Apr 4, 2014

Monster Needs a Blog Tour, Second Edition

Another blog tour you say? Why yes! We're back and celebrating the second book by Paul Czajak and Wendy Grieb, Monster Needs His Sleep.
Monster and boy are here once more, 
Travelin' along a little blog tour!
So jump right in, discover a treat, 
One little click and your day is complete!
Carrie On…
April 8
We hear there is going to be a really hilarious video…

Find Paul HERE on the Scarletta blog!
April 15
He’s celebrating publication day by taking over the Scarletta blog!

Teach with Picture Books
April 17
The first giveaway you say? Better not miss it!

Kid Lit Reviews
April 21
Monster always has a lot to say, and this delightful character interview will be no different.

There’s a Book
May 6
Missed the first giveaway? Never fear, enter here!

Kid Lit Reviews
May 12
We’re back! This time for a review and giveaway to celebrate Children’s Book Week!

May 14
5,4,3,2,1… Find out the deets on Monster Needs His Sleep in this fast-paced, by-the-numbers interview to wrap up the tour.

And don't forget to pick up the book from your favorite vendor - it hits shelves April 15!

Apr 1, 2014

ANNOUNCING: New Acquisition!

©Lgsarutobi, DeviantArt

The Scarletta office is completely abuzz this morning.

After settling in (barely!) from our hectic and somewhat stressful move this weekend, we were greeted this morning with some spectacular news! 

After an exceptionally grueling and lengthy acquisition process, Scarletta received notification on Tuesday, April 1st, that our little press has been granted exclusive rights to publishing the next seven Harry Potter titles. Can you believe it, dear reader?! After hours of applications, elimination rounds, and Skype-interviews with JK Rowling, her publicist, and the big-wigs at Bloomsbury, Scarletta has been selected to publish the spin-off series Harry Potter and the Adult Years
Penned by Rowling herself, the seven book series will be published in its entirety by Scarletta in May 2014. 

Not only are we unbelievably fortunate to reveal this exciting news, but we are equally elated to announce the seven titles hitting shelves and our online store next month.

Book 1: Harry Potter and the Broken Dishwasher

Book 2: Harry Potter and the Reluctant Colonoscopy 

Book 3: Harry Potter and the Lackluster Benefits Package at the Ministry of Magic

Book 4: Harry Potter and Midlife Crisis

Book 5: Harry Potter and the Couples Counselor 

Book 6: Harry Potter and the Helicopter Quidditch Parenting 

Book 7: Harry Potter and Annual Auror Retreat

Thank you for sharing in this exciting news with our little press. We can't wait to enjoy these exciting new titles with you this spring!

Mar 25, 2014

Living Outside of the Target Audience

“No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally – and often far more – worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond.” ― C.S. Lewis

Time and time again people debate whether or not someone fits the target audience of a specific book. With the industry in such a competitive state currently and unfocused marketing being the death knell of most sales, it's important to know who your ideal reader is. Unfortunately, that creates a dialogue that keeps out a lot of people who would still very much benefit from the book.

So, let's start a dialogue. A fresh... no, a Garden Fresh dialogue. Let me tell you about the magic of Garden to Table, and why "a kid's guide" is so much more.

Mar 21, 2014

Monster Needs to Stay Awake for His Book Trailer!

As technology and media continue to change, so does our ability to utilize our creative outlets in fun and interesting ways. One of the coolest trends to jump out of the publishing industry over the last few years has been the book trailer. Feature films shouldn't have all the fun, right?

At first, the concept seemed like kind of a snooze to me. A trailer? For a book? Sounds pretty boring. I mean, books don't move, they don't dance, they don't sing--well, most books anyway. What could possibly be entertaining about a short preview for a book?

Well, as it turns out, there are a quite a few benefits to promoting books in this way. First, it's a different platform to garner support and exposure for your book. Not everyone in the world wants to sift through Amazon reviews or wade through pages and pages of new releases looking for the hottest picture books. It's far more enjoyable to get a hands on look at some art, some passages, and some reviews all contained within a two minute glance. Second, videos are far more dynamic than an image. You can garner so much more information with interactive text and artwork than with a cover photo. Even with the "look inside the book" feature on popular book vendor websites, there something much more deliberate about the specific art highlighted in book trailers.

