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|Betsie's Literary Page Newsletter|
I receive many press kits, never toss any out. Why? I guess I like to compare-- to see how much effort went into attracting my (or anyone else) attention.
Recently I received a very cute press kit. The book itself, inside. And, just enough information packed within the neatly designed folder.
I liked it so much I wrote the media relations person responsible for promoting this author.
Penny C. Sansevieri, not only has provided an article for this weeks' newsletter but has also sent a special offer for BLP subscribers!
Worried about its potentially crippling effects on tobacco marketers, and what they believe would be a dangerous step toward more widespread regulation of the advertising industry, The Association of National Advertisers on Friday blasted the U.S. Senate's decision to pass major regulations over tobacco advertising.
Investors reacted positively to the relatively light sentencing of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia founder Martha Stewart. A U.S. district court judge sentenced Stewart to five months in prison and five months of house arrest and a $30,000 fine for lying to federal investigators during a her insider trading investigation.
Issue Advocacy Group America Coming Together unveiled an online and offline campaign against the upcoming Republican National Convention. The campaign reflects a broader use of the Internet by groups setting their sights--and sites--on organizing activities to protest both the Republican and Democratic conventions this year. A number of New York City galleries, theaters, restaurants and retail shops have already signed up to participate. In addition to their Republican foes, the group itself will be invading the city with window decals, postcards, and billboards. ACT plans to distribute more than 15,000 postcards and window decals at the request of its donors and supporters.
With the looming election season ahead, candidates and advocacy groups alike are using the Internet as a catalyst for the MTV generation. Nonprofit groups, like Rock the Vote, are engaging the younger generation with Web sites, text messages, and popular musicians in an effort to get the 18- to 30- year-olds to the polls in November.
Who says this country is divided? Since its launch late last week, hundreds of thousands of people have flocked to view an online Flash animation that takes equally sharp jabs at both lead presidential contenders, George Bush and John Kerry.
"You finally did it. You killed our server," read the home page Tuesday afternoon for JibJab Media, the Santa Monica-based animation studio behind the Web wunderkind. Despite the technical hassle, surely brothers Gregg and Evan Spiridellis are more than happy with the blessing in disguise. After all, according to AtomFilms, the Web cartoon had been viewed over one million times on the AtomFilms site by yesterday. Until JibJab Media's server crashed, the animation was also available to view on the studio's site--which clocked more than 200,000 visitors on Friday, according to comScore Networks. JibJab Media claims to have had more than one million site visitors by the time the overload occurred.
Rating: Highly Recommended!
An emotional and thought-provoking insight into the heart of a young poet.
July 09, 2004
Shadows of a heart is a very versatile book that tackles sensitive issues and complex emotions in several ways. The poetry touches on a large collective of emotions and will make you see things that you may take for granted from a different angle. The author talks about herself and the image that she projects to others where as there is so much more to her - most of which is revealed in this book. The poems are of various styles and most of them could also be sung (I can't sing, so I didn't try--) In her poetry I can see her ability to write musical lyrics. Open her book to any page and think of the words musically and you will appreciate this book even more.
Most of the poetry addresses difficult emotions that adults seem to think that they own. However, today's teenagers and children see far more and experience more stimuli than previous generations did. I was born during the Vietnam War era but the war raged, as I played at home, unaware of any chaos. Today, children have seen the videos of 9-11 and are aware of the way that humans hurt each other. They are not shielded from the reality of this planet and Brittany Renée's poetry speaks of these issues. Read the poems Richy Rich and Peace On Earth and you will see that Brittany - and almost all teenagers - will not be denied the truth. They watch and they see the pain and they are not too young to feel a part of this pain as well.
She addresses the love that she has for her parents for being there for her when she needed a shoulder to cry on or a dose of inspiration. She talks of abusive relationships as well as healthy ones, love found and love lost, of Angels and Satan. All of these very facets of human life are forever viewed by an ever-present God that we should seek to appease before our indiscretions do us in. This is a well- rounded book of poetry and the message is so varied yet so clear. I share Brittany Renée's opinion that " Even when you think no one understands-- there is always someone out there thinking the same thing. Words sever relationships throughout life, but they also bond us for ever.
