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We have a winner February 23, 2017

Posted by Andrew Killick (Publishing Manager) in 4. Castle Distributed Books, 5. News.
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Stuff Jesus Never SaidWe’re a bit slow off the mark, but it gives us great pleasure to announce that a title we distribute – Stuff Jesus Never Said – has won a gold medal in the 2017 Illumination Book Awards.

Using humour and insight, and riffing off the style of internet memes, Stuff Jesus Never Said shatters the myth of the angry, fault-finding God and celebrates the God that Christ revealed – a God who wants us to prosper and live well. It’s beautifully presented in full colour, hardcover coffee table format. More about the book here.

This is the second time author Paul Ellis has won an Illumination medal.

Congratulations Paul.

Castle Gift Guide 2016 December 9, 2016

Posted by Andrew Killick (Publishing Manager) in 5. News.
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Christmas gifts 2016

Here’s our 2016 Christmas gift and summer reading guide…

Books make great gifts. Something for you or something for someone you love, here are nine high-quality, highly recommended New Zealand books, new and recent releases, with a great message, and brought to you by Castle…

The Apple Grove Girls: The Bullies Strike Out, Laura Martin. The Apple Grove Girls is a sweet story about friendship, trials, prayer and faith. Come and join Piper, Alice, Bekka and Nellie, as their friendship and faith are stretched like never before! For ages 8-12. Only NZ$19.95. Here.

No More Bullies Say Chainey and Marty, by Raymond Spence. There’s something worrying James. Find out what’s going on as Chainey and Marty help James to stand up for himself in four new adventures. The second book in the Chainey and Marty series uses a host of quirky characters and fun storylines to communicate Christian values and lifeskills to kids. Full colour picture book, 24 pages. Only NZ$14.95. Here.

Out Where the Fish Are, by OAC NZ. Do we fish in the bath or in the ocean, where the fish are? The founders of Open Air Campaigners decided to go to the ocean. Starting in Australia, then to New Zealand, this ministry is now in around 30 countries worldwide. You will be inspired by these inspiring stories of God at work though Open Air Campaigners, 1954 – 2016. Only NZ$24.95. Here.

Kiliad: The Grotto of Pan, by Daryl Fowles. Planet Earth is a peaceful place one thousand years into the future – but that peace is about to be shattered. In the small town of Hevenin, Joshua, a young leader, is inexplicably thrust into the middle of an evil plot that threatens to destroy his world. An exciting read for adults and young adults. Only NZ$21.95. Here.

The Awesome Power of Blessing, by Richard Brunton. Our top seller of 2016. Blessing is speaking God’s intentions or favour over someone or some situation. In this small book, you will find out how blessing works and learn how to bless those who curse or provoke you; how to bless your spouse, your children, your home and yourself; how to bless your workplace, your land and your community – and even God Himself. You can change your world. Only NZ$4.95. Here.

Stuff Jesus Never Said, by Paul Ellis. If the stuff Jesus never said is the stuff you thought he said, then the stuff he did say may surprise you. Stuff Jesus Never Said shatters the myth of the angry, fault-finding God and celebrates the God that Christ revealed – a God who wants you to prosper and live well. A humorous but insightful book, beautifully presented in full colour, hardcover coffee table format. Only NZ$34.99. Here.

Enduring the Dream, by Garry Wills. This book is about the journey of a young 17-year-old, third generation sheep and cattle man who had a passion to serve God and believed God wanted him to dedicate his farming career to ministry. After battling a multitude of setbacks and heartache over a number of years, he found himself asking God for a heart to continue to pursue the calling – a prayer that God didn’t hesitate to answer. Only NZ$19.95. Here.

Saving Donkey, by Peter K High. Known as a master storyteller by all who meet him on the road as he rides his Harley, Peter High (aka Donkey) spins a lively tale about the twists and turns of life, about what makes him tick – and about encounters with a mysterious character named JC. Another 2016 top-seller. Only NZ$19.95. Here.

A Handful of Streamers, by Lorraine Harvey. This book tells the story of the 22-year-old Lorraine Harvey as she set out from New Zealand, bound for Central Africa. Depending not on memory, but on the 2,000 letters that she and her husband, Maurice, wrote to their parents, Lorraine gives a fascinating insight into life in Africa in the 1960s, as Maurice took on Bible distribution work and Lorraine took up the challenge of supporting her husband and raising a family in difficult conditions. Only NZ$29.95. Here.

For all these, and more, head over to the new releases page on the Castle website. To safely ensure pre-Christmas delivery in NZ, order on or before Friday 16 December.

