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We're interested in ways to help more people (especially kids) like books.
You can read more about our company at www.capstonepub.com.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Words of Wisdom Wednesday: Don't worry, be happy

We have a weekly poll on capstonekids.com where kids can tell us how they feel about certain things. Last week, our poll question was “What do you worry most about?”

The top 3 answers:
1. Grades – 32%
2. Weight – 22%
3. Being Bullied – 21%

In a follow-up question, we asked kids if they have ever been teased for being overweight. 43% of kids responded yes, they have been teased for being overweight.

It’s tough growing up and oftentimes kids are dealing with more than we are aware of. I know there are a lot of books out there dealing with weight issues. Is there a need for additional fiction books on this subject?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Introducing DC Super-Pets!

It’s a bird . . . it’s a dog . . . it’s a . . . monkey? Yep — it’s DC Super-Pets!

Almost everyone who’s read a magazine, watched television, or stepped outside the front door knows the name Superman. Or Batman. Or even Wonder Woman, for that matter. They’re three of the most recognized super heroes (and pop icons) of all time. But did you know that the Man of Steel has an entire collection of pets, including a dog, a cat, a monkey, and even a horse, all complete with the same powers as Superman? How about Wonder Woman’s Amazonian pet kangaroo? Or Aquaman’s pet seahorse with telepathic powers?

Though these heroic critters have been making cameos in the pages of DC comic books for more than 50 years, they’ve never been given the star treatment that many feel they deserve. Well, take heart, animal lovers: you’ll soon be introduced to the crazy and exciting world of DC Super-Pets! This new series, coming in January 2011, follows the adventures of super-hero counterparts Krypto the Super-Dog, Ace the Bat-Hound, Streaky the Super-Cat, and a cast of dozens more as they battle villainous pets and humans alike (and maybe some aliens, too!). Similar to our DC Super Heroes line, but written, illustrated, and designed for a younger audience, these full-color chapter books continue the proud partnership between DC Comics and Capstone Fiction, and will be printed under our younger Picture Window Books banner.

Even more exciting is that Eisner Award-winning artist (and comic book fan-favorite) Art Baltazar is our illustrator on this series. Mr. Baltazar is the creator/writer/artist of the hilarious comic-book series Tiny Titans, and now he’s bringing his considerable talents to the chapter book format and introducing a new world of readers to the wild side of the DC Universe. With a cute, humorous, and whimsical style, Art’s work on this series is sure to be a hit with emerging readers hungry for high-flying adventure from the far reaches of the cosmos to the depths of the sea.

Here at the Capstone Fiction offices, we couldn’t be happier to have the opportunity to bring DC Super-Pets! to the masses. From the stories, to the logo, to even some of the characters, we’re working closely with our friends at DC Comics to create a totally original series. As we begin to dive into the interior design of these books, we’ll look to add even more value and original material – stuff you won’t find anywhere else in an early chapter book.

Until then, “take a gander” (as my main contact at DC likes to say) at the final covers for the inaugural season of DC Super-Pets! below...

Bob Lentz
Art Director
Capstone Fiction

TM & © DC Comics. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

What's the order?

I was just checking out the Google Analytics (handy tools to find out who's visiting our blog and how often) and saw that a common search that brings readers to this blog is something like "order of the library of doom books" and "what is the first book in the claudia cristina cortez series".

Here's a quick tip: our books don't have to be read in order! Unless the series is numbered, readers can start anywhere. They can enjoy a new Claudia adventure no matter what books are available on the library shelves, and librarians don't have to worry about making sure readers start with book 1 to find out what happens to the Librarian of Doom.

From an editorial standpoint, this can sometimes be a challenge. But we are all about making the books as accessible to readers as possible, and one of the ways we do that is by making sure they can dive in at any point and never feel like they have to catch up.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Words of Wisdom Wednesday: On Writing and Being Brave

I loved this post by literary agent Nathan Bransford on writing. He poses questions I've asked a million times--why do the talented doubt themselves, and why do some people seem to think anyone can write a book?

I have my own theories on both of those questions. But you know, from this side of the slush pile it's easy to get really down on the people sending in submissions every day, without reading the guidelines or having a clear idea of what makes a good picture book (or chapter book or YA novel or whatever). It's easy to get frustrated and wish that only great submissions crossed my desk.

But I'm a writer too, and I know how hard it is. I know how scary it is. I know what it's like to let your precious word-baby into the world and how frightening it is to think someone might not like it. Most of you are braver than I am. And you know what? Every single submission that comes my way--someone out there DOES think it's great. It might not be me. Or it might be. But no matter if you're talented or talentless, everyone has those thoughts, worrying that you're not doing it right. So here are my words of wisdom for today, especially for all the writers among you...

Keep writing. And keep submitting. Thanks for doing what you do. I couldn't do what I do without you.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Everything you need to know about picture books!

Tons of celebrities have written them, and just about everyone you meet thinks they can write one. What am I talking about? Picture books! Although you see picture books just about everywhere you go, finding a quality one is not easy. Too long. Too short. Terrible art. Too confusing. Too busy. Too cliché. Ugh.

But they don't have to be.

Here's a basic definition of a picture book: a picture book is a book in which the illustrations play a significant role in telling the story. Traditionally, picture books are 32-page books for ages 4-8.

Here are a few helpful tips for writing a picture book:
-Know your audience. Children under 3 may miss the humor, and children over 8 may feel too old. Usually prek-1 is a good age range for picture books.
-Most picture books are 32 pages, so do not submit a 15-page picture book to editors.
-Check your word count and edit, edit, edit. There is nothing worse than a super long picture book. Keep the story under 1,000 words (500-750 is ideal).
-Picture books are meant to be read out loud, so read your story out loud and make sure it flows.
-Be original.
-Make a memorable character.

There you have it. If you want some good examples, check out Picture Window Books's two new picture book series: Little Boost and Monster Street.

--Christianne Jones
Managing Editor