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From the Editors of Children's Book Insider, the Newsletter for Children's Writers. Features author interviews, writing tips, breaking news, hot resources for children's writers, and much, much more.
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1. Create a World with Your Five Senses

By Laura Backes

by Suzanna E. Henshon, Ph.D

 

How do you start a story? Does the vision of a character enter your mind, or do you start with a plot? While it is critical to begin with compelling characters and logical plot lines, many writers forget that there are other things involved in developing a story. In essence, the job of the writer is to take the reader into your world, to give her a sense of what encompasses the place your characters inhabit.

 

As you begin writing, it can be helpful to close your eyes and to imagine your character’s world. What do you experience when you think about it in a visual sense? When you feel it in a tangible way? When we think of some of the greatest works of fiction, these authors make their worlds come alive in compelling ways — to the point that someone can draw a map of the world and fill it in with details. That’s what you want to do with your writing.

 

An effective way to draw readers into this fictional world is to use your senses as a guide. Here are some things to think about as you create a world upon the page.

 

Sound

 

What sounds fill your character’s world? How do these sounds influence her life experiences, and the way she negotiates her world? As you listen to the sounds that fill her world, you may find these sounds can also enhance your fictional work.

 

Sight

 

What does your character see? Many of us forget that children have a different perspective on the landscape. Without the benefit of life experiences and size, they walk through a landscape that is closer to their feet. For example, a three-year-old standing in a crowd can’t see what an adult can. Her perspective is going to be seeing the backs and legs of people, not the actual speaker in a crowd.

 

Touch

 

What does your character touch? When she gets out of bed in the morning, does she hold a stuffed rabbit? When she heads to breakfast, does she eat cereal that is smooth in texture, or does she consume a piece of bread? These experiences are an important part of your character’s life, and you want to share them with your reader.

 

Smell

 

What does your reader smell? When we think back to childhood, some memories remain vivid — the smell of a chocolate chip cookie baking in the oven resonates with cocoa and sweetness, no matter how many years have passed. When we step into a school cafeteria, we are overwhelmed by the smell of meals eaten and consumed recently. When you think about what your character smells, you will start to see that every experience she has can enhance the authenticity of the narrative.

 

Taste

 

What does your character like to eat? Sometimes it can be very helpful to eat the things your character loves. It’s difficult to imagine Roald Dahl writing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory without a candy bar in his hand. So eat what your main character does — and share this meal with readers.

 

Now that you have become accustomed to writing with the five senses, you can see that when you think outside the traditional way of telling a story, you can include many more details that enhance your reader’s experience. You can include many more details that guide a reader into your world, into the world of a child who exists on the page of your story. When you think through the senses and how they impact our life experiences, you become a stronger and more effective writer.

 

Dr. Suzanna E. Henshon teaches full-time at Florida Gulf Coast University and is the author of several young adult and middle grade books, and two collections of writing exercises. Her newest book, Andy Lightfoot and the Time Warp, is available for the Kindle on Amazon.

This is a post from writeforkids.org. Read the original post: Create a World with Your Five Senses

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2. A New Way Forward for Children’s Writing

By Jon Bard

There are two important things I want to tell you today.  This post may take a few minutes to read, but I promise it will be worth it.

 

First, this:  You know the old Chinese curse “May you live in interesting times”, right?  Well, we certainly do.

 

And, whatever your feelings about events may be, there’s one thing we know.  In uncertain times, it’s children and teens who often feel things the most.  They don’t have an understanding of the complexities of the world, and they don’t have the life experience to put things in their proper perspective.

 

If the world seems a bit scary and uncertain to grownups, imagine how young people are feeling.  They need to know that kindness, common purpose and love are still the fuels that drives humanity, and that, together, we’ll make our way through whatever happens.

 

They need people who can tell them that, and do it in ways that are engaging, entertaining and powerful. They need children’s writers.

 

They need you.

 

We’ll have more to say on this subject soon, but I wanted to share this today, because a lot you need to hear it.  And I needed to express it.

 

So get to work.  Your insight, your compassion and your talents are needed. Right now.

