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June 2022 New Releases

Often, our new releases find a serendipitous harmony. This month, many of our latest books revolve around introspection and reflection. Whether it is parents teaching their children about loss and sharing nostalgia for the past, or adults meditating on life or financial concerns—with so much going on in the world, everyone needs to step back and look inward once in a while. Take a moment now to explore our June releases. 

As always, please leave us comments or reviews of this month’s books; we love to hear from readers, and our authors do too!


Amplify Publishing

Women Wise: The Essential Guide to Financial and Lifestyle Decisions as We Age by Eleanor Blayney and Marjorie L. Fox is our latest Amplify release. This project is the culmination of a collaboration between financial experts Blayney and Fox, our Amplify team, and our CEO Naren Aryal. Finances can be challenging, especially as we age, but Fox and Blayney have created the essential guide to women’s financial decisions. As they say, “when it comes to retirement advice, one size does not fit all.”

Women Wise Eleanor Blayney Marjorie Fox

Subplot

We are excited to release The Art of Traveling Strangers by Zoe Disigny in paperback this month. This way, wherever your summer travels take you, you can bring this popular fiction story—filled with art and historical places—along with you. 
Art of Traveling Strangers Zoe Disigny

Mascot Books 

From Mascot Books, five exciting titles will be released this month. These diverse books explore themes of introspection and finding the motivation to move forward—whether the challenge is running with cerebral palsy, living with chronic illness, grappling with history, finding compassion in the world, exploring your own skills, or stretching yourself at work. 
Better Together Shaun Evans         From Me To you Deidra Moor-Janvier        Part of You, Not All of You Jenneh Rishe

Pulling Each Other Along Todd Civin Doug Cornfield         Presence: The Great Equalizer
   

Mascot Kids

In addition to the usual plethora of adorable animals, this month’s children’s books also dive deep: from learning about the stock market and dealing with death, to overcoming fears and literally jumping into the pool this summer. This collection has something for everyone, with colorful adventures in Orange S’more-ange, confidence building in Chloe Cha Chas in London, and nostalgic baseball cards in My Shoebox
Riley Rabbit Learns About Death Ashley Hall        Five Mile Charlie: Charlie Goes to the Library  Kimberly Adams        

Just Jump In Christine Davis        My Shoebox Laura Fleming       

Orange S'more-ange Patty Becker         Chloe Cha Chas in London Carolina Orlovsky Corky Ballas

Three Fairies Erin Amico        Ella Bakes!: The Secret Ingredient Lisa Lessi

        

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A Knock on the Door Excerpt

A Knock on the DoorWe are thrilled to share a sneak preview of the latest page turner from Subplot, our imprint focused on literary fiction. A Knock on the Door (coming October 2022) tells the story of Lori Crawford, a small town journalist whose world is turned upside down by the death of her husband, Jack. After twenty-five years of marriage, she thought the rest of her life would be spent in an uncomplicated, happy life. But just as Lori feels she’s coming out on the other side of her grief, Jack’s former assistant, Rita Johnson, discovers information that convinces Lori that Jack was murdered.

The two women vow to bring the perpetrator to justice, but time is dwindling, and both of their names are on someone’s kill list… 




Chapter 47

Rita had been driving for a few hours when she pulled her car into the parking lot of a seedy motel along the edge of the highway. She got out of her car and strolled into the office. 

Jacob had left thirty minutes ahead of her, so he should already be at the rendezvous point they had identified from a Google webcam search. She thought she spotted a quick flash of light, letting her know he was parked at a partially hidden spot across the street from the motel. 

They had counted on Rita’s phone being tapped, and on Trench Coat Man following her to this place. The red SUV turned off his headlights and pulled in between two cars at the far end of the motel’s parking lot. 

Rita told the manager she’d be staying for what was left of the night and leaving later than the normal checkout. He eyed her carefully as she paid with her credit card. There weren’t many people checking in that wanted to stay more than a few hours or that didn’t pay in cash. He figured he’d treat her to one of his nicer rooms in the back. 

She emerged a few minutes later with the key to room 183 and spotted the red SUV hiding in the back of the lot. Perfect! She casually glanced up toward Jacob’s car as she got her empty roller bag out of the trunk to signal him that she would just be a few minutes. Jacob kept his eyes trained on the red SUV while Rita walked around the side of the motel toward the rooms in the back. 

The smell of cigarette smoke and stale beer overwhelmed her when she opened the door. In the bathroom, she briefly turned on the shower, wet the towels a bit, and put a couple of pieces of toilet paper in the toilet. Then, she walked over to the bed and rumpled the sheets and pillows. The filthy comforter made her gag. She placed a half empty can of soda on the nightstand. 

Rita parted the curtains slightly and scanned for anyone loitering. Seeing no one, she used her burner phone to call Jacob. He confirmed that the man was still in his car. 

This was her opportunity. She took the roller bag and trotted quickly across the back embankment of the hotel property and over to the next block where Jacob was waiting for her. She crawled into the car and melted into the front seat, allowing the adrenaline to subside. They headed back to Cooperville, wondering how long Trench Coat Man would watch her car in the morning before he got suspicious.


Chapter 48

At 8 A.M., the phone in Nathan’s cubicle started ringing. Nathan didn’t have to be psychic to know who would be on the other end. 

“Nathan Schilling.” He was completely prepared for how this call was going to go. Stay calm and in control. 

