WRITERLY WISDOM: Donna L Martin

 

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October is just around the corner and my historical fiction chapter book series, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES is almost a reality. So many things to cover before the big day. Getting the word out about my book is just one of them. Marketing comes in many forms and sometimes you need to get really creative to make sure your story isn’t lost in a sea of new releases. So I put together a list of some offbeat ideas for book promotions. It takes a little bit of moxie or gumption or assertiveness or whatever you might want to call it to approach some of these venues about doing a book event…i.e. reading, book signing, party, etc. You might have to help educate individuals on the benefits of allowing you to come into their establishment. Remember, it’s not about YOU and YOUR BOOK. It’s about THEM and WHAT’S IN IT FOR THEM. The easier you make it for them to say YES, the more eager they will be to help you make your event a success. I like to call this my:

 

THINKING OUTSIDE THE CRAYON BOX MARKETING LIST

 

Teacher’s guides

Create your own set to post on your website and bring on school visits or hire someone like the talented Marcie Colleen (http://www.thisismarciecolleen.com/) to do it for you.

Hallmark stores

Why not offer to do a reading during the holiday season for free in exchange for being able to hand out bookmarks?

Street fairs

Check your city’s website for upcoming events and see if you can participate in any of them.

Farmers markets

Maybe they will allow you to set up a booth or hand out flyers

Gyms

Some facilities have a children’s room and some have monthly promotions for their members. Maybe you can work out a deal to do a children’s activity during a monthly membership drive?

Airports

Many airports have retail stores in them. Why not see if there is one carrying books and set up a time when you can be available for impulse buys and a book signing?

Art stores

Your book will have illustrations. Why not offer to do a reading and maybe even a coloring contest where you provide your book cover as the pages?

Art museums

Same as above or even have a contest where kids can interpret your book in some other art form? Have a contest, offer some small prizes and then do a reading/book signing afterwards.

Craft stores

Like the art stores or art museums, you could have a craft party where you tie in some simple craft with some aspect of your book. Make simple puppets, make a cool picture frame and color a copy of your book cover to place inside. Do a reading/book signing afterwards.

Church bazaars

Make up a basket for the silent auction, ask for a booth space, offer to provide a simple craft in exchange for handing out your book’s swag items

Community youth sporting events

Ask if you can hand out flyers, offer to volunteer a couple hours in exchange for being able to hand out bookmarks at the concession stand.

Coffee shops

If the coffee shop is inside a bookstore or places like Walmart, maybe you can create a giveaway like for every cup sold the customer gets their name added to the drawing. Hand out a two part entry form where they fill out the bottom but keep the top with your book information on it.

Special interests groups

My HISTORY’S MYSTERIES series will resonate with both middle elementary readers as well as people interested in historical events or even a little mystery.. Find professional groups in your city that might allow you to leave information about your book for their clientele.

Radio stations

Offer a coloring prize pack to the first ten people to call in. Oriental Trading (http://www.orientaltrading.com) has a great selection of inexpensive items for prize packs. Don’t forget to include your bookmark and business card.

You Tube online video contest

Have a contest where kids act out your story or tell why they like your book. Post the top five on your website and promote others through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. to vote on their favorite. Winner gets a prize pack including an autographed book.

Book pairing on website or Amazon

If you have more than one book, see if you can bundle them together and offer a discount for the package. Create a collection of 3 or 4 short stories or maybe a short Ebook on how kids can become writers and offer as a freebie with every purchase through your website.

Mail Chimp Newsletter

If you haven’t set up a link for visitors to subscribe to your blog, do it now! I use Mail Chimp (http://www.mailchimp.com). Not only is it simple to use, it offers an easy newsletter template where you can keep in touch with your subscribers.

Fast food restaurants

Where do you see a lot of kids? McDonalds, Burger King, Wendys! Why not chat with the manager and offer to host a little party at their place? It can be a tea party, an ice cream party, a coloring party, etc. They supply the food and maybe offer something like a free cone or drink to the first 50 kids to come in on that day.

Local kids events

Check your city’s online website for local kids events. Make contact with whoever is in charge and see if you can participate. Some of them will allow you to join for free if you offer some kind of door prize or incentive they can give away. It’s how I’ve gotten into the Children’s Festival of Reading for the past ten years for FREE and been in front of more than 12,000 people each year!

Daycares

Think of the number one place you will find kids outside of school? Daycare and afterschool visits can really boost the opportunities to get your books in front of your targeted audience. Suggest acting out your story, coloring contest, and don’t forget the flyers going home to parents announcing your upcoming visit. Offer a way to preorder your book so you can sign them the day of your event.

