Saturday, October 2, 2010

School Visit or Library Visit Game

October 5, 2010 is the National Story Telling Day. Let's celebrate with a game. Many authors fret about what they will do at a school visit or library visit. Here's a game to play. This game can be played any time of year, but this is a good time to introduce you to it to celebrate. National Story Telling Day.

The Story Game
Start the game with a phrase. Each person repeats the phrase and adds something to it. As each person repeats the phrase the list grows. If someone cannot repeat the list, add to the list or recites it incorrectly, they lose. The last person that can successfully complete the phrase and list wins.

Example One
Player One - "On the way to the library I saw ____ "
Player Two - "On the way to the library I saw Player 1's sighting and something new.
Player Three "On the way to the library I saw Player 1 Sighting, Player 2 Sighting, and something new.

Example Two
Player One - “I wrote a story about_______”
Follow Example One's progression.

If you want to give a presentation about "How a Book is Made,"

You could end it with a variation of the game.

"When I write a book I _______. OR I wrote a book about ______. OR A good story has ______.”

If it’s a school visit find out what the kids are learning. If it’s #’s, the alphabet or parts of speech incorporate that in your game.

Player One - I saw 1 gorilla playing hopscotch

Player Two - I saw 1 gorilla playing hopscotch and 2 monkeys jumping rope….


Player One - I saw an anteater

Player Two - I saw an anteater and baboon

Incorporate Your Book by Putting Your Character in the Game.

Example for my book, Klutzy Kantor - I saw Kantor play 1 game of leap frog with Agra, climb two trees with Sprystar Elf, etc…

Give the winner a prize. The prize should be related to your book.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Elysabeth Eldering Part Two

Junior Geography Detective Squad
State of Reservations
Stat of Successes
Book Review

The Junior Geography Detective Squad is a series of fifty books that explore facts about the fifty United States. Each book follows the progression of a geography game. As the story unfolds the characters receive clues from an electronic geography game.

Readers are thrown into the game along with the characters. Each book doles out clues about one state. The clues introduce a wide variety of facts (geographical, historical, and cultural) without revealing the name of the state until the book’s end. I had the pleasure of reading two books in the series.

In State of Reservations Matt and Jolene take time to play a game. The two make a friendly bet. If Jolene wins, Matt will have to participate in warm ups at her ballet class for a week. If Matt wins, Jolene will come to the skateboard park and watch the competition dressed in grungy clothes.

Aidona Willowraven’s illustrations are in black and white. The illustrations are necessarily repetitive, because the story line constantly spotlights the children playing the game. From time-to-time the illustrations show us Matt and Jolene in his living room. The scenes of the children and scenes of the clues are drawn well and enhance the story.

In State of Successes Matt and Jolene are joined by Guy at the library. The three play the electronic state game. The clues are dealt by the game. As the game progresses, factoids about the state are given and the children are having a good time playing the game and learning about a state as they go.

H.C. Paye supplies the artwork for this installment of the series. The black and white illustrations do little to enhance the story. The reader is not treated to depictions of the three characters.

Each book is small enough to be read in a short amount of time. The story line is not horribly exciting, but it is interesting and thought provoking. The book’s story line is a carbon copy of its counterparts in the series. The books have a teacher’s guide that can supplement the book in a class or homeschool situation.


Book Marketing Brainstorm

This book has many marketing possibilities. If your book is located in one or many states, a country or even planet (fictional or real), implement the following ideas on a smaller scale.

Years ago (12 to be exact) I contacted Arkansas' Visitor Bureau and requested a tourist package. It cost me nothing, but time. I received a state map and all kids of interesting pamphlets, coupons, and visitor information. You could go a few ways.

Idea I - Make a basket/bag for the state being described in the book being promoted.
Idea II - Make baskets or bags for geographic regions .
Idea III Make a huge basket or bag with the tourist information and maps on for the USA.

You can get the free state packages through the internet and 1-800 numbers at zero cost to the promoter. If the mailing address and addressee differ you will get more tourist packages per state. I lost much of my tourist package from Arkansas, requested and received an extra tourist information package.