The biggest reason to use a book trailer? It's FUN! You get music and movement, excitement and entertainment. The opportunity to captivate a new audience with your product is one any author and publishing press should look forward to. After all, that's sort of the name of the game, isn't it? Getting your book in to more hands?

We'd hardly complain!

So, of course, the point of this small discussion is that we have a new book trailer! Hooray! Take a look below and tell us what you think!

We promise: it's worth staying awake for.

Mar 18, 2014

A Book For Lunch

“Eating and reading are two pleasures that combine admirably.” - CS Lewis

I've talked before about the idea of book diets before, because I think the idea is magical and hilarious. This time though, I've decided to approach the idea of a book diet from a slightly more literal perspective. Not too literal because I'm pretty sure that ingesting books is relatively unhealthy, I highly doubt that there are many vitamins and minerals soaked into the pages of my favorite murder mystery.

Mar 11, 2014

Post-Winter Reading Lists, or Why Summer Can't Arrive Soon Enough

Typical Scarletta Employee Behavior
Winter has battered us all this year. Intense storms, bad road conditions, record lows... but I digress. This post is an ode to Summer, and the delicious books that we gobble up on our summer reading lists. This post is about why summer should already be here! Denzel has talked about book diets, the PW blog talked about vacation reading, and now as a publisher, it's time for us to start talking about summer reading.

Summer reading is important on so many levels. The majority of libraries create FANTASTIC reading programs designed to engage kids of all ages (we highly recommend you enroll your kids in one). Publishers come out with great lists for varying tastes (seriously, every publisher has summer recommendations). More people choose to read for fun - to engage themselves in books while on summer vacation (honestly, who doesn't enjoy a good book while getting a tan?).

So before you cover yourselves in books, here are our recommendations - a few books from the Scarletta catalog to add to the lists of our voracious readers...

Mar 7, 2014

The First Annual SEUSS! Awards: A Retrospective

With todays announcement of The Day the Crayons Quit as winner of the First Annual SEUSS Awards Choice Picture Book, we find ourselves at the end of one of the most exciting weeks in Scarletta history. A little chunk of that history hasn't been shared with you lovely people yet, and so I've asked the wonderful queen of all things Scarletta (Desiree) to share the details:

SEUSS Awards: SEUSS Choice Award

Hooray! The Day the Crayons Quit is the winner of the First Annual SEUSS Awards Choice Picture Book! Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers are quite the team!

Want to share your appreciation for their work? Reach out to Drew and Oliver on Twitter @drewdaywalt & @oliverjeffers

Thanks for your participation and votes! We can't wait for the 2014 Picture Books to be every bit as wonderful as the past year's!

Mar 6, 2014

SEUSS AWARDS: Best Story Content

Congratulations to The Snatchabook! Helen and Thomas Docherty are the winners of the First Annual SEUSS Award for Best Story Content.

Interested in keeping up with the authors or congratulating them for their work? Reach out to them on Twitter @docherty_helen. 

Stop back tomorrow when we reveal the winner of the overall victor: the SEUSS Choice Award! 

Mar 5, 2014

SEUSS Awards: Best Illustration

Congratulations! Journey is the winner of Best Illustration in the First Annual SEUSS Awards!

Want to congratulate Aaron Becker? You can do so by following him on Twitter and letting him know you love his work! @storybreathing

Check back tomorrow morning to see who takes the cake for Best Story Content!

Mar 4, 2014

SEUSS Awards: Best Read Aloud

Congratulations and a big round of applause! Tea Rex is the winner of Best Read Aloud in the First Annual SEUSS Awards! 

Want to congratulate the author? Tell her how wonderful it is on twitter @MollyIdle

Stop back in tomorrow to see who gets the Best Illustrated award!

Thanks again for all your votes!




Springing Forward Into Celebration

Spring is nature's way of saying, 'Let's party!' 

Spring is the best season, and I will have none of your rabble rousing about "opinions" vs. "fact". It's simply the truth. Spring is full of flowers, warming weather, the freedom from boots, and my birthday. Spring is truly the best season.

But you're not here to hear me talk about those boring things, you want to know about books. Well fear not, because spring is also a great season for books. Full of great awards like our very own SEUSS Awards, birthdays celebrated by the likes of Ezra Jack Keats, Lois Lowry, and Shakespeare. Most importantly, spring is full of celebrations of the written word and the infrastructure in place to share it. Let me briefly acquaint you with some of the best, or my favorite, springtime celebrations of books and those who love them.

