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DIY Cover Design Checklist

Consider these items when designing a book cover. Don’t rush the revisions. Just because a good book is written, doesn’t mean anyone will read it. Packaging for a target audience is what sells the book. Compare the best in your genre, book size, and include the consider the readers.
Compare Genre Cover Art:
Example:
CEO at 20 would probably appeal to teens and college students. The imagery should reflect this. These 3 book covers appeal to that market.
MWA Inc-DIY Cover Design Art-www.mwa.company
  1. The Entrepreneur Mind is a best seller. The book thumbnail image is impressive and clear. Most people will not recognize your name, so the title needs to catch their eye.
  2. The College Entrepreneur has numerous reviews and a 5 star rating. It’s color is catchy and the image tells a simplistic story.
  3. Millennial Millionaire shows a young man, mid 20’s. Hire someone you know that looks the part of a CEO at 20. The CEO can be either an attractive male or female or both depending on your audience. My thoughts would be in dress shirt and swim trunks working in a fun environment. Not an office because, that’s cliche and probably not the case of entrepreneurs.
Compare Genre Book Size:

Example:
The Little Blue Book of Reasoning by Brandon Royal is small in size. Your book title says, “Little Book…” Why not make the print book small and within industry standards. One of my favorite business books, The Greatest Salesman in the World, is small enough to slide in my back pocket or cargo shorts. The dimensions are located in the book description online.
Request Reader Feedback:
Before you publish your book, get readers involved. Use RateMyCover.com to for feedback. Consider your reading demographic’s input for solid input. Or get input from publishing professionals.
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Reading Group Guide for “G’DAY: Aints”

Reading Group Guide for G’DAY: Aints

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1. G’Day is defined as “hello.” How does the author parallel the book, G’Day: Aints, to the greeting “hello?”

2. Does “G’Day” appear to be a friendlier greeting than “hello” for the children?

3. Have you or someone you known ever suffered through the loss of a loved one? What action(s) did you observe at each stage of grief?

4. How does the loss of one person in your community affect relationships, finances, and businesses?

5. Are field trips and writing about local landmarks important to school age children to better understand their community and their roles for its future?

6. What are Driew’s perceptions of his little sinister, Gayle, and could she have been perceived differently if Driew had understood her sooner?

7. In what way(s) did Gayle’s friendship with Snow force Driew to grow? Is there a defining moment in Driew’s maturation?

8. How does Driew’s adopting the word “oldies” to replace the word “parents” influence your view of Driew’s parents? At what age did you see your parents as old and why?

9. How do you think Gayle would have handled being the youngest Qweepie sibling? What are some ways the youngest boy might be treated that the youngest girl wouldn’t be?

10. What action stops Gayle’s aggression toward Driew in moment nineteen? Do you have love line boundaries drawn in your own family relationship?

11. How does Gayle’s stealing influence Driew’s relationship with her, Snow, and Nadia? How might their relationship be different if she had been open sooner?

12. What role does Marq’s dependence on substance affect Driew’s family?

13. What role does “Aint” Nadia Eli play in Driew’s story? How does she influence Driew’s perspective of character traits?

G'DAY-Aints-www.mwa.company-Flat Book

 

G’DAY: Moment 1

This complimentary excerpt from G’DAY: Aints. Read the The Magic Man and Family Roots also.

—•—

MOMENT ONE

COFFIN

Driew had never known anyone to die, and he wouldn’t let today be that day.

Driew fought! Bound and gagged inside the suffocating supply box, his sing-song voice now restrained by his bindings remained unable to save him. Driew feverishly peeked through the cracks of his locked wooden coffin of doom. His eyes burned with pain from the sliver of sunlight upon the horizon.

His Tasmanian Tiger joey, squealed from the tormenting blows of two masked teens. Dingo hung from the rusty wire clothesline bagged like a papoose in a sinister’s dress—Gayle’s. With two wooden baccastix, the teens walloped Dingo like a celebratory piñata.

Disguised in a black hooded sweatshirt, the boy tormentor commanded the girl, “Let’s take the mongrel to the river.”

