Friday, April 22, 2016

Celebrating our Seventh Blogiversary with a Cover Reveal and Book Giveaway!


Seven years ago TODAY, I inaugurated the TeachingAuthors blog with this post. Hard to believe that much time has passed, and that, despite talk of the decline of blogging in general and writers' blogs in particular, we're still around! I'm especially happy to be here today to share a cover reveal, and GIVEAWAY, of the soon-to-be-released updated edition of my middle-grade novel, Rosa, Sola. And, speaking of updates, I'm also sharing a revised edition of April's lovely poem, "Blog-i-verse-a-tree," in honor of Poetry Friday.

 
I mentioned last month that after an unsuccessful search for a publisher to bring Rosa, Sola back into print, I decided to independently publish the novel in ebook and paperback formats. My first step was consulting several fellow authors for help and advice on the process. Jane Hertenstein, who self-published an ebook version of her novel Beyond Paradise (originally published by Morrow), suggested I include new material in the revised edition to appeal to parents and teachers . What a brilliant idea!

Before I tell you about that new material, let me give you a brief summary of the novel:
Rosa, Sola, is the story of Rosa Bernardi, an only child living with her Italian immigrant parents in 1960s Chicago. Rosa often feels alone, or sola, as her parents would say. When Rosa’s prayers for a sibling are answered, she is overjoyed—until tragedy strikes. Rosa is left feeling more sola than ever, and wondering if her broken family will ever be whole again.
The original hardcover edition contained a glossary in the back that provided English translations of the Italian words and phrases sprinkled throughout the text (though I did work hard to make their meaning apparent from the context). The back matter in the new edition will also include discussion questions and links to information about Italian-American culture. I'm hoping this new material will prove especially useful to teachers and homeschooling parents who'd like to incorporate Rosa, Sola into their lessons.

In researching indie publishing, I learned the importance of having a professional-looking, attention-grabbing cover. I decided it was worth the investment to hire a book designer. Based on the recommendation of another writing friend, bestselling indie author Megg Jensen, I contacted and eventually hired Steven Novak. After communicating back and forth via email for several weeks, Steven and I came up with the new cover. First, let me remind you what the original cover, designed by Candlewick Press, looked like:


And here is the cover for the new edition:


I think Steven did a GREAT job! In a later post, I'll talk about the process of how we came up with this cover. Meanwhile, I hope you'll share your reaction to it in the comments. Does this cover look like it fits the summary of the novel I shared above? Does it look like something that would appeal to readers ages 9-12? Your comment can qualify you to enter our Blogiversary Giveaway for a chance to win your own copy of the new edition of Rosa, Sola. See the details below.

And now, as part of our blogiversary celebration, let me share once more April's marvelous poem, "Blog-i-verse-a-tree."


If you missed April's recent Wednesday Writing Workout about how she came up with this poem, you can read it here, AFTER you've entered our giveaway below.

And now, for our blogiversary giveaway info:

Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter to win one of THREE giveaway copies of the new edition of Rosa, Sola (release date to be announced). You may enter via 1, 2, or all 3 options.

If you choose option 2, you MUST leave a comment on TODAY'S blog post below or on our TeachingAuthors Facebook page. If you haven't already "liked" our Facebook page, please do so today! 

(If you prefer, you may submit your comment via email to: teachingauthors [at] gmail [dot] com.)

Email subscribers: if you received this post via email, you can click on the Rafflecopter link at the end of this message to access the entry form.

The giveaway ends May 11 and is open to U.S. residents only.

After you've entered, don't forget to head over to Jama's Alphabet Soup for this week's Poetry Friday round-up!

Good luck and happy writing!
Carmela

P.S. If you've never entered a Rafflecopter giveaway, here's info on how to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway and the difference between signing in with Facebook vs. with an email address.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

38 comments:

jan godown annino said...

Seventh Anniversary joy - clever & sweet poem. I will go back & read the Wed. Workout post by April.

How fantastic to have tackled this heart project revision/republishing & in your thorough & now, informative to us, way Brava!

Cover - I miss the historic feeling image of the immigrant family BUT I love the angle cover, the hopeful feeling of fabulous color & of course Rose reaching for the butterfly. Congratulations on this new & vibrant looking edition.

Tabatha said...

Your new cover looks great! I can see my daughter who thinks covers are super important liking it. It has an element of hope.
I especially like the second couplet of the second verse in April's poem. Congrats on the milestone!!

Bobbi Miller said...

Happy Happy Happy Blogiversary, and what a beautiful (!!) cover! I love that poem, April!

Linda B said...

The new cover is lovely, Carmela, and best wishes to you in this journey. Interesting to see how different we look at images. I thought that Rosa was saying goodbye; Jan thought she was reaching for it. Since my students always chose a flashy cover, it seems to me that your new cover is going to be appealing. Thanks also for April's poem, "joining five friends to tweet to sing". Congratulations for seven years of great posts!

Carmela Martino said...

Thanks for the feedback, Jan. I did love the family photo on the original cover--it has an interesting backstory in that the art director found it at an antique sale, so it is of a real family. We did struggle with how to show the historic nature of the novel in the new cover. It's very subtle--Chicago's newer skyscrapers are absent from the depiction of the city in the corner. :-)

Carmela Martino said...

Thanks, Tabatha. I'm glad to know the new cover is one your daughter would be attracted to, and that you think the same of your students, Linda. It IS interesting that you saw the image as Rosa saying goodbye, Linda. Like Jan, I saw her reaching for it, but I'm influenced by the scene in the novel that inspired the image. More about that in an upcoming post.
Thanks, Bobbi! So glad you're now part of the team. :-)

Esther Hershenhorn said...