“Who the hell do you think you are? Making the deaths of two of my employees a sensational story worthy of the National Enquirer? Where’s your respect? Do you realize that SpringWare is the economic pillar of this community? Run another headline like that, and you’ll be talking to my lawyers!” Mason’s tirade seemed to go on forever. The longer he went on, the bigger Nathan’s smile grew. 

Just the reaction I was expecting

“Mr. Mason? I understand your concern, sir. I think you might be interested in some new information that has come to my attention since I wrote that article. Are you in your office? I’d like to come over and talk to you about it.” 

“Yes, I am . . . I mean, no,” Mason stammered. “Whatever you have to say to me, you can say on the phone.” 

“All right,” said Nathan. “I have confirmation from the ME’s office that George Packwood’s death was a murder, not a suicide . . . that certainly changes things, don’t you think, Mr. Mason?” 

Total silence. Gotcha! 

“Mr. Mason? Are you there?” Nathan thought for a minute that he might have hung up or passed out. 

“Uh, yes. I . . . I have no comment.” The call abruptly ended. 


Without giving anything away, we’ll just say: this is a riveting thriller that will surprise readers at every turn. A Knock on the Door is available for preorder now exclusively through our bookstore and will be available for purchase through major retailers on October 4, 2022. Looking for more stories like this one? Check out our other Subplot titles here

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Getting to Know Glenda Winders, Author of Sainted In Error

Glenda Winders
One of our flagship Subplot Publishing titles, Sainted In Error, was featured on our blog recently—but now it is time to get to know the author behind the novel. We interviewed Glenda Winders on writing the book. Our Q and A with her is below.

1. Sainted in Error is very different from your first book about long-kept family secrets, The Nine Assignments. What was the inspiration behind this plot of murder, friendship, and mental illness? What were some of your goals with this book?

Sainted in Error was inspired by close-up experiences with undiagnosed and untreated mentally ill people. Often such people ruin their lives and the lives of the people around them either by refusing to seek help because of the stigma attached to that type of disorder or by finding help with underqualified practitioners. One of my goals was to draw attention to this serious problem, and the other was to tell a compelling story. We hear of so many cases where unstable people commit murder, and that suggested the vehicle of a murder mystery.

Writing it in reverse, with the reader knowing on the first page who the killer is but waiting until the end to reveal the victim, allowed me to track the psychological development of these two women and other characters in the run-up to the event. My hope is that readers will realize that our attitudes toward mental illness are Victorian and also that its treatment should be as unremarkable as that for a physical ailment.

I also believe friendships are undervalued in our busy society, and the book is a bit of a shout-out to the close friends in my life who have been as loyal to me as Maggie is to Cynthia.

2. How do current events play into this theme and what are some of the ways that mental illness is stigmatized in conversation today? Was there any research involved?

Mental illness continues to be stigmatized in our society in so many different ways. In many professions, for example, people can lose their jobs if their employers learn they are being treated psychiatrically, so it becomes something to hide, which restarts the cycle of stigmatization.

The subject comes up wherever people gather and get to know one another – be it in a neighborhood, the workplace, or on a dating site. It comes up a lot in the news because of all of the horrible crimes committed by mentally ill people – mass shooters, people who kill their own families, killers who believe someone is telling them to do it, and the like. Fortunately, more celebrities are speaking out about their bouts with depression, eating disorders, and many other issues so that their fans can see that talented people have the same types of problems they have and that they have taken action to get their lives back to where they want them.

I did a great deal of reading on different mental illnesses because there are so many possible diagnoses and so many overlaps of symptoms. I wanted to make sure that my character was accurate and believable. We know that Cynthia’s mother was bipolar, but we’re not sure if this is her problem or if it is something else. What we do know for sure is that she desperately needs help but refuses to seek it because she is embarrassed.

Sainted In Error3. Sainted In Error spans decades of friendship between two characters. What was your process of developing Maggie and Cynthia as characters over a lifetime? How do you stay organized with your chronology, and do you have any advice for writers working with long periods of time?

I’ve heard it said that in fiction everything is true and nothing is true, and I think for the most part that is the case. Maggie and Cynthia are bits and pieces of people I have known, observed, and read about over the years. Because I do have long friendships, some of which date back to grade school, I know the shapes and dynamics friendships can assume. They are very much like love affairs and marriages – sometimes one person cares more than the other or sometimes one has a hard time celebrating the other’s successes and good fortune or dislikes being in the shadows while the other takes center stage. Healthy relationships find a balance; unfortunately, this isn’t the case with Maggie and Cynthia.

This question makes me laugh because I am the world’s worst at keeping up with chronology. I am more concerned with moving the plot forward and sometimes don’t pay enough attention to important details – such as what year it is and how old the characters are. I’ve had wonderful editors who have saved me in this regard, and from them, I have learned to keep a timeline from the very moment I start writing. I do that by way of a spreadsheet that keeps track of everyone’s ages, also by reading about – or remembering – what was going on in the world at a certain point in the character’s experience.

4. The opening scene starts with Maggie deciding what to wear to the trial. Why did you decide to begin the story this way, and what influenced you to make clothing a symbol throughout the book?