Cub Scouts

Look online for the different badges cub scouts can earn. Create a 90 minute “lesson” where scouts can participate to earn their badge. Call your local organizational leader and offer to visit any pack in the area who would like a free author visit. Break up your “lesson” into three parts…part one is where you read your book to them and answer questions, part two is where you do your main activity (scouts could have completed other parts of the badge requirements prior to your arrival) and part three is where YOU present the scouts who have completed all the requirements with their activity badge (provided by the den leader). Send flyers home prior with pre-order info and hand out bookmarks, autograph sold books, etc. after the event.

Girl Scouts

Same as the Cub Scout lesson details listed above.

Festivals

Neighboring towns might have festivals where the cost of gas might put you in front of hundreds of potential readers of your book.

Civic organizations

Think of how your book might tie into their interests. Since my series will focus on historical events and little mysteries, I will look for those groups to see how I might be able to participate in some of their events. Maybe they will allow my bookmarks to be handed out at their meetings. Maybe they will promote my book on their company blog or website. The worst they can say is no.

School carnivals

Don’t forget the annual school carnivals, health fairs, book fairs, etc. where you can possibly have a booth or at least hand out flyers about your book.

There are literally thousands of opportunities out there to market your book. If you can be creative in your stories, then surely you can be creative in the ways you promote them?

Let me know if you have tried any of these ideas before? What worked? What didn’t? What do I need to add to this list? Comment below…

 

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HM-SHIP-OF-DREAMS (cover)     HM The Chocolate Train Wreck front cover

SHIP OF DREAMS COMING IN OCT! CHOCOLATE TRAIN WRECK COMING IN NOV!

 

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donna - Copy

 

Best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams, will be available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers on October 14th, 2019.

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Donna L Martin

 

HM-SHIP-OF-DREAMS (cover)

 

Title: HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams
Author: Donna L Martin
Publisher: Story Catcher Publishing
Ages: 9-11

 

Synopsis:

 

Amelia Earmouse travels back through time to uncover little known secrets. You may THINK you know your history, but wait until you see what Amelia uncovers in this latest volume of HISTORY’S MYSTERIES!

In Book One, Ship of Dreams, ten-year-old Margaret can hardly wait to see the largest ship ever built visit Southampton! Life is already hard for her family in the spring of 1912, but the coal workers’ strike could turn a bad situation into a one. Margaret hopes to see the great Titanic leave on its maiden voyage, but will the strike prevent it from happening?

 

I think you should read it:

 

You might think any review I would give this particular book would be biased.

Of course it would. I mean I DID write it! But let me tell you WHY you should read it.

First of all, who doesn’t like the Titanic? Romance and mystery surround her wherever she goes. People read any stories about her, visit the museums in her honor, watch movies and documentaries about her. 

So what’s different about THIS book. you may ask?

Well, it takes place about a month before the great ship sailed and follows the adventures of a fictional character as she interacts with real historical personalities. There is also a small mystery weaved throughout the story and who doesn’t love a mystery?

 

Like-o-meter Rating scale

  

I’ll let YOU be the judge. The ebook version of HISTORY MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams is now available for pre-orders through Amazon with paperback and hardback becoming available October 14, 2019. And don’t forget to help an author out by kan Amazon review!

 

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donna - Copy

 

Best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams, will be available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers on October 14th, 2019.

 

FLASH FICTION TUESDAY: A Birthday Gift

 

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Kellie placed a hand on her stomach for what seemed like the hundredth time. Every time there was a movement, she felt herself whispering the same chant over and over…

“Please, dear God, not this time…not this time.”

Even after the specialist showed her the test results, Kellie found it hard to let herself believe. Every time it ripped a little more of her heart to have to say goodbye to the dream.

She felt the ripple again and wrapped both arms around her swollen abdomen. It was so hard to not have hope even after the many times that same hope was crushed with the reality of a life lost. As the ripples turned into beginning waves of pain, Kellie hugged herself even tighter and whispered again, “Please, dear God, just this once let everything turn out right. For Jackie’s sake.”

Kellie slowly eased out of the chair and waddled over to the door. It was time to leave.

She had loved this little one for nine months. Now it was time for someone else to take over. The phone only rang once before Jackie picked up.

“Is everything okay, Kel?” She could hear the heavy breathing on the other end.

Even through the newest ripple of pain, Kellie managed to smile through the tears.

“Yeah, sis. Meet me at the hospital. I think I’m about to become an aunt!”

