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How To Find Success as a Self-Published Author

Guest blogger August Wainwright weighs in on the definition of success as a self-published author in today’s ever-changing marketplace. Enjoy…

I’d like to take a moment to thank everyone for the great response to the 50 Best Sites for Indie & Self Published Authors post. The reaction has been amazing and many of the writers and sites on the list have weighed in to say thanks. I’ve also learned about a few new sites that are worth a regular visit. Unfortunately, I’ve been a bit overwhelmed answering emails and spreading the word, so I haven’t gotten around to posting a new article for the last 2 weeks. No bueno.

Recently, I’ve been struck by a recurring conversation that continues to pop up everywhere I turn. In various forums, on websites, and in comment sections, it seems to be what so many indie and self-published authors are thinking (and complaining) about right now.

So what is it?

Well for me, it’s a discussion about success. It’s a discussion about how to define what success looks like and a discussion about how to achieve that success.

However, on all of these sites, the argument is framed as one of failure – not of success. Here are just a few examples of what I’ve recently heard:

“Now that Amazon has changed their algorithms to target indie authors…”

“Now that free is dead…”

“Last year, with the post-free run bump in sales, I could count on getting at least “X” sales after it went back to its regular price. Now I’m barely getting any post-free sales. Either free is dead or Amazon is targeting authors like me…”

“There’s no way to sell books if you don’t use Bookbub…”

“Bookbub won’t feature my book because I don’t have enough reviews, but I can’t get enough reviews if I’m not featured on Bookbub.”

“No new authors in 2013 are finding any real success…”

“I published my book last week and only had 5 sales, this is ridiculous…”

No, sir, you are ridiculous!

(Sorry, that was an outburst).

The point of highlighting these arguments is to show the thinking of some self-published authors. And, seeing as how this site is quickly turning into a place to help writers perform better in the current publishing marketplace (which I love the direction it’s taking), I believe this is a conversation that needs to be openly, andtruthfully, discussed.

So let’s dive into a few of the issues surrounding the success of a self-published author…

 

You are NOT an outlier

I hate to have to be the one to tell you this, but you aren’t Hugh Howey. You aren’t. Statistically speaking, it’s an extremely safe bet for me to say that you, the one reading this post, will never sell a million copies of anything you write – especially over the course of just a few months.

This idea that because one out of every ten thousand writers finds overnight success (that’s a completely made up stat; it’s probably much more rare than one in ten thousand), that it somehow translates to the idea that overall success as a writer is framed by these outliers is so wildly off-base that it’s comical.

The idea of a brand new author showing up with their first work and finding major success with no pre-established base was just as absurd in 1983 as it was in 2003 as it is now in 2013.

This skewed idea of success has led so many new authors to believe that if Brad Thor does it or Russell Blake does it or Joe Konrath does it, then they’re simply a click of a “Publish” button away from doing it too.

You aren’t that writer.

But what you probably are is a good writer. You might even be a great writer. So how do you attain the success that you’re seeking?

 

Slow growth is the sustainable way to success as an author

Let me ask a blunt question, and I want you to really think about this for a second:

Do you really want crappy books with crappy covers and crappy amateur blurbs to be able to get post-free sales bumps? Do you really want poor products to represent indie authors? Do you really want YOUR marketplace to be that easy?

You’re entitled to your own opinion, but my immediate answer is NO. I don’t want things to be that easy. Either way, you should stop to think about what the marketplace of 2011 and 2012 have done to the thinking of new authors.

The algorithms and marketplace of the last 1.5-2 years allowed unknown self-published authors to become overnight successes, sometimes regardless of the quality of their product. That 18-month period of the “free” gold-rush WASN’T the norm; it was never going to stay that way. Now the systems and algorithms are starting to normalize.

Is Amazon perfect? No. Is B&N or Kobo or Apple perfect? No. But the technology is still amazing and it’s still unbelievably liberating.

And yet, I’ve actually watched multiple authors on various forums publish their first book, with absolutely no prior following, openly discuss their first and second week sales numbers with smiling emoticons, and then after the sales fall off over the next few weeks, they post about how they are barely staying afloat and that they don’t know what to do and that it seems like the time of the indie/self-pub author is dead.

I say – GOOD.

As much as I want to help other authors that are on a parallel journey to mine, I have no time for the people who think that if success doesn’t come in less than 30 days, then it’s not coming at all.

Real success – the lasting kind – takes a tremendous amount of time and effort.

Whether it’s Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000-hours idea or Dean Wesley Smith’s thinking on slow growth, true success as an author takes years, and hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of words.

Did you know Issac Asimov is believed to have written or co-written 512 books (a New York Times article from 1969 credited the then 49 year old Asimov with 108 books and over 7.5 million words). Ray Bradbury published more than 30 books, close to 600 short stories, and numerous poems, essays, and plays. Stephen King has published 55 novels and close to 200 short stories, and probably has many more that are yet unpublished.

So here’s the path to success:

Write. Edit. Re-Write. Re-Edit. (Do this a few more times). Get a great cover. Write a great blurb. Publish. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Notice the three repeats there at the end. That is the key. Most series don’t find success until at least the third book. Most authors don’t find success for the first few years, maybe even the first decade.

But what’s really worth discussing when it comes to “success” in today’s marketplace is what that success looks like when it finally comes.

 

A real example of a brand new author (with numbers)

Look, if you’re one of the lucky ones who hit it big because of a free run or the hot ad-company-of-the-week, well then great. But the idea is to keep writing, get better at your craft, and plan for the future.

That is what self-publishing allows for. I entered the industry full-time somewhere around late February of 2013, with no writing experience other than as a hobby. I’ve been writing off and on my entire life, but I’ve never approached it as a potential career.