Like Maggie, I once read or heard that women always remember what they were wearing at important moments in their lives, and I know that’s true for me. That line may have come from the play Love, Loss and What I Wore (based on the book by Ilene Beckerman), in which Nora and Delia Ephron explored the same topic. The first thing many of us – men and women — think about before a special occasion is what we’ll wear, and that would certainly be true if one were about to testify at her best friend’s murder trial.

Because I think clothing is important to most women, I kept going on that theme throughout the book – what Cynthia wears the night she and Richard go to the fraternity dance, what Richard’s mother wears to their wedding, what Kim has one the first time Maggie meets her. And, of course, I owed it to the reader to disclose what Maggie finally chooses for the day of the trial. The flip side of that, though, is that clothes are not the measure of who people really are. Maggie is embarrassed about the clothes she wears while Cynthia has an expensive wardrobe, but look at what she is wearing the last time we see her.

Glenda Winders, writing. 5. Which character do you see yourself in the most and why?

I suppose I most resemble Maggie in that most of my career has been spent in journalism. I also have unruly red hair as she has, and as a teenager, I was often the sidekick of the more beautiful girl who got all of the attention. I am also tenacious in relationships and have a hard time letting people go.

6. What’s next for you? Any books on the horizon? What other kinds of plots or storytelling would you like to explore?

I am working now on a novel tentatively titled “Peculiar.” It concerns three women who live on a lake and protect an old secret until the curious new wife of one of their sons wants to learn more about her husband’s background. It is multicultural and explores themes such as the nature of truth and – again – the importance of communicating and not making assumptions. I love stories that involve time travel and have tinkered with that in a novel that is finished but I haven’t yet sought to publish. I have written a lot of short stories and some poems, and I write nonfiction for several magazines and newspapers. While I am constantly striving to get better at my craft, I am pretty happy with things the way they are.
Glenda Winders is an award-winning fiction writer, editor, and journalist, whose work has appeared in major magazines and newspapers nationwide. Her first novel, The Nine Assignments, was published in 2016. She lives with her husband in Columbus, Indiana. Learn more at: www.glendawinders.com

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Thinking Outside of the Box—Hybrid Publishing

Anne C. Scardino shares how she got her who-done-it mystery suspense novel, A Tangled Affair, published when the traditional way failed.


Anne C. ScardinoI vividly remember typing the last sentence of my novel. I took a deep breath and opened my eyes wide to hold back the tears. Years of work had come to completion, but little did I know that the really hard work was yet to come—getting published.  

I knew that an agent was needed and that the agent would find a publisher for my genre—mystery, suspense. I was told by my writing professor to use agentquery.com and put in my genre and then a list of agents would pop up. I was also told that it was time consuming, because you had to make certain that the agent is a good fit for your novel. Things had to be sent—summary, author bio, first ten pages, or first three chapters, whatever the agent requested, and some wanted it done in one document, or some were done on a computer program. Easy enough, I thought; I will repeat, I thought.  

A few fun facts: agents receive thousands of submissions a year; agents take on average between 4-6 authors a year; agents don’t always read your work (their assistants do); agents have a slush pile (manuscripts that go unread); it takes about 45 minutes to complete each online query, which entails reading about the agent, completing the work on the computer to send, which varies with each agent, so you have to know your way around the computer. To put it simply, it’s a lot of time and work.

After sending out 110 queries (yes, I know exactly how many because I wrote the name of each one down so I could follow up if I didn’t hear back), I got two requests to send on the entire manuscript. When I got the first one, I literally walked around my apartment covering my mouth and repeating, “Oh, my God. Oh, my God…” I felt I had finally got this (this was around number 65 that was sent). I remember I had gone to New York City that day, and all I could think about was the agent reading my entire manuscript and loving it (if you don’t believe in your novel no one else will, so this isn’t a sign of being overconfident—this is your baby). As exciting as that day was, the next day was equally as disappointing, as I was thanked for sending and told it wasn’t a good fit but to keep writing.

The next rejection came at around number 88, and it gave me a glimmer of hope, but I was a bit more cautious this time about getting so excited. I would wait to see. Again, the very next day, the same thing and basically the same message. At this point, I decided to set a goal of going to a hundred and then I would have to figure out something else, but I wasn’t going to continue this process after I reached that number. I got to one hundred and then decided for good measure I would do another ten, which I did, but then my new addiction had to stop. Maybe just one more?

Reality set in, and I started to think about self-publishing at the advice of an author friend of mine who had gone the traditional agent/publisher route (it’s amazing how far some encouragement can go when you believe in the person who is encouraging you). But at the same time, a really good thing happened: I asked LinkedIn contact Marnie Schneider who published her children’s books—Football Freddie. She told me she worked with Mascot Books, a hybrid publisher, and connected me with Naren Aryal, the owner. He got right back to me, as well as Jess Cohn, an Acquisitions Director, and both read the full manuscript.

Football FreddieAt that time, I had never heard of hybrid publishing, but soon learned that they take on the roles of both agent and publisher. Anyone can self-publish, but not everyone can hybrid publish. To hybrid publish, the publisher has to believe that they can sell books, because they profit, as well. They supply all the necessary components of staff to get you through the process to publication—editing, book design, and marketing. And, yes, you pay for this since you keep your copyright, but you also profit when your books sell.   

