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Saturday, January 20, 2018

Which Children’s Books Rank As The All-Time Best?




Last year I purchased a copy of The Collector’s Book of Children’s Books by Eric Quayle, a 1971 edition from Strand Book Store in New York City.  It’s a wonderful history of children’s books.  Coming to life, through its over-sized pages were Aesop’s Fables, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Huckleberry Finn, The Jungle Book, and Voyages of Dr. Dolittle Which childhood memory rushes back to you just at the mention of such illuminary books?

Growing up with books as the centerpiece of fantasy and escape may be a thing of the past for most.  Today’s child has the Internet, television, movies, theater and a downloadable catalog of entertainment and information that’s mind-boggling.  As we look back at some of the classics for kids, we harken back to a lost era when these books brought an ephemeral, elusive pleasure to children.

Here are some insightful excerpts from the book:
1. "Picture-books provide one of the most fruitful ways in which a child can increase his knowledge of the world and extend his vocabulary to include a diverse and exotic mixture of places and things to which he would otherwise remain a stranger."

2. "Long after the novels and romances of adult life have faded and been forgotten, the simple stories and tales we read in childhood live on in our hearts.  Who ever forgets The Story of the Three Bears, the tale of Jack the Giant Killer, or the plots of Rumplestiltzkin, Cinderella, or The Wizard of Oz?  The nursery rhymes and fairy-tales we first heard in the tucked-up-in-bed security of early youth continue to exert a fascination throughout life, the words and phrases etching themselves in the memory for instant recall at any time or place.  They colour our literary consciousness, and are repeated as fables to the eager young listeners who re-create the image of ourselves so many years ago.  Just to hear again the magic words Once upon a time… with all the breath-taking anticipation they inspire, is to crowd the mind with the lost delights of childhood and conjure up a picture of never-never land of make-believe and fantasy.  Once, a long time ago, all of us lived there and believed it to be true.  This is the story of the little books that made us believe; and probably brought us more happiness and peace of mind than anything we have ever read since."

3. "Book publishing began to develop in a way we recognize today with the appearance of sophisticated and worldly-wise fiction for adults and books of amusement and entertainment for children.  Both these phenomena occurred in the 1740s, the former with the appearance of the first ‘true’ novel in English, Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded, 4 vols. 1741-2, by Samuel Richardson (1689-1761), a book discussed in the companion volume to this present work; and the latter with the publication by John Newbery of his first book for children in 1744.  Brief mention must be made of Thomas Boreman, a publisher of children’s books, who sold them from his shop at the ‘Boot and Crown’, and from a temporary stall erected with those of other traders within the Guildhall, London.  A Description of a Great Variety of Animals, and Vegetablesespecially for the Entertainment of Youth, 1736, and The Gigantick History of the two famous Giants…in Guildhall, 2 vols. 1740 shows that he was publishing books for children before Newbery came into the field."

4. "Children have never ceased to enjoy reading fairy tales since the first collection of them appeared in print early in the 17th century.  They were the first literature for children to escape from the stifling toils of didacticism and were attacked and condemned by the puritanical writes for precisely this reason.  The battle between the strait-laced juvenile tract and the fairy stories that children delighted to read extended until well into the 1830s.  By the age of Victoria, they had been grudgingly accepted by the parents, guardians and governesses of even the most strictly regulated children, and well-thumbed collections of the best known tales were to be found on nursery shelves everywhere."

5. "Two great landmarks in the annals of children’s books are more fully discussed elsewhere in this work:  but it can be said that the appearance of Alice in Wonderland, 1865, marked a decisive victory over the now scattered exponents of moral earnestness and that the battle was finally won with the publication of Stevenson’s Treasure Island in 1883.  Children could identify themselves with the Jim Hawkins of the apple-barrel perhaps more easily than Alice in her dream-world of fantasy and make-believe, but both were rational human beings who became as easily excited, bored, irritated and bad-tempered as the boy or girl who turned the pages of their books."

