TLA Today

One of the largest library gatherings (other than the ALA meetings) is the TLA meetings. Texas is a big state, and we've got a lot of librarians.

This year, fortunately, we aren't displaying at TLA. This gives me more time to get ready for our debut at BEA. But I am going to go with a contingency of Austin authors to walk the exhibit hall floor and look around. I'm looking forward to the opportunity (and the free stuff). There won't be as many freebies as there used to be, but I have high hopes for some good stuff -- especially reading guides.


Books I Should Read (V)

For reasons beyond my control, the BookKids blog is not letting me type in new posts. And since I could not possibly let a week go by without meeting my reading challenge (especially on a week where I actually met it), I decided to post my review here. As soon as we get the kink worked out back at Bookpeople, I'll retroactively post this there.

The London Eye Mystery

Originally I wanted to read this book because it was a mystery. (Did you catch on my Monday post that I like mysteries?) I'm not sure what I expected, but I think I was assuming that this was going to be your typical kid mystery book. This wasn't one at all.

For starters, the narrator Ted has a never revealed disorder that is obviously some form of high functioning autism. Now before you start thinking this is another Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, it's not. But Ted does have a different way of looking at the world -- one that ends up allowing him to solve the mystery when no one else can.

The mystery itself is intriguing and well done with a trail of clues that can be followed. Basically Ted and his sister's cousin disappears from a sealed pod of the London Eye which is the huge wheel (not a ferris wheel) that gives panoramic views of London. Since it seems unlikely that their cousin combusted or entered a time slip stream, Ted and Kat decide to try to determine what happened to him. The solid mystery that follows should appeal to any mystery fans.

The autism element adds a new dimension to what would otherwise be a typical midgrade mystery. However, it neither distracts from the overall plot or intrude into the story. It just is another point that opens possibilities for discussion.

Overall, I would recommend this for kids 10 & up. Younger kids might find the book a little too tense.

Next week: I Put a Spell on You


Book Clubs

When we talk about marketing books, we often overlook a rather key segment of the book buying population -- book clubs. Whether they are the mother/daughter variety (like the one we're starting at BookPeople), bookstore sponsored (BookPeople has a teen one of those too), school sponsored, or just a group of friends, book clubs are a great word of mouth tool for promoting your book.

So, how do you come to the attention of a book club?
  1. Make the NYT bestseller list.
    All right, I realize this isn't the most practical piece of advice. After all, that's what we're all striving for anyway. But technically, this is a great way for book clubs to notice you.
  2. Have book club materials available.
    I've made book club specific discussion guides for all of the CBAY Books (well, 3 out of 4 -- I'm getting there). A book club has different discussion needs than your classroom setting. Give them their own material and don't make them try to adapt a study guide.
  3. Be available to visit their meetings.
    Now, of course I don't mean that you need to fly across the country to meet with a book club with 3 members. But, you can be available to meet with them via Skype or some other video conferencing service.

And for those of you who aren't published yet, it never hurts to start working on these things for your book too. For one thing, if you do a book proposal it's nice to have this available. And for another thing, it forces you to look at your book in a different way. And that's never a bad thing.


Have I Mentioned . . .

that Amulet of Amon-Ra is up for an award? Well, it is.

Leslie Carmichael's book has been nominated for a Prix Aurora Award from the Canadian Science Fiction/Fantasy community. Kind of like the Nebula's here, this is a big deal thing up north of the US border.

For more information or to vote, click here.

Congratulations Leslie!


Source for Free Ebooks

The NBN Sales conference went quite well. I got some great feedback on the books and made some interesting networking contacts. And it seems that my double life as a bookseller makes me a valuable resource for others as well. So many good ideas were floating around.

Since many of you review books on your blogs, I thought you might be interested in a site I just discovered. Now, some of you may have been using it for years, but sometimes I’m a little late to the party.

Introducing Net This site is free to reviewers, bookstore buyers, etc. (although it’s not free for the publisher – grumble) and allows you to request electronic and physical readers of publishers books. I haven’t thoroughly explored the site yet, but I know I plan to put electronic versions of all my books up. It’s a greener way to preview and review books. I look forward to becoming a part.


NBN Sales Conference

Now, you may have noticed but I haven't blogged in, well, forever.

Actually, that isn't quite true. I'm the main blogger for the BookKids blog these days, and I have been getting 3 posts a week up like clock work. I manage to get those up because I have a dedicated 2 hours every Sunday at the store to work on the kids blog. It's amazing what a set time, an editorial calendar and a small financial incentive(I do mean small) does for a person's blogging. So, head over there to see the books I've been reading.

But over here in editorial/publishing land. I have been working non-stop on getting all my online marketing stuff ready in time for this year's BEA. That means new websites for Blooming Tree and CBAY Books (you can see how far I've gotten on CBAY here. All of my books are going to get new kid-friendly, activity oriented sites. The authors are getting newsrooms (here's PJ's work in progress). CBAY Books has it's own Twitter feed and Facebook page. Actually, it would be great if 13 more people would fan that page. Then I can change it's url to instead of the unwieldy thing it currently is.

As you can see, this is a lot of posting and uploading. Not surprising this is falling by the way side.

However as I learned with the BookKids Blog, I just need some discipline, so I'm going to start setting aside 2 hours a week for this blog too. That should enable me to get 3 posts up a week, minimum.

And this week, I thought I'd start by discussing the NBN sales conference I'm attending. I'm here to tell the NBN sales force all about the CBAY and BTP line of books. In two hours I'll present, and then hopefully, they'll go out and sell.

I'll have an update once I've presented.