Mar 3, 2014

SEUSS Awards: Best Character

Congratulations! Unicorn Thinks He's Pretty Great is the winner of Best Character in the First Annual SEUSS Awards! 

Want to congratulate the author? Tell him how great his book is on Twitter @bobshea

Check back tomorrow morning to see who takes the cake for Best Read Aloud! 

Thanks for all your votes!

Feb 28, 2014

Calling all Small Business Supporters - You're ALWAYS Needed

Yesterday, I was inspired by the PW Shelftalker blog "It's More Than Shopping Local." It was full of passion for independent stores, not just bookstores, but all locally owned stores. I read every day about how bricks and mortar stores are being pushed out of their space or forced to close because some big business has either bought out their space or bought out their customers. I feel pain when I see that happen, but then I also read stories about new stores that are able to open or stores that are able to increase in size, and I love how exciting that is (especially for bookstores)!

Just yesterday I read The Bookstore in the Grove's story in Coconut Grove, FL, of being pushed out of their great retail space and into a much lower traffic purchasing location. What a nerve wracking move, but with amazing and loyal support they have continued to be a part of their community. I also have been keeping up on the potential closing of Chapter 2 Books in Hudson, WI, and their final great announcement of finding a new space and being able to stay open. So many people have offered to help them move - what a great community!

I love these stories, and the majority of people do, so why don't we do more to support local? "It's easier to shop online." "I know the larger store has exactly what I need." How many excuses can we give?  There are just as many reasons to support our small businesses, and much better ones at that. To name a few:

  • Your community will remain unique
  • You'll help create jobs
  • You'll receive amazing customer service
  • Your taxes will be put to good use

Small businesses are always in need of their supporters, so we at Scarletta encourage you to make the pledge: #PledgetoShopLocal. It doesn't matter what business it is... grab fruits & veggies at your local farmer's markets, sip the beverages at your local coffee shops, purchase gifts at local boutiques, and definitely buy your next read at your local indie bookstore. You'll be creating community, and supporting your neighbors!

Small business owners do amazing things every day to give back to their community (I should know, my dad is one). So now it's time for us to give back to them. Let the world know when you are supporting local, and encourage others to do the same.

I'll leave you with the words of Josie Leavitt's inspiring PW blog: "Be preemptive and shop where the passion lives on the shelves every day."

Feb 26, 2014

Reading on the Snow Drift

If you're packing for vacation--and we hope that you are--you've probably managed to sneak a book or two into your carry-on or suitcase. It's the time of year, after all, for a little more sunshine and a lot more heat. Before you head off to some sunnier shores or the family timeshare, take a moment to consider what you're taking with ya.

Recently, Josie Leavitt over at Publisher's Weekly, noticed a double standing in vacation reading. Many parents are picking up "potato chip" reads for their own beach bags, but filling their kids' backpacks with books just outside their reach. Why are adults allowed a tough-reading break, but kids are driven to push themselves even further than school is? It's called a vacation. Doesn't everyone deserve one from every facet of the hustle and bustle of daily life?

So why not allow our younger readers some time to read excellent books with the daring and adventurous and likable characters? If you're feeling like the vacation reader in your home could use some exciting variation at a level that's right up their alley, we have some great choices right here at Scarletta!

The Mighty Quinn

Quinn Andrews-Lee feels anything but mighty, and faces a dismal school year. His little sister outshines him athletically and socially, and he yearns for a service award his peers disdain. Not to mention charismatic bigot Matt Barker's goal in life is to torment Quinn and lure his friends to the dark side. When Quinn reports an act of vandalism, he finds himself accused of injuring Matt. Neally Standwell, a free-spirited new kid in Quinn's class, helps Quinn deduce who hurt Matt, but Matt would probably die—and would definitely lie—before admitting the truth.
Through events both comical and poignant, Quinn and Neally solve the mystery just as everything seems to go wrong and manage to thwart a bully without becoming one in turn. And at the end of the day, the fabled ability to belch the entire alphabet might very possibly trump any award ever presented at Turner Creek School.