Thank you Brittany for sharing this part of your soul with us and I look forward to your next poetry collection: Dusty Angel.
Reviewed by Tyrone Banks
Forrest Tales: The Secret of the Labyrinth by C.J. Lewis Publisher: PublishAmerica; (March 2004) Genre: YA fantasy ISBN: 1413710352 Paperback: 140 pages $19.95
Rating: 2 Points out of 5
Disguised by a slightly different tone
July 17, 2004
Edward Forrest is a twelve-year-old boy who lives in a small dark house, has few possessions, barely gets anything to eat, and has holes in the ceiling of his bedroom. His two obnoxious sisters make his life even more miserable. A daily routine for Edwards is cooking, cleaning, turning on the heat, retrieving the newspaper, and going to school.
The boy has generational 'Light' in his background, making it very likely that he will have the same abilities when he grows up. Olive knows this, and since she hates the idea that he may possess inherent "special powers", she practically ignores his existence. Olive raises Edward in such a way as to deny him any knowledge of his past or any parental love and compassion.
However, Edward receives supernatural assistance.
Using a map Edward searches for a buried treasure. After finding a uniquely engraved 'coin', Edward is taken to a place called Southwyck. A village that appears to each nation in turn once a year, a time when guardians gather those chosen - a dimensional portal of sorts. Here he learns that the coin is his invitation to The Academy of the Oracle. He is totally dumbfounded with the news, but accepts, desperately wanting freedom of the physical clutches of his unhappy life and family.
Galan, his guardian immediately begins preparing Edward for the journey to the large compound called Brynnfeld. Edward boards a brightly painted, horse- drawn wagon quickly making new friends, and eager to see what awaits him in his entirely new, and soon to be, exciting life.
On arrival, The Empress Mother greets them, she introduces staff and the Lord of the Manor gives a welcome speech. Edward soon discovers that First- Year students will learn to unleash the mysterious powers within. That is until Edward joins a club called The Skobi
The Skobi however, have other plans sketched out for The Academy of Oracle and everyone in it. Edward wants out, but how?
The non-magical world is known as 'Common World', and depicted as being "self-centered". Those within Brynnfeld, on the other hand, are depicted as being very generous, of being physically normal, and of living in harmony.
If all of this sounds too familiar, it's probably because it is. Readers will quickly find the numerous similarities to the HP series, such as the robes, uniforms, school, headmistress, groundskeeper, spiral staircase, great hall, etc. (There is even a 'Malfoy" type). From start to finish I was able to spot 19 similarities that stuck out like a neon sign on a dark deserted highway. Is this coincidence or creativity? You be the judge.
Reviewed by Betsie
Aesock's Travels: Lights, Camera, Edison! by Gretchen McMasters Publisher: Stargazer Pub Co; Bilingual edition (May 2004) Genre: Children's Historical Fiction Reading level: 6-12 ISBN: 0971375690 Paperback: 160 pages $5.99
Rating: Highly Recommended
Look no further, all those missing socks have been found!
July 19, 2004
After a failed science project seven-year-old Benjamin Barber retreats to his home's basement. He and his nine year-old sister, Olivia, are taken by surprise when the laundry pile suddenly comes to life.
From Static Island has emerged a sock laden creature with supreme static cling, Aesock. After Benjamin reveals his desire to become someone as important as Thomas Edison, Aesock invites the children for a journey back in time.
They board a ship or hamper in this case. Complete with captain's wheel, colorful sail and more. It doesn't take long before they are on their way, traveling, to meet a young Edison.
Gretchen McMasters has written a wonderful book that children will surely enjoy! Not only is this a great tale of adventure, but teachers English or Spanish will also want to use this book as a learning tool, especially for children with short attention spans. Younger children will adore having this adventurous tale read to them.