“You never mentioned drownin’ it,” the girl tormentor said, wearing a matching disguise.

“If it swims, it won’t drown. If it drowns, then it would’ve died sooner or later,” the boy said.

Fraught with urgency, Driew wriggled against his painful confines.

“I’ve never seen claws on a dog before. I’m not touchin’ it,” the girl said.

“We’ll use this stick for totin’ the mongrel down to the river,” he said, handing the girl a wooden baccastix, normally used for firing dark tobacco.

Driew rubbed his cheek against the wooden floor, snagging the gag cloth on a splintered board. Nostrils flaring in anger, he peered through the cracks of the box as Dingo slid off the clothesline onto the baccastix carrying pole.

Driew pressed hard against the splintered board, grimacing as it pierced his cheek. With a fitful yank, the gag ripped but remained cinched.

The tormentors dragged Dingo to the supply box where Driew struggled. The boy tormentor kicked the box near Driew’s head. The forceful kick cracked the board against Driew’s temple. He winced, knocking back urges to cry out his pain. The bully stole Driew’s happiness but he wouldn’t find satisfaction in Driew’s pain.

Dingo’s marsupial cries subsided into low, fearful whimpers. He, like Driew, sensed potential danger.

“There’s no family crueler than ours,” the boy said.

This all too familiar phrase Driew learned and understood bloody quick. He pulled at the slobbery gag a third time, freeing his clenched jaw. Inhaling a much needed breath, he was able to sing-song, bellowing to the baccastix supporting Dingo.

The baccastix ignited, engulfing stick and dress with teal blue flames. Startled by the sudden fire, the tormentors dropped the flaming stick and cargo onto the unforgiving soil.

Ripping through the dress with his cat-like claws, Dingo escaped, scurrying to a nearby tree for safety.

“You’re full of bad ideas! The dog is loose and mad!” The girl yelled as she ran from the flaming baccastix out of Driew’s sight.

“Come back you big sissy. We’re not done with him!” The boy hollered, chasing behind the girl.

Driew rolled onto his back and sighed, “As always, left like a magician to free myself.”

Lured by his curiosity to the opened yard supply box, Driew had spent nearly an hour locked away in solitary confinement. While peering into the box, his twin tormentors wrangled him like a rodeo calf, locking him inside.

When faced with difficult situations, Driew sought out his own solutions to problems. This meant not asking others to do something he wouldn’t. He calmed himself rather than bellyaching and calling for help.

His oldest sister and brother, Killiope and Pester, both graduated and moved away. Killiope served in the US military, and Pester played college lacrosse. Their absence offered no comfort as Driew’s twin siblings sealed his little bother fate on the farm.

Driew lay staring through the darkness of the confining coffin, focusing on the wooden box lid.

“Torments must be what the last born deserves,” he said to himself.

Sing-song, a spooking voice called from the familiar spook, finding Driew once again in despair.

Hopeful his sing-song controlled this wooden box as it had many other wooden objects on the farm like the baccastix, Driew sang. The supply box lid rattled against the lock outside. Driew turned his song’s focus toward the end of the box at his feet and sang his sing-song intently. The end fell open and a joyful tiger-striped flash bounded into the box over his feet and onto his chest. Dingo’s joyous licks showed Driew his parents weren’t the only ones who loved him unconditionally.

Shuffling feet first from the box, Driew scooted outside in the sunlight’s freedom.

“I must be a magic man to escape their box of doom.”

—•—

G'DAY-Aints-www.mwa.company-Flat Book
Text and illustrations copyright © 2018 by Mark Wayne Adams. All rights reserved. Family Tree Novel is a SYP Kids imprint.

3 Reasons Why Authors Should Blog

3 Reasons Why Authors Should Blog:

  • to interview authors in similar genres or topics;
  • to answer reader questions;
  • and to create beyond the book resources for their book(s)

1. Interview:

Interviewing authors in similar genres with numerous followers has multiple benefits. When the author interviewed shares the post with her followers, the interviewer’s blog and book(s) reach a new market.

2. Answer questions:

Detailed email responses to questions authors answer frequently are good blog posts. Refer future people with that question to the blog link and say:

“There are many useful resources on my blog. Type your question in the search. If you don’t find the answer email me the question I’ll gladly answer it.”