There are a few times of year that will be opportune to promote a contest with the baskets or bags

Use the Fourth of July for the United States to collect items for your basket. Go to your local stores and purchase the Fourth of July clearance items days after the holiday. Save them and design a basket that commemorates the US Constitution. Promote the prize to schools across the country with postcards, faxes, press releases and email. It will take a lot of your time to collect all of the info and may take a considerable cost to promote, but could reap a considerable windfall.

Each state joined the U.S. at different times. Run your contests for different times of the year for individual states or territories (the Louisiana purchase for example). For a prize of these sizes make contestants do more than just submit their names. Have them do something to familiarize themselves with the state. If you're crafty design the basket to be eye catching. Try and get the state tourist site to promote the giveaway. Contact businesses in each state to gain FREE or large discounts for the winner. Work in conjunction with the state's education agency. Donate a portion of your book sales to state education agencies to get them to help publicize the book and your contest.

There are schools across the nation, school districts, teacher education agencies in each state, teacher supply stores, etc... Send 8.5 x 11 flyers to have posted at stores, etc...

Elysabeth is from South Carolina. Authors can create baskets or bags celebrating their state. I'm from Texas. I'll use that as my example. Create a state info packet.

State Song - Yellow Rose of Texas
State Capital - Austin (get tourist information & do the same for major cities - do this for each state in your books - Dallas, San Antonio, El Paso, Houston, etc...)
Stat Bird - mocking bird
State Flower - blue bonnet
State joined United States - December 29, 1845

For information on any and all states go to

Regardless of what state or country your book is about or you are from you can create your own state basket or bag.

Have other ideas on how to promote the series? Leave a comment and share it.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Elysabeth Eldering VBT - On the Move

: Junior Geography Detective Squad, 50-state, mystery, trivia series

Brief synopsis: Matt Patterson, Guy Lombard, Mary Beth Patterson and Jolene Ariette take on the newest handheld game to help them in their study of social studies course of US History (geography and trivia information about each state). Each book in the series will be presented as the game giving them "clues" which are basically facts and trivia information that can be found most any place about the states. The kids have to guess the state by the end of the book. Readers are encouraged to participate in guessing as well. Guesses may be changed during the story as no one is expected to get the state immediately. Some clues are more helpful than others and some are just downright fun. This is a fun way of learning something you never knew about state history and geography.

There are bonus clues to five territories throughout the series, one per book with a total of ten per each of the territory (Guam, Washington, DC, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, US Samoan Islands). The ten clues will not come consecutively; the five territories will be one clue every sixth book for each of the territories. There will be a bonus clue section at the end of the series, recapping the clues, which book they appeared in and what the territory is in that book.

Teacher's guides are available as a PDF download. These can be sent via email or are available with the books on CD. The teacher's guides will contain five or six research projects/discussion questions, a science experiment/map-math activity-craft-social studies activity -or any combination of those, a secret message puzzle (cryptogram, word search, scramble or other such puzzles alternating per state), and an end of book game (about twenty questions in a trivia type fashion per book - a mixture of multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, and True/False questions).

Books may ordered from me directly - or from the website -

Elysabeth Eldering

Blog Address:

Website Address:

Email: eelderingATgmailDOTcom

Bio: Elysabeth Eldering is a traveler from birth. She has traveled with her family due to her father being in the military. She has lived in several states and overseas during her childhood. Ms. Eldering calls South Carolina home these days with a mindset of "Southern by choice, not by birth." She entered her first writing contest at the age of 41 and took second place for a children's mystery story, which has inspired her to take that story and write a series for children, the premise being that each state would be the mystery. Her series has a Jeopardy!® like style to it but for guessing the state in the form of a question. Each book concentrates on one state and there are supplemental study guides available, which take the series cross curriculum.

Aday: Welcome Elysabeth. I’m looking forward to learning more about you and your books. Let’s dive into the interview. My interviews are goal oriented. I try to learn about you and share information with others to help them hone and achieve success in their craft.

Elysabeth: Sounds like a serious interview, Jessica. Excuse me while I put on the "let's be serious for a minute" hat. (replaces hat with the more serious one) --- Okay, there you go. I'm ready now.

Aday: When you queried 4RV Publishing how did you present the series, Junior Geography Detective Squad, to them?

Elysabeth: Aidana WillowRaven was my agent at the time and she talked to Vivian about the series before I really knew anything about what was going on. I had already contracted with another publisher but was ready to get out from that contract after just a few short months since she wasn't going anywhere and had put all children's books on hold for an indefinite time period. Vivian contacted me via IM and told me I needed to talk to Aidana and within a matter of a few short weeks I was out of one contract and into another and from there, the first book in the series was published within a couple of months. State of Wilderness was born in July of 2008 and from there things have moved at a slower pace. I'm no longer with 4RV Publishing except that the first three books are still contracted and available through the company for at least three more years. I'm now self-publishing and things are moving at a much faster pace.

Aday: Did you plan several books? How will you keep the story line fresh? Fifty books seems to be a daunting commitment?

Elysabeth: It can be a daunting commitment but since I'm doing a book on each state and trying to keep the characters fresh and new with each book, I don't think the storyline will be a big problem. Basically the stories are written like a game giving the kids clues (in a Jeopardy fashion) and they have to guess the state and since each state has its own fascinating information being presented, keeping the story fresh isn't the problem.

Aday: Tell us something about Matt that the reader won’t know from reading the book.

Elysabeth: Matt is really a combination of both my sons' personalities. He loves his sister even though he's always ragging her and calling her names.

Aday: What steps will you take to promote the 50 States Mystery Trivia Series, Junior Geography Detective Squad to schools?

Elysabeth: Good question. I'm hoping that once I get more books published and upgraded on the pro advantage plan with that being listed with libraries and educational facilities will help, but for now, I'll continue promoting to the homeschool sect and doing conferences and book festivals and hope that some school visits will be in order soon.

Aday: How will you present the Junior Geography Detective Squad series in author visits in classrooms or libraries? (games, activities, reading a portion of the book, etc…)?

Elysabeth: I try to keep my workshops interactive. I've got a writing workshop that is a combination of creative writing - where I have the kids write a short story utilizing the three elements necessary in a story (plot, setting and characters) and a geography game that I created whereby they are divided into teams and win prizes based on which team finishes first.

Aday: Where do you plan to hold book signings?

Elysabeth: Mostly I'm tied up with book festivals or other local events and homeschooling conferences or events. I've done a couple of bookstore signings but since my concentration is on the educational aspect, the few book signings I do at stores will be very few and far between - as time allows.

Aday: What can teachers expect from the Junior Geography Detective Squad? How will the teacher’s guides benefit teachers?

Elysabeth: They can expect a fun series that teaches the students info about the states that isn't usually discussed. With the study guides, the series is now taken out of the social studies aspect and turns each state cross curriculum. The study guides contain things like discussion questions/research type projects, science experiments/historical scene investigator case type studies/map with math skills, maybe a few art type things thrown in and a state board game.

Aday: How will the books in the series appeal to the reader that is interested in reading each book purely for enjoyment?

Elysabeth: Since each book is a stand alone, and the only recurrent theme is that the book describes the state from the clues, students have no problem reading for just enjoyment; there are some discussion questions in the back of each book except State of Wilderness. So even without the benefit of the study guide, they do have the opportunity to explore more facts and info about the state.

Aday: Will you market the book differently to different types of prospective buyers? If yes, how?

Elysabeth: Probably not, since I'm basically marketing as the series overall with the goal of having the 50th book published by the end of the year of 2019, although my new illustrator seems to think we may do more a year and have the series completed by the end of 2018. Me personally I'm comfortable with only getting five books out a year.

Aday: Thanks for sharing with us. Good luck with the series.

Elysabeth: Thanks, Jessica. I enjoyed. Hope I wasn't too serious for you. Pick up a copy of any of the books available and find out where the adventure will take you next.