Last year, my wife deployed, my other business was doing well, and I had a lot of free time on my hands. I started writing letters to mail to my wife (a dying but extremely valuable art) and she eventually asked me to send her a few stories. (You can read my first ever post and a little more about the start of my journey here). That’s how I initially got into writing on a semi-regular schedule.

I never submitted to agents or publishers; I also never submitted a single story to competitions or magazines. I published my first book via Amazon in late May 2013. I just finished publishing the 2nd in my current series, a short 12,000 word novella, in late June. The 3rd is due out in the next few days. I’m not yet on any platform other than Amazon.

And now I’d like to take a minute to talk specific numbers. I know most people frown on the idea, but I’m not begging and I’m not bragging, so I see no issues with discussing real numbers.

So far, in the month and a half I’ve had books available to purchase, I’ve sold roughly1 book per day, per title (full disclosure: those sales are both as myself and under a single pen name where I have two books published). Just a single sale per day, per title.

So, again, I ask: what is “success”?

Because under almost any metric you’ll find online, I’m a complete failure.

 

Yet, here’s the reality for someone who is a completely new author in 2013:

  • In roughly 4 months (beginning of March to present day), my website has attracted close to 500 subscribers who are actively engaged in the articles I write.
  • In the roughly 2 months of being “published”, I have 115 subscribers to a newsletter specific to my book series. (The cross-over between these lists is minimal, roughly 4%).
  • In the those 2 months, I’ve averaged about 1 sale per title released, per day.

 

This is what those numbers project to be by the end of 2013:

  • My website subscriber list should be somewhere between 1000-2000 people.
  • My book series subscriber list could be anywhere from about 500 up to “who knows”. The reason this is hard to quantify is because I only have 2 titles out right now in the series (and an additional 2 under a pen name), whereby the end of 2013 I plan on having 8-10 books out.
  • I plan to publish to all platforms later this summer. Should I be able to bump the 1-sale-per-day-per-title up to a modest 3 sales per day (across all platforms) and, accomplish my goal of releasing 8 titles by years end, I would be selling 24 books per day. 24 books per day at my current avg. profit price of $2.35 would equal just over $20,000 in 365 days.

 

Also, it’s worth noting that I have a KDP Select run scheduled for July 26-27th, but as of right now, all my current numbers are with no free runs and no advertising. I’ve yet to use a KDP free day, and as of writing this, I’ve not submitted my books to Bookbub or any other major advertiser (but I do plan on doing so).

Are those numbers blow-the-roof-off amazing? I don’t think so, but what IS amazing is that they are completely attainable.

Is it “success”?

To me, it’s a damn good start. To you, I don’t know, I guess that’s for each individual to decide. But for me, the idea that a very realistic minimum of $20k in 2013 with ZERO pre-established base before March of this year, I have to say that I think that’s quite amazing.

With the right marketing (which is something I plan on discussing in great detail on this site), a mediocre free run (regardless of what that means right now), or a well-placed ad, my numbers could be well in excess of that projected minimum.

And the key is still the long term. Look at what happens if I publish 8 titles a year, for the next 3 years and STILL only average 3 sales a day per title at an average sales revenue of $2.35.

8 titles per year X 3yrs = 24 titles
24 titles X 3 sales a day per title = 72 sales per day
72 sales per day X avg. sale profit of $2.35 = $169.20 per day
$169.20 per day = $61,758 per year

With 50 titles available and STILL only 3 sales per day per title, that yearly income becomes $128,662.50.

So from writing 1000 words a day on my laptop over the course of the next 5 years, I could possibly end up making an additional six figure income doing something I love. That’s “never hitting it big” – never selling more than 3 copies of any title on any given day.

And that income should continue on forever. In the digital marketplace, my books never go out of print.

To me, it’s amazing what is possible for a new author in 2013. The technology and networking at our fingertips is nothing less than incredible. But you still have to write. Sit down, every day, and write. Write a little; write a lot. Just keep writing. Keep turning out great products and, eventually, you’ll find an audience.

Success isn’t something achieved overnight – it’s earned over a long period of time, with a tremendous amount of effort. But it’s very attainable – now more than ever before.

by August Wainwright on July 10, 2013

 

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

World Book Night

World Book Night at The Harvest Program, BHR

World Book Night at The Harvest Program, BHR

This year I had the distinct pleasure of being chosen as a “giver” for World Book Night 2013. My friend Mandee Graham and I were chosen to give a box of books to the group of our choice. The targeted population for this years’ gifts were non or light readers. We chose Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist. It was an easy choice because it is small enough not to intimidate reluctant readers and because it delivers such a powerful message.

We decided to donate the books to a group of women in our county who we thought would both be likely to read them and who could benefit from the positive message of the story. The Behavioral Health Resources in our town offers a program that we felt gave us ideal candidates. The Harvest Program is designed for mothers and expectant mothers who are in recovery from addiction. They are actively seeking positive ways to cope with the stressors of life and childrearing in the face of often insurmountable adversity. They are a group with whom I feel a kinship in my own way.

Growing up, reading was my personal form of escapism. Fantasy realms were my abode while outside my bedroom raged the storms of adolescence then marriage and parenthood that would otherwise have carried me away. I have suffered from mental health issues during stressful times, as nearly everyone does, and have always turned to reading as a method of coping. Sometimes I was more successful than other times, but it was always there. The loneliest person is the one who is by himself and cannot read. When I’d read everything available to me, I turned to writing my own stories as a form of therapy. Books have given me hope, joy and a new outlook on life that I fervently hoped to share with these women.

