July 2011 Christian Marketplace Bestsellers

This information is from Publishers Weekly free newsletter. I think it’s a pretty good reading list. You may have already read as least some of them, but just in case you’re looking for what to read next take a minute to check these books out.


Hardcover

1. Jesus Calling.

Sarah Young. Thomas Nelson Publishers.

2. Through My Eyes.

Tim Tebow. HarperCollins Publishers.

3. Jesus Calling–Deluxe Edition.

Sarah Young. Thomas Nelson Publishers.

4. Throw It Down.

Jud Wilhite. Zondervan.

5. Becoming a Man of Unwavering Faith.

Joel Osteen. FaithWords,  a Division of Hachette Book Group.

6. One Thousand Gifts.

Ann Voskamp. Zondervan.

7. Bonhoeffer.

Eric Metaxas. Thomas Nelson Publishers.

8. Grace for the Moment Morning and Evening Edition.

Max Lucado. Thomas Nelson Publishers.

9. Love and Respect.

Emerson Eggerichs. Thomas Nelson Publishers.

10. Max on Life.

Max Lucado. Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Paperback

1. Heaven Is for Real.

Todd Burpo/Lynn Vincent. Thomas Nelson Publishers.

2. Crazy Love.

Francis Chan. David C. Cook.

3. Radical.

David Platt. Waterbrook/Multnomah Publishing Group.

4. Inverted.

Tom Ellsworth. Standard Publishing.

5. Made to Crave,

Lysa TerKeurst. Zondervan.

6. Battlefield of the Mind.

Joyce Meyer. FaithWords, a Division of Hachette Book Group.

7. Leaving–Bailey Flanigan Series #1.

Karen Kingsbury. Zondervan.

8. The Five Love Languages.

Gary Chapman. Moody Publishers.

9. Forgotten God.

Francis Chan. David C. Cook.

10. Radical Together.

David Platt. Waterbrook/Multnomah Publishing Group.

Writing for Children: Finding Age Appropriate Words

By Karen Cioffi

Writing in general can be a tough business; writing for children is even tougher. Writing for children has its own unique tricks, processes, and rules; one of those rules is using words that are age appropriate.

How this differs from writing in general is that the children’s writing arena is divided into specific age groups. There are picture books and rebus stories for the very young child. The story line and text are simple; they need to tell a story including basic conflict and action, but they are geared toward the comprehension of young children. Next comes early readers. Again, the words used and plot are relatively simple to help the child learn to read. The next genre is chapter books. Here the plot and words grow just like the child has. The story can be more involved and geared to hold the child’s attention with mild mystery, suspense, and fantasy.

Then it’s on to middle grade. At this point, the child has grown and has greater comprehension and vocabulary, so should the stories for them. The plot and conflict can be more complex than the earlier chapter books. Finally, it’s on to young adult. This genre’s stories can be sophisticated and involved enough to attract adult readership. But, it obviously should still be written avoiding hard core subject matter. While it can deal with just about all topics, it should be void explicit adult context. Writing for adults is simpler; the writer usually writes with the vocabulary he/she is use to.

The question is: How does a writer know which words are specific to a particular age group? Unless you are an experienced writer and have become very familiar with the different age group vocabularies, you will need help in this area.

Three Sources/Tools for Finding Age Appropriate Words

1. A source that I’ve found very useful is Children’s Writers Word Book, 2nd Edition, by Alijandra Mogilner and Tayopa Mogilner. It lists specific words that are introduced at seven key reading levels (kindergarten through sixth grade). It provides a thesaurus of those words with synonyms, annotated with reading levels. In addition, it offers detailed guidelines for sentence length, word usage, and themes at each reading level. I find it a valuable tool in my writing toolbelt.

2. Another great source is Intervention Central (http://www.interventioncentral.org/htmdocs/tools/okapi/okapi.php) which utilizes Spache and Dale formulas. This is an amazing site that allows you to input up to 200 words, choose a readability formula (what grade level you are writing for), and click for the results. The program, OKAPI (an internet application for creating curriculum-based assessment reading probes) will return a readability analysis of your text, indicating what grade level the particular content is appropriate for.

http://www.lefthandlogic.com/htmdocs/tools/okapi/okapi.php

3. Next is Englishraven.com (http://www.englishraven.com/ttools_dolch.html). This site provides Dolch (sight word listed for frequency and importance) wordlists for each grade level. The lists are limited, but it does give a good indication of appropriate words for the particular age group you are writing for.