Feb 21, 2014

Stripping Down (for) Your Book

In the past , I've discussed how some of my favorite picture book writing happens when authors strip their words to the cleanest, barest level. I think this leaves so much room for illustration and great book design to shape a manuscript into the best finished product it can be. Today, I have more to say on stripping submissions of...

Oh, I'm sorry! I just started writing on autopilot. When I wrote the title for this post, I immediately shifted into Acquisitions Editor Josh. For those looking for more picture book submission tips, you'll have to wait. This is an altogether different definition of stripping.

Every so often, there's a story in the book world that completely captivates me. I'm not talking about about the excellent manuscripts I read day in and day out, or the newest fiction that is hitting the shelves during the week. I am speaking to the stories that the world deems newsworthy, the moments that really keep us interested, engaged, and--at times--completely and utterly confused.

Today, I happened across one of those stories.

The New York Daily News reported yesterday that a group of booksellers and publishers in France bared it all in protest of one politician's efforts to ban a book titled Everybody Gets Naked. 

Ah, yes, a good ol' fashioned naked protest!

The picture book, Tous à Poil, is a delightful read that was published with intention to positively reinforce body image with children. Authors Claire Franek and Marc Daniau aimed to present bodies of human beings to children in a way that was representational of all sorts of different shapes and sizes. No two people are completely alike. And showing children that there's no reason to fear there own appearance is completely and beautifully admirable.

Unfortunately, the book has caused quite the uproar with France's UMP party, a conservatively aligned group. Party head, Jean-Francois Cope, read through the book on French television, proclaiming how ridiculous it is that anyone would want to show naked bodies to children.

In response to his cry to have the book banned, staff and supporters of keeping the book in the public eye have made it very clear how they felt about Cope's position. 

Yes, I think they have made their stance on banning this book perfectly and fantastically clear.

And that, dear readers, is how you fight for books.

Feb 14, 2014

You Stole My Heart, Now Steal Some Taste In Books!

We've all been there before, the apple of your eye has a bookshelf that isn't up to scratch. So what can you do about it? Certainly not tell them you don't think they would know good literature if it fell off of a shelf and hit them in the beret. So, you decide to take the subtle approach and just give them better books every time a gift giving occasion comes around. It worked on their birthday, it worked on Christmas, it worked all eight days of Hannukah. So, obviously let's keep the tradition going for Valentine's Day...

Let me stop you right there and tell you why that's an awful idea.

Feb 12, 2014

The First Annual SEUSS Awards! (that aren't affiliated with Dr. Seuss or his books even a little bit)

Hello and welcome to the inaugural SEUSS awards!

Click here!
You may be asking yourself what the heck a SEUSS award is and how it pertains to Scarletta. Well, you're in for a treat, dear reader, because we've plenty to tell you about our brand new award. And, believe me, there's nothing we love more--especially this time of year--than a good award. Oscars, Grammys, Golden Globes, SAG Awards, ha! These pale in comparison to the most distinguished honor an author/illustrator and his/her book can receive: the SEUSS! award (that is in no way affiliated or acknowledged by Dr. Seuss, his books, or his publishers).

The SEUSS! award--that's "Scarletta's Exciting and Unbelievably Spectacular Story!" Award--is a brand new honor that will be decided from YOUR VOTES on the fantastic children's picture books that the Scarletta staff has nominated this year. We've compiled our favorites from 2013 in five distinguished categories for our adoring followers, likers, and readers to choose from. The winners will be announced March 3-7 in support of Read Across America Day on March 2nd!

We hope you love our choices just as much as we do.

And while we know you would just vote for Scarletta favorites Monster Needs a Costume or A Day at the Lake, we deliberately chose to exclude our own books from the running. It just simply wouldn't be fair to the rest of 'em!

*Ahem* And the nominees are...

Feb 4, 2014

A Day of Debunking Myths and Valuing The Lives Around Us: World Cancer Day 2014

Today, February 4th, is World Cancer Day 2014. The Union for International describes it best,  "World Cancer Day is a chance to raise our collective voices in the name of improving general knowledge around cancer and dismissing misconceptions about the disease." The fight against cancer, and the fight for increased cancer awareness are something that everyone can participate in.

As many of you are aware Jen O'Hara, one of our authors and one of the strongest women we know, has been a part of this battle ever since her daughter was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. Jen and her husband Dan maintain a blog that was originally meant to help them keep in touch with their family and friends through their struggles, and now it serves as that as well as a source of inspiration and information to others that may be facing the same challenges. That blog inspired her writing in Determined to Matter, the story of their year long battle.

