Category Archives: Editors

Summer reading for teens

No Way Out by Melanie Jackson

Hey there,

Our very first YA mystery title was written by Melanie Jackson, who lives in Vancouver, BC. It is a clever and suspenseful novel written for kids aged 11-15 who may be reluctant readers, and at a lower reading level.

The story centres around Sam Jellicoe, a 15-year-old boy from Vancouver who has to spend the summer in Winnipeg with his mother and her flashy new husband, Alvin. To escape the prairie heat Sam goes to a department store. When the power goes out, chaos ensues. A gunman takes Sam and several other people hostage. Sam must draw on his wits and acting skills, and above all, keep his cool.

NO Way Out is a great story to keep young adults reading when out of school, with its easy vocabulary and short chapters. Just in time for summer break!

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Message for May

Hurricane on Grimm's Island

Don Sawyer’s Hurricane on Grimm’s Island

Hello,

I hope May is going well for you. Just wanted to let you know about our adult fiction title for reluctant readers, or anyone who is interested in a quick read story to compliment their busy lifestyle.

Don Sawyer’s Hurricane on Grimm’s Island is one of our most popular titles to date. It’s a mystery about Stitch Robinson, a Toronto private investigator on vacation in the Bahamas. After a storm washes up a body on the beach, it’s back to work to find the culprit. Don writes in an easy-to-read format and his stories are current and engaging.

Click here to get the scoop on Hurricane on Grimm’s Island. Feel free to pass it along and also to contact us at Playfort Publishing with any questions or comments.

Have a great day!

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It’s been awhile

Hello there,

I know it’s been awhile since we’ve posted anything, which is not good blogger etiquette. Sorry. We have had a lot going on around here lately, with an ongoing office renovation, year-end (bookkeeping), handling the other side of our business, and planning for the future. Unfortunately, this blog has been neglected. I am trying to make sure we all make time to put our daily dramas onto paper for your entertainment. Deep breath. Ok. Here we go.

I have been trying to generate some book sales. We have the product. We need the sales. To be honest, this is not my forte. I am not really a salesperson. This is exactly why, even with my knowledge and love of the industry, I could not hack it as a cosmetician. This is why I went to school to be an administrative assistant. I love to organize and create systems, I am good at seeing patterns, spelling and grammar errors jump off the page for me, I can balance a budget, I love spreadsheets and office supplies. I fear rejection. However, since I am the only employee here, someone’s got to do it, right?

No Way Out by Melanie Jackson

So I did a little research and found a bulk email program that would work well for us and started culminating a very large database of public libraries in Canada. I started to contact librarians and have actually gotten some interest. I am really focusing on this right now. Hopefully it helps our cause.

I also spent some time turning No Way Out into an eBook, creating flyers to send out to our librarians and other folks, and spending some more time on our current catalogue. I just have to put all of these things together in the right way and hopefully it turns out.

We are also waiting to hear back from the Canada Council for the Arts about our grant submission. This time last year we already had our answer (which was a no). I am personally getting quite antsy. Everyday I take a walk up to the post office with fingers crossed. Nothing. The things we could accomplish with a grant. I find myself daydreaming about it the way I sometimes imagine how I would divvy up my lottery winnings. I am just trying to stay positive and utilize the force of The Secret. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!

Well, I better get back to work. These emails aren’t going to write themselves.

Talk to you later,

Violet

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A New Year’s epiphany

Happy 2012 to you! I am just finishing up my first week back at Headquarters after the Christmas and New Year’s holiday, and it has been a week filled with hard work, accomplishment, occasional distractions, exciting plans for the future, and a plumbing incident—uh oh!

Yeah, as I was cleaning up the office on the last Friday before Christmas—trying to get it cleaned up enough that when we all returned it wouldn’t smell or anything—I was just finishing up cleaning the bathroom and went to wash out the sink and it wouldn’t drain. I tried everything; it was clogged. I told Lou before she left, but there wasn’t much I could do about it at the last minute on the Friday before holidays. So I packed up my gear and headed to the in-laws’ for a long weekend filled with eggnog, ninja-bread cookies (basically gingerbread ninjas), and Pictionary tournaments. When I returned this Tuesday the sink was still clogged up. We tried again to unclog it using boiling water, baking soda and vinegar, and finally a plunger, all to no avail. It was time to call in the pros. When the plumber took apart the pipes under the sink, the entire thing came off the wall! The sink was supposed to be securely attached to the wall, but turns out the only thing holding that porcelain sink up was the drain pipe! At any point that sink could’ve dropped and it would have done a lot of damage. So those Popsicle sticks and bottle cap that ended up clogging the drain were actually a blessing in disguise! Now we have a new sink (it’s actually a laundry tub sink).

