Yogabets: An Acrobatic Alphabet

Hello, Friends, Readers, Writers!  It’s been a long winter and I for one am ready to come out of hibernation!  Please join me this weekend in downloading one of my newest children’s picture books, YOGABETS: An Acrobatic Alphabet.  It’s a short, sweet, and rhyming story/poem that introduces the alphabet in an unusual (I hope) way.  Here are the first few lines . . .

a . . . earring for a tiny lobe, or

a teacup resting one its side.

b . . . Mama with a baby bump,

baby bumpkin tucked inside.

The digital version is free for download from Amazon this week (Saturday, March 12 – Wednesday, March 16th).  The illustrations are by yours truly as well.

Here’s the link:

http://www.amazon.com/Yogabets-Acrobatic-Alphabet-Julie-Krantz-ebook/dp/B016DSTJCC

Happy Spring, everyone!

Cover 1200 dpi YOGA single pp for CS - 9 22 15_Page_01

Halloween Special

New children’s books from purple pie press – free (Kindle) Oct. 29 – Nov. 2, 2014

PRLog – Oct. 28, 2014 – CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Award-winning author Julie Krantz’s newest children’s books are free on Kindle October 29 – Nov. 2, 2014. Bittersweet, STELLA BELLAROSA is about two NYC teens who flee Little Italy after stealing a substitute teacher’s wallet. Humorous, ISABEL PLUM: Ichthyologist is about one little diva about to implode.

STELLA BELLAROSA: Tales of an Aspiring Teenage Superhero (YA/MG Novel, ages 8 – 14, Common Core Objectives: Immigration, Poverty, City Life, 1960’s, Discrimination)

A wallet, a thief, and a brilliant plan–what can possibly go wrong?

At least that’s what Stella thinks when she urges Pin Pin to return the stolen wallet—until she gets caught with the goods, that is. That’s when all heaven, hell and whatever’s-in-between breaks loose, forcing the BFFs to hit the road.

Tag along with Stella and Pin Pin as they ditch Little Italy for midtown Manhattan—all the while battling archrival Angie Como for the title to SOHO’s Annual Food Drive, their ticket to Regis Academy, a posh high school for girls, hidden far, far away in the Catskills. Oh-la-la, for a chance to leave home—for good!

Problem is… the road isn’t much safer than home, especially when the runaways attract the attention of police, museum officials and—worst of all—Stella’s unforgiving father. Also pitted against their extravagant dreams is the threat of Pin Pin and her family’s deportation, including baby sister, Audrey, who lies at the heart of this quirky coming-of-age novel—STELLA BELLAROSA, a serious MG with a funny-bone.

Available on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Stella-Bellarosa-Superhero-immigration-discrimination-ebook/dp/B00I0GB5I2

ISABEL PLUM: Ichthyologist (Picture Book, Ages 3 – 8, humorous. Common Core Objectives: early/beginner reader, vocabulary-building, context clues, reading comprehension, inference)

A girl, a fish, and one little wish . . . .

Isabel Plum likes having her way. And–right here, right now–that means getting a cute and cuddly puppy. There’s only one problem–Isabel is allergic. See what happens when Isabel’s disappointment leads to an important discovery–one the single-minded heroine least expects!

Available on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Isabel-Plum-Icthyologist-childrens-friendship-ebook/dp/B00HPC7TCS

On the Futility of Self-Publishing

Dear Blog Bros—

I wasn’t planning to post a blog today, but we (finally, finally!) got snow last night.  So, in honor of that, I thought I’d write a little essay about my continuing ‘Adventures in Publishing.’

Firstly, I just watched BJ Novak’s book trailer for ONE MORE THING, and guess what?  It’s great.  And so, according to my local bookstore, is his collection of short stories.  Well, I can’t complain about BJ’s talent or success.  I’ve been a fan of his for years.  But what I can complain about is the amount of loud, laudatory, instant, fantastic visibility his book is getting!  Granted, his book is published by Knopf (oh, yeah, Knopf, big name), but that’s not what interests me.  What I wonder is what it takes for a poor self-published slob—the one without name recognition, fame, Hollywood ties, Harvard degrees, etc., etc.—to score in this literary landscape.