 

Now it’s your turn! Add a paragraph or start your own story in the comments below…

 

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HM-SHIP-OF-DREAMS (cover)             HM The Chocolate Train Wreck front cover

SHIP OF DREAMS COMING IN OCT! CHOCOLATE TRAIN WRECK COMING IN NOV!

 

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donna - Copy

 

Best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams, will be available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers on October 14th, 2019.

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: One Saturday Morning

 

Donald Duck

 

I was flipping through television channels this past weekend and caught a glimpse of what passes for children’s cartoons these days. A part of me kinda felt like that duck above. So many wonderful children’s programming and  fun cartoons aren’t being shown anymore unless you hunt them down somewhere on an old cable show. Then I happen to look through some of my sketches I’ve created over the past few years and realized all those amazing shows influenced my art without my even knowing it…

 

 

Foghorn

 

The Bugs Bunny show had many different characters besides just a funny, saucy rabbit. I like one particular rooster who was followed around by one classy chicken and a daredevil little chick. Who remembers his name?

 

 

Odie

 

 

I was also a sucker for Garfield and his slobbery pal, Odie. That puppy was so gullible but Garfield usually was the one getting in trouble.

 

Pigs

 

Then there the fun loving piggies who would rather spend the day wallowing around in the mud than go on any adventures. It made me envious that they got to lie around when I had to do so much outside work during my summers.

 

 

Snoopy

 

And who didn’t love watching the Peanuts Gang? Between the regular cartoons, comics, and holiday tv shows, I could get my Snoopy fix any time I wanted.

 

 

Space

 

 

Who remembers those two outer space alien types…the little Martian and the Gremlin? This guy reminds me of them.

 

 

Wile E Coyote

 

 

One of my favorite cartoons involved a road runner and a less than cunning coyote who ran all over the desert but never actually seemed to get anywhere. I never could decide if I felt sorry for that coyote for being so dumb, or if  I simply enjoyed seeing the different ways that road runner always seemed to get the better of him.

 

 

Jack

 

There were lots of good ol’ Saturday morning cartoons to keep me happy when I was a kid, but I loved it when the holidays came around and I got to watch some of my favorite holiday cartoons of all times. One is straight from my childhood and the other when I was a young adult but both created such fun loving memories that all I have to do is look at these pictures to feel like a kid again.

 
Grinch

 

I always felt so sorry for that puppy….so full of joy for the Christmas season and always stuck with that grumpy ol’ Grinch! But even he had redeeming qualities and I would watch with bated breath when I was a kid to see if I could catch the moment the Grinch discovered what Christmas was all about.

I don’t think it really matters whether I watch cartoons of my childhood or even try some of the ones on television today. I think what’s the most important, as a writer of children’s stories, is that I never let go of the sense of wonder I had as a child because isn’t it better to laugh at a Saturday morning cartoon than to cry over a Friday night news report?

 

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HM-SHIP-OF-DREAMS (cover)             HM The Chocolate Train Wreck front cover.jpg

       SHIP OF DREAMS COMING IN OCT!                                CHOCOLATE TRAIN WRECK COMING IN NOV!

 

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donna - Copy

 

Best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams, will be available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers on October 14th, 2019.

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Lauren Tarshis

 

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Title: I Survived The Nazi Invasion, 1944
Author: Lauren Tarshis
Publisher: Scholastic
Ages: 7-11

Synopsis:

 

In a Polish ghetto, Max Rosen and his sister, Zena, struggle to live after their father is taken away by the Nazis. With barely enough food to survive, the siblings make a daring escape from Nazi soldiers into the nearby forest.

Max and Zena are brought to a safe camp by Jewish resistance fighters. But soon, bombs are falling all around them. Can Max and Zena survive the fallout of the Nazi invasion?

 

Why I think you should read it:

 

I’m currently doing research for book three of my early reader historical fiction series so of course my latest to-read titles are going to be along those same lines.

I like the “I Survived” series. These gripping stories are well written and include an imaginary cast of characters who seem so real that I’m speeding through pages just to see if they do indeed survive!

Max is a protective big brother who can’t understand all the senseless hate coming from people he once thought were his friends. He begins to lose hope things will ever get better while trying his best to protect his younger sister from the realities of a country torn apart by war.

With both parents gone, Zena has only Max to look after her. Life in a Nazi ghetto can easily destroy hope in a person but brave Zena still manages to see hope in every day things like a robin flying by.

Readers interested in learning more about natural and historical events will enjoy the I Survived series!

 

Like-o-meter Rating scale **: 5 out of 5…grab it!

 

5 out of 5…grab it!

4 out of 5…think about it.

3 out of 5…take it or leave it.

2 out of 5…maybe not for you.