Author feature: The Harveys August 11, 2016

Posted by Andrew Killick (Publishing Manager) in 2. Author Interviews, 5. News, Maurice and Lorraine Harvey.
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the-harveys

Castle authors Lorraine and Maurice Harvey have done a lot in their lives – enough to fill four books (so far!).

The Harveys have been married for over 50 years – they married on the mission field in Africa – and during that time have been to many far-flung places.

Maurice is most famous for his work as the photojournalist for the United Bible Societies. He has visited 160 countries, territories and disputed territories – making him one of NZ’s most travelled people. His books Shooting the Globe, Reading the Funny Bible and Into the Great Unknown are packed with the stories of his adventures.

Lorraine has also been busy. As well as raising two children, she became a skilled Bible teacher, and over the years has been involved with Christian Women’s Fellowship and Christian Women Communicating International, amongst other Christian initiatives. Earlier this year Lorraine released A Handful of Streamers.

Lorraine and Maurice have been based in Africa, Fiji, Indonesia, Hong Kong, the Philippines and the UK. They now live in Auckland, New Zealand.

Castle is massively privileged to have worked with the Harveys. They are a prime example of the unassuming yet extraordinary Christian New Zealanders we love.

Christmas Gift Guide 2015 December 7, 2015

Posted by Andrew Killick (Publishing Manager) in 5. News.
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christmas-2015-clusterHere’s our 2015 Christmas gift and summer reading guide…

Books make great gifts. Something for you or something for someone you love, here are six high-quality, highly recommended New Zealand books, new and recent releases, with a great message, and brought to you by Castle…

Forgiveness: The biography of Ferdinand Christiaan Hansen, by Jocelyn Judd. The gripping and gritty true story of a Dutch child sent to a Japanese concentration camp in Indonesia during WW2. A hard-hitting and emotional story with an element of adventure; a book about survival and redemption. Ideal for male and female adult readers. Hot off the press. Only NZ$24.95. Here.

Ripples in the Water, by Clare Matravers. A real and powerful work of contemporary fiction. Sapphire Nord, a first year university student, is in trouble – BIG trouble and doesn’t know what to do. Her life is touched by tragedy, romance, an illness and faith before she encounters a mysterious woman with a huge secret – one that will change her life forever… Recommended primarily for a female audience, but with compelling storytelling for all readers. Only NZ$24.95. Here.

For the Love of Christmas, by Heather McCall. Faith – Flowers – Food – the quintessential guide to making your Christmas beautiful. This full-colour coffee-table style book is equal parts practical resource and stunning gift. Complete with thoughts about rediscovering the true meaning of Christmas, recipes and decorating ideas – for this Christmas and many Christmases to come. For those who love to cook, decorate and entertain. Only NZ$39.95. Here (including a link to see inside the book).

It’s Okay to Die, by The Dando Family. As featured on Rhema. With its bold title, this book certainly stops us in our tracks. It tells the story of Shirley and Graeme Dando and their cancer journey, as they seek physical healing and grow in their faith and trust no matter what transpires. Vital and inspirational reading that takes us inside a personal story of faith in the tough times and asks the big questions about God in our lives. Recommended for adult readers of all ages. Only NZ$26.95. Here.

The Wonder of It All, by Evelyn Lalahi. In this beautifully illustrated picture book, two boys spend a wonderful day with their Gran – having fun, learning all about the amazing God who created them, and finding out how they can know Him. A warm-hearted story of family love and the love and awesomeness of God. Softcover with 16 pages of full-colour illustrations. Suitable for 4 to 8 year olds. Reading age 6+. Only NZ$9.95. Here (including a link to see inside the book).

Water Under the Bridge, by Don Barry. Published this year and now in its third printing, the top-selling title of 2015. This is the story of lessons learnt – with some blood, sweat and tears – during 40 years of pastoral ministry. With sincere honesty, Don Barry (Gateway, Hamilton) lays open his challenges, failures and successes, taking us on a journey into values-shaped leadership. Recommended for those interested in church life and pastoral leadership. Only NZ$24.95. Here.

For all these, and more, head over to the new releases page on the Castle website. To safely ensure pre-Christmas delivery in NZ, order on or before Monday 21 December.

A great cover design May 26, 2015

Posted by Andrew Killick (Publishing Manager) in 6. Castle Tips.
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It turns out that despite years of concerted advice and insistence by the cliché, people mostly do judge a book by its cover. Cover design matters!

Castle cover designs

Over the next few months, I want to post a few articles on some of the different elements of book production and publishing. In the overall timeline of book production, cover design usually comes after such things as writing and editing the book, but I want to start with design because it is probably the most glamourous of all the steps in creating a great book. So let’s start with the icing!

