Monday, November 15, 2010

Lori Calabrese Virtual Book Tour

I am delighted to host Lori Calabrese today on her Virtual Book Tour. Lori is an award-winning children’s author. Her first picture book, The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade, was awarded DFP's Best Children’s Book award. She writes for various children’s magazines, is the National Children’s Books Examiner at, and enjoys sharing her passion for children’s books at festivals, schools and events. Visit her websites to learn more,
National Children's Books Examiner for

Lori also has a book trailer at:

Now about her lovely debut picture book.

Hoping to win the upcoming Bug-A-Fair, Matt pries a strange bug off the grille of his Dad's car. But as the fair nears, Matt catches a
different kind of bug: a cold. Will Matt become student of the year or will he create a third grade epidemic?

My review:

Title: The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade
Author: Lori Calabrese
Illustrator: Chet Taylor
Publisher: Dragonfly Publishing, Inc.
ISBN: 978-1-936381-05-0

Lori Calabrese’s THE BUG THAT PLAGUED THE ENTIRE THIRD GRADE is a fun story for young readers about a boy and a bug, a natural combination.

Matt plans to enter the bug he pried off the grill of his dad’s car in the school’s Bug-a-Fair. He doesn’t know what kind of bug it is, but if he can win he’ll be the most popular kid in his class. When he catches a different kind of bug, a cold bug, Matt’s dreams are in jeopardy. Even though his mom wants Matt to stay home from school, it’s the day of the fair. He has to go. So Mom gives in and what follows is a hilarious day with a third-grader, his teacher, and a bug, umm, make that two bugs.

No, I’m not going to tell you what happens. I will say this is a great story, however, that will have young readers giggling and perhaps having a Bug-a-Fair of their own. Chet Taylor’s artwork is priceless. The expressions on the characters’ faces, including the bug’s, add just the right touch to keep the reader turning pages.

As a former third grade teacher I can relate to the teacher’s concern about spreading the cold bug. I recommend the book for children in first through third grades, along with their parents and anyone who knows little boys (or girls) who like bugs. Or even for the kids who think bugs are creepy. After reading Ms. Calabrese’s story, they may decide bugs are pretty cool. A very nice debut book.
Now for a few words about publishing from Lori:
Before You Jump for Joy
By: Lori Calabrese

I’m sure you’ve all received those emails where somebody wants to put a large sum of money directly into your bank account. However, fortunately for you, you weren’t born yesterday. Throughout life we learn to protect ourselves from fraud, scams, and deceptions. But when we become writers and have dreams of seeing our books line bookstore shelves, sometimes it’s easy to let our guard down and watch our good judgment go to the wayside. After all, we long to be published more than anything, so when somebody steps up and says, “Yes!,” we really want to jump for joy!

However, just like those rotten email scams, a writer has to have their red flag alert poised and ready because as small presses are on the rise, unfortunately, so are the scams. Writers must be aware that not all small presses are created equal. Chances are, you’ve slaved over your manuscript and the last thing you want is for it to end up in the wrong hands.

But how do you find the right hands for that manuscript? There are many things you can do.

First, understand the difference between a small press and a vanity publisher. Vanity or subsidy presses usually require payment by authors or a minimum purchase of copies. Small presses on the other hand, make their profits by selling books to consumers. No reputable publisher will ask for money to read or submit your manuscript. Small presses are publishers, which means they engage in a book selection process, along with editing, marketing and distribution. Small presses also present authors with contracts, often paying royalties. Although publishers own the copies they have printed, the author retains the copyright to the book.

As you step into any business venture, the first thing you should do is research the company. You need to find out if this is a company you want to do business with. You can do this through a handy-dandy Google search. Type in the publisher’s name and see what kind of information and articles come up. Don’t forget to search the publisher’s website and be on alert for words such as ‘partnership’ and ‘entrepreneurial,’ that could be signs they are a vanity publisher. While you’re on their website, examine their current catalog. Ask yourself, as you would a large publisher, “Do I see my book fitting in here?” You can also contact authors who are currently under contract with the publisher and ask how they rate them. You’d be surprised how forthcoming authors can be about their experiences.