Then make the response a blog post too!

When a person does a Google search for the same question, the blog post will show up in the search. The more authors refer their posts the higher their ranking and book exposure becomes.

3. Book Resources:

Use writing, findings, or excerpts from a book’s research as blog posts. This will answer reader questions like above and become teachable moments. Add hyperlinks throughout the blog to the resources. Inform the website or company that you are directing traffic to them. Ask if they might reciprocate by sharing information about you, the book, or pay to advertise in the blog post.

The blog is one of best ways to engage and continue reader discussions.

M. W. Adams, author of G’DAY: Aints the third novel in the Famiy Tree Novel series

“G’DAY: Aints” Word Search

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G’DAY: Aints Word Search

Put readers’ skills to the test with our G’DAY reader word search. Can your reader find all the words related to the book, Australian Slang, and the Qweepie Family?

See how many words readers can find and have fun with this free puzzle game. This teaching resource is a fun and easy activity that will keep students happy and save teachers time.

WORD SEARCH KEY

G’DAY: Family Roots

This complimentary excerpt from G’DAY: Aints. Read the The Magic Man and Moment One also.

—•—

FAMILY ROOTS

“Until you learn to speak their language, you can’t understand family!”

—M. W. Adams

Driew Qweepie’s siblings spoke individual languages, forcing him to struggle when communicating with his siblings, affectionately called bothers and sinisters. Languages like German, Spanish, or Greek he could have studied and learned. But his bothers and sinisters’ unique love languages proved a more challenging endeavor. Upon arrival at the family farm, Driew began discovering each individual’s language through mind-blowing family trials.

Since infancy, Driew’s serving heart grew to appreciate family values and traditions. Maturing meant comprehending new dynamics like hierarchy among bothers and sinisters. Evicting each of his siblings from his mind seemed a bloody good solution to the problems they instigated. But erasing unforgettable family moments from his heart proved to be the ultimate obstacle.

Hoping to release heartbreaking moments from his life, he wrote them upon the branches of the Outback tree, lovingly named Rebecca, by him and his Australian mate, Gulia. Driew hoped the words of his story would remain hidden under the tree’s protective bark. But spoken and written words are difficult to hide once they have been released. With Gulia’s persistence, the stories of Driew’s past slowly unraveled, changing his family relationships.

Now, “love” and “family” are two of his prize words with various definitions to each person he meets. Exploring their meanings leads Driew through a myriad of chaotic journeys and life events continuously crossing a singular songline—his story.

Crossing him most often are his similar but challenging twin siblings, Gayle and Payne. Twins are supposedly lucky and skip a generation, but Driew’s fortune failed to bless him. Sometimes one twin dies during child birth—no luck there. Other times, at birth they are identical—still no luck. Unfortunately for Driew, the Qweepie twins were fraternal and complete opposite in personality. Like most twins, they were bonded and formidable adversaries to Driew like no other siblings in the family.

We have all known a cold, annoying, peculiar, or unyielding sibling. Heck this could be you. But when the sibling becomes a sinister like Gayle, they manifest into a sinister for all time. She became the self-reliant sibling, gently reminding those around her that every person has a story, and Gayle buried her identity below a protective, great white exterior.

Driew’s journey into manhood involves uncovering the best within the family he had been given—every member: bothers, sinisters, kussins, aints, and uncools. He has secretly vowed to leave the Outback family farm better than when he arrived. Unaware of the outcome of his actions, he eagerly aims to heal his family relationships with only his sing-song voice and his loyal mates: Cain, Able, and Gulia.

—•—

G'DAY-Aints-www.mwa.company-Flat Book
Text and illustrations copyright © 2018 by Mark Wayne Adams. All rights reserved. Family Tree Novel is a SYP Kids imprint.

“Blend of Australian fable and southern culture.”—Sam R. Staley review of “DOWN UNDER”

Down Under: Kussins is the kind of book that will delight early and middle-grade readers and leave parents befuddled, in a good way. The book is the second volume published by the quirky and fun Family Tree Novels by award winning children’s book illustrator M.W. Adams, and follows the very normally abnormal Qweepie family. (No, the family name is not misspelled.)

Driew is the youngest boy in the Qweepie family, and he is constantly tormented by his older “bothers” and “sinisters.” Now that his older sister Killiope is off to boot camp following her high school graduation, older brother Pester has taken up the mantle of chief bully. He combines with other kids in the town of Dawson Springs, Kentucky (a real place) to make Driew’s life miserable.

But the young lad is resilient, and Drew soon finds himself in the company of his Australian friend Guilia and two other boys—Cain and Able—working on the neighbor’s farm. The respite is enough to keep him relatively safe, at least safe enough to develop friendships with other children nearby. But tension and danger escalate as Driew finds his compassion putting himself in vulnerable situations.

As Driew faces each incident and disappointment, he becomes aware of the circuitous and unpredictable turns of life and the mosaic that makes up human nature. What seems clear in one moment is revealed as complicated and knotty in the next. His humility grows, and the reader grows with him. The arrival of a supposedly extinct species of Australian dog seems to arrive just in time to resuscitate his purpose in life.

The Family Tree stories are a rich blend of Australian fable and mythology with the upside of southern culture. Driew’s story is told in “moments,” those events along a “songline” that influence his understanding of life and reveals his path as his life plays out during “dreamtime.” He has already mastered the magical art of sing-song, an ability to summon objects as well as conjure effects such as fire for a torch at critical times.

The quirkiness of the novel is not a gimmick. The odd spellings, unusual references to concepts and myth, and juxtaposition of cultural commentary and Australian myth are intentional. The result is an unusually layered story that engages readers while promoting solid values and understanding of the human condition.

Mark Wayne Adams skill as a storyteller shows through with each turn of the page. He knows his audience, and his deep experience as a writer for young readers allows him to juxtapose wildly divergent storylines in ways that strengthen the tale rather than diffuse its power and focus. He includes enough fantasy and magic to transport young and old readers into new dimensions, to the point the forested acreage of the Qweepie family farm truly seems to be transformed from the Back 40 to the Outback.

Targeted toward a middle-grade audience, Down Under: Kussins is appropriate for any reader who has advanced to chapter books. Adults will likely stumble over of the strange spellings and unfamiliar references, but children will delight in the novelty, magic and fantasy of the story and characters. Mark Wayne Adams fresh approach to the series may well end up igniting an interest in the land Down Under for an entirely new generation.

Sam R. Staley, author of The Pirate of Panther Bay

5 FREE Ways to Promote Literacy Week

When promoting a literacy event, choose an author, illustrator, or book that offers educational resources beyond the book. These activities are usually FREE for educators and parents on the author or publisher website. To promote literacy week, use one suggestion daily from the list below.

Day 1—Writing Contest: Choose writing prompts that discuss informational text used by the author. Have students create interview questions, answer these questions from an author’s perspective, or research the historical timeline of the author’s career.

Day 2—Drawing Contest: Art activities fall within most educators requirements. Its a fun way to illustrate a book page, create a character, or express words through art.

Day 3—Reading Points:  AR reading points or a schools goals.

Day 4—Book Review:  Writing book reviews introduces students to sharing their perstpective. Have them write a review of their book and have parents post the reviews on Amazon or GoodReads for their children. This activity focuses on reading, writing, and internet skills.

Day 5—Book Trailer:  Use a smartphone, iPad, or digital device to create a book trailer of your classes’ favorite book. Animoto or similar programs.

Contest winners could win bookmarks, books, or lunch with the Author/Illustrator. Students could bring a lunch or the coordinator could host a lunch with the guest speaker. This is an opportunity for one-on-one questions and answers in a casual environment.

Cashing in on School Reading Lists

One of the most popular school reading lists is the Accelerated Reading (AR) list publisher program through Renaissance Learning, Inc. For all transactions surrounding quiz production, a Title Selection Coordinator works closely with publishers to coordinate the move from a contractual relationship to one of title selection. They are committed to working with each publisher to maintain relationships and provide their mutual customers with the quizzes needed and expected.

How does Renaissance Learning™ choose books for Accelerated Reader™ quizzes?

Renaissance Learning’s goal is to meet the needs of numerous AR schools. Fiction and Nonfiction titles are chosen across all grade levels, and use resource publications, recommended reading lists, reviews, and customer suggestions that school librarians use in book selection.

Titles considered:

  • Books that are national award winners
  • Books that have been reviewed by national review sources (see list below)
  • Books with a strong curriculum tie-in
  • Books in content areas that have been most often requested by customers
  • Books in series or from publishers that have high quiz usage
  • Books written by popular authors
  • Books that have been requested by multiple schools across the country

Recommended Reading Lists and Review Sources:

Customer Suggestions

  • Quiz suggestions from Accelerated Reader™ customers and encourage use of Suggest Quiz functionality through AR BookFinder™ or the quiz store.
What gives a title Quizzability?

The Quizzability is the Accelerated Reader™ program’s outline how they assess a text for inclusion into their AR Quiz production schedule. Accelerated Reader quizzes are carefully constructed and conform to well-established guidelines based on research, standardization, and consistency.

A sufficient plot- or fact-driven text is necessary to produce a valid, reliable 3-, 5-, 10-, or 20-question reading practice quiz. Content developers select the number of questions to represent the text in the fairest manner for the reader.  Accelerated Reader quizzes do not “sample” a text but deal with the main topics of a text of any given length. After review, some books are tagged nonquizzable.

To help Renaissance Learning™ gain a better understanding of a publisher and how to submit a title selection, an initial submission form serves for new title submissions going forward. It has specific information to help them form a base from which to select titles in future seasons. For example, knowing your print run for each title and which review sources you have or plan to submit your titles to will help us understand market exposure. The submission process happens within a one to two-week timeframe, at that time titles selected are included for quiz production.

The direct monetary benefit to publishers and authors is through indirect book sales. Many consumers base book purchases on reading lists for approved reading points and approved school reading. Book Lists are a great relationship for publishers to established titles in educational markets. Should your titles not meet the criteria above, consider either tailoring future titles or submit to alternate independent lists.

Additional resources are Schools: A Niche Market for Authors, Mark’s YouTube Channel, or these educational related posts:

G’DAY: The Magic Man

This complimentary excerpt from G’DAY: Aints. Read the Family Roots and Moment One also.

—•—

THE MAGIC MAN

Dreamtime created me with no story, no name, and no family. I can hear, and see, but have no language to record my story. I must learn to sing out or forever remain lost in the Never Never.

In Australia’s Aboriginal culture, songs keep sacred lands and family trees around me alive. My beginning starts with a songline, one of numerous creator-beings’ paths created across the land and sky during Dreaming.

The path of creator-beings is evident from their footprints upon the land, like lush billa bongs, rock formations, and other natural marvels. One songline can cross numerous lands through forests of family trees belonging to diverse cultures. Proper sing-song sequences have navigated Aboriginal people vast distances through the Never Never land’s extensive songline systems—why not me?

Language is not a barrier here in the Never Never because sing-song describes the land, and to listen to its rhythm is walking upon a sacred songline. Singing the wrong direction along a songline is a sacrilege that creates epic, dire, and tragic moments.

My journey is a heart-pounding right-of-passage walkabout. Not every word will be written to find my name, family, and story. I share this songline with two other boys: one of us is lost, one stolen, and one longs to return from the Never Never.

Timing is the most important factor in all our stories. Timeless footprints on the Never Never land uproot passion. What does passion mean in this story? The Latin word for passion is pati, meaning suffer for what you love. And so I shall.

There are two sides to every family tree story—one hidden inside and one that escapes like leaves on the wind. Readers are neither at the beginning nor the end of my story, only navigating the long middle part of life, questioning the past and pondering the future. Following my songline may uproot a reader’s passions, causing them to suffer for what I love.

—Magic Man

—•—

G'DAY-Aints-www.mwa.company-Flat Book
Text and illustrations copyright © 2018 by Mark Wayne Adams. All rights reserved. Family Tree Novel is a SYP Kids imprint.