Congratulations, Marti!
ROSA, SOLA needs to be out there in the world for young readers.
I love the HOPEFULNESS of this cover; I knew it was Chicago and when I - didn't see - the Hancock and Willis Towers, I thought - "That was such a brilliant way to let us know it's not a story happening today." :)
I am so honored to be a TeachingAuthor and to my surprise, have loved contributing to our tree's unfolding.
Thanks to all our Readers for supporting us!

jama said...

Happy Blog Birthday to all the Teaching Authors! So glad this wonderful blog and resource is here and still thriving.

Congratulations on the newly released edition of Rosa Sola! I do like the new cover; it feels fresh and appealing; love the silhouette of the girl reaching for the butterfly.

Thanks for sharing April's poem, too!

Carmela Martino said...

Thanks, Esther. I fear only those who know Chicago will "get" that the cover image, but that's ok. :-)
Thanks, Jama. Glad to know you like the cover image.

judy kay Slowey-Sly said...

Thank you for all the time and talent that goes into the blog. I look forward to reading Teaching Authors. Personally, I am partial to the cover with the drawing.

judy kay Slowey-Sly said...

Thank you for all the time and talent that goes into the blog. I look forward to reading Teaching Authors. Personally, I am partial to the cover with the drawing.

Carmela Martino said...

Thanks for the feedback, Judy, and for following our blog!

Garden Girl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Garden Girl said...

Happy Blog Anniversary. Seven years -- Hip, hip, hooray! All the best for continued success.

The new cover reveal for ROSA, SOLA is lovely. I look forward to reading the story of Rosa Bernardi and her Italian immigrant parents.

~Suzy Leopold
P. S. I deleted my first comment and posted a second time after I noted a misspelled word. ;)

Carmela Martino said...

Thanks, Suzy!

Susan Ekins said...

I love the new cover and I think it will appeal to youthful readers even more than the former cover. Congratulations on the 7-year anniversary of this blog.

Carmela Martino said...

Thanks for the feedback, and the congratulations, Sue!

Patricia Toht said...

I love the new cover, Carmela! Congratulations!

Brenda Harsham said...

I like the new cover better than the old. It creates the setting and a sense of longing right up front. You get an emotional connection. And who doesn't like butterflies?

katswhiskers said...

I like a cover that ties everything together in the one image. Your new cover merges to do that and looks very appealing; more story than educational, is how it would look to kids. I think they'll find it appealing.

Carmela Martino said...

Thanks, Patti!
Brenda, I happen to LOVE butterflies! :-)
Katswhiskers, thanks so much for the great analysis.

Jennifer Laffin said...

The new cover is SO much more enticing. If you truly do judge a book by its cover, this will be a winner. I love the butterfly as it signifies renewal and love that Rosa is reaching for it. Good luck with the re-release!

Mary Ann Rodman said...

Better late than never in commenting. I ow the original Rosa and use it with my writing classes. When I think of the book, I find I can't remember the cover at all, and I have excellent visual memory. I have had my issues with my own book covers, and I think the original was one that appealed to the historic angle of the story...as an adult editor would see it. I think the new cover will be more attractive to child readers with the bright colors and silhouette image. As for the butterfly, I felt as if Rosa was neither releasing or reaching for the butterfly but rather realizing the brevity and fragility of life. But then I'm an (alleged) adult.

Carmela Martino said...

Thanks, Jennifer. And MA, I love your take on what the cover image symbolizes.

sevenacresky said...

The new cover is beautiful...and new life for the story is great news. I too look forward to finding and reading this story!

Carmela Martino said...

Thanks for the feedback on the cover, SevenAcreSky!

Pam said...

Well a hearty congratulations on your 7th year anniversary! What a milestone. You've worked hard providing great information and have become such a resource.

For the bookcover, I absolutely love it. That reaching for the butterfly, is so poignant. Even the colors used pulls you in, there is a story there I want to know about. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

Carmela Martino said...

Thanks much, Pam. I'm glad you like the new cover!

April Halprin Wayland said...

Carmela! Your vision, research and originality created TeachingAuthors (thank you, thank you--it's been life-changing!) and the same is true for the new edition of Rosa, Sola. It's a tender story with a true voice that made me teary and inspired, both.

I like the fact that you kept the color scheme of the book the same. It's funny--as others have commented, I liked the old photo...but I agree: if I were a young girl, I think that might have made me reluctant to open it. This one is more inviting.

Congratulations to us! Congratulations to you!

Jane Heitman Healy said...

I'm a little behind, but still not too late. Hooray for poetry and kitlit!

Carol Varsalona said...

The book sounds fascinating especially since I am of Italian-American descent. The second cover is very inviting and shows such promise of new life.

Carmela Martino said...

Thanks, Carol.

Carmela Martino said...

April, your words about both our blog and ROSA, SOLA mean so much to me. And Jean, I agree, hooray for kidlit and for poetry!

Buffy Silverman said...

I love the way the girl is reaching and rising in your new cover, Carmela...and great idea to include discussion questions and links in your back matter. That makes it teacher and kid-friendly.

Carmela Martino said...

Thanks, Buffy!

Leanne Pankuch said...

This cover is a perfect visual synopsis, Carmela! I can definitely see a 9-12 year old reader picking this up.

Leanne Pankuch said...

This cover is a perfect visual synopsis, Carmela! I can definitely see a 9-12 year old reader picking this up.

Carmela Martino said...

Oh, love the phrase "visual synopsis." Thanks, Leanne.