Ok.  So I signed up for a free webinar about boosting your book’s visibility on Amazon.  I was not happy about sacrificing family time to do this, but I did.  And what did I learn?  Horror-of-horrors—the host’s main thrust was to encourage us to write 2 books per month, outsourcing the writing if desired, on any subject* we have a minimal amount of interest in (no expertise required; Wikipedia furnishes that) as long as we find the right ‘niche.’

And how do you find a niche?  Study Amazon’s top 100 lists—any of them, all of them.  Choose your subject.  Then look for the last book on the first page of this particular Top 100 List.  Make sure the book isn’t TOO popular (I can’t remember the metric here—something like ranking higher than 50,0000 in the Kindle bookstore) or too unpopular (below a ranking of 30,000, I think).  Then, if the book you’ve found fits these parameters, BINGO!  Write one of your own on the same subject.

I probably don’t have all the details of this webinar correct, but I did get the gist of it.  And while I’m all for self-published books to see the light of day, I’m appalled at the prospect of people finding out what’s popular and writing sham books targeted for a proven (and profitable) audience.  So sad.  Now, not only are aspiring authors (ones who really want to write a book and have studied/practiced their craft for years) up against the BJ Novaks (god bless him) of the world, they’re battling tens (of hundreds?  Of thousands?) of non-writers who just see the internet (and internet book sellers like Amazon) as a place to cast their nets using whatever bogus means possible to make a profit.

Sorry for griping.  I’m just so sad about this.  I really don’t know what’s in store for folks trying to write/publish/sell really good books without a name, an advocate (eg, traditional publisher) or a glamorous scam-plan.

*Special bonus for children’s writers–the webinar host chose children’s books for his first few forays into publishing–because they’re short, don’t require much expertise, and are ‘easy to write.’

How to create a picture book on iPad and sell it on Amazon

Two tools I’ve used to create picture books are Sketchbook Pro and BookCreator for iPad.

First I draw my pictures on Sketchbook. Then I export them to my Photo Roll and download them in BookCreator, where I’ve already chosen a picture book format: landscape, portrait or square.

Next I type my picture book on BookCreator, adding text to each page.
Then the fun begins. I download the illustrations I’ve created in Sketchbook Pro from my photo stream and position them on the pages of my new picture book.

Next I email my completed book to my email address on my iMac, where arrives as an attachment.

Then I drag the attached file (which is in ePub format at this point) from the email to my desktop.

At this point, I open the conversion kit Amazon has created to convert an ePub file to a mobi file, which is the format that works on Amazon. Go to The KDP Select website on Amazon to find the various parts of this kit—KF8 Converter, Kindle Generating Software and Kindle Gen Zip.

Now I drag my picture book (which is in ePub format on my desktop) into the KF8/KindleGen Converter, and wah-la! KF8 transforms it from an ePub file to a mobi file.

Next I go to the KDP Select page on Amazon and fill it out—my book’s title, author, etc. Then I upload my book (in mobi format) as well as my book’s cover (which I’ve taken a screenshot of while it was in BookCreator and emailed to my Mac, where it appears as an attachment which I then drag to my desktop).

Lastly, I complete the Amazon form (enable DRM, set my price, etc.) and press submit. 12 hours (or less) later, my book appears on my Amazon Bookshelf and is available for purchase on Amazon.com.

Sounds hard but isn’t!

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Hi, Readers–Hope you get a chance to check out my debut middle-grade novel this week–Stella Bellarosa.  It’s a Kindle Countdown Deal from Dec. 27 – Jan. 3rd.  Here’s the link:  http://www.amazon.com/Stella-Bellarosa-Aspiring-Superhero-ebook/dp/B008L3YQXK

Wishing you happy reading in the New Year!