1 out of 5…forget about it!

FLASH FICTION TUESDAY: Double Trouble

 

trouble.jpg

 

Diablo swooped low over the cauldron, trying to catch a whiff of what might be bubbling below. Cinder followed his brother, dropping  and swirling as he zipped past the cauldron.

Landing on a perch nearby, Diablo waiting for his brother to settle next to him before speaking, “Did you smell that, Cinder? Could she have added eye of newt?”

Cinder ruffled his feathers and preened a little before replying, “I don’t know, but I definitely caught a hint of black nightshade.”

“But surely she wouldn’t set out to kill them, would she?”

“Well, you know how crazy she gets when kids come banging at her door.”

“Yeah, but what do you expect with all that candy hanging everywhere? We’ve both told her it’s only gonna cause trouble to decorate the outside like that.”

“Maybe we should say something to those kids we saw in the woods earlier? They were heading in this direction.”

“I heard the male human call the other one Gretel. Maybe they won’t come here.”

Diablo turned his head almost upside down to stare at his brother, “Whooo are you kidding? They’ll be here by nightfall and then it’s double trouble for those two!”

Cinder hopped over to the edge of the perch, preparing to take flight. “Oh, I don’t know, there still may be time to warn them…”

 

Now it’s YOUR turn. Who’s coming for a visit? Will Diablo and Cinder warn them or will they just sit silently by and let the cauldron do it’s dastardly deed? Add a paragraph or start your own story in the comments below…

 

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HM-SHIP-OF-DREAMS (cover)

Amelia Earmouse travels back through time to uncover little known secrets. You may THINK you know your history, but wait until you see what Amelia uncovers in this latest volume of HISTORY’S MYSTERIES!

In Book One, Ship of Dreams, ten-year-old Margaret can hardly wait to see the largest ship ever built visit Southampton! Life is already hard for her family in the spring of 1912, but the coal workers’ strike could turn a bad situation into a deadly one. Margaret hopes to see the great Titanic leave on its maiden voyage, but will the strike prevent it from happening?

 

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donna - Copy

 

Best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams, will be available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers on October 14th, 2019.

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: Rainy Day Sunday

 

storm

 

My weekends are always so busy, it’s hard sometimes to simply slow down and catch my breath. I try to slow down on Sundays…taking a moment to calm my spirit and reconnect with the things that are important to me.

Like the rain.

Wait…what?

When I was growing up in the swamps of Louisiana, a summer time rain was something my sister and I eagerly watched out for. It was a three step process…

PREPARATION

 

Whenever Mother  told us it was going to rain on a particular day, we would scramble to find  just the right rainy day clothes to wear. Nothing too heavy to weigh us down, nothing too skimpy to give us a chill and cut into our play time.

 

ENGAGEMENT

 

If there was no lightning, we were allowed to dance out in the rain. We would race each other around the front yard and simply enjoy connecting with Mother Nature. Buckets would be set out to collect rainwater because everyone knows washing your hair in rainwater makes it so much softer! If we were lucky, we would get a few chances during the summer to  play in the rain so we took advantage of every chance we would get.

 

CHALLENGES

 

When you grow up poor, everything is a challenge. Putting food on the table, keeping the wolf from your door, and even something as simple as going for a swim. Summertime rains gave us a chance to do just that. If the rainfall lasted long enough, the very deep ditches dividing our front yard from the road would fill up, creating a little river inviting us to jump in. We would run to the local appliance store down the street and beg for their refrigerator boxes. Cutting them flat, they made the perfect slip ‘n slide into the ditches.

The things kids will do to have a little fun on a hot summer day. No electronics. No battery operated gadgets to do our thinking for us. Just some kids using their imagination to create a little summertime fun…

Writers use the same process to create their writerly worlds. Research and brainstorming helps them prepare to write their stories. The words they juggle with finesse and skill allow their characters to engage their readers and entice them to come with them on their journey. And if they come across challenges along the way, the confident writer doesn’t allow it to get in their way of crafting the ultimate ending to keep readers coming back for more…

 

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HM-SHIP-OF-DREAMS (cover)

Nine-year-old Abigail thinks nothing exciting ever happens in Hamilton. But things change one stormy night when an airborne train and twenty tons of chocolate shower down on the sleepy village. Even local police and the FBI are puzzled over what caused the train to derail. Abigail and Billy team up to find out who’s behind the CHOCOLATE TRAIN WRECK, but will all they find is more questions?

There’s a mystery hovering over Hamilton—and it smells like CHOCOLATE!

 

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donna - Copy

 

Best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams, will be available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers on October 14th, 2019.