If it really is true that people judge a book by its cover and that first impressions make a difference, then having a great cover is crucial to your book project. You spend months, maybe years, working on the content of the book, only to have people scroll on by because the presentation caused them to dismiss your book. How do you want your book to be perceived?

I think there are two main ways the right cover will help your book:

– It will represent your book accurately, convey an idea of the content effectively, spark a positive emotion in the reader, and package the product appropriate to the target market and genre.
– It will speak volumes (excuse the pun) about the quality of your book.

Even if you are self-publishing, there is absolutely no reason why the finished product shouldn’t look just as good as something that comes out of a commercial publishing house.

Getting it right

Not everyone has an instinctively good eye when it comes to design, but everyone can up-skill and do research. That’s why I recommend that the first step in getting a good cover design is to go to a bookshop or library (assuming that such things still exist in your neighbourhood!) and look at book covers. Look at the cover designs of recent and new releases. Get a feel for what is happening in the world of book design. Having looked at the designs of all kinds of books, narrow your research down to the particular genre and target market that you are working with. Collect designs that you like. I’m not recommending that you copy these designs, but you need to know what products in your market look like – even if it means that you go on to create something more effective!

Now go hire a designer. Unless you have an established talent for design yourself, and the technical know-how to execute the design, you are best to have a professional on the job. Maybe this will be your niece or nephew – but be careful. Putting aside the feel-good factor of having a relative or friend work on your project, professionalism and expertise are the main considerations. In choosing a designer, look at their previous work and see if their skills match what you are trying to achieve. Some designers are very versatile, but having said that, most designers have a particular visual style, so be conscious of their style and how it might impact your cover design.

A good relationship

Cost will be a factor in hiring a designer, but it’s worth spending some money. It may not be as expensive as you think. Negotiate a price, but don’t insult the designer by being a cheapo – they work hard and have the talents that you need – so pay them their dues. You can reach a happy outcome for both parties in terms of budget.

In briefing the designer, show them your research and tell them what you are hoping to achieve. Also be open to other fresh ideas that the designer might bring to the table. The unexpected, so long as it is still fit to purpose, might be exactly the right thing. The ideal working relationship will be one where you trust the designer to be the expert and be prepared to entertain their ideas, but also retain focus on where you are heading. If you don’t like something they’ve done, say so, but be open. See the process as a collaboration. The relationship will be difficult if there isn’t an element of trust and mutual respect – and that’s something to think about when choosing the designer initially.

Bonus insider info

Here’s a bit of bonus ‘inside’ info. I haven’t gone into the nuts and bolts of cover design in this article (perhaps another time), but I want to pass on a few important technical considerations. In today’s online book market, your book cover is often seen at ‘thumbnail’ size, ie the miniaturised product image that book and ebook retailers show on their websites. So your design needs to look good at that small size.

No matter what size the cover displays at, make sure the title stands out. Don’t overwhelm the typography with imagery. Your eye needs to land on the title first, before it tracks around the rest of the cover. When you look at the design, if it feels like your eye doesn’t know where to look or it is jumping around the cover too much without a clear focus, your cover is probably too cluttered or not well laid out. The various elements (type and image) shouldn’t be fighting each other.

Enjoy the process of designing your book cover and get excited about it – your book is getting dressed up for its big debut!

Feel free to post any questions (or requests for future articles) in the comments section below. And don’t forget, you can come to Castle for any or all of the services you need to make your book the best it can be – including beautiful cover design! Contact us.

Steve on TV April 14, 2015

Posted by Andrew Killick (Publishing Manager) in 5. News.
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Stephen Shephard in Iran

Castle author Stephen Shephard appears on Shine TV tonight 8.30 NZ time, presenting a documentary in which he travels to Iran and discusses the subject of his book on Daniel 9 – The Prophetic Seventy Weeks Solved (visit Shine TV for more info).

Stephen’s book can be purchased direct from Castle (or your local Christian retailer in New Zealand or Koorong in Australia). It is also available as an ebook from Amazon or Kobo.

The prophecy of Daniel 9 regarding the ’70 Weeks’ has probably been the most debated passage since the birth of the Church, where virtually every mainstream interpretation has looked outside the biblical canon in order to try and understand its mystery.

However, compelling and exciting new evidence has shown that the answer to this renowned passage has been in the biblical record all along, and is foundational for understanding not only the first coming of Jesus Christ, but perhaps all prophecy today.