The most difficult part of the publication process was not being able to actually see the book—to feel it, touch the pages, but you work together and go back and forth getting to the point where you are satisfied. Having been a building and design consultant of beach homes, the look of the book was very important to me. For example, I went with white pages rather than the typical ivory, at their recommendation, because I wanted my author photo to be in color. They worked with me on getting the cover photo to represent my book in the best way possible. It went through several iterations, but in the end, it was a great representation of what was inside.

So, after all of that, I waited 8-10 weeks to have the book printed, and when that day arrived and I cut open the box, I was a nervous wreck as I anxiously pulled back the cardboard and saw the books. To my relief, they looked great, felt great, and again, I had to hold back tears.

A Tangled AffairThe next step was the marketing. Mascot assigns you a marketing manager, and because I am part of their new fiction imprint, Subplot, I have been able to participate in a few blog posts, so the writing continued. The manager gets your book out to online sites, e.g., Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc., and reaches out to various other contacts for promotion, e.g., bloggers, book reviewers, local media outlets, podcasts, and retailers.

And of course, I have done some things myself in the promotion process—a podcast with an advertising contact; several book clubs, my university, a contact in Turks & Caicos, where a large part of my book takes place.  

In the end, as I reflect on the process, I’m glad that I thought outside of the box and found a way to get my book published when the traditional way failed. Hybrid publishing worked for me, and maybe it can work for you. Go for it, and in the words of the two full-manuscript-reading agents, “keep writing.”

 


Check out Anne’s new book, A Tangled Affair in our bookstore or anywhere books are sold.

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Subplot Publishing Feature—Sainted in Error

Subplot (noun): a side story that runs parallel to the main plot.


How did the relationship with Sainted in Error begin?

In September of 2020, I received the submission for Sainted in Error. As mentioned in a previous blog post, Subplot was still in development at that point in time, but I was already looking for strong fiction titles. Typically, with fiction submissions, I read the first few chapters to start. Immediately, Sainted in Error’s opening had me hooked. I wanted to know about the dynamic between Maggie and Cynthia that brought them to this trial and the descriptive sentences painted a vivid picture as I read. Within just ten pages, I knew this was a title we had to publish. Once Subplot became a more concrete imprint, I thought about the fiction titles I brought in recently, and it was no question that Sainted in Error was a perfect addition.   

What is this book about?

In Sainted in Error, Maggie and Cynthia meet as college freshmen and are seemingly destined to be best friends for life. As the years pass, however, Maggie’s marriage and career lift her to success and wealth while Cynthia’s jealousy and untreated mental illness cause their relationship to disintegrate. As the stories of the two women’s lives unfold, Cynthia’s paranoia and anger sour every relationship she has and turn even the people who have loved her most against her, ultimately bubbling over into an event that Maggie never sees coming.

Not a murder mystery in the usual sense, and spanning time and space, Sainted in Error delves into the tenacity of friendship and the damage that the stigma still attached to mental illness can do.


What makes Sainted in Error the right fit for Subplot?

“Fascinating plots, alluring characters, powerful authors—that’s Subplot.” Our tagline says it all and the alluring characters aspect is really what struck me for Sainted in Error. The story is intertwined in the relationship between Maggie and Cynthia where each woman is powerfully created. 


Glenda Winders’ craft is spectacular when creating characters. Readers want to feel like they know these women, they want to befriend them, root for them, hate them, feel for them. Having characters where they feel real to the readers is what makes a story truly stand out. Winders’ twists and turns in the book leave the reader on their toes as they try to comprehend Cynthia’s motives and ultimately what leads up to the trial. This title is great for fans of The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl.       


If you love mystery, thriller, and strong female leads, Sainted in Error has all the ingredients for your next favorite read. Order your copy at the Subplot bookstore today!

If Subplot sounds like the right fit for your fiction manuscript, send us a synopsis and the first three chapters at jess@mascotbooks.com.  

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Getting to Know Anne C. Scardino, Author of A Tangled Affair

Anne Scardino
Newly released Subplot title, A Tangled Affair, will have a feature post in the next few posts! In the meantime, we interviewed Anne C. Scardino on writing the book and have a Q and A with her below.

1. What is the inspiration behind A Tangled Affair?
My love of mysteries began in childhood, reading Nancy Drew books. As an adult, that passion continued with thrillers by John Grisham and Danielle Steel. This was the main inspiration behind A Tangled Affair. I was also captured by character development—reading and learning about characters: why they did what they did, how things turned out after tragedy hit and, most importantly, what was learned and solved by the end of the book.

2. This story takes place in both Philadelphia and Turks and Caicos. Why did you choose these two places?
I decided to place my novel in two locations that I know and love—Philadelphia, where I grew up and presently live, and Turks and Caicos, which I discovered twenty years ago. In Turks and Caicos, I fell in love with the people and the incredible blue water. It doesn’t get any better than a walk on the beach in Providenciales. 

3. How did your background in art and design influence this novel?
A Tangled Affair
I have always loved beautiful places and spaces and have been fortunate to travel to such places, my favorites being France and Italy; and I have developed and designed beach homes, which demands attention to detail. My description of scenes has definitely been enhanced by travel and design.

4. How would you describe your authorial style?
My authorial style was influenced by my favorite book, The Great Gatsby—just 180 pages of great storytelling with flawed characters, like all of us.

—–

Anne Scardino is a building and design consultant-turned-novelist. She has always had a passion for writing, whether it be social commentary or design and travel. But it is her twenty-three years of volunteering at the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House that has fed her soul. Anne holds a degree in journalism from Temple University and has taken coursework at Moore College of Art and Design and The New School. An avid fan of music and travel, Anne resides in Philadelphia. Her favorite place is Turks and Caicos.