Having programs available for women that support them during the difficulties of recovery and especially through the challenges of recovery while trying to parent is a phenomenal boon for our community. The women in The Harvest Program find solace in the storms of their lives and support where otherwise none would exist. Mandee and I were both humbled and honored to be able to contribute this small gift to those women who appreciated it so very much and will, in many cases, continue to seek hope, adventures and excitement between the pages of books.

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Askari: The Next Big Thing!

Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Writer’s Digest running competition for YA and SciFi Writers!

13TH FREE “DEAR LUCKY AGENT” CONTEST (YOUNG ADULT AND SCI-FI)

January 17, 2013 | Chuck Sambuchino | Comments: 25
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Welcome to the 13th (free!) “Dear Lucky Agent” Contest on the GLA blog. This is a recurring online contest with agent judges and super-cool prizes. Here’s the deal: With every contest, the details are essentially the same, but the niche itself changes—meaning each contest is focused around a specific category or two. So if you’re writing either a science fiction novel (adults or teens) or any kind of young adult novel, this 13th contest is for you! (The contest is live through January 31, 2013.)

 

 

WHY YOU SHOULD GET EXCITED

After a previous “Dear Lucky Agent” contest, the agent judge, Tamar Rydzinski (The Laura Dail Literary Agency), signed one of the three contest winners. After Tamar signed the writer, she went on to sell two of that writer’s books! How cool! That’s why these contests are not to missed if you have an eligible submission.

HOW TO SUBMIT

E-mail entries to dearluckyagent13@gmail.com. Please paste everything. No attachments.

WHAT TO SUBMIT

The first 150-200 words of your unpublished, book-length work of your sci-fi novel or young adult novel. You must include a contact e-mail address with your entry and use your real name. Also, submit the title of the work and a logline (one-sentence description of the work) with each entry.

Please note: To be eligible to submit, you must mention this contest twice through any social media. Please provide a social media link or Twitter handle or screenshot or blog post URL, etc., with your offical e-mailed entry so the judge and I can verify eligibility. Some previous entrants could not be considered because they skipped this step! Simply spread the word twice through any means and give us a way to verify you did; a tinyURL for this link/contest for you to easily use is http://tinyurl.com/a8msdw2. An easy way to notify me of your sharing is to include my Twitter handle @chucksambuchino somewhere in your mention(s) if using Twitter. And if you are going to solely use Twitter as your 2 times, please wait 1 day between mentions to spread out the notices, rather than simply tweeting twice back to back. Thanks.

 

Want to pitch this contest’s agent judge (Victoria Marini) in person?
Then check out the gigantic agent pitch slam as part of the 2013
Writer’s Digest Conference in NYC, April 5-7, 2013! The event
will have anywhere from 60-80 agents taking pitches.

 

WHAT IS ELIGIBLE?

Science fiction novels of any kind, as well as young adult novels of any kind.

CONTEST DETAILS

  1. This contest will be live for approximately 14 days—from Jan. 17, 2013 through the end of Jan. 31, 2013, PST. Winners notified by e-mail within three weeks of end of contest. Winners announced on the blog thereafter.
  2. To enter, submit the first 150-200 words of your book. Shorter or longer entries will not be considered. Keep it within word count range please.
  3. You can submit as many times as you wish. You can submit even if you submitted to other contests in the past, but please note that past winners cannot win again. All that said, you are urged to only submit your best work.
  4. The contest is open to everyone of all ages, save those employees, officers and directors of GLA’s publisher, F+W Media, Inc.
  5. By e-mailing your entry, you are submitting an entry for consideration in this contest and thereby agreeing to the terms written here as well as any terms possibly added by me in the “Comments” section of this blog post. (If you have questions or concerns, write me personally at chuck.sambuchino (at) fwmedia.com. The Gmail account above is for submissions, not questions.)

PRIZES!!!

Top 3 winners all get: 1) A critique of the first 10 double-spaced pages of your work, by your agent judge. 2) A free one-year subscription to WritersMarket.com ($50 value)!

MEET YOUR (AWESOME) AGENT JUDGE!

Victoria Marini is an associate literary agent with the Gelfman Schneider Literary Agency, and an assistant to the boss-ladies: Jane Gelfman, Deborah Schneider, and Heather Mitchell. Gelfman Schneider has been in business for over 30 years. They passionately represent a wide range of authors including American Academy of Arts, Edgar Awards and Pushcart Prize winners, as well as severalNew York Times bestselling authors. Victoria began taking on clients in 2010. Currently, she is building her list and hungry for more.

Here are some books that she has represented:

The Dangers of Proximal Alphabets by Kathleen Alcott (Adult General/Other)
Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin (YA)
OCD Love Story by Corey Haydu (YA; July 2013)
forthcoming: Loop by Karen Akins (YA sci-fi)

        

 

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Marissa Meyer, bestselling author of Cinder, prepares to launch Scarlet!

Bestselling author of Cinder and Scarlet

Bestselling author of Cinder and Scarlet

We met at a Barnes and Noble author event in October where I picked up a copy of Cinder. I became an instant fan! With the launch of her sequel Scarlet due out next month, I was able to get Marissa to sit down for a few moments before her next book tour to share her thoughts.

What first inspired you to write Cinder?

I’d been trying to write a novel since I was sixteen, but had never found an idea that I could stick with to the end—I always got bored of the stories I was working on. Then at one point I wrote a short story that was a futuristic retelling of the fairy tale “Puss in Boots” – it was so much fun that I wanted to try to write a longer futuristic fairy tale retelling, maybe even a whole series of them! A few months after I had that idea, the vision of a cyborg Cinderella popped into my head and immediately began to fill me with ideas for her world and story. I knew as soon as I started writing it that it would be the first novel I finished.

 Why fairy tales?

