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Island Heritage of Oahu has bought the rights to publish Janet Spurr’s Beach Chair Diaries and distribute it in Hawaii and on the West Coast. Falmouth Heights Books will continue to publish the original edition, Beach Chair Diaries: Summer Tales from Maine to Maui, and Island Heritage will subtitle its edition Summer Tales from Maui to Maine.


“Moving up the publishing ladder is my goal for all my authors,” says Cathy Teets of Headline Books, who reports that author Rick Robinson has signed with New York’s Waxman Literary Agency. Headline published Robinson’s first three novels, and the most recent was honored at both the New York Book Festival and the Paris Book Festival. His fourth novel, Writ of Mandamus, is being shopped by Waxman at this writing.


Reflecting on 15 years of success with Susie Mantell’s audiobook, Your Present: A Half-Hour of Peace, Vivian Badagliacca of Relax . . . Intuit, shared some valuable reminders about publicity.

“The year of first publication, naive and inexperienced, we didn’t yet even know that books had to be submitted for reviews 90–120 days prior to publication. So we spent many days and dollars only to learn that we were too late for some of the most important press, most notably, Publishers Weekly. Naturally, we were devastated. But a month or so later Susie got a call congratulating her on a terrific Billboard review. As Fate would have it, the PW reviewer also wrote for Billboard and was able to review it there.” (Tip: when you read a review for books like yours, plug the reviewer’s name into your favorite search engine to see other publications the reviewer writes for. For example, Meghan Cox Gurden, who reviews children’s books for the Wall Street Journal, also has columns syndicated by the Washington Examiner.)

Badagliacca adds, “We often laugh that our company motto has been, ‘We work so hard to sow a million seeds that never see the light of day, then someone we don’t even know waters a little plant out in left field and whoosh, a whole garden appears!’”

Much of this unexpected help has come because of the author’s continuing nurturing of her title, the seminars she’s given, the articles she’s written, and the pitches she’s made, the publisher notes. 


Designing bilingual books can be a challenge. With illustrations accompanied by extensive white space, Satya House Publications is able to accommodate a sentence of text in English and the sentence in a foreign language on each page or each two-page spread of its full-color children’s picture books. The company recently issued I See the Sun in China and I See the Sun in Nepal and has scheduled a similar title about daily life in Afghanistan for 2011.


Another publisher working with English and Chinese is Michael Lockett at Heritage Schoolhouse Press. Lockett, who got involved with storytelling while working as an educator, has led six tours of Taiwan, where he teaches how to use storytelling as an instructional tool in courses on English as a foreign language. His contacts led to Brilliant International Group (BIG) of Taiwan publishing six of his stories as books in Mandarin Chinese.

“That’s what BIG wanted,” he says, adding: “The good news is there is a market here in the United States for bilingual books, even though most buyers cannot read Mandarin.”

Each 64-page book comprises a 32-page picture book in English and, when flipped, a 32-page book in Mandarin on the reverse. Each book comes with an audio CD with the story in both languages. The audio has cues to prompt listeners to turn pages.

Lockett’s sales figures support his statement about the market for books in English and Mandarin. He has the rights to distribute the BIG titles in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia, and has sold thousands of copies this year. He sells dozens of them and his storytelling CDs direct after his frequent appearances at schools and education conferences. Small Press United, a subsidiary of IPG, handles trade sales.

Although he has an agent who handles much of the physical and logistical work when he’s in Asia, Lockett is on his own in as a publisher in the United States. Because he can easily sell $1,000 worth of books and CDs at a school appearance, his speaking contracts require that host schools help with loading and unloading.

Lockett, now 60, says he sometimes also hires younger storytellers from among his colleagues in the National Storytelling Network to drive him to appearances and help with sales. And although he still allows school districts to book him for assemblies at multiple schools during a single day or for classroom visits between assemblies in the same building, he mandates breaks and help with sales. He has found that family programs on the evening of a school presentation (for which he charges a modest extra fee) are the most successful in generating sales, because the parents have the checkbooks and credit cards. He encourages such sales by having the school announce in advance that a percentage of all evening sales will be donated to it.


Thomas R. Pero of Wild River Press was awarded the Aldo Starker Leopold Wild Trout Medal in September at the Wild Trout Symposium X, the international gathering of fisheries scientists held once every five years. The medal recognizes Pero as “a non-fisheries professional who, in the eyes of his peers, has made long-time and significant contributions to the enhancement, protection and preservation of wild trout.”

Aldo Starker Leopold (1913–1983) was an authority on wildlife ecology and longtime biology professor at the University of California at Berkeley.


Cheri Hallwood, founder of Forever Young Publishers, and illustrator Patricia Rose are the publishing professionals participating in the 2010–2011 Children’s Literature Project of Miller College in Battle Creek, MI. Both will appear in educational symposiums for local schools and colleges; Rose will exhibit her artwork, and both will present awards to the contest winners.

Members in the Spotlight is compiled by Linda Carlson (lindacarlson.com), who welcomes news of unusual special sales, licensing deals, significant media coups, and other achievements at linda@ibpa-online.org. The focus of this column is as much about how you accomplish something as what you accomplish, so details and specific how-to’s are important.

Please submit your information in the text of your email (no attachments) and remember to include your name, title, and the name of your press. This column does not use news about nonmembers. Since information for Members in the Spotlight is needed at least six weeks in advance of an issue’s publication date, news you submit by December 15 can be considered for the February and later issues. News that is time-sensitive and misses the Spotlight deadline—events, upcoming television and radio appearances, and co-opportunities—should be directed to lisa@ibpa-online.org for inclusion in the IBPA e-newsletter, Independent Publishing Now.



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