Next, do your best to find out about the publisher’s distribution. Do they make your book available for purchase with a listing in Ingram or do they have a distributor and a dedicated sales force? Walk into a bookstore and see if you’re able to order one of the publisher’s books. If the bookstore is unable to order any of the publisher’s books, this is a sure sign to steer clear.

Another great way to research a publisher is to peruse the growing number of websites painstakingly created and maintained by people who have your better interests in mind. Check them out from time to time, so you’re aware of the issues, the question marks and the downright dishonest publishers who are scamming authors. Some of the most popular sites are:

-the Absolute Write Water Cooler (
-Preditors and Editors (
-Writer Beware (
After your intense research and if you decide the company’s reputable, submit that manuscript. If accepted, make sure you read your contract carefully. Confirm that the author or illustrator retains copyright to the work, it contains a projected publication date, and it spells out what rights are being purchased along with your royalty rate. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It's your right to ask a publisher about their track record, contract terms, commissions, marketing, distribution and so on. If they're reputable, they should be glad to answer.

Although not all small presses are created equal, keep in mind that success does happen. Small presses are thriving and are great alternatives for authors at a time when the book world continues to struggle economically. So the time you save reading that email that states you’re a millionaire can be time devoted into researching a reputable publisher that might give you that yes you’ve been waiting for. Then you’ll be free to jump for joy!

Sounds like good advice to me. Thank you, Lori, for letting me host you today.


  1. That looks like such a cute book! I'll have to keep that it mind for my little one for when she gets older. Thanks for the great advice on publishing as well! It's so easy to be scammed when someone approaches you offering your dream.

  2. Hi Carolina. It is a great story. I laughed outloud when I read it. A fun, fun read.

  3. I bought Lori's The Bug that Plagued the Entire Third Grade and my twin nieces adored it! Had to buy a second one to keep then both happy.

  4. My boys absolutely loved bug stories when they were little. I bet boys in particular will like your picture book! Sounds like good humor that girls will also appreciate.

  5. LOL. I'm sure Lori appreciates you, C Lee. It is a delightful story. As a former third grade teacher I can relate.

  6. I agree, Catherine. I think both boys and girls will have run reading Lori's book.

  7. This sounds like such a fun book that children will love! Also, thanks for the advice on checking out publishers. I'll keep this advice in mind.

  8. It is a fun story, Deb. Lori's advice is on the spot too. Something to remember.

  9. Carolina--thanks for the kind comments and I hope you get a chance to share The Bug with your little one! :)

    Cheryl--Oh, you made my day! So glad to hear your nieces adored the book! I really appreciate your support!

    Catherine--I have two boys at home, so I definitely write with boys in mind, but hopefully girls will get just as much enjoyment out of The Bug as well!

    Deb--Hope the advice helps some writers out there. Just taking some little steps and some time can help in choosing the right publisher.

    Beverly--thanks so much for having me. Your blog is jumping and I'm so grateful!

    Have a great night ladies! :)

  10. Wow, Lori gave us wonderful tips! Great resources also!

  11. She did, didn't she, LM. I'm going to print it to remind myself.

  12. I love "The Bug!" Lori has written such a cute story and the illustrations are fun, too.

  13. I love "The Bug!" Lori has written such a cute story and the illustrations are fun, too.

  14. I agree, Beth. The illustrations emphasis the fun of the story, which, in my opinion, is exactlly what they should do.

  15. This sounds like a fun book for young children to read. Cute cover. Great publishing advice, thanks for sharing it.

  16. I laughed all the way through the book, Susanne.

  17. Wow! I'm just going to keep coming here whenever I need that reassurance to keep on writing! You guys are such a great support system and I really appreciate all of your kind words. There's no better feeling than knowing others have enjoyed your book and having the opportunity to share writing tips with other writers.

    Thanks, guys! :)

  18. I bet my daughter would get a kick out of this one. Bets of luck, Lori.


  19. I bet she would, Cheryl. What's not to like about a cute little bug that gets loose in the classroom?