Determined to Matter is a great way to come to better understand not just the hardships that cancer can bring, but the love that family and friendship can combat it with. It's written so that you can follow along with their journey in large chunks or in little snippets, perfect for people that may at times feel overwhelmed by the emotion and need to take a break.

Join us in remembering the strength of Shannon O'Hara, and help us continue to fight for awareness and funding in the battle against cancer.

Jan 31, 2014

Does The Weather Determine Your Book Choices? It Does For Me.

“A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.” 
― Carl Reiner

It's snowing outside. That's nothing special, I do live in Minnesota. What is special is that there was no snow on the ground last night, and I woke up to several inches. This means two things, the first being that Josh told me that I am free to stay within the confines of my own home today. This leads to the second, which is that I'm also free to have access to my bookshelves all day. That means that the second my work is finished, it's time to make a pot of tea and enjoy some quality reading time. 

But what do I read? I'm currently reading several books, because I'm one of those people that loves to juggle texts. Do I pick up my current YA series, or continue my current historical fiction masterpiece? Well, let's look outside and let the weather decide for me. Is it snowing? Yes. Will any of my friends be attempting to interrupt my reading time? No. 

The answer is:

Jan 24, 2014

How to Maximize Your Reading Time

            All things take time, especially reading. Whether it's 15 minutes, or an entire weekend, when you want to read you'll probably have to not be doing other things. I can't say I've met anyone who can honestly watch TV, or do the dishes, or pack their luggage while reading and actually walk away with complete comprehension. It just can't be done. So, when you're in need of a good reading fix, and you know you'd rather be lost in a book right now, when do you do it? Possibly just as importantly, where?

To answer these questions, I've enlisted the expert opinion of our Scarletta Editor, Josh.

Jan 21, 2014

A House is Not a Home... Unless it's Ravenclaw House

The single most important part of the Harry Potter fan community is the age-old question "what house are you?", and if your answer is displeasing to the asker you will not be able to avoid a short lecture on why your house isn't the best. So, to keep that cycle going all of us at Scarletta took  a quiz that told us what we already knew. We're great. Also, we're all pretty different.

Can you guess who was sorted where? Let's find out:

Jan 17, 2014

People Need to Adapt to Film Adaptions

Imagine for a moment, this:

College-student working in the publishing industry starts to read through the daily blog chatter and finds it to be nothing but talk about the award season and the book to movie adaptations people are either hailing or railing against. The student finds himself bored to the point of small tears building up in his eyes as they fight the urge to sleep on the job.

afgs elouw,n

Because the macbook they're typing on doesn't allow you to hit a ton of buttons at once, the action of their head coming to rest on the keyboard creates a scant two words of gibberish as they slowly drift into the peaceful slumber that each blog post slowly, inexorably lead their mind and body toward.

Unfortunately, we publish a lot more fiction than non-fiction here at Scarletta and that's not how my short story got to end in real life. Instead I get to fight through the grogginess that all of this seasons film adaption talk fills me with, and spend a little bit of time on a soapbox. Here we go.

Jan 14, 2014

The Magic of Literary Role-Models

I think a role model is a mentor - someone you see on a daily basis, and you learn from them.

Denzel Washington 

The more famous Denzel hits the nail right on the head with that quote. Role models are a constant presence in your life during the time that they influence you, and it's impossible to overstate how important good role models can be. Yet, let's be honest, sometimes people forget about some of the most important role models in their lives. The role models that are actually there every day, whether you're at school, or at home, or spending the weekend at grandma's. The character you come to know, love, and admire in the books you carried in your backpack no matter where you go. Join me as I break down a few of the best role-models I can recall from my childhood, and hopefully help pull a few of your fondest memories of these childhood heroes back to surface.

Jan 8, 2014

With an Eye to the Future

It's 2014 now guys! In fact, it has been for just over a week now. This means that the excuses of the holiday season are behind us and it's time to get back to being semi-productive members of society. It also means that it's time to look ahead at the exciting releases scheduled to happen this year, and announce the titles we're most hyped up about.

So, without further ado, I give you the expert opinions of my favorite panel of book lovers: