American Booksellers Association’s Winter Institute #WI12 ROCKS!


We’re all familiar with that “online bookseller who shall be nameless,” who’s been huffing and puffing and trying to gobble up the independent-bookstore market. Well, let me tell you a little secret. It’s not working. Indie bookstores are here to stay. And best of all, they are thriving!


Lesley Stahl and Ann Patchett

I had the privilege of attending my second American Booksellers Association’s Winter Institute. In a nutshell, it was AWESOME!

I attended some terrific sessions about:

  • Starting a children’s book festival (I have this fantasy that the North Fork of Long Island will some day have a children’s book festival of its own); and
  • Working with small and university presses.


Left to right: Wendy Morton Hudson, Nantucket Book Partners (Nantucket, MA); Cathy Berner, Blue Willow Bookshop (Houston, TX); Todd Dickinson, Aaron’s Books (Lititz, PA); Tom Roberts, Ye Olde Warwick Book Shoppe (Warwick, NY).

I also sat in on two wonderful lunches. The first was an education lunch for authors conducting events at independent bookstores. Some takeaways from the lunch were:

  • It’s never too early to contact a bookstore. Contact the store 5-6 months before a book releases.
  • Be sure to be honest with the bookstore regarding the number of people you believe will be in attendance.
  • People expect to be entertained at a bookstore event.
  • Do not read the entire book at an event (unless it’s a picture book). If you read the entire book, there’s no incentive to purchase the book.
  • Some bookstores like PowerPoint presentations. Others, not so much.
  • Presentations for kids generally follow this formula: 15 minutes to read a story; 15 minutes of Q & A; and 20 minutes to sign.
  • Be sure to engage kids and their parents during a presentation.
  • Multiple author events need cohesion. E.g., An evening of alligator stories, etc.
  • And always be sure to work social media. Make sure you put links to the bookstore on your website.

The second was the small and university presses lunch. The highlight for me was listening to Marissa Moss, publisher and editor extraordinaire of Creston Books, present the spring titles.

Below are a few photographic highlights:


Marissa Moss, Editor and Publisher of Creston Books, discussing the spring releases. 


Kate Warne, Pinkerton Detective by Marissa Moss and illustrated by April Chu (Creston Books 2017). 



Rumors by Denys Cazet (Creston Books 2017).


The Case of the Poached Egg, A Wilcox & Griswold Mystery by Robin Newman and illustrated by Deborah Zemke (Creston Books 2017).



Marissa Moss with her first adult novel, Last Things: A Graphic Memoir of Loss and Love (Conari Press 2017). 


The Galley Room 


Emma Donoghue signing, The Lotterys Plus One (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic 2017).


William Joyce signing, Ollie’s Odyssey (Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books 2017).


Josh Funk with his latest book, The Case of the Stinky Stench (Sterling 2017), and me (naturally holding a carton of eggs to celebrate the upcoming release of The Case of the Poached Egg).


Ann Patchett signing, Commonwealth (Harper 2016). 


Detectives Wilcox and Griswold are in the house! 


Thrilled to be signing the latest Wilcox & Griswold Mystery, The Case of the Poached Egg (Creston Books 2017). 

Please support your local independent bookstores. Not to preach (because I would never, ever do that) BUT . . . independent bookstores are anchors in our communities. They bring us together. They keep our kids off electronic devices and get them excited about the written word. Independent bookstores give us opportunities to know and understand worlds beyond our own. They support us in so many ways. Please be sure to support them.


For comprehensive coverage of #WI12, be sure to check out these wonderful articles from Publishers Weekly.







Wilcox & Griswold Launch Party at The Corner Bookstore

crime scene tape

The Case of The Missing Carrot Cake

File # 4/30/15, 6-8 pm

Crime Scene: The Corner Bookstore

Blog readers, this launch party invitation for The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake is real. Only the author and illustrator names have been changed . . . because who wouldn’t want an alias?

Be prepared for over 300 carrot cake cupcakes. All frosted with cream cheese. Each and every one calorie free.

I am Robin Newman, the author. The boss and creative genius is Deborah Zemke, the illustrator. We’re the team behind the MFIs, Missing Food Investigators.

Whatever food, whatever the crime, Wilcox and Griswold make the bad guys do the time.


The celebration’s from 6:00 – 8:00 pm on Thursday, April 30th at The Corner Bookstore, 1313 Madison Avenue at 93rd Street. I’ll be working the night shift out of the party division. There will be lots of fun surprises. Hope to see all of you there!


© 2015 Deborah Zemke. All rights reserved. This illustration cannot be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information or retrieval systems without permission in writing from its publisher, Creston Books, LLC.

All-Points Bulletin: Have You Seen This Egg?


Photo source: Wikipedia

Name: Penny

Last seen: At chicken coop

When: Evening before the Egg Speggtacular

Feb. 6, 2015 – Detective Wilcox and Captain Griswold, Missing Food Investigators, have just been assigned to their second case, The Case of the Poached Egg, illustrated by Deborah Zemke (Creston Books, release date T/B/D).


If you see or hear anything, please contact the MFI at:


Proceed with caution. Suspects considered dangerous.


© 2015 Deborah Zemke. All rights reserved. This illustration cannot be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information or retrieval systems without permission in writing from its publisher, Creston Books, LLC.

ALA Chicago Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits


Not even a blizzard and cancelled flights, could dampen the mood at ALA’s Midwinter Conference. And for me, aside from feeling like a kid in a candy store, I had the extra-special treat of finally meeting and spending time with Marissa Moss, my amazing editor and publisher at Creston Books; Deborah Zemke, illustrator extraordinaire, who’s made Wilcox and Griswold more adorable than anything I could have ever imagined; Lori Degman, Darlene Beck-Jacobson, Marsha Goldman, my fellow authors at Creston Books; Lola, the world-renowned, paw-ri-fic, super star of Marsha’s books; and last, but certainly not least, meeting the fantastic, Mr. John Schu.

Here are some photographic highlights from ALA:


Marissa Moss and me


Ready to sign my first book!


Darlene Beck-Jacobson, Marissa Moss, me, Lori Degman


Mr. Schu and me


Lori Degman


Marsha Goldman and Lola


Mary Skiver and me (Bryn Mawr ’89 in the house!!!)



Alessandra Balzer


Jill Davis and me



Jory John, me, Mac Barnett


Cece Bell and me

Creston was also out in force having a wonderful time visiting Anderson’s Bookshop and The Book Stall at Chestnut Court.

Here’s a clip of Marsha Goldman and Lola at Anderson’s Bookshop. (Lola clearly enjoying meeting her loyal fans!)

Please click link:


Marsha Goldman, Lola, Darlene Beck-Jacobson, me, Deborah Zemke, Robert McDonald and Lori Degman at The Book Stall at Chestnut Hill


Me and Deborah Zemke

Despite the storm, cancelled and rebooked flights, missing luggage, and endless hours of waiting at O’Hare and Charlotte-Douglas Airports, it was a memorable trip. And congratulations to all the award winners.


Darlene Beck-Jacobson and me at Chicago’s O’Hare

Looking forward to ALA’s Annual Conference in sunny and warm San Francisco.

Best Way to Begin the New Year: Shameless Self-Promotion


Here’s a conversation between a random blog reader and Robin Newman.

Reader: You’re not going to do it.

Robin: Of course, I am.

Reader: It’s not a good idea.

Robin: Really?

Reader: Really!

Robin: Why not?

Reader: It’s in bad taste.

Robin: Like a little bad taste. Or a lot? I can live with a little. It’s not like I’m doing a reality TV show. (But if anyone is interested, call me! We’ll talk. 🙂 )

Reader: You’re not going to listen to me, are you?

Robin: No, but I’ll be super quick about it. Promise!

Reader: Go for it!


Robin: Deborah Zemke and I will be signing promo copies of our book, The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake, A Wilcox & Griswold Mystery, at the ALA Conference in Chicago on Saturday, January 31th from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm, McCormick Place West, Exhibit Hall, Booth 4226. If you’re around, please stop by! We’d love to see you!

Reader: That wasn’t too painful.

Robin: I’m not done yet. And I also want to let everyone know that The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake is available for pre-order at Barnes and Noble and Amazon. Super awesome, right?

Reader: Right! Are you done now?

Robin: Almost. If anyone would like some bookmarks, postcards, stickers or flyers, not to mention some super groovy glow in the dark Wilcox & Griswold bracelets, please e-mail me your address. And if any of you could kindly help spread the word about The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake, I would really, I mean REALLY, appreciate it. Happy New Year! Wishing everyone all the very best in 2015! xoxo


My First School Visit


Today I was the mystery guest at my son’s school.  It was the first time that I have ever read one of my stories to:

  • (a) unrelated children; and
  • (b) unrelated, not previously paid children.

In a nutshell, it was a big day.  And it was a ton of fun!

I started with a quick PowerPoint™ presentation explaining how I became a writer.


Then, I talked about the revision process, and how writers have good days, bad days, and sometimes very bad days.  But the key is persistence!  I think the kids may have been surprised to learn that it took me about six years to revise, The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake, A Wilcox and Griswold Mystery, illustrated by Deborah Zemke (Creston Books Fall 2015).

I also spent quite a bit of time talking about rejections.  Maybe a lot of time since it’s a concept with which I am very familiar.   🙂

Finally, I put on my witch hat before reading, Hildie Bitterpickles Needs Her Sleep, illustrated by Chris Ewald (Creston Books Spring 2015).


Why the witch hat?  Good question.  Two reasons.  First, Hildie is about a crabby old witch and of course, a witch story deserves a properly attired reader.  Second, when I attended one of the SCBWI conferences, Peter Sís mentioned that one bookstore owner encouraged him to bring props, like a stuffed parrot, in case his reading didn’t go well.  So, I figured if all else failed we could talk about the hat, or even play catch.  I wanted to be prepared.  I also didn’t have a stuffed parrot. 🙂

I am so looking forward to my next school visit.  Hoping that I’ll have some Hildie sketches to share with the kids next time.  What a great day!