All three of these resources are useful in finding just the right words for the children’s writer. There are also other books and sites available that will help you in your search for those age appropriate words for your children’s book, just do a search.

~~~~~

Karen Cioffi is an author and ghostwriter. Her new MG/YA fantasy book, Walking Through Walls, is based on an ancient Chinese tale.

Longing to be rich and powerful, twelve-year-old Wang studies the legend of the mystical Eternals. Certain they are real, he journeys to their temple and begins an apprenticeship with the Eternal Master. There he enters a world of magic where not everything is as it seems, and where he learns the magic formula to ‘walking through walls.’

Walking Through Walls should now be available through online retailers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and book stores. If it’s not yet listed, it will be very soon!

You can also order the book today at:

http://4rvpublishingcatalog.yolasite.com/mg-ya-page-2.php

To learn more about Walking Through Walls, its touring schedule and contest, and purchasing information visit: http://walkingthroughwalls-kcioffi.blogspot.com

To learn more about Karen and her books, visit:

http://www.karencioffiwritingandmarketing.com/p/karens-books.html

Guest Post by Karen Cioffi

The following is a reposting of Karen’s guest blog on 4RV Publishing’s blog. Great advise.

SEO and Marketing: Basic Tips and Definitions

In its simplest form, promotion is a tool or strategy under the marketing umbrella. The marketing umbrella covers the creation or manufacturing of a product or service, R&D, distribution, and any other elements needed to get a product from creation to the consumer. Promotion creates visibility.

Utilizing online promotion means you will be using the internet, search engines, and SEO. SEO is the process of getting the search engines to find and rank your content. You obviously want a high ranking so when a searcher (potential customer) types in a search term (keyword) your site may be one of those on that first SERP.

Marketing and especially SEO can be confusing and seem like a daunting task to undertake, but once you understand the basics it becomes less intimidating.

SEO and Marketing Definitions

1. SEO – search engine optimization: “the process of creating and adjusting website content with the goal of improving search engine rankings.” (according to Compendium.com)

2. SERP – search engine results page – the page results from a search query.

3. Keyword – “any word or phrase a searcher might use to describe or identify a desired resource on the Internet.” When using keyword in your title, it’s important to use the keyword in the beginning of the title. Rather than use “How-to-Guide for SEO,” opt for “SEO: A How-to-Guide.” (according to Compendium.com)

4. Organic Traffic or Marketing – free strategies, such as Twitter, blogging, article marketing, etc.

5. Paid Traffic or Marketing – utilizing paid/sponsored ads, such as Google adwords, etc.

6. Ranking – your position (how high up) on the SERP: the higher the better. In other words, you want to be on the first SERP, or at least within the first few pages.

7. Anchor text – linking to other websites and/or pages directly from text within your content. This strategy should be used to bring the reader to your products, to other related articles you’ve written, to another site that has useful information pertinent to your post, and/or to link to a site you’re mentioning.

Providing readily accessible information and links through anchor text will give your readers more “bang-for-the-buck.” It will give the reader a broader reading experience, and she will definitely appreciate it – this builds a relationship . . . and trust.

Using anchor text links will also help search engines, such as Google and Bing, relate your content to other relevant content, and create a target for searchers to hit.

One last note about SEO, keep your keywords simple and concise. And, often it’s of greater benefit to use long-tail keywords. These keywords may not get as many search hits, but they do get a much more targeted audience; this leaves you with less competition.

An example of a keyword might be, “allergy relief.” Allergy relief is a very generic and heavily used keyword. In order to make it more specific and hone in on a narrower audience/searcher, you might use, “allergy air cleaners,” or maybe, “remedies for allergies,” or, “allergy sinus medications.” You want to narrow the playing field.

There are free tools to test out and analyze keywords; here are three of them you might try: 

http://freekeywords.wordtracker.com/
http://www.keyworddiscovery.com/search.html 
http://www.wordstream.com/keywords/ 

 

Karen Cioffi is an author, ghostwriter, and freelance writer. For writing and marketing information visithttp://karencioffiwritingandmarketing.com