TGIF: How to Get Great Free Books

 

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If you see the MennoMedia Facebook page, you likely know about Goodreads.

If you read a lot of books anyway, and would like to get more books, you would likely enjoy Goodreads. It’s one of those social media sharing sites for people with specialized interests. Giveaways are popular through social media, but time consuming to manage and administer, so that’s why, with a very small staff, we at MennoMedia and Herald Press use the Goodreads program frequently.

Right now we have three Goodreads giveaways offered:

ForGodAndCountry

BonnetStrings

  • Two copies of Bonnet Strings: An Amish Woman’s Ties to Two Worlds are on the giveaway block at Goodreads from now until September 22. Bonnet Strings is a memoir by Saloma Miller Furlong about a woman who grew up Amish and then made the traumatic decision to leave her community as she fell in love with and married her eventual husband. A great book to curl up with this fall and winter … or share with a friend or family member! More info here.

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  • Five copies of Rebecca, the second of Mary Christner Borntrager’s Ellie’s People series are up for grabs on Goodreads beginning Monday, September 15, and running through October 1. If you know girls between the ages of 8-14, they just might enjoy this book. Read more about the series in our earlier blog post. (And you have to be at least 13 to enter on Goodreads.)

CelebrationsNewCover

  • And here’s a different giveaway over at Valley Living, a Harrisonburg-area magazine for families that I edit in my spare time. On November 1, Valley Living will give away one free copy of Mennonite Girls Can Cook Celebrations in a drawing from all those who complete a word search from the Valley Living website (the magazine is doing this to promote the website too). Here’s where to download the word search, this one on “the skeleton,” which can help kids learn about bones. So if you have kids, grandkids or teach kids the right age, they might enjoy helping do the word search, or even sending it in to win the free book for their mom or grandmother (hint hint). It has to be downloaded to enter it in the giveaway. For more on the beautiful book, check here. Not into a word search? That’s fine—share it with a friend.The deadline to submit the puzzle for the contest is October 29, and the address to send it to is printed on the puzzle.

That’s the point of all these giveaways anyway: sharing information, helping people know about good books available for a wide variety of interests and tastes, and keeping the love of reading and demand for books alive, regardless of whether you prefer ebooks, softbacks or old fashioned hardbacks.

Sophia Shine Bible

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All of these books and more are always available at our store (or by clicking on the photos above) or by calling 800-245-7894.

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Do you know of other book giveaway sites? What is your favorite? Let us know! And enter any and all of these giveaways for some wonderful books.

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If you’re curious about the “rules” from Goodreads, here are some of the guidelines:

  • No purchase necessary. Only one entry is allowed per household. You must be 13 or older and a legal resident of one of the countries this giveaway is listed for.
  • The publisher or author, not Goodreads, is responsible for shipment of books to winners. To list a book, the publisher or author has already agreed never to send you anything except the book in question.
  • You are not required to review the book if you win a copy. However, we encourage you to do so, as it’s the reason the publishers are giving us free books in the first place. People who review the books are also more likely to win more advance copies in the future.
  • By accepting an advance copy and posting a review, you grant Goodreads and the publisher an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, fully paid, worldwide license to use, copy, perform, display, and distribute your review.
  • In compliance with FTC guidelines, please disclose in your review that you received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

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Melodie Davis, managing editor and author

Growing Where You’ve Never Gone Before

Blog by Jerilyn Schrock

“A man’s mind stretched to a new idea
never regains its original dimensions.”

– Oliver Wendell Holmes

I like to stretch. It feels good to stretch after a workout and while doing yoga or Pilates and sometimes for a bit in the afternoon in my office. (I’m glad I have a door that I can shut.) Every few days I notice that I can stretch just a little . . . bit . . . more. And that’s good.

Since joining the marketing side of the MennoMedia team a year ago, I’ve been stretched in many directions at once. The first six months involved extensive travel to places I’m sorry to admit I had never been before: Lancaster, Elkhart, Goshen, to name a few, plus Kitchener-Waterloo a month prior. I grew up Mennonite in Harrisonburg but now since visiting what I affectionately dubbed ”MennoMeccas,” I feel more approved somehow. Travel can be both exciting and challenging, and meeting some of our great customers and supporters in person while following authors on book tour was a great experience. Stretch.

ShirleyAndJerilyn[Shirley Showalter, left, with Jerilyn Schrock.]

I’ve worked with wonderful authors: Shirley Showalter, Logan Mehl-Laituri, Saloma Miller-Furlong, Ervin Stutzman, Rachel Gerber, Dr. Glen Miller.

ForGodandCountry[Jerilyn took this photo at the Notre Dame Campus bookstore of Andre Gingerich Stoner, Mennonite Church USA Director of Interchurch Relations, chatting with Herald Press Author Logan Mehl-Laituri at the launch of For God and Country (in that order).]

ForGodAndCountry

The list goes on and happily will continue to grow. I didn’t know any of the authors before starting to work with them. Each author has shown me a better way of communicating and relating and has taken me to a higher level both personally and professionally. And of course, marketing their books invites reading their books. All insightful. All challenging and changing. Stretch.

I’m excited to not only work with great authors but great staff at MennoMedia as well. The level of hard work and creativity is incredible, and I also appreciate the high level of integrity. I’m constantly encouraged by example to eat healthier (many eat locally and intentionally), live healthier (many walk/work out daily and/or ride their bikes all over God’s creation), be more active in church (many are in positions of leadership), and laugh whole-heartedly (the puns and dry humor can bring on some serious tears). How does one take staff members from multiple states across two countries, all with different histories, experiences, thought processes, and personality types and gel them into a common team that not only doesn’t resemble a complete mess but works together with synergy, energy, and good will? God. Stretch.

IMG_8721I’ve been told that who you become in five years is directly related to what you read and with whom you associate. I know I’m blessed to be here and read these books and partner with these people. I’m also excited to work with and meet many of you! I’m pleased with the growth I’ve seen in both myself and in MennoMedia this past year and look forward to where we’ll be in five years. I can tell that every day we’re being stretched just a little . . . bit . . . more. And that’s good.

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How have you stretched in the last year? How would you like to see Herald Press stretch?

Jerilyn Schrock
Sales and Marketing Manager
Herald Press

[In above photo, Jerilyn is 5th from right, pictured with many of the Harrisonburg office staff for MennoMedia/Herald Press. Blush author Shirley Showalter, a Harrisonburg resident, is 2nd from right.]

 

 

Why I Blame Herald Press Authors for My Poor Job Performance

As an editor, I like to stay on top of what our Herald Press authors are doing: where they’re giving talks, what publications they’re writing for, and where their books are being reviewed. I see it as part of my job.

These days, however, I’m not doing too well at it. Herald Press authors are publishing so many pieces, having their work reviewed in so many places, giving so many talks, and doing so many signings that, frankly, I can’t keep abreast of it all. So while it sounds like my fifth-grader’s justification for why he’s not responsible for some recent skirmish with his younger brother, I’m going to say it anyway: it’s not my fault!

Take the other day. I went out to get my mail and was pleased to find a copy of Bearings, a publication of the Collegeville Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research in Minnesota. I spent a glorious week at a writing workshop at Collegeville a few years ago, and I still enjoy receiving this journal from the institute, where Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox thinkers gather for study, dialogue, and prayer.

Opening up Bearings to check out the lead article, I was pleased to find none other than a Herald Press author! The first piece is an interview with Dr. Glen E. Miller, author of the recently published Living Thoughtfully, Dying Well. This spring issue of the journal deals with aging and end-of-life issues, and Glen, who was a resident scholar at the Collegeville Institute in 2011, gives a thoughtful interview on our death-denying culture, what constitutes a good death, and how Christians might “lean forward” as death approaches. When we conceive of death as a spiritual event, Glen says, “We can begin to see death as natural rather than morbid or taboo.”

Living Thoughtfully

Then a few days later, I was just as happy to learn that Guideposts’ website featured an excerpt from Rachel S. Gerber’s Ordinary Miracles, published by Herald Press in March. “The Laundry Pile Miracle” reframes the ordinary household task of folding laundry into what Kathleen Norris calls a “quotidian mystery.”

OrdinaryMiracles

Then, late last week, I learned that Ervin R. Stutzman’s historical novel, Jacob’s Choice, the first book in the Return to Northkill series, was mentioned in The Budget, an Amish periodical. Ever since then, Herald Press customer service has been fielding a lot of calls from Amish readers who want to buy the book.

JacobsChoice

Those are just a few of the written pieces featuring Herald Press authors. I’ve given up trying to keep track of the indefatigable Shirley Showalter, author of Blush, and Saloma Miller Furlong, author of Bonnet Strings. Both of these women are on tour now or very soon. Saloma has upcoming events in Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Indiana. I get tired just looking at her schedule.

WeddingOutdoors2

For fun, an old photo: Saloma and her husband, David, on their wedding day.

And Shirley and her husband, Stuart, are celebrating their 45th wedding anniversary, but that doesn’t mean she is slowing down. May, June, and July will find Shirley doing talks and signings in Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana, Michigan, Virginia, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and Minnesota.

newlywed-frolic

For fun, another old photo: Shirley and her husband, Stuart, soon after they were married.

I haven’t even mentioned a fraction of what these authors are doing in terms of blogging, corresponding with readers, personally contacting booksellers, and, in some cases, holding down other jobs. And these are just some of our recent authors. Add all the Herald Press authors who wrote books several or many years ago and whose books continue to sell well and transform lives: well, do you see why I’m not keeping up with this part of my job?

I should add that, thankfully, someone at Herald Press is keeping up with our authors—as much as possible. As part of her sales support for authors and bookstores, Jerilyn Schrock in our marketing department keeps a comprehensive list of all the places our authors are traveling, and she usually has an idea of where they are writing and being reviewed as well. It’s just a small portion of what she does, but Jerilyn does a great job of keeping the rest of us at Herald Press informed on all the things our authors are doing. She tells me that she is thrilled to work with such an outstanding community of people.

I hope it’s obvious by now that I’m glad that Herald Press authors are outpacing my ability to keep up with them. I admire their commitment to using their gifts and talents for the inspiration of their readers, the upbuilding of the church, and the transformation of our culture. I am excited by the ways in which their ideas are circulating so widely, and I am grateful for their work and energy.

And what about the fact that their incredible output of writing and speaking means that my job performance suffers? So be it. If my failure to keep up with our authors comes up in my next performance review, I’ve got my answer ready.

It’s their fault!

ValerieWeaverZercher Valerie Weaver-Zercher is managing editor of Herald Press trade books.

You can keep up with Herald Press authors, too, on their author blogs (links above) and on the MennoMedia Facebook page. We invite you to attend their talks in your area, post reviews on Amazon and Goodreads and elsewhere, and spread the word.