Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Mark Wilensky Awarded 2011 Gilder Lehrman Colorado History Teacher of the Year Award

Watch the Common Sense book trailer!

PRESS RELEASE: Mark Wilensky Awarded 2011 Gilder Lehrman Colorado History Teacher of the Year Award and is in Top 5 Finalists for National Award by Sarah Keeney, Marketing Director, Savas Beatie LLC
Monday, September 19, 2011

El Dorado Hills, CA, September 19, 2011 -- The Elementary Common Sense of Thomas Paine author Mark Wilensky was awarded the 2011 Gilder Lehrman, History Channel, and Preserve America’s Colorado History Teacher of the Year Award.

The Elementary Common Sense of Thomas Paine: An Interactive Adaptation for All Ages by Mark Wilensky (Savas Beatie, 2008)

"I am so thankful to work for a school district that allows teachers the freedom to teach meaningful history curriculum in creative and individual ways," said Wilensky, a teacher in Jefferson County Public Schools.

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History awards the National History Teacher of the Year title each year in its effort to promote the study and love of American history. State winners received a $1,000 prize and an archive of classroom resources and all state winners are finalists for the $10,000 National History Teacher of the Year Award. The national winner will be announced in fall 2011.

Mark Wilensky teaches 5th Grade at Wheat Ridge 5-8. The award ceremony will take place October 6th at 6 pm at the Jefferson County Board of Education Meeting.

“Mark Wilensky provides a rich classroom learning environment that includes authentic learning activities and differentiation. He is successful in having his students meet and exceed our district curriculum standards as demonstrated by academic growth. Students are highly engaged in learning and students feel welcomed and supported. Students and parents know that Mr. Wilensky will be their educational advocate and that he is there to help them succeed,” said Warren Blair, principal at Wheat Ridge 5-8.

Wilensky's interactive Common Sense offers an array of colonial history sprinkled with audio, video, and text graphics linked to a dynamic online website. This adaptation includes the original Common Sense, a new adapted version in plain language, an extensive chronology of pre-revolutionary events leading up to the publication of Paine's pamphlet, and adapted versions of the Olive Branch Petition, A Proclamation For Suppressing Rebellion And Sedition, and the Boston Port Act. Wilensky also includes a wide variety of insights on colonial coins and mercantilism, and many humorous illustrations designed to convey the important concepts of independence and liberty.

About the Author: Mr. Wilensky is a fifth-grade teacher in Jefferson County, Colorado, where he has been accused of teaching his Colonial America and Revolutionary War classes with enthusiastic zeal. Mark holds a Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction. He has taught expelled and court-ordered students in coordination with the District Attorney's Office, and worked with the Colorado Department of Education on a national study to find ways to eliminate gaps in education for homeless and highly-mobile children.

The Elementary Common Sense of Thomas Paine: An Interactive Adaptation for All Ages

By Mark Wilensky
List: $18.95
ISBN: 978-1-932714-36-4
Published September 2008 by Savas Beatie LLC

Available at bookstores nationwide and online.

For more information, visit Savas Beatie or the Common Sense website.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Mason-Dixon Report

The Mason-Dixon Report, March 30, 1861 from William Rabkin on Vimeo.

We recently received some contact from the group behind the Mason-Dixon Report. Check out the website, the introductory video above, and some of their other clips online. I hope this is being used in classrooms throughout the country over the next few years for some fun and creative lesson planning!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Twitter Tips: Part 2 of 2

If you have trouble setting up an account, visit Twitter’s help center at https://support.twitter.com/. Here are some tips for your first foray into the Twittersphere:

1. Pick a good name. If you already have a presence or a fan-base online, use a name that your fans will recognize, such as JKRowling, DanBrown, or the name of your blog (TheCivilWarExpert). Use proper capitalization, but without spaces. If you use something like war_nerd223 or number1mommy, you may not be taken seriously.

2. Fill out your profile. The first thing your peers will do when you follow them is look at your profile. If your purpose for being on Twitter is not clear and compelling, they may discount you. List your blog URL, the title of your book, and any expertise or titles that will convince users that you are worth following. Keep it concise.

3. Include contact information. Supplying your ‘public’ email address is a good way to court connections from fans and useful contacts. Do not include your phone number or any physical address.

4. Use a relevant picture. Obviously the author’s photo from your dust jacket/website is an ideal choice, but the cover of your book or any icon you might use on your blog is also acceptable. Something with bright colors, non-blurry, and with readable text is helpful. Users with blank photos are quickly ignored. Do a web search or visit Twitter’s help center if you aren’t sure how to upload a profile photo.

5. Follow everyone. Begin by using the Twitter ‘search’ feature to look for users who are discussing topics that are relevant to your book. Perform multiple searches with different search terms and look for anyone who seems to be posting intelligent, original information. Good candidates are: popular independent bookstores, history magazines, celebrated authors in your field, bloggers, news media, literary event coordinators, book marketing or PR firms, and niche publishers. Look for users who seem to get a lot of @ Replies directed at them, or who are included in many different conversations. The more users you follow, the more opportunities you will find to join in relevant conversations.

6. Read your Timeline. This is where the most time is spent. The more users you follow, the more unread tweets you will get in your timeline. After following a few hundred users, you will find it impossible to keep up. That’s ok, as you can begin “unfollowing” unimportant users, or simply skimming your timeline occasionally to look for important news.

7. Join in conversations. Whenever you see a user asking a question that you know the answer to, or a conversation that you can contribute positively to, tweet! Remember to use any # hashtags that are being used in the conversation, and to include @ Mentions to key users (or if you are replying to someone’s tweet). Remember that the goal is to promote yourself and your expertise to entice followers, not to advertise your book. That comes later.

8. Tweet original content. Once you have a stable base of followers, you can market your book to them by tweeting interesting quotes or excerpts, discount coupons or special deals on your book, times and places of events that you will be attending, and URL links to your blog posts. If you can, tweet daily, or at least two or three times a week. Remember that you can tweet from most cellphones - search online for instructions on using Twitter with your specific cellphone.

9. Stay connected. Keep an eye on your Direct Messages and @Mentions, and promptly answer any questions directed your way. By staying connected and involved with your fans, you will remain in the forefront of their minds when they are giving book recommendations to their friends and family!

10. Keep it up. Twitter is not a tool that can be honed overnight. You must develop a bevy of followers in order to get your message out. Once you are established, there are many marketing strategies available to making the most of your Twitter network. For example, offer discounts to followers who Retweet your important announcements. Add your voice to current events conversations to attract new fans. Use the “trending topics” list on the right side of Twitter to see what people are talking about, and keep an eye out for topics that are relevant to your book.

Like Facebook, Twitter is all about cultivating a network of contacts, both fans and peers. Like any social network, you can only get out of it as much as you put in. By tweeting original content, news, and incentives like coupon codes or limited-time deals, and by participating in discussions, you will be able to connect with readers and peers alike. Happy tweeting!

Friday, September 16, 2011

SB and QR (Read on if puzzled)

A QR code, also known as a “Quick Response” code, is the newest innovation in product marketing. These codes are popping up all over the media, including magazines, restaurants, and of course the book industry. These codes are squares with a unique pattern made up of black components on a white background. This code can then be scanned by smart phones. It works similarly to a regular barcode found on any and all merchandise, but is exclusively for smart phones that have a camera with the ability to identify the code.

Generating these codes is relatively easy as we found out here at Savas Beatie. You simply need access to a QR code generator such as Qurify or Delivr. All you have to do is plug in the URL you want to advertise. So in our case, if we want to advertise a specific book and want to direct people to the book page on our website, we just need to input the URL that is specific to that book and hit submit. It really is that simple! Then a pixilated square is generated for you to download and use however you wish.

These codes are also great because they have the ability to be tracked. We found out that Delivr allows you to generate your QR codes and then save them in a database to be tracked. Then, when the QR code begins to circulate and people start scanning the code, we can go in to see how effective the code is in producing awareness about our titles. As an example, here is a code that leads to our website homepage:

*Special thanks to Lindy Gervin for her early work with QR codes in the SB office!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Introducing Twitter: Part 1 of 2

Twitter is sometimes an enigma to the web-savvy and the web-illiterate alike. It’s part chat-room, part message board, part news feed, and part incomprehensible social network, all fueled by text message-style 140 character “tweets,” complete with odd punctuation and a “secret language” of abbreviated words and acronyms.

Twitter, like Facebook, can be a powerful tool in your Internet marketing toolbelt, but like other Internet marketing techniques, it requires some dedication and time to develop a network that’s actually useful. The first thing you should know about Twitter is that simply creating an account and posting tweets about your book will get you nowhere. Like any good cult, you must first cultivate a network of followers. This is done by participating in topical discussions on Twitter, by following other users in your field (and hoping they follow you back), and by adding a “follow me” link to your blog, Facebook, email and forum signatures, and in any other online communication that you participate in. Furthermore, you must keep the interest of your followers by posting regular updates that relate to your field of expertise. Users are more likely to follow someone who has a history of informative and regular tweets.

Communication on Twitter is entirely done through public text messages called “tweets.” A tweet is an individual 140-character (maximum) message which is visible publicly and which is distributed instantly to anyone who follows you. Once sent, a tweet cannot be edited, so compose and proofread your tweets carefully. A tweet can be as simple as a notification of an upcoming event, a web link to a recent blog post, a response to another user’s tweet, or a repetition of another user’s tweet that you believe your followers would like to see (a “retweet”). Tweets can also incorporate special words that have special meaning. These include hashtags (like #JapanEarthquake or #Obamacare) which describe the content of your tweet, mentions (like @JKRowling) that indicate to whom you are addressing, and retweets (a message preceded by the letters ‘RT’) which are tweets that you repeat for the benefit of your followers.

For more information on the types of tweets, see Twitter’s excellent help pages. Stay tuned for Part 2 next week.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The New Gettysburg Campaign Handbook Book Trailer

To follow up on my recent book trailer post, here is our latest creation! If you are familiar with Savas Beatie book trailers, we hope you enjoy the new features that we added to this one.

Curious why we make book trailers and what we do with them? Check out this book trailer Q and A with Ted Savas.

Thanks to designer David Van Dusen for another great job.