Here are the best chldren's books identified by Quayle:
A.B.C. for Children
Aesop’s Fables
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Adventures of Baron Munchausen
Andresen’s Fairy Tales
Basket of Flowers
Black Beauty
Books for the Bairns
Boy’s Country Book
Boy’s Own Annual
Butterfly’s Ball
Children of the New Forest
Child’s Garden of Verses
Christie’s Old Organ
Christopher Robin’s books
Coral Island
Daisy Chain
Elementarwerke fur die Jugend und ihre Freunde
Emil and the Detectives
Eric or Little by Little
Fabulous Histories
Fairy Books, by Andrew Lang
Girl of the Limberlost
Girl’s Own Annual
Golliwogg books
Goody Two-Shoes
Grimm’s Fairy Tales
Gulliver’s Travels
Helen’s Babies
Hisoires ou Contes de Temps Passe
Historical Account of the most celebrated Voyages
History of Babar
History of Little Henry
History of Sandford and Merton
History of the Earth, and Animated Nature
History of the Fairchild Family
Holiday House
Home Treasury of Books
Huckleberry Finn
Hymns for Infant Minds
In Fairyland
Island Home
Jack Harkaway Stories
Jessica’s First Prayer
Jungle Books
Just William
King of the Golden River
Kunst und Lehrbuchlein
L’ami des Enfans
Leather-Stocking Tales
Life and Perambulations of a Mouse
Little Lord Fauntleroy
Little Master’s Miscellany
Little Pretty Pocket-Book
Little Women
Looking-Glass for children
Martin Rattler
Masterman Ready
Ministering Children
Minor Morals for Young People
Moonfleet
Mopsa the Fairy
Only Toys
Orbis Sensualium Pictus
Original Poems, for Infant Minds
Out on the Pampas
Parent’s Assistant
Peacock “at home”
Pentamerone
Peter and Wendy
Peter Parley annuals
Peter the Whaler
Pilgrim’s Progress
Peter Rabbit books
Queechy
Railway children
Rambles of a Rat
Renowned history of Giles Gingerbread
Rollo stories
Sandford and Merton
Secret Garden
Stalky & Co.
Story of Little Black Sambo
Story of Little Henry
Story of the Treasure Seekers
Swallows and Amazons
Swiss Family Robinson
Tarzan of the Apes
Through the Looking Glass
Tom Brown’s School Days
Tommy Thumb’s Pretty Song Book
Tom Sawyer
Treasure Island
Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Under the Window
Voyage s of Dr. Dolittle
Water Babies
Wide, Wide World
Wind in the Willows
Wizard of Oz

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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. 

Friday, January 19, 2018

Can Book Publishing Employ A Timeshare Approach To Sales?



“We’re not going to force you to make a decision today,” said a man that goes by the name of Q. “You’re going to make a choice.”

See the difference?

No?

This is because there’s no difference between the two.  My decision, er, choice, would be obvious.

Welcome to the world of high-pressure sales tactics in the world of time shares.

In fact, this presentation said it wasn’t a “time share”, but a "travel ownership.”

They were big on euphemisms and semantics, but that kind of word dodgeball is what makes you suspicious of their offer, no matter how tempting.

I took my family skiing in Vermont to a place called Smuggler’s Notch.  A lovely, snow-filled resort perfect for those who love to risk body parts in the freezing cold after withstanding an 8-hour drive (includes one gas and two bathroom breaks) through winding roads with poor weather conditions and low visibility.

Notice I said I took my family.  I participated in eating, sleeping, driving, and non-ski activities – but I stayed off the mountain.  I only skiied once in my life – about three years ago – and that was enough.  It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks.

To defray $400 off of our resort bill, we agreed to submit to a two-hour presentation on time shares.  For my wife and I, it was fine.  My kids were on their own, skiing.

We knew going into the sales pitch that we wouldn’t buy in no matter what they said but it was very interesting to see how they try to get people to spend as much as $100,000 on the spot.

That’s right, they ask you to buy right then and there, so fearful that once you’re out of their hypnotic clutches you won’t want to pay up.

Have you ever bought something that expensive without researching it, talking to others, or sleeping on it?  You can buy a pair of shoes spontaneously.  You can go to see a show on a whim.  You can suddenly upgrade your smartphone.  But who spends the equivalent of a year’s worth -- or more – of salary after hearing a slick pitch from a pro trained in the art of separating you from your money?

Now, let me just say that Wyndham’s offer seemed tempting and I can see how it may work out for others, maybe even myself.  But I felt rushed, pressured, and in a positon where I was making a decision -- or a choice – without doing due diligence.