Aesock is well written, captivating, unique and its eye-catching cover are sure to be a big hit everywhere!
For other upcoming books in the series or lesson plans visit: aesock.com
Reviewed by Betsie
Rating: Highly Recommended
Youthful promises paid in full
July 22, 2004
Southampton Sergeant Vincent D'Agosta, FBI Special agent Pendergast and New York's police captain Laura Hayward become the homicide (team) to investigate the gruesome murders of Southampton art critic Jeremy Grove and New York music entrepreneur Nigel Cutforth.
Both murders appear to be of supernatural origin with the victims being charbroiled from the inside out. Additionally, the crime scene reeks, as if the devil himself had come and taken these souls.
Progression in solving these murders is hindered by lack of physical evidence, difficulty with interviewing potential suspects, publicity, policies, as well as attempts to assassinate D'Agosta and Pendergast. Not to mention, motive seems to be nonexistent. The aforementioned problems prompt D'Agosta and Pendergast to follow clues that take them from New York's ritzy estates across the ocean to Italy - D'Agosta's native home.
In Italy D'Agosta and Pendergast discover that the only way to retrieve evidence needed is to get a conviction for these heinous crimes, and the only way to accomplish this, is to accept a dinner invitation from the killer. Once inside the suspect's castle, they soon realize that not only are they trapped, but also that one of them must make the ultimate sacrifice to save the other.
This novel is filled with intrigue, murder, suspense, and mystery. Not only does it hold the reader's interest, but also peaks curiosity in the existence of supernatural phenomena. I was thoroughly engrossed by its twisting plot and ending. So much so that I must have other novels mentioned on the cover to add to my library.
Reviewed by Juanita Reynolds
First, you've got to find out whether it "works" or not; whether you should engrave it in stone or paper the walls with it. You need some kind of feedback to see whether you wrote what you set out to write.
At this moment you don't know whether it works or not; you can't see it; you're too close to it.
Hopefully your writing copy is fairly clean, so you can make a copy. Keep the original. Never, never, never give your original to anyone.
Give your script to two friends, close friends, friends you can trust, friends who will tell you the truth, friends who are not afraid to tell you: "I hate it. What you've written is weak and unreal, the characters flat and one-dimensional, the story contrived and predictable." Someone who will not be afraid to hurt your feelings.
You'll find most people won't tell you the truth about your script. They'll tell you what they think you want to hear: "It's good; I liked it! I really did. You've got some nice things in it. I think it's commercial." whatever that means! People mean well, but they don't realize they're hurting you more by not telling you the truth.
In Hollywood, nobody tells you what they really think; they tell you they liked it, but "it's not something we want to do at this time"; or, "we have something like this in development."
That's not going to help you. You want someone to tell you what they really think about your script, so choose the people you give it to carefully.
After they've read it, listen to what they say. Don't defend what you've written, don't pretend to listen to what that say and leave feeling righteous, indignant, or hurt.
See whether they've caught the "intention" of what you wanted to write. Listen to their observations from the point of view that they might be right, not that they are right. They'll have observations, criticisms, suggestions, opinions, judgements. Are they right? Question them; press them on it. Do thier suggestions or ideas make sense? Do they add to your screenplay? Enhance it? Go over the story with them. Find out what they like, dislike, what works for them, what doesn't.
You want the best script you can write. If you feel their suggestions can improve your screenplay, use them. Changes must be made from choice, and you must be comfortable with those changes. This is your story, and you'll know whether the changes work or not.
If you want to make any changes, make them. You've spent several months working on the script, so do it right. If you sell your material, you're going to make changes anyway; for the producer, director, and stars. Changes are changes; nobody likes them. But we all do them.
1. Know your readers. We're not just talking about whether your readers are male or female. You'll want to know myriad factors about your audience. How old are your readers (age range)? Are readers married, single, or divorced? Where do your readers reader live (generally)? What do your readers do for a living? What other books/publications do they read? Develop a profile that includes where they shop, what clubs do they belong to, etc.
