Small Town Publisher Has International Reach
Little press offers multicultural kid's books to a diverse world
Getting readers to notice and buy is another challenge. Big publishers still have muscle behind their promos, but with 15 years' experience — and about 130 book products under his belt — publisher Karl Beckstrand has carved out his own multicultural niche. Even big reviewers, like Kirkus, Publisher's Weekly and School Library Journal have voiced approval.
And he's garnered awards. His 2016 Western book, "To Swallow the Earth" won a 2016 International Book Award. The State of Vermont selected his earning book "The Bridge of the Golden Wood" as business/financial literacy curriculum for grade schoolers. "She Doesn't Want the Worms - Ella no quiere los gusanos" was named in the top 10 'Best Books' of 2011 by ForeWord Reviews magazine and was featured in School Library Journal.
This year alone, Beckstrand has released 17 new products. "Some are bilingual," he said. "I'm especially pleased with the audiobook release of my western novel."
So how does he get noticed? "I've considered bribery," joked Beckstrand. Really, it's persistence. After ensuring he had quality products, Beckstrand hounded the major book distributors used by New York publishers — and won signed contracts with large global wholesalers.
Now Beckstrand's bilingual picture books/e-books with pronunciation guide (consistent best sellers) can be found in India and Germany. They are even found on Walmart's and Target's web sites. Beckstrand's publishing company, PremioBooks.com, has also donated hundreds of books to needy kids around the world.
"Kid's books are in perhaps the most competitive genre," said Beckstrand. "You have to find fun ways to stand out — and your target audience is always aging out — so you constantly have to publicize to new readers."
Inclusion is critical to success. Beckstrand's diverse children's books feature black, white, Hispanic, American Indian, Islander and Asian characters. "I grew up in a cosmopolitan part of the country," said Beckstrand — who speaks Spanish and is learning German. My books simply reflect the world I know." His books also have twists and online secrets at https://PremioBooks.com.
"My target audience includes teachers, librarians and parents," said Beckstrand. "But getting titles in front of those eyes is a never-ending chore."
It is time well spent. "It's always a thrill when a library system or school district includes your books," said Beckstrand. Amazon sales don't hurt either. See audiobook at https://www.amazon.com/