I definitely needed the time away to relax. I have been so stressed for the past year (since just before I graduated from college) and having anxiety attacks monthly. I have been making myself sick worrying about every little thing, even if I had no control over it. Did I choose the right college course? Will I find a practicum placement? Will I get the job of my dreams? Then, after I graduated and accomplished those things, I stressed about other things. Will I be able to pay back my debts? Will I actually be able to do this job? Can I justify my working here and make the company enough money that I don’t get fired? Will I mess up so bad at work that I lose the company everything and they go bankrupt and I never get another job ever again? It was a vicious cycle. I was tormenting myself. I was worrying so much that it was making it harder to concentrate on everything, making it more likely that I would mess up.

As I was doing some year-end bookkeeping between Christmas and New Year’s from home and becoming increasingly stressed because it wasn’t going as smoothly as I would have liked, I had an epiphany. I realized that the entire fate of the company does not rest on my shoulders. And if I can’t figure out something in the bookkeeping I could ask our Accountant to figure it out for me (that is what he gets the big bucks for after all). And that worrying about the “what-ifs” was not going to get me closer to my goals or stop the company from going bankrupt (just to clarify, we aren’t going bankrupt). The only things that I have any control over are my actions and my reactions. All I can do is my job to the best of my ability and let others handle the rest.

Once I realized that, I relaxed and was actually able to get some real work done. Instead of running around in circles, staring at all the disorganized paperwork and my long, long list of things yet to be accomplished and stressing out to the point that I didn’t even want to go into work (which is totally lame because I love my job), I took a chill pill (not really) and stopped putting so much pressure on myself. After all, I am only one person, and although I am really super awesome if I do say so myself, the entire fate of the universe does not rest on my shoulders.

My New Year’s resolution is to stop stressing myself out. Here’s to a stress-reduced 2012!

Violet

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And the winner is…

Prize pack awarded to School District 37 Delta, BC

We are very excited to announce the winner of Playfort Publishing’s BC School District Prize Pack draw! To see a list of the school districts involved in the draw, please click here. After lunch I had Louise pull a name out of a hat (actually it was a little paper cup), and the winner is…

BC School District 37 Delta!

Congratulations! We will package up your prize pack and send it in the mail today. We wonder what you will do with the goodies, and we would love to hear about it!

Congratulations and happy holidays!

The PFP team

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BC school district prize pack draw

Our Reading Takes You Places poster

Back in the summer we sent our Reading Takes You Places posters to the librarians at each of the public elementary schools in British Columbia. I spent a LOT of time folding each poster, creating mailing labels, affixing the mailing labels, organizing into appropriate school district piles, creating and printing a letter to each of the school districts, packaging everything up, and mailing each package to its appropriate school district office. This took a lot of hours, caused some blisters and paper cuts, and took four trips up and down the “steepest stairs in the world” to get all those packages into my car to bring over to the post office (and another 4 trips from my car to the post office). But all’s fair in love and literacy!

At Playfort Publishing we know how important literacy is, and starting young is the best way to ensure strong literacy levels later in life. That is why we support librarians, literacy groups, and teachers, and why we created the Reading Takes You Places posters for school librarians.

So we sent these out to all the school districts in BC for free and asked them to distribute to each of the elementary schools’ librarians. We then explained that we would be doing a prize pack draw of books and material to go to a winning school district. All they had to do was send us an email saying they wanted to be included in the draw. Out of the 59 school district offices in BC, we got a response from 9. Well, that means there is a 1 in 9 chance of winning! The schools to be included in the draw are the following:

  1. SD 27 Cariboo-Chilcotin
  2. SD 35 Langley
  3. SD 37 Delta
  4. SD 61 Greater Victoria
  5. SD 75 Mission
  6. SD 78 Fraser-Cascade
  7. SD 79 Cowachan Valley
  8. SD 82 Coast Mountain
  9. SD 83 North Okanagan-Shuswap

And the lucky winning school district will receive this wonderful prize pack from Playfort Publishing:

The prize pack

  • 2 copies of The Lunch Bag Chronicles by Don Sawyer
  • 2 copies of No Way Out by Melanie Jackson
  • 2 copies of Raw Deal by Melanie Jackson
  • 2 copies of Running by Don Sawyer
  • 1 copy of our latest catalogue
  • 1 chance to win a free Skype author presentation

This prize pack is an estimated value of $110.00 (does not include the value of the Skype session). Our titles are for reluctant readers and are great reads for boys (and girls). The books will be a wonderful addition to any school library. Thank you to all of the school librarians that put our posters up in their libraries and who spend their lives teaching and learning with kids. We will announce the winning school district tomorrow (Friday, December 15, 2011) at 2:00 pm P.S.T. (unless we still do not have Internet access in the office, which means it will be posted as soon as possible).

Good luck!

Violet

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Running crosses the finish line!

This book title has been giving me a lot of good blog post titles lately, eh? 😉 hehe. Well, good news folks! As you can probably gather from the title here, Running by Don Sawyer arrived on our doorstep today! A skid of boxes arrived at our door (the door at the bottom of the “steepest stairs in the world,” not the one at the top, unfortunately) and we quickly unwrapped it and started hauling those heavy boxes up the stairs and into our supply closet (our office is pretty small and we tend to run out of space easily). This time I did the honours of unboxing Running and here it is! I don’t think I will ever get bored of these days! Having the final product arrive all pristine and boxed up after months of hard work is such a thrill!

Congratulations to Don Sawyer on the most recent addition to your personally authored library! I have to say that I loved this book, and I’m not just saying that because I am biased—I know that this would have been a favourite of mine if it were around when I was in high school (before I had heard of Don or Playfort). It would make the perfect gift for any young adult or teen, boy or girl.

Running unboxing at Playfort Publishing

Running can be purchased from Playfort Publishing in paperback for $13.95, or in ebook (EPUB, PDF, or MOBI) for $8.95

Catch ya next time!

Violet

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Running along

Running by Don Sawyer

We found out that Running by Don Sawyer is ready! Now we just have to wait for them to show up on our doorstep… ah, the waiting game. Well worth it, though.

This story about three friends who run together in the Shuswap area of British Columbia was such a great one. I felt connected to the characters and could see clearly the picture Don Sawyer was painting with his descriptive narration. Even though it is about high school kids, I could identify with and relate to all of the characters—they’re so realistic. Here is the YA title synopsis:

Running is a fast-paced story about friendship, redemption, and the triumph of love. Louie and Paul come from very different worlds. Yet they have one thing in common—tragedies have shattered their families.  To bury their hurt, they run fast and relentlessly. A chance accident on the trails brings the two boys together, and an unlikely friendship grows. Joined by Annie, another loner who has secrets of her own, they form a threesome that runs like the wind in the hills above their town. But a disastrous attempt by Paul to join the school’s cross country squad and an explosive encounter with their star runner turns the alliance upside down. Overcoming their anger and loneliness, the three find a way to become a team again—and hatch an outrageous plot along the way!

Although we don’t yet have the physical copies in hand, the ebook is up online already at a very reasonable price.

Until next time,

Violet

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Social media road mapping

I am not a very social person. Don’t get me wrong, I can hold my own in any conversation and I am not shy or uncomfortable in a crowd, but I am an introvert. I definitely get my energy from internal thought and independent projects. But recently I have been given the task of starting Playfort Publishing on a social media campaign. Seems easy enough for a young professional like me, right?

Well, I found out that there’s much more involved than just making a facebook page and tweeting about our office lunches 😉

I have been doing a lot of research and all the social media marketing experts agree that a business has to have a comprehensive plan in place before embarking down that path. So I spent the day coming up with a list of questions that we must answer before we go live with our pages and accounts. It’s a pretty long list…

The short of it is that a business should know these key things before they start anything:

  • What is our objective?
  • Who is our audience?
  • What is our message?
  • How do we measure our success?

There are a lot more in-depth questions that help you to get to the core of why you should use social media for your business and how you can make it work best in your business’s situation. Because having a build-it-and-they-will-come mentality about social media won’t get you very far. The point is that you cannot know where you are going without a plan, and creating and sticking to a road map is the best way for a business to navigate through the social media network that is our world.

Tweet ya later!

Violet

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Off and Running

Running Proof

Running proof gets the stamp of approval

Wow, things are really moving along right now. Last Friday we received Raw Deal by Melanie Jackson all printed and bound and boxed up. It looked so good, and it was especially exciting for me because it was the first book I have been able to work on. I was so excited, in fact, that I grabbed a copy from the box, jumped in my car, and drove up to Okanagan College to bring it to my instructor from the Administrative Assistant program I graduated from. I just had to give her a copy and show her what I was able to accomplish with the training I received and her connection with my now boss, Louise (which is how I got in contact with her to start my internship).

This week is another ball game. We finished off Running by Don Sawyer and sent it to the printers on Monday, and by today (Wednesday) the proofs came in! It looks great so far. I wish this book were around when I was in high school, because I know I would have loved and appreciated it even more then. Either way, it is a great story about family, friendship, and overcoming life obstacles and tough times. I cried at the end, and I’m sure you will, too.

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