Showcasing the Stinky Series
Two segments of a new CNN Headline News show, Making It in America, featured Britt Menzies, author of the Raven Tree Press StinkyKids series, when its third title, StinkyKids Have a Heart, launched in the fall. Introduced in 2011, the hardbound picture books use characters created by Menzies in 2006 for T-shirts, which led to dolls in 2009. Last spring StinkyKids: The Musical, using plots from the books, debuted to sellout crowds in New York City and was recognized as Best Family Show by the Off Broadway Alliance.
A Raven Tree newsletter report on the CNN show said in part: “Host Vinnie Politan shares what it takes to be a successful mompreneur and [how] creator, Menzies, fits into all four categories of success.” Show segments—one 3:38 minutes long and the other 3:29 long—are on YouTube (youtu.be/83-gy-swaX0 and youtu.be/9-nUQDMQBvw).
Major Media Cover Cookbook
Got allergies? Get to the Square One Website and take a look at its cookbook by a duo who call themselves the Double Energy Twins and were featured in the Los Angeles Times in October. Characterizing Shari and Judi Zucker as “the dynamo twins,” the paper noted that their latest book, The Ultimate Allergy-Free Snack Cookbook, is designed to help kids eat right.
The month before, the twins had appeared on the Today show, where they showed hosts Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb how to make an allergy-free pizza. And, if you don’t mind us punning, there was nothing cheesy about the orders that wholesalers immediately placed: 3,500! The book’s Amazon ranking shot up from around 35,000 to as high as 900 that week in the All Books category, and into the top 10 in the Food Allergies category. Plus, the authors’ Website received nearly 1,000 clicks within hours of the television appearance.
The same month, back-to-school features in regional and niche publications such as the Stroudsburg, PA, Pocono Record and Better Nutrition Magazine featured recipes from the book and reminders of the high percentage of children who have food allergies. Earlier in the year, a brief summary of the book in Newsday explained, “The Zucker twins, Californians trained in physiology and nutrition, published their first book about snacks in 1984, at age 16. Their guide is useful for parents who want to protect their kids from allergic reactions—and avoid junk food, too.” Publishers Weekly called “the Zuckers’ insight into dealing with allergies . . . a welcome resource.”
Nonsmoking Santa Stories
If Pamela McColl at Grafton and Scratch Publishers has her way, Santa Claus may or may not still be snacking as he recovers from the holidays, but he’ll toss the pipe. She got lots of media attention in the autumn and holiday season (225 Web site mentions from just the first press release) for her revision of the Clement Moore classic, A Visit from St. Nicholas.
Antismoking advocate McColl edited out the references to Claus smoking in her “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” which led to comments from media including the Dallas News health blog (which noted that “her Santa also shows he cares about the arctic polar bears by wearing fake, not real fur”) and the entertainment editor of the Vancouver, BC, Star, who quoted “an email to McColl signed by The Chief Elf, Snowman Factory” (“The pipe goes with Santa—it’s a tradition and I’m tired of traditions being changed. So, for the record—you can put that in your pipe and smoke it”).
McColl credits IBPA with contributing to her success, explaining, “I started by getting advice from IBPA and I did what they recommended and—bingo—here we are.” And where is she? She sold out her first and second print runs in English and was into a third printing by Halloween, and she now has 50,000 hardcover copies and 15,000 paperback copies in print, plus 7,500 hardcover copies in Spanish and 3,000 in French.
Tying in with a Timely Topic
October is Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, and this past autumn that meant major media and teen retail visibility for Wild Onion Press, which specializes in books about children with physical differences.
Wild Onion published The First Day Speech by Isabelle Hadala in August. Now 14, the author was born with ectodermal dysplasia, a genetic condition that keeps hands and toes from forming properly. Her picture book is based on the speech she made the first day of each academic year in elementary school, when she explained her condition and told classmates to look her over and then “get over it.”
On Labor Day, NBC’s Today show featured Hadala in a three-minute story that was later picked up by television stations in Florida, where she lives (video.today.msnbc.msn.com/today/48884764#48884764). In October, she was invited to New York’s WPIX to be the guest weather forecaster (wpix.com/news/morningnews/wpix-friday-forecaster-izzy-hadala,0,4936464.story) in conjunction with appearances she was making for teen fashion company Aeropostale about the costs of bullying. Aeropostale had contacted Wild Onion to invite Hadala to serve as one of its Teen Ambassadors in the STOMP OUT Bullying program. The company has sent the eighth grader to speak in several middle schools.
Wild Onion publisher Shelley Mickle reports that 200 copies of The First Day Speech were sold in the week following the Today show publicity.
Mother Makes News
Bitingduck Press has been in the headlines in print and online with two features in national publications. “Would you hire your mom? These entrepreneurs did” is how USA Today started a story in August that included coverage of Jay Nadeau, editor-in-chief at the Altadena, CA, press.
Nadeau “employed her mom, Marie, a few months after launching the publishing company,” the story says. “Marie founded a skin-care-focused firm, so Jay thought she could help in areas such as marketing and public relations. But as a
crush of books came in, Jay asked her mom to take a stab at reviewing and editing—and was surprised to learn that she was talented. ‘You think you know everything about your mom, but you don’t,’ Jay says. ‘I always knew that she read a lot, but I didn’t know she was so skilled as an editor.’”
ABC News picked up the story, now archived at abcnews.go.com/Business/hire-mom-entrepreneurs/story?id=17038613#.UJPo_YbheMo.
The same month, “Questions and Answers with Jay Nadeau” ran in PhysicsToday.com, a print and online publication of the American Institute of Physics, which introduced the publisher as “the biologist turned theoretical physicist, turned experimental neuroscientist, turned biophysicist” who is “now moonlighting as an independent book publisher.”
Bitingduck, which describes its publications as about science, mathematics, and the lives of scientists, will launch such titles as Hedwig Kohn: A Passion for Physics this spring. Its fall releases included the second edition of a title long out of print, The Yoga Facelift.
Owl Press’s Albert Flynn DeSilver reports several recent reviews for his Beamish Boy. The Memoir Journal blogged, “It is harsh while at the same time poetic. It breaks your heart one moment and then sends your spirit soaring the next. It is one of the rare books that when finished I believe I will feel I am a better person for having read it. And, it has made me laugh out loud.” Kirkus had earlier described the book as “A beautifully written memoir of awakening and self-acceptance.” And Publishers Weekly wrote, “DeSilver’s seesawing journey from drug and alcohol addiction to recovery—all filled with epiphanies and backsliding, clarity and bewilderment—will keep readers committed to his story.”
Allen A. Knoll’s The Ice Maiden Cometh Not was reviewed by Publishers Weekly, which wrote, “Noir by way of Wodehouse, Boyle’s light concoction will most appeal to readers looking for whimsy rather than mystery.” Booklist’s starred review commented, “There’s a real mystery to be solved here, but the greater pleasure for readers is listening to [hero] Gil’s quirky voice and meeting [author] Boyle’s cast of weird and wonderful characters.”
Also recently reviewed in Publishers Weekly:
● Aqueous Books’ The Natural Order of Things, a collection of interwoven stories that got a starred review. From the same publisher, Glowing in the Dark appeals “to readers drawn to the weird,” PW’s review declared.
● Poisoned Pen’s The Llama of Death: A Gunn Zoo Mystery, described as an “appealing cozy.”
● Sourcebooks’s The Officer Breaks the Rules, about a “feisty Navy nurse’s feminine wiles.”
● Sourcebooks Casablanca’s The Wicked Wedding of Miss Ellie Vyne, a romantic farce, and Waking Up with a Rake, “an alluring read complete with an outspoken female protagonist and a hint of mystery.”
● Chicago Review Press’s Mary Wells: The Tumultuous Life of Motown’s First Superstar, called an “excellent and fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the artists who made Motown Records a massive success.”
● Berrett-Koehler’s Hungry Start-up Strategy: Creating New Ventures with Limited Resources and Unlimited Vision, praised for avoiding buzzwords and for providing “guidance on gaining the edge necessary to compete and thrive in business.”
● C & T Publishing’s Barbara Brackman’s Civil War Sampler: 50 Quilt Blocks with Stories from History, described as “gloriously honoring the Civil War without bellicosity” and offering vignettes of American women’s history.
Rx for Real Reviews
PW recently published an opinion piece by Penny C. Sansevieri on its “Soapbox” page—“Keeping It Real: The Danger in Fake Reviews”—in which the online marketing consultant offers six recommendations for authors who want exposure that may lead to legitimate reviews.
Action re a First Novel
Allworth Press founder and publisher Tad Crawford has a debut novel published by Arcade Publishing, A Floating Life, which Kirkus called “odd, offbeat and strangely shimmering” in its print and online reviews. Other publicity includes an online review in Booklist; Crawford’s guest blog in Shelf Awareness for Readers on what inspired him; and an excerpt posted by 2paragraphs.com, which, Crawford notes, is “a site devoted to pithy presentations of current topics.” Arcade—which also published five novels by Mo Yan, winner of a 2012 Nobel Prize—has sold translation rights in A Floating Life to Bertrand Brasilia for a Portuguese edition in Brazil.
Spotlight is compiled by Linda Carlson (lindacarlson.com), who welcomes members’ news of unusual special sales, licensing deals, significant media coups in the last month, movie and television options, and other achievements at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The focus of this column is as much on how you accomplish something as on what you accomplish, so specific how-to’s are important.
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