For instance, they tell you they have 80 properties or whatever the number is, but I didn’t get to learn about any of them.  Would I necessarily travel to those locations – and what about areas where they lack coverage? I had other questions, including:

  • What if Wyndham goes bankrupt and doesn’t honor its commitment?
  • What if they lower their prices to sell more memberships and then there are too many members, too few properties?
  • Will I be able to go where I want, when I want --or will there be booking conflicts?
  • They say I can sell or transfer it but how would I do that and what stipulations would there be?
In addition to shelling out a lot of money up front, there’s a monthly maintenance fee being charged, one without fixed costs that rise over time.

Wyndham doesn’t own any properties – they act as a management company.  What happens when these properties go under or their quality wanes?

The package they pushed heavily was one that gets you 200,000 points/year for $48,000.  It gets confusing with the points but they try to show you that you get value on what you book.

That $48,000, if borrowed, depending on the interest rate and duration of the loan, could easily cost you 60, 70, or $80,000.  That money in theory, could also be used for other things, such as investing in the stock market, netting you more money.  Should I prepay a lifetime of vacations now – is it worth it?

Of course I thought about how I could split the costs with a friend, but that can get tricky.  Then I thought of how I could sell vacations to people, but that also seemed like more work than it’s worth.

Ok, so why am I like Hamlet on this?  Because there do seem to be appealing advantages of this plan, but it gnaws at me that they demand you do it on the spot, and I wonder if there are shortfalls that I don’t know about or can’t fully anticipate.

The experience did leave me wondering about how things get sold.  The time share people waived a carrot worth a few hundred dollars to lure me in to spend tens of thousands.  You see how easy it is to fall victim to a scam or to let your guard down.

I’m not saying this is a scam, but it could prove to be a poor investment.  It also might be a great one.  I don’t know.  I can’t process this over a cup of tea.  And then empty out my bank account.  But someone likes these tactics.  They obviously work often enough or they wouldn’t be in business.

What if authors did this with readers and offered to sell them lifetime readership memberships?  Each year you’ll get access to one new book – and always to the author's backlist.  You just need to prepay $175 plus shipping fees.  Would you do it?

Maybe bookstores – or publishers – can sign up lifetime patrons – or have a ten-year, thirty-year, or fifty-year membership for buying books.

I’d sooner buy into that than a travel deal – less money, great product, and with a brand I can trust.  Maybe Wyndham can partner with authors or publishers so that books get thrown into the travel deal.  Ready to sign up?

The interrogation process applied to sales by Wyndham was interesting.  They would first have you meet one -on-one, then a group, then one-on-one.  Then, when the first salesman failed to close, a second, more seasoned one was called in, making a different offer.

It didn’t work.

Unless I heard “free” or “please think about it and call us next week,” I wasn’t signing anything.

If the timeshare is amazing, which it might be, there’s no reason to do a rush job to desperately squeeze someone.  Even car dealerships have concluded they can’t always get a sale just because you went for a test-drive.

The harder they pushed, and the more they tried to dance around certain words and terms, the more reluctant I became.

Still, I was envious of their approach.  I wish that it can be taken to sell books and to grow the book industry.  If people feel invested in books, publishing will prosper.  But when we depend on single-book purchases we risk having to prove value on every purchase.  We need to get people to make a single decision that ties them up for a lifetime.

I lust for the very process I just condemned.  But for books, I’d do anything!

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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

To What Floor Does Your Elevator Speech Take You To?



Authors need an elevator speech.  They will use it to summarize an upcoming book, a current one, and their writing brand.  So just what needs to be done to get it right?

At the very least, the elevator speech is factual – it’s an abbreviated summary of your writing career and books.  It’s a way to encapsulate your core message.  It must be brief – say it in 20 seconds.

Your elevator speech should reveal key benefits of your solution to an issue.  Highlight what you bring to the table.  You essentially must answer the unstated question:  Why am I interesting, important or entertaining?

Your elevator speech showcases who you are and why one should read your book.  It seeks to differentiate your voice, your story, your history.  But it doesn’t merely delineate accomplishments or sound like a resume.  It’s your advertisement, your chance to give shape and depth to you as a writer.

Imagine being a voice in someone’s ear while in a bookstore.  What would you whisper that would make one feel like they want to take your book off of the shelf.  What would lure them in?  What would get them to be curious to want to know more?

The process of crafting an elevator speech will:
·         Force you to achieve a true clarity of yourself.
·         Help you understand the value that you offer.
·         See why you are better/different from other authors.
·         Tend to shape your marketing efforts.

The best elevator speech says something memorable with an economy of words.  It sells without sounding like a commercial.  It describes in a way that colors and shapes things.  It helps you transform not only how others see you but how you see yourself.

