This month we reached out to Betty Lanke, from Terre Haute, Indiana. This is her 25th anniversary as Create-A-Book dealer. Her passion and mastery of the Give-A-Book program are nothing short of inspiring. If you’ve thought about doing a Give-A-Book program, or want to know how our most profitable dealers sell most of their books, this post is you you.

Betty’s runs a Give-A-Book program every year, which provides personalized children’s books for every kindergartner in the Vigo County school district. And it’s no small endeavor. Together with her amazing sponsors, they are able to provide books for all 18 schools in the district — almost 1500 students every year. We asked her to share her story and advice.

What’s your story, how did you get started?
I remember watching a news story on “60 Minutes.” During the report, I learned a sad statistic. At the time, approximately 10 percent of high school students could not read their diplomas. For me, that was a turning point. I had learned about Create-A-Book and the Give-A-Book program while on vacation in 1990-1991. I had a successful career, and I decided that this was the way to give back to my community and make a difference. We’re just not motivated to read. And I thought it’s going to take a special book, a book to keep for a lifetime.

As soon as I purchased my license, I went to the superintendent of schools whom I knew from networking events. I told him about my goal of giving books to every kindergarten student in the district. He was very skeptical that I could do it, but I didn’t let that deter me. I just went to the banks and the real estate organization and drummed up committed sponsors the very first year. One of our sponsors has been supporting the program for 25 years, and our current additional sponsors have been with us for the last several years.

How did you get sponsors so quickly?
I reached out to people I knew. We all know lots of people, and if you believe in what you’re doing, those people will believe in you, and they’ll want to be a part of your project. Go to people that you do business with, such as banks, radio stations, utility companies, car dealerships, restaurant owners, and local businesses. Reach out to your current connections. Bring a book with you, and explain your costs and goals. But remember — you’ve got to talk to the decision-maker, or it won’t work.

Do you choose a different book each year?
When I began the Give-A-Book program in 1991-1992, I selected the “School Fun” book. It was my favorite, and the teachers love it.

What personalization do you include in the books?
It’s important to thank our sponsors, so we include “Given by” on the dedication page. The books also include the child’s name, individual school, the teacher’s name, and school year. Instead of listing individual friend names, which would be impossible, we say “the students of … elementary school.” It works beautifully with the existing text. And if a student goes by an alternate name, like “AJ” or “Buddy,” the teacher lets us know.

How long does it take you to make so many books?
I work for 4–5 weeks each year beginning in October. First, I contact the schools and get email addresses for the teachers. This year, we had 47 teachers who gave us the names of their students. Of course, I have help. I couldn’t do this without help. But in terms of numbers, I can make books for an entire school on a single Saturday, even if there are multiple teachers.

We make the books and hold a kick-off event in October at one of the schools. These kick-offs are very popular; our sponsors hand out the books, and we receive television and newspaper coverage every year. We make sure to take a class picture, so all the students get their picture in the paper, and I give additional photos to our sponsors.

Can you explain further, what is a kick-off?
This is when we go to one of the schools to personally distribute books to the children. Since we have 18 schools, we can only visit one each year, so the school district keeps an alphabetized list of schools, and we visit them in order. Keeping it fair to everyone is important, so we let the school system set the order. The books for the other 17 schools are delivered by early December.

What’s your secret for attracting the media?
Every year, I write a press release for the local television stations. What’s nice about the press release is that you really only need to write the first one. Then, every year, you can simply change the date and location and send it out.

4 amazing tools to let you create Inexpensive Logos
Posted in Business at 11:33 am. Comments Off  

4 amazing tools to let you create Inexpensive Logos

Whether you’ve been a Create-A-Book distributor for years or are just starting out, you probably know that a unique logo that represents your business can help people to recognize your brand. But where do you start? And how much should you spend?

We created this brief introduction and list of resources to help you create a great logo without breaking the bank.

Why Your Logo Matters

The main thing to remember is that your logo is a visual reminder about your business. Logos are so important that there’s even a logo game on Facebook…and you’d be surprised by how many brands you recognize without a single name or clue. One picture says it all. Just think of Nike’s trademark swoosh.

Your Logo Should…

  • Help customers recognize you
  • Look good no matter how big or small
  • Have only a couple of colors

And there is science linking color to memory. If you’re curious, visit “Why Facebook is Blue: The Science of Colors in Marketing” by Leo Widrich. It may inspire your creativity and your logo.

What’s in a Logo?

The best logos are:

  • Eye-catching, so choose something that is attractive and different.
  • Obvious and tell the viewer exactly what service you provide.
  • Memorable, so don’t overthink it. Brainstorming about books and your distribution method can help you find just the right image.
  • Uncomplicated. Keep it simple (but stay away from clip art). Your design doesn’t need to have lots of detail or multiple colors. It should look good in black and white, too, because color printing adds to your costs.
  • Multi-taskers that look good on letterhead, envelopes, and Twitter and Facebook images. You want to use it on all your correspondence including email messages.

Getting Inspired and Getting Started

If you still need a little inspiration, these sites may have just what you’re looking for:

If you have something in mind (or just want to start dabbling), visit one of these logo makers. Most of them are very affordable and can deliver the professional results you need.

Withoomph is really easy to use and might give you the extra “oomph” your logo deserves. We plugged in a few key words, and it gave us several quick choices. They have very reasonable starting prices, too.

GraphicSprings Logo Creator will walk you through each step effortlessly. Start designing your logo for free or hire one of their specialists to help you move from effective to extraordinary.

Logaster also offers free logos, but it depends on the size. But even full-size logos are only $9.99. We used the same key words (“My Own Book” as a company name), and the auto-generator came up with some really nice options.

Hipster Logo Generator has a modern feel and some different options for designing. Depending on your style and needs, this might be the site for you.

Let Us Know How It Works Out

As always, everyone at Create-A-Book wants you to be a success. We hope these tips help you make your logo creation process a productive one. We’d love to hear about your experience, so keep us posted and share your success with us.


Hey Cabbies,

The back to school event is an incredible sales opportunity from July through September, and we’ve made it really easy to setup campaigns using email, social media, your website or all three. In just 30 minutes you can follow our instructions and schedule 2-3 emails,prepare 2-3 Facebook posts and update your website.


We have some amazing banners you can use on your website, email campaigns or Facebook. View them all.


Whether this is your first email to family and friends, or you’ve already built a customer list, email marketing is your bread and butter because it’s how you build repeat business. We’ve taken out the guesswork. Learn How


We couldn’t make it any easier. We’ve listed tips, along with images and content you can choose to create your posts on Facebook or Twitter. Learn How


Update your home page to promote the event. You can do this easily by adding one of our banners and showcasing categories or products about school or education. Make sure banner links to either a category page with the educational products or directly to a single product. If you have a savisites website, we’ve already done this for you. You can switch to Home – Back to School in less than 2 minutes!!!

Want even more tips….

If you’re still looking for more, we’ve also create a page with general marketing tips and best practices for this Back To School Marketing Event. Learn More


Hey Cabbies,

Our personalized book, The Soccer Star, is a top seller right now thanks to the 2014 World Cup!

This post will show you how to promote this product and event within 15 minutes using your email, your website or social media. As always, you don’t have to copy our suggestions exactly. This can either help you get in done quickly or spark your own ideas.

We’ve made banners for you to use on Facebook, emails or your website. You can view and download the banners.

Facebook Wall Post (or social media)

When you post to Facebook to promote your business you should always use an image (proven to get higher engagement) and you should always include a link to the product on your website (or instruct people how to order).

Here’s an example:

Email Marketing:

Send an email to past customers as well as friends and family. Whether you’re sending to 5 people or 500, we suggest using an email marketing service like Aweber or Mailchimp. These programs make it very easy to send great emails, while offering great tracking tools and ensuring higher deliverability.

Here’s an example of an email we sent in Mailchimp (our dealer newsletter uses Aweber)

Facebook Cover photo:

We have two banners specifically designed and sized for your cover photo.  view the banners here


We have two banners you can add to your website. The easiest would be a home page banner that links to the product. You can view the banners here

Here’s an example:

Use a Drop Shipper to increase sales
Posted in Business, Marketing, Training at 12:47 pm. Comments Off  

You can noticeably impact your sales by offering the full product line from Create-A-Book, and you can achieve this regardless of your inventory on hand. A common misconception for dealers is to think they’re limited to offer and sell what they have in stock. This couldn’t be farther from the truth, or more harmful to your profits!

We know many of you have questions surrounding the drop shipping program, and how to use it, and we want to answer them. If you still have questions after reading this, please post a comment.


How to market “Back To School”
Posted in Training at 5:53 am. Comments Off  

What is it about the Fall Season the fills the air with excitement? Is it the changing of the leaves, the family Holidays, or maybe the anticipation of Christmas? One thing is for sure; it’s the season when many of you will achieve your highest grossing sales for the year. To help out we’ve created a quick summary to get you through it successfully.


How To Make Time…
Posted in Business at 6:57 am. Comments Off  

There was an interesting question posted to the discussion board on our Facebook page that set the stage for what we hope to be an educational journey for both Create-A-Book, and you.

We’re all faced with a daily challenge to do what we can within a 24 hour day. For you the challenges may be finding time to build your business while juggling a full-time job, raising a family, or both. For us, the challenge is overseeing a multitude of tasks to improve the Create-A-Book opportunity, and doing our best to prioritize them based on the outcomes they’ll bring you. And that’s just the planned ones, as  you can’t predict what life will throw your way.


One of our tasks is growing the Create-A-Book brand, using Social Marketing, to generate new business and to create an active online community of dealers who share ideas and work together. In January we created a 12-month blueprint, and listed the steps to make this happen. Before we could begin, we also started two more projects that will improve the profitability for our dealers, and the decision was made to postpone the social marketing. Sound like a familiar ‘postponement’ process?