I’ve always loved fairy tales—since those first Disney movies when I was a kid. There’s something very universal about them. We all know the stories, we can all relate to their underlying themes, and yet they still offer so much potential for twisting and re-imagining them. I don’t think we, as a species, will ever grow tired of fairy tales.

Tell us how you came to create your world of New Beijing.

I chose to set Cinder in futuristic China because I wanted to pay homage to the original Cinderella story, which was written by a 9th-century Chinese scholar. But as I wasn’t able to travel to the real Beijing for research, it allowed me more flexibility to create a made-up city, so I decided that our current Beijing was destroyed in a horrific war, and New Beijing was built to replace it. I had a lot of fun envisioning what that new city would be like—full of high-technology, towering skyscrapers, and lots of flashing advertisements and experimental architecture. But at the same time, I figured the people of the new Eastern Commonwealth would want to embrace their history, so there are also traditional zen gardens, sculptures, and art everywhere.

Are your characters molded after particular individuals? If so, who?

Nope—they’re all straight from my imagination.

 Tell us a little about Cinder and what her conflicts are. 

16-year-old Cinder is part-human and part-machine, making her a cyborg. Unfortunately, she lives in a society in which cyborgs aren’t largely trusted or understood, so she’s considered a second-class citizen and a piece of property to her adoptive stepmother. This obviously creates a lot of problems for her in general—questions of her worth and freedom—but it’s further complicated when she meets and begins to fall in love with Prince Kai, who has no idea she’s cyborg.

 Your next book, Scarlet, is a twist on the fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood right? What’s next after that? How many books in this series?

 That’s right! There will be four books in total. Book 3: Cress will be based on Rapunzel and Book 4: Winter will be based on Snow White, but Cinder will continue to be a main character throughout all four books.

 Your writing is extremely tight with no slow moments or extraneous passages. Tell us about your editing team and how they molded your revisions to come up with this beautifully written book.

Thank you! While I did have a copyeditor who graciously caught a number of typos and consistency issues, I don’t really have a team that focuses on the writing like you’re talking about. That’s just my voice, I guess. Although I do at least one editing round, when a manuscript is almost completely final, where I’m only looking for unnecessary words or phrases. I often cut anywhere from 10,000 to 15,000 words during this round, and don’t lose a single bit of the plot.

 Could you share with other aspiring writers your story of how you navigated your journey from concept to publication?

The first step, of course, was to write the best book I could. Cinder took almost two full years to write, revise, and edit. After that, though, my path to publication went very quickly. I queried about a dozen literary agents and two months later signed with the first agent I’d queried. She and I worked together for a couple weeks to compile the submission package, including summaries for all four books in The Lunar Chronicles. She then sent it to editors on a Friday and we had our first offer the following Monday. It was all very dizzying! But again—the important part of this story is all that time I spent upfront trying to craft a strong, engaging story.

Who are your personal heroes? Why do they inspire you?

J.K. Rowling—because she’s J.K. Rowling! Her story of hardship and persistence is so encouraging, and I admire her so much for how well she knows the world she created. She is an absolute genius.

 What’s next for Marissa Meyer? Please plug any of your upcoming events or marketing here so that we can get the word out! Please also give me the website and facebook (and twitter) address that you want me to plug for you.

Scarlet: Book Two of the Lunar Chronicles will hit bookstores on February 5 (and I’m so excited!!). I’ll be going on book tour (the schedule can be seen at http://www.marissameyer.com/blogtype/the-scarlet-tour-schedule-other-upcoming-events/) so I hope some of your readers can come out and see me! Besides that, I’ll be diligently plugging away on Books 3 and 4.

I can be followed at:

Blog & newsletter: http://www.marissameyer.com/blog

Twitter: @marissa_meyer

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/marissameyerauthor

Thank you so much for inviting me onto your blog, Mikko!

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

I Honor the Greatness Inside You

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Winning a Moonbeam Children’s Book Award was very exciting news. I bought my ticket to Traverse City, MI where I would receive my award at a banquet at the Top of the Park, an elegant restaurant in the tallest building in town. I was thrilled! Then I learned that I would be expected to make a 2-3 minute acceptance speech. Ok, a little less excited, but still…I know I can do this, just go in prepared. I spent several days hammering out a lively and amusing little speech that was guaranteed to whip the crowd into a frenzy of excitement for Askari. I practiced in my head on my drive, in the airplane and in the shower (I can’t look in the mirror and take myself seriously!). When I got dressed up and ready to receive my medal, I was confident, sweating only moderately, and praying that I wouldn’t sound like a blithering idiot once I’d stumbled my way to the stage.

However, as I sat in the auditorium listening to the other recipients, a theme of most speeches became apparent. They were all driven to write their stories, compelled by something beyond themselves; a passion to make whatever sacrifices were necessary to get their stories into the world. I started to squirm in my seat. That was not what I was prepared to talk about. I started to sweat more profusely. Then a beautiful woman stood up and accepted her award and gave a speech that pulled into focus everything that I had worked to hard to try and convey yet still managed to miss the mark. I knew in a split second how I was going to recover my speech. In essence, her message was this:

I have a friend who was, for most of his life, a Sherpa in Nepal. He moved to the United States and, after some time here, called me for some advice. He said, “Miss Rebecca, (the author was Rebecca Braden Nordeman who wrote Sanjaygawa and the Yak Whisperer) I don’t understand Americans. They stop to ask you how you are doing, but never stay to listen to your answer. In my country, when we greet someone, we put our hands together (she demonstrated both palms out like expecting two high-fives) and we say ‘I honor the greatness inside you.’

