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:
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“Do you think awards and reviews are key to sales of new releases?”—Anna Faktorovich, PhD Interview

Faktorovich: You boast on your website that over 5 years the authors you’ve published with MWA, Inc. have won over 50 major awards. To how many awards do you submit each of your releases to? How expensive is it to do a mass submission to so many awards for several books? Do you or your authors fund these submissions? Do you see a positive return in terms of sales after a book ends up winning awards? Do you think awards, reviews, or some other components are key to the sales of a new release in the illustrated children’s book category?

Christa Carpenter receives the Evelyn Thurman Young Readers Award.
Christa Carpenter receives the Evelyn Thurman Young Readers Award.

AdamsAwards—we all want them, but why? Most authors rely on publishers to submit for book awards. The publisher works within a fixed budget and may only enter a few awards competitions. What authors and illustrators may not realize is they can submit for book awards. Some awards offer monetary compensation, while all offer either local, regional, or national exposure. What value is an award? Awards offer something different for each person. Authors may use awards to validate their profession to consumers, peers, or family. Readers may see awards as a quality review from book professionals. Publishers may see the award as a reason to contract for future books. No matter what the reason, be confident that your book is of professional quality before submitting. Be open to the fact that not all submissions win. Being a finalist is as important as receiving a medal. For my fifty published books, only eleven have won awards. I use critiques from judges to enhance the next book or second edition printing of the current book. Not every book is a winner, so why not learn from each.

Read the complete interview with Mark Adams, Award-Winning IllustratorAdams-Author Bio Photo-mwa.company-template with Anna Faktorovich, PhD

Book Reviews: Who and How to Submit

Congratulations on the production of your book. Now you must make readers aware of how captivating the book is. Below is a list of national reviewers who offer online reviews. Each reviews through their website and generally post their reviews on Amazon. Amazon reviews is very important to online book success.

Non-paid Reviews:

Non-paid Florida Reviews:

Paid Reviews:

Submit a book into national awards, especially if you’ve had positive Amazon feedback. Apply only for awards that fit your budget and give you national exposure. I’ve listed a few awards that offer low entry fees and give national book exposure.

Here are a list of awards you might consider:
Best of luck!