These elements will help you incorporate these aspects into your book *and* help you unearth salient marketing opportunities (i.e., publications and stores).
2. Know your market. What's the market like for your book? Is there a trend out there you're positioning yourself towards. Are you reading all the publications related to this topic/trend? Are there any "holes" out there your book could fill? What's the future for this market/topic? For example, let's say you're a fiction writer looking to publish chick lit. Go to any bookstore and you can't help but spot the cutsie, pink, cartoonish covers. Many thought this trend was dying out, but it has recently seen another surge. What do you know about trends related to your book/topic/audience?
3. Similar books. What else has been published on your topic? Have you read all ten books in your category? If you haven't, you should. You'll want to know everything you can about what's out there and how it's being perceived in the marketplace. It's never a problem having a similar topic. When I published No More Rejections - Get Published Today, I knew there were other books out there on marketing. I read them all--then angled my book differently.
4. Getting and staying current. What's going on in your industry today? What are some hot buttons? What are people looking for? What's next on the horizon for this topic/audience? If you can't seem to gather this information through traditional channels, why not survey your target audience? There are a number of places to run free surveys, Survey Monkey is one of them: http://www.surveymonkey.com
5. Follow the media. What's the media talking about these days (besides the California election & Ben-lo)? Keep track of media buzz--what they're paying attention to and what they're writing about. Delve beyond the front page of your paper to the second or third page and see what's filling the pages. If you can get your hands on out-of-state papers, do a comparative review. Do you see a trend in coverage? Is there something that seems to be getting more buzz even if it's on page six?
6. Talk, teach, listen. One of the best ways I've found to get in touch with my audience was to teach a class and do speaking engagements. When I was putting together my book, Get Published Today, I found that the classes I taught provided valuable information for creating a great book because they put me directly in touch with my audience!
7. Timing is everything. When do you plan to release your tome? Are you releasing around a holiday or anniversary? Could you take advantage of any upcoming event and/or holiday for your book launch?
BONUS: Ready to market your book? Contact us for a free copy of our Reader Profile, send a blank email to email@example.com
Penny C. Sansevieri The Cliffhanger was published in June of 2000. After a strategic marketing campaign it quickly climbed the ranks at Amazon.com to the #1 best selling book in San Diego. Her most recent book: No More Rejections. Get Published Today! was released in July of 2002 to rave reviews. Penny is a book marketing and media relations' specialist. She also coaches authors on projects, manuscripts and marketing plans and instructs a variety of coursing on publishing and promotion. To learn more about her books or her promotional services, you can visit her web site at www.booksbypen.com. To subscribe to her free ezine, send a blank email to: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright ã 2004 Penny C. Sansevieri
Electric Acorn Accepts poems and short fiction of any style, in English or French. Maximum two pieces of fiction. http://www.dublinwriters.org/welcome.html
Eleven Bulls Seeks fiction submissions of up to 1500 words. http://www.elevenbulls.com/
Ideamarketers They market ideas - like your articles - to prospective publishers for free. http://www.ideamarketers.com/toolbox/index.cfm? spid=11597
Mack's Den Site dedicated to the art of creative writing, featuring the "Surfer's Den," which provides writers with an opportunity to publish their own works (articles, poetry, plays, reviews and more. http://www.macksden.com/
Nice Stories Site seeks storywriters who are willing to share their fiction or nonfiction genre (short and novel length) stories. http://www.nicestories.com/
Michael Moore c/o Michael And Kathleen Moore 225 West 83rd Street Apartment 17L New York, NY 10024
Dave Roberts c/o Los Angeles Dodgers Dodger Stadium 1000 Elysian Park Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90012
Anne Meara 118 Riverside Dr. #5a New York, NY 10024
Meagan Good 409 N. Camden Suite 202 Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Robert Rodriguez c/o Troublemaker Studios 3267 Bee Caves Road Suite 107-74 Austin, TX 78746
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