copies of your book after the reading.

National initiatives offer authors and publishers opportunities to highlight and promote your books. Don’t pass up this chance to garner more publicity for your children’s titles.

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Rich Prose

April is National Poetry Month. Every month, in honor of this celebration, I post a poem on my blog every year in April.

This year, I have chosen to share with you the lyrics from a hymn that contains rich prose. After all, every author should strive for excellent prose.

This hymn, The Love of God, has its roots in a long Jewish poem titled Haddamut, which was written in Aramaic in 1050 by Meir Ben Isaac Nehorai, a cantor in Worms, Germany. It has since been translated into at least 18 languages. The words from part of the poem were put into hymn form by Frederick M. Lehman in 1917.

The Love of God

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.

O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints’ and angels’ song.

When years of time shall pass away,
And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,
When men, who here refuse to pray,
On rocks and hills and mountains call,
God’s love so sure, shall still endure,
All measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adam’s race—
The saints’ and angels’ song.

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

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Tools for Publishing Success

The International Christian Retail Show is just two months away! This year will be the sixth year for Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) to host a seminar for publishers (and anyone interested in becoming a publisher, including self-published authors) at the International Christian Retail Show (ICRS).

CSPA is pleased to announce that we will host our annual Publishers’ Institute at ICRS this summer in St. Louis, Missouri. The theme of this year’s Publishers’ Institute is “Tools for Success.” We have an exciting lineup of speakers for the seminar.

International Rights: Is It Right for You?
Cheryl Melendez, Executive Director, GLINT
Michelle Zasadil, International Rights Manager, GLINT

Cheryl MelendezCheryl Melendez is the Executive Director of GLINT (Gospel Literature International). Cheryl has worked in the not-for-profit sector for over 18 years holding several management and executive positions, has served as interim director for a start-up Foundation, has experience in retail sales, and has managed her own company for the past 7 years. She has a wealth of experience in growing memberships in associations, customer service, and managing business operations.

Michelle Zasadil has been the International Rights Manager for GLINT since 1998. She manages GLINT’s relationships with the “product owners”, which are the companies that publish English-language books and other resources that the international publishers are able to translate and distribute.

Creating Thriving Content Ecosystems
Jon Hirst, President & CEO, GMI

jon hirstJon Hirst is the President & CEO of GMI (Global Mapping International). Jon has a background in mission innovation, publishing, and leadership. He was the Executive Director of Communications for HCJB Global from 2005 to 2009. Jon is passionate about using technology to improve the spread of the gospel. Recently, Jon and his wife, Mindy, have mentored leaders and authors through their Generous Mind think tank. Jon is also co-author (with Mindy Hirst and Paul Hiebert) of Through the River: Understanding Your Assumptions about Truth and co-editor (with Jim Reapsome) of Innovation in Mission.

Marketing Trends in Selling Books
Sarah Bolme, Director, Christian Small Publishers Association

Sarah2009PicSarah Bolme is the co-founder and Director of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA), the owner of CREST Publications, and the author of the award-winning Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace. She is also the editor of the CSPA Circular, the monthly newsletter of Christian Small Publishers Association. Sarah’s passion is educating others to help them market their books into the Christian marketplace.

Publishers’ Institute will be held on Sunday, June 23, from 3:30 to 6:00 p.m. at the America’s Convention Center in Room 262, during The International Christian Retail Show (ICRS) in St. Louis. The cost is just $20. You can register in advance on CSPA’s website by just clicking here. Registration will also be taken at the door of the event.

I hope to see you there!

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Smart Books

QR codes have been around for a while now. They are being used on all sorts of print promotional materials from business cards, to billboards, to real estate “For Sale” signs. These codes allow individuals to immediately link to additional information and resources on the Internet.

Publishers have begun to incorporate QR codes into books’ covers. Many publishers are using these codes on the back cover copy to either link to the book’s video, the book’s testimonial page, or simply the book’s website. I recently reported on a comic book cover that “talked” (see “Talking Book Covers”) through the use of a QR code.

Now Publishers International has developed what they are calling “Smart Books.” These books provide a unique link between print and digital information. This publisher is embedding QR codes right into the pages of their educational books.

PI QR CodesIn these Smart Books, fact-packed pages teach kids while the embedded QR codes in the pages help to expand the learning experience by linking readers to videos, quizzes, and games. All a reader needs is a smart phone or tablet (with Internet access) with a QR code reader installed to access the digital information embedded in each book. In addition, the books can be enjoyed with or without a QR code reader.

This expanded use of QR codes is interesting, although not entirely new. Melville Publishing House announced in 2011 that they were producing “Hybrid Books” featuring QR codes embedded in the text linking readers to “extras” placed on the web (see “Hybrid Books“).

I think this hybrid or smart book strategy probably works best for children’s books, but travel books, cookbooks, and historical books could all easily incorporate QR codes in the text, linking readers to additional pictures, videos, and helpful tips.

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The 2013 Book of the Year Award Winners!

The votes are in and counted. The winners of the 2013 Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award have been determined!

Around 3,500 book lovers and retailers selling Christian products voted on 91 nominated titles in 12 categories.

Award 1The winners in each of the 12 categories are:

Fiction  –  Muted Grey, Dianna L Young, Wildflower Press

Romance  –  Sarah’s Gift, Skye Wieland, ShadeTree Publishing

Christian Living  –  Reasons for Hope in the Mosaic of Your Life, Carl Kerby, Genesis Publishing Group

Bible Study / Theology  –  God’s Wake-up Call, Dr. Rick Metrick, ShadeTree Publishing

Devotional  –  Daily Readings for Difficult Days, Jennifer Carter, Hope Books

Biography  –  If Today Is All I Have, Linda Nordyke Hambleton with Todd Hillard, Florida Hospital Publishing

Relationships / Family  –  Grandparenting Through Obstacles: Overcoming Family Challenges to Reach Your Grandchildren for Christ, Renee Gray-Wilburn and Dianne E. Butts, Pix-N-Pens Publishing

Children’s (age 4 to 8)  –  The Christian Alphabet Book: Teaching Children about Jesus, Prayer, and the Bible, Tracy Sands, Love the Dove Publishing

Children’s (age 8 to 12)  –  Where the Crickets Sing, Rosie Boom, Boom Tree Publishing

Young Adult (age 12+)  –  Is Your Fruit Sweet or Sour? A Teen Girl’s Guide to Christian Living, Karen Finn, Precept Publishing

Gift Book  –  Billy Tucci’s A Child is Born, Billy Tucci, Apostle Arts, LLC

eBook Exclusive  –  Equip Your Mind with the Word of God, Volume 1, Barney Browne, MindEquip

Award 2Congratulations to the winners!

The Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award is sponsored by Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA).

Looking for a great book to read next? Try one of the winners of the CSP Book of the Year Award listed here.

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