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The Inside Scoop to Getting Testimonials

Testimonials can be some of the first words a consumer reads when picking up a book. These book blurbs serve as a way for readers to get immediate access to a book’s praise directly on the front and back cover, rather than having to search for them online. But how do authors get these endorsements from noteworthy people?

Let’s go over why this praise can be helpful, what a good testimonial looks like, and how to even get them.




Relevance and Quality


There are many reasons why you should consider having testimonials, some of them being that they strengthen your author credibility and attract readers to your book’s plot or themes. 

This begins with the perceived influence of the reviewer. Even if the reviewer is not a household name, it’s crucial to make sure that they have industry experience. It always looks good to include a subheading or title after the person’s name to explain why they are relevant to this book. That means you’ll have to ensure that you are collecting testimonials from people that have real knowledge about their field and – this is critical – are able to communicate their thoughts concisely and creatively.

Some blurbs you receive from top authors or leaders might be bland or non-specific. While it may be great to hear from them, a successful testimonial is eye-catching and narrows in on particular aspects of the book that make it unique. The goal should always be quality over quantity. 

Cultivate contacts that know you personally and/or professionally and can speak to your work. Vague statements are not worth your book’s cover – you want specific feedback that speaks to real aspects of the book and has concrete rationales for why that particular person is offering their endorsement. Your book deserves the best possible quotes. To get them, you’ll want to pick people that are not only knowledgeable in their profession, but also eloquent and have the ability to express why something works. They have to be able to communicate that well to an audience. 

 

Brainstorming Questions

Who are your readers? Who influences them? 

What elements of your book are most important to you, and who in your field can speak to those specific topics?

What does your ideal testimonial sound like? What do you want audiences to take away from your book? This will help focus your queries and request for reviews/blurbs. 

 

Organization and Process


Coming up with a system for gathering testimonials is a large part of the process. Having a streamlined methodology will help you stay focused and will allow you to maintain the goals you have set for yourself. Check out the following tips to help you begin collating reviews and testimonials:

  • Craft a short template query that you can send to prospective readers for their blurb or feedback, but make sure to leave room for a sentence or two that can be personalized. Sincere compliments go a long way. The template should explain explicitly that you are looking for a quote for the book, what you hope to accomplish, and, if the person does not know you personally, introduce yourself briefly but substantively. 
  • Depending on the volume of queries you intend to disseminate, maintain a spreadsheet that keeps track of the names you are reaching out to and the status of their decision(s). In general, it’s best to spread your net wide, as you will not get responses from everyone. (The net should not be so wide, though, that you begin to move away from the focus of the book.)
  • Establish deadlines for yourself and for your reviewer. 
  • Make sure that the system is as user-friendly as possible for the person you are requesting a testimonial from; send the book to them in whichever format they like, and try to accommodate their needs.

 

Elements of a Memorable Testimonial 


Any testimonial should tell the reader how they will benefit from the book, but being able to illuminate that in a way that pops is a golden ticket to a top-notch testimonial. 

Short and succinct blurbs are the best, but don’t be afraid to seek one that’s a bit longer. Having the reviewer explain what they learned is always a good starting point. It is always important to find a balance between substance and style. You want a reader to see a testimonial and actually get information from it, rather than just absorb a glowing review that may be sycophantic in nature.

 

Brainstorming Questions for the Reviewer 

What are some particular pieces of information that they learned, and how relevant are they to the book as a whole? Do they match the themes?

How was the information in the book conveyed, and what makes it different from other books on the market?

 

Strong Examples


Contains specific remarks about the book and/or language that is visual or surprising

  • “Ignore this book at your own peril.” -Seth Godin, Rework
  • “For those of us who didn’t pursue MBAs – and have the penny-ante salaries to prove it – Sorkin’s book offers a clear, cogent explanation of what happened and why it matters. -Julia Keller, Too Big to Fail 
  • Lean In is an inauguration rather than a last word…” -Anna Holmes / “What Sandberg offers is a view that shows twenty-somethings that choices and tradeoffs surely exist, but that the ‘old normal’ of blunting ambition so that can fit in one category or another does not have to be the way it is.” -Gayle Tzemach, Lean In

Weak Examples


Lack of specificity, personalization, snappy wordplay

  • “This was an inspiring book full of great advice and tips on how to succeed.”
  • “A must-have book for all managers and businesspeople.”
  • “The best book I’ve read all year!”


With these tips in mind, what are you waiting for? It’s time to go get those well-crafted testimonials! Let us know how it goes by contacting us at i
nfo@mascotbooks.com or tagging us on social media @Mascotbooks:

 

Facebook   

LinkedIn   

Instagram  

Twitter

 

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5 Ideas to Sell Your Books Fast

You’re ready to sell all your books in our warehouse as fast as possible, but you’re in a marketing rut. It happens to all of us, especially when it’s been a few years since the book’s release. But don’t fret because we laid out five marketing strategies to get you back on track! 

Read more below on relaunching your book, getting your audience excited, and selling the last of your copies in no time.


A Sale!