In that moment, I realized what my book Askari was really  about. It is about honoring the greatness inside. I wrote it in honor of my eldest son Dale, who still has trouble finding acceptance. There are those kids (and adults) who don’t have obvious, measurable talents. They aren’t gifted athletes, musicians, intellectuals or whatever. For many, they are given labels and lumped together with all the other undesirables. For Dale, who is extremely handsome and intelligent (no, that’s not just my bias) but suffers from a learning disability and personality disorder, finding and keeping friends and finding an identity when so much focus is on what people can define you by other than your label, it was extremely tough and he is still working through, successfully, those challenges.

I began the story of Cedron Varkaras with Dale in mind. A boy who doesn’t fit in because of his differences. Although for fantastic fiction, I had to blow the issues way out of proportion and up the stakes to make a compelling novel. So Cedron is tormented and bullied because he’s different, but once it becomes known that the Varkaras freak has magical powers, taboo in Askari-Barre, his life becomes forfeit. He has to escape the throngs of terrified Askari who want to destroy him, the evil forces who want to exploit him and discover for himself that his perceived failings are truly the only gifts that Muralia has for her salvation. The gifts that Cedron has are the same as Dale’s and are not his phenomenal magical powers, but something much more significant. Without giving away the ending to the third book in this exciting trilogy, I’ll just say that both Dale and Cedron have to learn to embrace their true natures, redefine what is valued and find the courage to move forward, honoring the greatness that resides within each of them.

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards announced…Askari won a bronze medal! (#17)

2012 Moonbeam Childrens Book Awards Results

Celebrating Youthful Curiosity, Discovery and Learning through Books and Learning

Jenkins Group is proud to announce the winners of the 2012 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards. A total of 144 medalists have been chosen from nearly 1,000 entries. This year’s winners are a very geographically diverse group: medals went to books from 35 U.S. states, 7 Canadian provinces, and 3 countries overseas.

This year’s Moonbeam Awards medal ceremony will be held in conjunction with the 3rd annual Traverse City Children’s Book Festival, to be held on Saturday, November 10, 2012. All medalists and their guests are invited to attend.

Listed below are the 2012 Moonbeam Awards results, listed by category, followed by the Moonbeam Spirit Award winners.

Creating books that inspire our children to read, to learn, and to dream is an extremely important task, and these awards were conceived to reward those efforts.

Each year’s entries are judged by expert panels of youth educators, librarians, booksellers, and book reviewers of all ages. Award recipients receive gold, silver and bronze medals and stickers depicting a mother and child reading and silhouetted by a full moon.

Congratulations to all the winners!

2012 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards – Gold, Silver and Bronze medalists listed by category

1. Board Book/Cloth Book
Gold: 1,2,3, Sí! A Numbers Book in English and Spanish, by San Antonio Museum of Art (Trinity University Press)
Silver: Counting Wild Bears of the Native Northwest Coast, by Gryn White (Native Northwest)
Bronze: Black Bear Babies! by Donald M. Jones (Farcountry Press)

2. Alphabet/Counting Book
Gold: Zahra and Coco Alphabet, by Fatima Akilu; illustrated by Mustapha Bulama (Mockingbird Books)
Silver: Over in the Forest: Come and Take a Peek, by Marianne Berkes; illustrated by Jill Dubin (Dawn Publications)
Bronze: The Zigzag Zebra: A Rhyming Alphabet, by Marie Rippel and Donna Goeddaeus (All About Learning Press, Inc.)

3. Books Arts/Pop-up/Cut-out
Gold: Alphabet Everywhere, by Elliot Kaufman (Abbeville Kids)
Silver: My Secret Scrapbook Diary: Little Red Riding Hood, by Kees Moerbeek (Child’s Play International)
Bronze: Portrait of Spain for Kids, by Queensland Art Gallery / Gallery of Modern Art (Queensland Art Gallery / Gallery of Modern Art)

4. Activity Book 1 – Games, Arts & Crafts, etc.
Gold: Denise Logan’s Amazing Art Projects for Children, by Denise M. Logan (Dynamic Art Projects, LLC)
Silver: Super Simple Sumi-e, by Yvonne Palka (HeartRock Press)
Bronze: How to Draw Your Own Graphic Novel, by Frank Lee (PowerKids Press)

5. Activity Book 2 – Educational, Science, History, etc.
Gold (tie): Bridges and Tunnels: Investigate Feats of Engineering, by Donna Latham; illustrated by Jen Vaughn (Nomad Press) and Explore the Wild West! With 25 Great Projects, by Anita Yasuda; illustrated by Alex Kim (Nomad Press)
Silver: Arizona, Way Out West & Wacky: Awesome Activities, Humorous History, and Fun Facts, by Conrad J. Storad & Lynda Exley; illustrated by Michael Hagelberg (Little Five Star)
Bronze: Inference Jones: Using Higher-Order Thinking to Improve Critical Reading and Comprehension, by Robert E. Owen, M.A. (The Critical Thinking Co.)

6. Book with Music/Theatrical
Gold: Lil’ Chucky Charlie & His Country Bug Friends, by Chris & Ron Surrey; illustrated by Mike Litwin (Surron)
Silver: Pirate Santa: A Pirate Adventure, by Clay Clement and Mark Summers; illustrated by Juan Alvarado (Studio City Tattoo)
Bronze: Evangeline! The Dancing Holstein, by Cheryl Kirking; illustrated by Jason Jolda (Mill House Press)

7. Picture Book – Preschool 
Gold: Picture my Day, by Séverine Cordier; illustrated by Cynthia Lacroix (Owlkids Books)
Silver: Little Seeds, by Charles Ghigna; illustrated by Ag Jatkowska (Picture Window Books/Capstone)
Bronze: David, Fish & Penguins…, Written and by illustrated by TURCIOS (Cuento de Luz)

8. Picture Book – 4-8 Year Old
Gold (tie): Little Lamb, Have You Any Wool? by Isabel Minhós Martins; illustrated by Yara Kono (Owlkids Books) and My Mama Earth, by Susan B. Katz; illustrated by Melissa Launay (Barefoot Books)
Silver (tie): No! written and by illustrated by Marta Altés (Child’s Play) and KokoCat, Inside and Out, by Lynda Graham-Barber; illustrated by Nancy Lane (The Gryphon Press)
Bronze: A Moment in Time, by Jennifer Butenas;  illustrated by Charlotte Cheng (The Perfect Moment, LLC)

9. Picture Book – All Ages
Gold (tie): My Hands Sing the Blues, by Jeanne Walker Harvey; illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon (Marshall Cavendish Children) and Good People Everywhere, by Lynea Gillen; illustrated by Kristina Swarner (Three Pebble Press, LLC)
Silver (tie): A Box Story, written and illustrated by Kenneth Kit Lamug (Rabblebox) andThe Gift, written and illustrated by Christina Vagenius (Heart Box Studio)
Bronze: Dromedary and Camelot, by Ruby M. Harmon;  illustrated by Eric Hamilton (Poetic Moves Publishing)

10. Juvenile Fiction – Early Reader/1st Chapter books
Gold: Zeke Meeks vs. the Putrid Puppet Pals, by D. L. Green (Picture Window Books/Capstone)
Silver (tie): Zanda Humphrey’s Operation Nice, by Kristy Short; illustrated by Pam Duplacey (Moore Publishing) and The Computer’s Nerd, by W. Royce Adams (Rairarubia Books)
Bronze: Pidgy’s Surprise, by Jeanne Mellin (Willow Bend Publishing)

11. Pre-Teen Fiction – General
Gold: Run Marco Run, by Norma Charles (Ronsdale Press)
Silver (tie): Summer Dance, by Lynn Swanson (Createspace) and Calling Him Dad: The Summer My Father Appeared Out of Nowhere, by Viginia Kamhi (WPR Books: Para Los Niños)
Bronze: Earthquake Surprise (A Bailey Fish Adventure), by Linda Salisbury (Tabby House)

12. Pre-Teen Fiction – Fantasy
Gold: The Moon Coin, by Richard Due; illustrated by Carolyn Arcabascio (Gibbering Gnome Press)
Silver: Archibald and the Black Knight’s Ring, by Shermay Loh (Epigram Books)
Bronze (tie): The Curse of Captain LaFoote (Caribbean Chronicles #1), by Eddie Jones (Port Yonder Press) and Quest for the Scorpion’s Jewel (Amarias Adventures #1), by Amy Green (Warner Press)

13. Pre-Teen Fiction – Mystery
Gold: The Adventure of Maisie Voyager, by Lucy Skye (Jessica Kingsley Publishers)
Silver: Chase Against Time (Chase Manning Mystery #1), by Steve Reifman (Brown Books Publishing Group)
Bronze: Diary of a Social Detective, by Jeffrey E. Jessum, Ph.D. (AAPC Publishing Company)

14. Pre-Teen Fiction – Historical/Cultural
Gold: Outcasts of River Falls, by Jacqueline Guest (Coteau Books for Kids)
Silver: Day of the Cyclone (Disaster Strikes #7), by Penny Draper (Coteau Books for Kids)
Bronze (tie): Someone Talked! by R. Conrad Stein (ChironBooks) and Huntsville, 1892: Clara, by Wanda Vaughn (OnStage Publishing)

15. Pre-Teen Fiction – Mature Issues
Gold: 
Sanjaygawa and the Yak Whisperer, by Rebecca Braden Nordeman; illustrated by Cloe Shaw (Tashi Deley Press)
Silver: Kendall’s Storm, by Janet Muirhead Hill (Raven Publishing)
Bronze: Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept, by Jayneen Sanders; illustrated by Craig Smith (Upload Publishing)

16. Young Adult Fiction – General
Gold: The Green-Eyed Queen of Suicide City, by Kevin Marc Fournier (Great Plains Teen Fiction)
Silver: Locker 572, by L. T. Kodzo (WinePress Publishing)
Bronze: Shanghaied, by David Paul Collins (iUniverse)

17. Young Adult Fiction – Fantasy/Sci-Fi
Gold: Edge of Time, by Susan M. MacDonald (Breakwater Books)
Silver: The Twelfth Stone, by Jana Laiz (Crow Flies Press)
Bronze (tie): Drake’s Story Stone, by T. F. Pumphrey (Tons of Imagination, Ink) andAskari (Child of Muralia Book 1), by Mikko Azul (AuthorHouse)

18. Young Adult Fiction – Horror/Mystery
Gold: Immortal Longings: A Vampire Novel, by Diane DeKelb-Rittenhouse (Tiny Satchel Press)
Silver: Mystery of the Tempest (A Fisher Key Adventure), by Sam Cameron (Bold Strokes Books)
Bronze: Secret of the Scarab, by Jay Roudebush (Lulu Publishing)

19. Young Adult Fiction – Historical/Cultural
Gold: No Crystal Stair, by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson; illustrated by R. Gregory Christie (Carolrhoda Lab/Lerner Publishing Group)
Silver: From Where We Sit: Black Writers Write Black Youth, Edited by Victoria A. Brownworth (Tiny Satchel Press)
Bronze: Freedom Bound, by Jean Rae Baxter (Ronsdale Press)