Come on an adventure… March 27, 2015

Posted by Andrew Killick (Publishing Manager) in 1. How Castle Works, 6. Castle Tips.
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Come on an adventure

Castle facilitates adventures, and you can come along on that journey. Here’s how…

We’re in the business of books, and books are always designed to take people on a journey – whether that’s through the excitement and intrigue of a fictional or true life story, or through thinking more deeply about God, life, the universe and everything. We count it our privilege to provide books that take people somewhere.

Then there are the people who love reading but aren’t content to only tag along on another author’s journey – they have a desire to create a book of their own – and Castle provides adventures for those kinds of people too.

We’re still in the first quarter of 2015 (just!), and maybe this year you want to create the book that you’ve dreamed of or that other people have encouraged you to write and publish. Exciting times!

But it’s not always easy to start or to know what the next step is without a bit of help and guidance.

Sometimes you might feel a little bit out of your depth – but what’s an adventure without a little bit of trepidation? All the best adventures start out with that first step.

Stepping out with Castle makes the whole journey that much easier – we can be your expert guide, and help steer you through the adventure of publishing your book.

Come on an adventure… Contact us.

Merry Christmas! December 23, 2014

Posted by Andrew Killick (Publishing Manager) in 5. News.
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2014 christmas ecard

Christmas Gift Guide 2014 December 9, 2014

Posted by Andrew Killick (Publishing Manager) in 5. News.
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Christmas 2014 booksHere’s our 2014 Christmas gift and summer reading guide…

Books make great gifts, and what better way to spend a relaxing summer’s day than reading? Something for you or something for someone you love, here are five great New Zealand books, new and recent releases, 100% homegrown with a great message, and brought to you by Castle…

To Await the Dream, by Julianne Jones. Book 3 of the Distant Land series, hot off the press. Drama and romance set against the backdrop of colonial New South Wales. Historical fiction for adults and young adults. Only $24.95. Here.

The Marriage You Never Dreamed Of, by Brian Taylor. An excellent book complete with study questions for engaged couples, married couples (from newlywed to diamond anniversary and beyond), and people thinking about getting married. Presented in a large format. Only $39.00. Here.

For the Love of Christmas, by Heather McCall. Faith – Flowers – Food – the quintessential guide to making your Christmas beautiful. This full-colour coffee-table style book is equal parts practical resource and stunning gift. Complete with thoughts about rediscovering the true meaning of Christmas, recipes and decorating ideas – for this Christmas and many Christmases to come. Only $39.95. Here (including a link to see inside the book).

The Wind Rises, by G M Lincoln. Two teens – two quests – many enemies. Thrown together by circumstances and courageous enough to risk everything, Arlia and Eldon will have to make some hard choices and discern who they can trust if they are to survive. An exciting fantasy fiction adventure story for young adults (and adults!). Only $21.95. Here.

So Old So Quick, by Sir Patrick Eisdell Moore. Published under Castle’s Rampart imprint for mainstream titles, So Old So Quick is the inspirational story of a New Zealand medical pioneer. With plenty of adventures along the way, this is the autobiography of a remarkable life, told with charm, honesty and insight. Only 34.95. Here.

For all these, and more, head over to the new releases page on the Castle website. Order online this week and receive your books in time for Christmas.

Getting it right November 21, 2014

Posted by Andrew Killick (Publishing Manager) in 6. Castle Tips.
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Self-publishing is taking off, it’s accessible to everyone. But what’s the trick to it?

Today I came across an excellent NZ Herald article from September. It investigates the rise of self-publishing and highlights some remarkable New Zealand success stories.

The thing that is implicit in the article is that there is absolutely no substitute for a proactive author. But it also makes another important point – your product has to be right. Enter Castle.

The article quotes Doris Mousdale, stalwart of the NZ book industry, owner of Arcadia Bookstore in Newmarket, and former national book manager for Whitcoulls and retail manager for Dymocks)…

I make a point of looking at all self-published books that come my way, but it’s really only around one in every 10 books that I’ll end up stocking. Something lets many of them down – it’s either the cover, or the production values – so it doesn’t look like a professionally published book. It’s important to spend a little extra on those things. A printer will print anything you want, so it’s up to you to get it right. It’s got to look right in your hand, and it’s got to feel right when you open the first page.

Since its establishment 15 years ago (coincidentally, the last 15 years is also the timeframe of the rise of self-publishing and the digital revolution), Castle has held to a key idea: your book can and should match the best on offer from established commercial publishers.

Sometimes, a mediocre-looking book costs the same to produce as a professional-looking book. In those cases where professionalism costs a little more, you find yourself with a more impressive and attractive product. And when it’s all said and done, why not do justice to the book you have toiled over? The finishing touches count.

Contact us to see what we can do to help.