What better way to grab someone’s attention than a sale? Through your Mascot marketing contact, you can set up a promotional discount on your Mascot listing for whatever percentage and time frame you’d like (we usually recommend anywhere between 10 and 25%)! This can be something you activate for a particular holiday or for a reason related to your book (ex. if your book is about rescue dogs, you can start a sale for National Rescue Dog Day). It could be something as simple as starting a sale for the start of fall. Either way, everyone loves a good sale. Build some excitement on your social media platforms and in your community, and get consumers ready to type in the promo code when the sale has begun! 


Amazon Ad Campaign

Purchase an ad that we’ll run for you! The Amazon-sponsored product advertising campaign is an effective digital marketing tool to generate Amazon sales and drive traffic to your listing. A Mascot marketing person would list keywords on the backend of Amazon that relates to your book’s content and themes. We try to think of the phrases that consumers are typing into the search bar. For example, if your book teaches children to accept everyone’s differences, we’ll add keywords and phrases like “children’s books promoting acceptance” or “picture books with diversity.” Once it’s activated, the ad will bid with other ads to appear on a consumer’s screen!



Media Spotlight

Try re-launching your book in the news, even if it’s been a few years! Tying your book in with hot topics in the media can be a successful game plan to getting your book out there again. Compile a list of local media outlets, or outlets that fit your book’s audience, and reach out to them with a persuasive pitch. One of our authors has been a big hit in the news. In the last year, as much of the national conversation has been swirling around children getting the COVID-19 vaccine, Mascot Author Kat Picarde has appeared on major outlets telling parents how her book The Little Ouch can help children overcome the fear of shots.

If you can find anything in your book that can connect to current events, go for it! It can be as easy as telling outlets how your book is perfect for back-to-school. 



Pitch, again!

Pitch your book again to schools, organizations, reviewers, and bookstores. Sometimes it’s about emailing the right person at the right time, and completing another round of pitching can increase your odds of a response. Like with media outlets, find a way to make your book relevant again. Why is it especially important for children or your target audience? Why is it a must-read today? Why should a bookstore shelf it? Give it another shot, and see what happens. Approach these locations directly if needed!



Wear Your Book

Don’t just sell your book; BE your book! Think about ordering t-shirts, hats, canvas bags, pins, stickers, or any kind of gear that you can wear when you’re out and about. We can even design bookmarks and postcards for you to always have on hand. People WILL stop and ask questions! This is a fun word-of-mouth marketing technique to meet new people, talk about your book, and get some sales.


And although we’ve hit five ideas already, there’s one more thing you should always make sure to do: keep up with your social media channels. Stay on the minds of your readers by posting consistently and engaging with your followers. 

If you have any tips or questions for us, ask and tell us on social media by tagging @Mascotbooks on:

Facebook   

LinkedIn   

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February Book Releases

There’s no better Valentine than an irresistible page-turner. From an enthralling WWII historical fiction novel to delicious recipes from Chef Elizabeth Lee, with a bunch of heartwarming picture books, you’re bound to fall in love with one of our new releases. 

Children’s Books



Aunt Bug’s Little Life Lessons: Safety Mission















By Jemma Ryan

Dash is so excited that his Aunt Bug is teaching him a new game where they get to pretend to be secret agents! To complete his mission, Dash will have to pay close attention to his surroundings and learn new spy safety skills. There’s only one rule, according to Dash’s beloved Aunt Bug: No electronics or toys in this game! But Dash wants to know: Why? Alongside Dash, learn about how to always stay alert and be aware of your surroundings so that you can stay safe and have fun everywhere!

In this unique learning tool, children will discover how to read covert signs and signals, and find out how best to pay attention and stay vigilant wherever they go.




Birdie Can, Too!















By Malaika Underwood

Author Malaika Underwood was the first girl to play high school baseball in San Diego, California, and has been a member of the USA Baseball Women’s National Team since 2006. She lives in Atlantic Beach, Florida, with her husband and two amazing daughters.

Anika Orrock is an award-winning illustrator, designer, and author of The Incredible Women of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.





Does Grandma Remember Me?

By Evita Sherman

As loved ones grow older, there are unfamiliar and confusing challenges that families must face. Does Grandma Remember Me? reminds readers that no matter what may change, love remains the same.





Gabby Steals the Show












By Sue Wambolt

What on earth was happening on Hollerbrook Farm?
First there was Pete who caused Owen alarm
And then Gabby the goat started her silly tricks
causing problems that Owen just could not fix.

From her antics on the fence under starry skies
to the aerial tricks which ruined Flo’s apples pies,
Gabby was a performer through and through.
No one could stop her—what would they do?




Mommy’s Oven















By Brandi Pearce

In this true story, young August learns about how he will get a new little brother. He learns of how his little brother will grow in someone else’s tummy, not his mommy’s. Will he look like Augie? Will he grow for too long? Will Augie get to take his little brother home once he is born?

Join August on this new, exciting adventure of getting a new little brother in a very unique way.

If you are looking for a way to help your children understand that families can be created in many different ways, this is a story to keep on your bookshelf!




Not So Bad After All















By Daniel Amaguana

Daniel views school in his own little way,
But kids make fun of him all the long day.

He may be strong and won’t stand for guff,
But when push comes to shove, can he really stay tough?




PAWS and THINK! Be a Good Sport















By Miranda Mittleman

See the world through Weaver’s bright eyes,
With each new day valuable lessons arise.
Life is funny and can change in a blink,
So always remember to PAWS and THINK!

Today Weaver digs up a lesson
on GOOD SPORTSMANSHIP.




The Butterfly Who Flew in the Rain















By Ori Gutin

This is a story about Cody, a little caterpillar born in the midst of a terrible thunderstorm. With all the other animals hidden away from the rain, Cody is left feeling sad and alone, and wondering if this is how he will feel every day. But then one afternoon, everything changes. Cody becomes a butterfly, the sun starts to shine, and all the animals come out to say hello! Cody finally feels what it’s like to be happy. Until… the storm comes back again! Now, Cody faces a new challenge. Can he find a way to be happy even in the rain, or will the storm get the best of him again?




The Little Mandarin Reaches the Stars















By Elsa Anderson

“Little pig,” said the little mandarin, “let’s go to the moon.”

This is the beginning of the adventure between two friends as they try to reach the moon. On the way, they learn about bravery and stretching oneself—and ultimately that what you’re really looking for may not be exactly what you thought.

This bilingual story follows their adventures and provides a fun and basic introduction to some common Chinese characters, for English and Chinese speakers alike.





Coffee Table Books


How to Keep a Girl Once You’ve Found Her



By Michelle Dunn

Who said chivalry is dead?

Inside this charming keepsake book are essential reminders to men (and women!) that the timeless qualities of kindness, thoughtfulness, and selflessness are the keys to maintaining a beautiful, healthy relationship. How to Keep a Girl Once You’ve Found Her is the perfect gift for anyone who needs a little reminder on how to truly care for the one they love!




Cookbooks



Made With Love: Culinary Inspirations from Around the World















By Elizabeth Lee

Have you ever dreamt of floating on the ocean under the stars with the warm sea air caressing your skin while you enjoy one of the best meals of your life? Open the pages of Made with Love: Culinary Inspirations From Around The World and you can experience that wonderful moment in time.

Made With Love brings you a selection of professional yacht chef Elizabeth Lee’s stunning original recipes that have won both international accolades and the praise of charter guest gourmands throughout her years working in the private charter yacht industry.

Chef Lee offers recipes for all levels of culinary expertise with expert advice on food preparation techniques spanning basic to more advanced, such as sous vide and molecular gastronomy. Her suggestions for kitchen organization and meal preparation are applicable to any size kitchen, be it on a yacht or in a land-based home.

Chef Lee’s husband, captain Warren East’s, beautiful photography accentuates the visual appeal of Made With Love. The book includes photographs that accompany each dish, which aid in preparation and presentation as well as offer a glimpse of the couple’s captivating international life on the ocean.

Made With Love is guaranteed to provide you with everything you need to create a successful kitchen with stunning, delicious meals to entertain with ease, style, and fun. Bon appétit!





Fiction



Chasing The American Dream















By Lorelei Brush

It’s 1955. David stands on the courthouse steps in Cleveland, buttoning his overcoat, when his gaze catches the martial stride of a passerby. He recoils. It’s Dr. Gerhardt Adler, a brutal ex-S.S. Major who David sent to Nuremburg shackled in the back of a U.S. Army Jeep. Determined to discover what that war criminal is doing in the U.S., David reverts to old habits he mastered in the Office of Strategic Services and pursues the Nazi. Feeling cheated by his role during the war, safe behind Allied lines, he sees another chance to be a hero. But how much will it cost?

Chasing the American Dream captures David’s quest for justice against those who committed crimes against humanity during World War II. To his horror, it transforms into a fight with the U.S. government who threatens his own American dream.




Straight as an Arrow

By Adreama Eden

Straight as an Arrow is a coming-into-life story of Amelia, a young girl of deep faith, set in the turbulent 1960s. As she reaches puberty, Amelia makes a vow to God and to her mother, promising to remain chaste until she marries. So begins her journey into adult life away from her sheltered childhood existence, searching for her happily ever after as she follows the way of all souls who set forth to achieve their dreams.

Amelia faces the timeless dilemma of searching for the real meaning of love. She struggles to reconcile her budding sexuality while remaining faithful to her church’s teachings. If God gave her these desires, why are they considered bad? Can she remain committed to her vow when so many young women of her generation choose another path? While angels and demons battle for her immortal soul, five men in her life teach her the meaning of love in all of its forms.

Through her quest, she learns patience, forgiveness, perseverance, honor, and love.




The Secret War of Coexistence: Abaddon















By Ashley Harrison

Awakened in a state of turmoil, Skyelar finds himself in a strange new city. Everything he could ever want was in his grasps, but just as quickly as he received it, it was stripped away in a fateful turn of events. Now, he’s left with nothing but a hollow existence of his former self and the most painful memories he’s ever had in his life. And just when things couldn’t get any more complicated, Skyelar must face the revelation of a huge secret that finally puts his whole life into perspective.

In a new city, Skyelar is offered the chance to start fresh, become someone great, and just maybe, forget about his past life. But everything has changed, and Skyelar can no longer see the light at the end of the tunnel. All the years he spent searching for repentance seem to be for naught because the only road Skyelar is interested in traveling down now is that of revenge. As more of Skyelar’s questions reveal answers, he soon learns that he will have to make decisions that not only impact his life, but the lives of those around him. Will he honor the man he fought so hard to become, the man who was loved by Nalani, or will he finally let that ideology slip away and become the man he fears he may have always been?




Nonfiction



121 Days: The Corbin Raymond Story of Fighting for Life and Surviving a Traumatic Brain Injury















By Sadie Raymond with Todd Civin

The morning of July 4th, 2018 began like any other in Sadie Raymond’s household. What Sadie and her family didn’t know, however, was that by the end of the day the course of all of their lives—especially that of their teenage son, Corbin—would change forever.

After receiving a phone call that chilled her to the bone, Sadie rushed to the scene of a car accident alongside a forested road in their home state of New Hampshire. There, she discovered that her son had been a passenger in a car that had collided with a tree and was on his way to the hospital via ambulance.

For 121 days, Corbin fought an arduous battle for his life in the Intensive Care Unit at Boston Children’s Hospital and at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. New Englanders from across his home state and beyond declared themselves “Corbin Strong.” His family and friends found their strength and resilience in the face of adversity. And, through faith and love against all odds, Corbin won.

Featuring real-time journal entries and contributions from other members of Corbin’s family, 121 Days: The Corbin Raymond Story of Fighting for Life and Surviving a Traumatic Brain Injury chronicles the harrowing days, weeks, and months following the accident. Candid and evocative, 121 Days is a revelatory story of the depth of fear, the duration of courage, and, ultimately, the power of triumph.




Getting to the Why: A Practical Guide to Helping Students and Children Learn From Their Mistakes Using Character Remediation




By Rick Rubel

One of our main responsibilities as adults is to teach our young people to do the right thing when we are not around. This requires moral development. A combination of external discipline, self-understanding, and moral maturity should lead to self-discipline, and ultimately, moral development.

An important way to help young people develop their character is to help them learn from their mistakes. There are many ways to do this, but I believe in the power of the question. Sometimes, the questions we ask young people are more important than the statements we tell them. If we ask our students and children the right questions, we can help them get to their “why.”

Through the questioning outlined in my Character Remediation Program, young people should be able to answer three important questions when asked about their mistakes:

“Why did you do it?” “Why is it wrong?” and “if you knew it was wrong, why did you do it?” Getting to the Why serves as a guide to asking those questions to help young people discover their own truth and reasons, thereby improving their character and moral development.




 

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From One Author to Another on Writing a Trilogy

Ashley Harrison is days away from releasing her second book in her highly-anticipated young adult trilogy, The Secret War of Coexistence. Therefore, we thought we’d let her take the mic. Read Ashley’s step-by-step on how to write a captivating trilogy: 

You’ve just written your first book and couldn’t be happier. The only problem is, you have to write two more in order to continue with this story! The thought of writing a trilogy can be overbearing, but you have to be able to focus the millions of thoughts flowing through your mind and form them neatly into the world you strive to create. So, let’s go over some tips on how to start your journey with writing a trilogy!

 

Step One: Have an Idea!

Probably seems obvious, but let’s unpack this more. It’s not enough to just say you want to write a book, let alone three books. You need to know EXACTLY what kind of story you want to create. Who is the main character and what are they like? What kind of world do they live in? What is the main plot? What kind of journey will they be going on? How will the story end? These are all things you should think of before you do anything else. Know the foundation of your novel, and let the other details fall in place.

 

Step Two: Outlines and Notes are your best friend!

Some authors may be able to just start writing from the very first chapter and keep going from there, but if you’re a new author with no writing experience like I was, you can easily get steered off track and get lost. This is where creating an outline of your book will come in handy! Simply creating a chronological list of events and main plot twists that will occur in the book will help you see where you want your story to go, and as mentioned before, you can add in those details once you start writing and change things along the way as needed. One additional list I created was a list of each character in my book(s) and all of their features; eye color, hair color, age, etc. It can be easy to forget what some of your characters look like, especially if you’re writing a series. Keep your memory fresh!

 

Step Three: Understand Your Character’s Personalities

One of the most fun parts about reading a book is seeing how characters can change throughout the story. This doesn’t mean that they have to be completely different, but more that your characters have some kind of growth or go through a challenge that forces them to make certain decisions that will later dictate how everyone else reacts and how it will impact the storyline. In my own writing, I based two characters off of myself: one is reserved and a little cynical, the other very outgoing and friendly. I’ve also used people from my real-life encounters to help me write supporting characters. Having real-life interactions and translating them into your characters is one of the best ways to help you create their personality and relationship with other characters. The more real you can make your characters react, the better your readers will be able to connect to the story.

 

Step Four: It’s Your Story, Do Whatever You Want!

Let’s be honest. We’ve all probably read a book and something happens along the way that makes you go from happy to sad or angry, and you think, “Why would the author do that? Everything was going so well!” The answer is, well, because they’re the author and they can do whatever they want, and so can you! If you want a character to go through something tragic because you want their personality to shift or develop in a certain way, then by all means, bring it on! If you want your character to be a complete jerk and burn all their bridges because later on they will need to repair those bridges to become the final product you envisioned, go for it. You can’t be scared of making readers angry or hurting their feelings. You should strive to take your readers on a rollercoaster of emotions and make them react in different ways. Life isn’t perfect all the time, and the story in your novel doesn’t have to be either!

I hope these tips helped you. Just remember, before you were an author, you were a reader and always will be. Remember how you felt with your favorite book, and strive to recreate that feeling in your own writing. Keep your thoughts organized, and take your story one word at a time. Best of luck to you all!

 

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