20. Young Adult Fiction – Religion/Spirituality
Gold:
 YaYa & YoYo: Sliding Into the New Year, by Dori Weinstein (Yotzeret Publishing)
Silver: Ori’s Amazing Purpose: Faith in God’s Plan, by Mike and Carol Wyrick (WinePress Kids)
Bronze: The Fight, by Taylor S. Joseph (Four Star Publishing)

21. Young Adult Fiction – Mature Issues
Gold: How to Tend a Grave, by Jocelyn Shipley (Great Plains Teen Fiction)
Silver: wish i could have said goodbye, by Shari A. Brady (Createspace)
Bronze (tie): Girl Fight, by Faye Harnest (James Lorimer & Company Ltd., Publishers) and Girl Unmoored, by Jennifer Gooch Hummer (Fiction Studio Books)

22. Children’s Poetry
Gold: The Doorstep Orphan: Eugene Field and a Trilogy of His Best Loved Poems, by Jean A. Lukesh (Field Mouse Productions)
Silver: Lizard Lou: A Collection of Rhymes Old and New, by Marie Rippel and Renée LaTulippe (All About Learning Press, Inc.)
Bronze: And the Crowd Goes Wild! A Global Gathering of Sports Poems, Edited by Carol-Ann Hoyte & Heidi Bee Roemer; illustrated by Kevin Sylvester (FriesenPress)

23. Non-Fiction – Picture Book 
Gold: World Atlas, by Nick Crane; illustrated by David Dean (Barefoot Books)
Silver (tie): Adventures with Jonny: Road Trip to the Parks, by Michael A. DiLorenzo; illustrated by Jenniffer Julich (Running Moose Publications) and 1st and 10: Top 10 Lists of Everything in Football, by the Editors of Sports Illustrated Kids (Time Home Entertainment Inc.)
Bronze: Baking with Friends: Recipes, Tips and Fun Facts for Teaching Kids to Bake, by Sharon Davis and Charlene Patton; illustrated by Coleen McIntyre (Goops Unlimited/Home Baking Association)

24. Non-Fiction – Young Adult 
Gold: Little Rock Girl 1957: How a Photograph Changed the Fight for Integration, by Shelley Tougas (Compass Point Books/Capstone)
Silver: The Spy with the Wooden Leg: The Story of Virginia Hall, by Nancy Polette (Alma Little)
Bronze (tie): Gabby Douglas: Golden Smile, Golden Triumph, by
Christine Dzidrums (Creative Media Publishing) and The Flavor of Wisconsin for Kids, by Terese Allen and Bobbie Malone (Wisconsin Historical Society Press)

25. Multicultural – Picture Book
Gold: I Came From the Water: One Haitian Boy’s Incredible Tale of Survival, by Anita Oelschlager; illustrated by Mike Blanc (VanitaBooks)
Silver (tie): The Unfortunate Tale of Kachuva the Tortoise (As Told by Chukwa Sulcata), by Reshma Sapre; illustrated by Jayme Robinson (Hathi Chiti Books for Kids) and The Wise Fool: Fables from the Islamic World, by Shahrukh Husain; illustrated by Micha Archer (Barefoot Books)
Bronze: Ojibway Clans: Animal Totems and Spirits, written and illustrated by Mark Anthony Jacobson (Native Northwest)

26. Multicultural Non-Fiction – Young Adult
Gold: Raven Finds the Daylight and other American Indian Stories, by Paul M. Levitt & Ellisa S. Guralnick; illustrated by Carolynn Roche (Clear Light Publishing)
Silver: Where We Once Gathered: Lost Synagogues of Europe, written and illustrated by Andrea Strongwater (Eifrig Publishing)
Bronze: The Story of Mexico: The Mexican-American War, by
R. Conrad Stein (Morgan Reynolds Publishing)

27. Comic/Graphic Novel
Gold: 
Chillax! How Ernie Learns to Chill Out, Relax, and Take Charge of His Anger, by Marcella Marino Craver; illustrated by Amerigo Pinelli (Magination Press/American Psychological Association)
Silver: Egghead (An Aldo Zelnick Comic Novel), by Karla Oceanak;  illustrated by Kendra Spanjer (Bailiwick Press)
Bronze: Rudyard Kipling’s How the Elephant Got His Trunk: The Graphic Novel, by
Blake A. Hoena; illustrated by Pedro Rodriguez (Stone Arch Books/Capstone)

28. Religion/Spirituality
Gold: I Want You to Know the Wonder of God, by Kirk Jackson; illustrated by Gwynne Simmons (Going Home Stories)
Silver (tie): Beliefs & Religions Around the World, by Judy Kirton; illustrated by Val Lawton (Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing) and My First Sikh Booksby Parveen Kaur Dhillon; illustrated by Brian C. Krümm (Lohgarh Sikh Educational Foundation)
Bronze: My Whole Self Before You: A Child’s Prayer and Learning Guide Modeled after the Lord’s Prayer, by Susan Case Bonner (Kid Niche Publishing)

29. Holiday
Gold (tie):
 The Little Big Book of Christmas: Carols, Stories, Poems, Recipes, edited by Lena Tabori; designed by Timothy Shaner and Kristen Sasamoto (Welcome Books) and Twas the Night Before Christmas, by Clement C. Moore; illustrated by Elena Almazova & Vitaly Shvarov; edited by Santa Claus (Grafton and Scratch Publishers)
Silver (tie): Lucky: The Tale of a Tree, by Richard C. Hawkins; illustrated by Deb Hoeffner (Worldways Productions) and Visiting the Visitors, by Patrick “Packy” Mader; illustrated by Andrew Holmquist (Beaver’s Pond Press)
Bronze: Emma’s American Chinese New Year, by Amy Meadows; illustrated by Soon Kwong Teo (Outskirts Press)

30. Book with Merchandise (plush toy, etc.)
Gold:
 The Fabulous Adventures of Olly Oogleberry: Mission to Save Earth (plush characters), by Lou Hughes; illustrated by Jonathan Ball (Tickle Me Silly)
Silver: Care for Our World (punch out play set, by Karen Robbins; illustrated by Alexandra Ball (Compendium Kids)
Bronze: Santa’s Glee (plush reindeer)by David and Catherine King (Indigo Beach House)

31. Spanish Language Book
Gold:
 Júkiti-Túkiti-Tá (Hookitty-Tookitty-Tah), by Antonio Mugica; illustrated by Hermann Mejia (Multiple Personality Entertainment)
Silver: Hijito Pollito (Little Chick and Mommy Cat), byMarta Zafrilla; illustrated by Nora Hilb (Cuento de Luz)
Bronze: Comida sana de la A a la Z (Healthy Foods from A to Z), Edited by Stephanie Maze (Moonstone Press LLC)

32. Environmental Issues
Gold: 101 Ways to Save the Planet, by Deborah Underwood (Raintree/Capstone)
Silver: The Young Birder’s Guide to Birds of North America, by Bill Thompson III (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Bronze (tie): Relatives with Roots, written and illustrated by Leah Marie Dorion (Gabriel Dumont Institute) and Moon Over Bioko: Sea Turtles of Bioko Island, by Heidi Rader; illustrated by Holly Smith (Wildlife Conservation Publishers)

33. Health Issues
Gold: Grandpa Monty’s Muddles, by Marta Zafrilla; illustrated by Miguel Angel Diez (Cuento de Luz)
Silver (tie): The Secrets to Quieting Butterflies, by Susie Baretz; illustrated by Amy J. Wulfing (Maple Leaf Center) and The Gathering Tree, by Larry Loyie with Constance Brissenden; illustrated by Heather D. Holmlund (Theytus Books)
Bronze (tie): Eartha Gets Well, by Kristi Falk and Dr. Daniel Falk; illustrated by Rob Peters (Boutique of Quality Books) and When Billy Went Bald, by Julie C. Morse with Greg Mikrut; illustrated by Alexandra Higgins (Skyscraper Press/Windy City Publishers)

34. Mind-Body-Spirit/Self-Esteem
Gold: Knees: The Mixed-Up World of a Boy with Dyslexia, by Vanita Oelschlager; illustrated by Joe Rossi (VanitaBooks)
Silver: The Hero In Me, by Susan Fitzsimonds; illustrated by Jeff Covieo (Nelson Publishing & Marketing)
Bronze (tie): Bee Yourself, by Kerry Sather; illustrated by David Mark (Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing) and And Still They Bloom: A Family’s Journey of Loss and Healing, by Amy Rovere; illustrated by Joel Spector (American Cancer Society)

35. Reading Skills/Literacy
Gold:
 Adventures of Dingding and Damien, by Tim Gourdon and Xiaokang Zhou (Peking University Press)
Silver: I See the World (Yo veo el mundo), by Tom Luna; illustrated by Christina Song (Lectura Books)
Bronze: Queen Infinity, by L. Kobie Wilkerson; illustrated by Aaron J. Ratzlaff (Love II Learn)

36. Best First Book – Picture Book
Gold: The Ice Cream Hotel, by Jack Johnston; illustrated by Annette Cable (Norwen Publications)
Silver: My Grama’s Garden, by Pat Drummond; illustrated by Denise Drummond (MyGramasGarden.com)
Bronze: Bernice, by Rob Adamowski; illustrated by Kellee Beaudry (OctiRam Publishing)

37. Best First Book – Chapter Book
Gold: Grounded for Good, by Dawn Daria (Flow Circus Press)
Silver: Pig & Toad: Best Friends Forever, byDayle Quigley; illustrated by Sara Weingartner (Beaver’s Pond Press)
Bronze: Missing: Mrs Cornblossom, by Colleen Anderson (Quarrier Press)

38. Best Illustrator
Gold: Enrique Quevedo, for The Great Magician of the World (El Gran Mago del Mundo),by Fran Nuño (Cuento de Luz)
Silver (tie): Rebecca Harrison Reed, for Only Cows Allowed! by Lynn Plourde (Down East Books) and S.D. Nelson, for Greet the Dawn: The Lakota Way, by S. D. Nelson (South Dakota State Historical Society Press)
Bronze: Yuko Green, for Tales of Tūtū Nēnē and Nele, by Gale Bates (Island Heritage Publishing)

39. Best Book by Youth Author (under 18)
Gold: Freddie Loses His Game (Freddie and Friends #1), written and illustrated by Dorian Clay (ARIVA Publishing)
Silver: Ava (The Dream Rings Series #1), byHanna Hoffmeister (Buttonwood Press)
Bronze: Wacko Academy (Wacko Academy Series #1),by Faith Wilkins (Arundel Publishing)
Moonbeam Spirit Awards – For dedication to children’s books and literacy and for inspired writing, illustrating and publishing. This year we chose five books in five different areas. All recipients will receive gold medals.
Mentoring: Your Stories, Volume 1, selected and edited by Taylor S. Joseph (Four Star Publishing)

Peacemaking: The Sky of Afghanistan, by Ana Eulate; illustrated by Sonja Wimmer (Cuento de Luz)

Imagination: Pirate & Hoopoe, by Diarmid Cammell; illustrated by Karima Cammell (Dromedary Press)

Preservation: Saint George & the Dragon,by Jim Forest; illustrated by Vladislav Andrejev (St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press)

Compassion: Operation Marriage,by Cynthia Chin-Lee; illustrated by Lea Lyon (Reach and Teach)

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2012 in Uncategorized