6 Great Blogs for Indie Authors


Source:  www.BookWorks.com


The printer is the friend of intelligence, of thought; he is the friend of liberty, of freedom, of law; indeed, the printer is the friend of every man who is the friend of order – the friend of every man who can read.  Of all the inventions, of all the discoveries in science or art, of all the great results in the wonderful progress of mechanical energy and skill, the printer is the only product of civilization necessary to the existence of free man.
--Charles Dickens

“The introduction of printing into England is undoubtedly to be ascribed to William Caxton a modest, worthy, and industrious man, who went to Germany entirely to learn the art, and having practiced it himself at Cologne, in 1471, brought it to England two years afterwards.  He was not only a printer, but an author; and the book which he translated, called the Game and Player of the Chesse, and which appeared in 1474, is considered as the first production of the English press.”
--William Keddie, Anecdotes Literary and Scientific

“William Makepeace Thackeray wrote his great novel Vanity Fair, for Colburn’s Magazine, it was refused by the publishers, who deemed it a work without interest.  He tried to place it with several of the leading London firms who all declined it.  He finally published it himself in monthly parts. The first volume of Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales was declined by every publisher in Copenhagen.  The book was brought out at the author’s own cost.”
--William Andrews, Literary Byways

“There are many of the forces of Nature which tend to injure Books; but among them all not one has been half so destructive as Fire.  It would be tedious to write out a bare list only of the numerous libraries and bibliographical treasures which, in one way or another, have been seized by the Fire-king as his own. Chance conflagrations, fanatic incendiarism, Judicial bonfires, and even household stoves have, time after time, thinned the treasures as well as the rubbish of past ages, until, probably, not one thousandth part of the books that have been are still extant.  This destruction cannot, however, be reckoned as all loss; for had not the “cleansing fires” removed mountains of rubbish from our midst, strong destructive measures would become a necessity from sheer want of space in which to store so many volumes.

“The Invention of Printing made the entire destruction of any author’s works much more difficult, so quickly and so extensively did books spread through all lands.  On the other hand, as books multiplied, so did destruction go hand in hand with production, and soon were printed books doomed to suffer in the same penal fires, that up to then had been fed on manuscripts only.”
--William Blades, The Enemies of Books

“Of all forms of theft,” says Voltaire, “plagiarism is the least dangerous to society.”  Not only that, it is often beneficial.  In mechanics all inventions are plagiarisms.  If inventors had not borrowed ideas from their predecessors, progress would come to a standstill.  Shall I refuse to own a timepiece because my watchmaker is not original?”

--William S. Walsh, A Handy-Book of Literary Curiosities

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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogsand recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs.

The Secret To Writing & Book Marketing Success



“What gets measured gets improved.”

Peter Drucker said those words.

He was a famous management consultant who lived to be almost 96, and won the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  He wrote dozens of books over a 65-year period.  Think about the words this accomplished soul uttered and heed his guidance.

As an author or book marketer, rule one to your success is to measure what you are doing – and to make strides to increase those numbers.  Diets, budgets, and most other things work this way, so why not your writing or book publicity?

So, as an author, what can be measured?

·         Number of hours devoted to writing, or editing, or researching.
·         The total number of literary agents solicited or researched.
·         How many writers’s conferences or workshops attended over a period of time.

When it comes to book marketing, you can measure:

·         Results, like sales, or effort, such as the number of people called, emailed, or reached through other methods.
·         Number of awards applied for.
·         How many social media platforms you’re on – and the number of connections.
·         How often you post your blog.
·         How much news media coverage you generated for your book.
·         The number of public appearances or speeches made.

The more you measure, quantify, qualify, and adequately define, the likelier you are to achieve success, improve over time, and push yourself beyond your wildest expectations.  In fact, the key to turning a dream into a fact falls squarely on your ability to state goals, measure progress, and make the extra effort to be disciplined and focused.  Keep your eye on the prize!

All of this may sound simple, obvious and straight forward, but it can become very burdensome, challenging, and quite elusive.  You need to know what to measure, then to really measure it and to analyze/motivate as to what can be changed, improved, or swapped out in order to show gains and substantive growth.

When you approximate things or keep everything floating in your head without a specific game plan that gets measured and reviewed regularly you will not always hit your mark.  We can’t be vague about the things we must do in order to accomplish more.

The secret to writing excellence and book marketing success is to measure the things you’ll need to excel at in order to improve and prosper.

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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs