Promotion Wednesday: Funky Ducks Newsletter

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Critiques lead to Zine

Guest post by Anne Marie Pace

BookHookScreenshotThe members of our critique group, The Funky Ducklings, had known each other online for years, but July, 2008, was the first time most of us were able to meet in real-life. After a year of planning, we finally came together with some other writer friends at the Highlights Foundation’s facility in Boyds Mill, Pennsylvania. We came from all over the United States and Canada, and one member even came from Brazil.

As the week progressed, a schedule evolved in which we wrote on our own during the day, but at 4:00 each afternoon, we met to talk about our writing and about books. This sharing time became special to us, and even after our time in Pennsylvania had ended, we maintained contact through email and continued talking about books we love. All of us have kids, and sharing wonderful books with kids was something we did easily as parents and as writers (and for some of us, as teachers or homeschoolers).

Extending the Book Talk

In the spring of 2010, we embarked on a new adventure together–we began to publish our free email monthly newsletter, The 4:00 Book Hook. It was a logical step, both in terms of broadening our book conversation and sharing our writing with others (both our book talks and our own published books). We planned to provide quality content about quality books of all genres—picture books, chapter books, middle-grade and young adult novels, nonfiction for all ages, and poetry, as well as activities that extend the reading experience. Thus we launched our first issue in May, 2010, and we’ve published monthly since then.

You might ask why The 4:00 Book Hook is different from any other online review source. It’s true that each issue covers one of our own books. If a person reads that book as a result of learning about it from our newsletter, of course we are thrilled. But we don’t want the Book Hook to be an advertisement; rather, it’s a labor of love–an extension of our own book talk and our experiences with our kids and books.

Each issue contains:

  • ARTICLES
    – For example, we’ve included an interview with fathers about reading to their children and an essay about choosing facts to be included and omitted in non fiction books
  • REVIEWS
    – Each issue has a full page of book reviews, plus lengthier book review features linked to activities or websites of interest.
  • LINKS
    – There are too many wonderful resources. We’ve done some of the work for you so you don’t have to face Google. We’ve linked to great sites about NASA, building submarines, animal enrichments, teacher guides–the list is as eclectic as our issues.
  • EASY ACTIVITIES OR RECIPES
    – Honey dingies, Brazilian cheese bread, and nature bracelets are just the tip of the iceberg!

We’re aiming for the best of both worlds–both book talk and the fun reading brings to our lives.

We’ve been amazed at how quickly our readership has grown; our audience consists of parents, grandparents, teachers, librarians, homeschoolers and writers. And we’ve been thrilled at the response.

Sample Issues: Download sample issues of The 4:00 Book Hook, at http://www.annemariepace.com/Site/The_4_00_Book_Hook.html

Subscribe: Just send an email to thebookhook@gmail.com. No subject line or content required.

1 Comment
  • madelyn
    December 9, 2010

    Thanks, Darcy and AM. I’d always wondered where the 4 o’clock came from!