 

 

Which leads me to my second point.  It’s about *how* to put your talents to work.

 

 
You’ve probably heard us talk about Picture Book Blueprint and our upcoming Chapter Book Blueprint. They’re the first of what will be an extensive library of online tools/courses to help you learn to create a great manuscript in whatever genre you want.

 

We created them because we know that so many of you are truly devoted to the idea of writing great books for kids and teens, but you’re confused, intimidated and overwhelmed.  The process seems impenetrable.

 

 

You want to change the world with your words, but you just don’t know where to start.

 

 

So let me take just a moment to explain the Blueprint concept we created, because it can show you a clear path to move past all the frustration and go directly to being an author.  It’s the answer to help ease your mind, allow you to relax and get right into the joyous process of writing your book and connecting with the young people who need you.

 

Here’s the deal…

 

After 27 years, here’s what we’ve come to know about writing:  Learning to write can seem like a long, hard slog.  You just want to write, but it’s like there’s a mountain in the way. It represents the things you don’t know, and the experience you don’t have.

 

There’s no clear path. Just tons of info.  Courses, blog posts, articles, conferences, advice of varying quality from thousands of sources.

 

Everyone tells you “what” to do, but hardly anyone tells you “how” to do it.  As a result, you probably have no clear idea what to do next.

 

 

And, you’re short on time and money.  You don’t have the resources to buy every expensive course, get a Masters Degree or fly around the country attending conferences.  And your hectic life doesn’t give you enough time to pore through all those “how to” books and courses.

 

The Blueprint concept changes everything.  A Writing Blueprint isn’t just another course.  It’s actually a writing system that you’ll use again and again.

 

It’s built on these foundations:

 

1.   Writing Blueprints break every step of the writing process into easy-to-manage pieces.

 

2.  They offer expert video guidance every step of the way.

 

3.  Each step includes worksheets that build on one another, leading to a finished manuscript.

 

4.  The way the worksheets are created assures that the “DNA” of the best books of the particular genre are built into your manuscript.

 

5. Each Blueprint includes a step-by-step self-critique and revision system, with expert guidance.

 

6. When you’re done, you’ll have a finished, polished manuscript, ready to be submitted!

 

 

Here’s the old way of learning how to write a book in a particular genre:

 

  • Spend months sifting through information
  • Try to figure it out yourself
  • Spend tons of money on courses, conferences and books
  • Pay for expensive critiques
  • Use trial and error while you collect rejection slips and get discouraged

 

Here’s the Blueprint way

 

  • Write your manuscript while you learn!
  • Get step-by-step instruction from world-class teachers
  • Incorporate the DNA of the greatest books directly into your manuscript
  • Revise like a pro with video guidance from top critiquers
  • Effortlessly create a polished manuscript, ready to submit
  • Includes lifetime access – Use it again and again, for each new project

 

Picture Book Blueprint is already transforming the lives of writers around the world (you can see it here http://picturebookblueprint.com)

 

Next Wednesday, we release Chapter Book Blueprint and we’ll be inviting you to join us and actually use the Blueprint in real time to begin your own chapter book.  (Save the date, the live launch webinar is Wednesday, November 16 at 5 PM Pacific.  More details to come soon!)  If you’re interested in writing chapter books and haven’t already checked out our free webinar called “The Magic of Chapter Books”, visit http://writeforkids.org/cbmagic

 

We’re currently developing Writing Blueprints for YA/Middle Grade, Magazine Writing and Self Publishing, and more are on their way.

 

We believe that the Writing Blueprint concept will be the key to get writers out of their own heads and onto the page.  And then, into the hands of the children and young adults who so greatly need your work.

 

This is a post from writeforkids.org. Read the original post: A New Way Forward for Children’s Writing

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3. Get Started Writing Science Articles for Kids

By Guest Author

by Suzanne Henshon

 

Do you love being outdoors? Have you ever considered combining your love of nature with writing? Many writers never consider writing nonfiction for young readers, yet there are many places to publish science-related articles for kids. It can be a great way to break into print.

 

So, how do you write about science in a way that is fun to read and accessible for young children? You need to think about including details that are interesting, provide accurate information, and bring a complex subject to life. It’s critical that you also think like an artist and make it visually appealing while presenting scientific facts in an accurate and compelling manner. Does it sound challenging? It is! Here are a few tips:

 

1. Pick an appropriate subject. Young children are fascinated by the outdoors, so it isn’t hard to find a subject of interest. But you want to make sure this subject is also appropriate for the publication where you will submit your piece. Read issues of the magazine to see how other writers handle scientific subjects before deciding what you will write about. When you are confident that your subject is appropriate, you can progress with researching and writing your article.

 

2. Research carefully. Go the library and find recently-published books on your topic. Peruse related websites as a starting point in your research, but don’t rely on them exclusively unless you can verify the information in at least two other sources. Read recent articles for adults on the subject and make a note of which experts are quoted. Then try to contact these people for an interview. If you can’t find scientists in the field of your topic, look for university professors to interview, or authors who have written extensively on the subject. You’ll be taking a different slant on the material than they did, and these authors may be open to being a source for your article.

 

3. Consider how to present this subject to young readers. The youngest readers will have no knowledge of the topic. Don’t overwhelm them with details—zero in on one fascinating aspect and explore it in an entertaining way. Older readers will want to build on what they already know. Think carefully about the reading audience and the best way to present your information; remember that you need to be age appropriate and accurate concurrently.

 

4. Read comparable articles and pieces. Have you read articles for children? Have you purchased books about comparable subjects? When you read articles and books, you learn how to write for this age group; you develop a sense of how to present a subject in an interesting and compelling way for your particular age group.

 

5. Plan out how your piece will appear on the page. Will your piece appear on a single page, or will it appear on several pages? How much text will appear on each page? Will you be providing photographs to go with the article? Think carefully about these issues as you write your piece, and be cognizant of how many words are in most science articles.

 

6. Write beyond facts. Your job isn’t to write an encyclopedia entry; your responsibility is to tell a true story about the natural world. So don’t just present facts and figures; focus on specific facts that children can connect to directly, and find a way to make the information relevant to the reader’s life.

 

7. Focus on bringing science to life. No matter what you are writing about, your first responsibility is to make your text interesting. Generally science pieces for young readers are short and to the point; you will find yourself emphasizing some factual information while having to omit other things. Don’t feel guilty about this; maybe you are tantalizing the interest of the young reader and encouraging her to explore further on her own.

 

8. Edit and revise. When you have finished writing your piece, sit down and read it over carefully. Compare your piece to other science pieces that have been published by this publication. Is yours comparable in length, style, and word choice? Have you stretched the imagination of young readers in an appropriate and meaningful way?

 

When you write a science piece for young readers, you have the capacity to change their lives forever; you might inspire the next Jane Goodall or Neil Armstrong. You could be the spark that encourages a child to reach for the stars. So take this responsibility seriously, and enjoy writing your science article. With a little luck, you might get a publication— and change a young reader’s life forever.

This is a post from writeforkids.org. Read the original post: Get Started Writing Science Articles for Kids

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4. A Fantastic Example of ‘Show, Don’t Tell’

By Jon Bard

The advice “show, don’t tell” is certainly one of the most overused pieces of writing instruction.  But it’s overused for a very good reason:  It’s a core principle of great storytelling.

 

When a character’s simple action reveals more about him than five paragraphs of expository prose, you’ve rewarded your reader with something wonderful.

 

I’ve been enjoying the new HBO series Westworld.  It’s well written, beautifully acted and very intriguing.  In this week’s episode, the writers pull off a masterful bit of “show, don’t tell” that I wanted to point out, in hopes it will spark some ideas for your own writing.

 

Westworld takes place in a theme park in which human visitors get to relive the old west, thanks to hundreds of human-like robots.  In this week’s episode, we’re introduced to two human visitors as they arrive at the park:  William and Logan.

 

We get the idea pretty early that Logan is cocky, arrogant and most likely looking for trouble.  But we aren’t so sure about William.  He’s quiet and perhaps a bit intimidated by the experience.  But how he’ll act once ensconced in Westworld is a mystery.

 

Until the writers pull of a spectacular “show, don’t tell” moment.

 

We follow William as he selects his wardrobe for his adventure.  Some boots, a vest, a jacket.  And then he comes to his final selection.

 

On one wall, a rack of black hats.  On the other, a rack of white hats.

 

The camera closes in on William’s face as he ponders his decision.

 

The next shot is of William and Logan striding down Westworld’s dusty main street.  Logan is wearing a black hat, William is wearing his newly chosen white hat.

 

And with that, we’ve learned volumes about these men and their intentions.  One is there to be an outlaw, the other a hero.

 

And not a word of dialogue was needed.  That’s showing, not telling.

 

 

(Image:  HBO)

This is a post from writeforkids.org. Read the original post: A Fantastic Example of ‘Show, Don’t Tell’

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5. Three and a Half Minutes that May Change your Writing Life Forever

By Jon Bard

We spend so much of our time focusing on what we do, that we rarely take the time to ask why we’re doing it.  And yet, that simple step can make a massive difference in the quality of the art we create.

 

This short video is a dramatic testimony to how understanding your “why” can transform the quality, depth and emotional connection of everything you write.

 

Take a few moments to watch this. I guarantee it will stay with you for a very long time.

 

This is a post from writeforkids.org. Read the original post: Three and a Half Minutes that May Change your Writing Life Forever

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6. How to Plan a Great School Visit

By Laura Backes

The Ultimate Guide to School Visits Webinar with Teresa Funke is coming on September 21st!  This will be an amazing workshop that will allow you to start booking school visits right away – even if you’ve yet to be published.

 

Spaces are limited, so head over to http://writeforkids.org/school-visits to reserve your spot (and get ensure access to the video replay and the handouts)

 


 

School visits are one of  the best things about being a children’s writers.  Meeting young fans, being treated like a star (which you are, of course!) and yes, making some extra income are jsut some of the benefits of bringing your work into schools.

 

That’s why we’re happy to offer this special audio interview (and transcript) with an author who’s conducted many visits.  Laura spoke with children’s author Rachel Rodriguez about how to plan and execute a great school visit.  Enjoy!

 

 

Download the Podcast

 

Download the Transcript

 

This is a post from writeforkids.org. Read the original post: How to Plan a Great School Visit

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7. Jon Reviews KindleSpy — a Must-Have Tool for Kindle Publishing

By Jon Bard

In this video, Jon reviews KindleSpy, a powerful program that digs into Amazon’s Kindle bestseller lists and delivers information that can help any eBook author succeed.

 

Jon will demonstrate how KindleSpy:

 

 

* helps you determine which Kindle niches have buyers and which ones don’t (spoiler alert: don’t even think about writing an kids’ eBook about motorcycles.  There is, however, a similar niche that’s golden!)

* shows you which words appear most often in the titles and descriptions of current bestsellers in your niche

* allows you “reverse engineer” successful eBooks in your niche, and will even give you a specific roadmap for how to successfully promote your eBook

 

If you’re already publishing for Kindle or just thinking about it, you should watch this video.  It could save you a lot of time, money and heartache.

 

If you want to get KindleSpy, here’s a special affiliate link that will save you $50….

http://jvz9.com/c/107567/111047

 

 

 

This is a post from writeforkids.org. Read the original post: Jon Reviews KindleSpy — a Must-Have Tool for Kindle Publishing

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8. How to Read (and Think) Like a Kid

By Guest Author

by Suzanne Henshon

 

In his bestselling book, How to Read Literature Like a Professor, Tom Foster writes about how professors read books—and what we can learn from analytical readings of texts. Foster takes readers on a wonderful time trip and demonstrates that reading about characters, plots, and themes can give us a greater appreciation of classic texts. Wouldn’t it be helpful to use these same techniques with children’s books? And, by extension, wouldn’t it be useful to use books as a springboard for (re)learning how to think like a kid?

 

Since it isn’t possible to return to an earlier time in our lives we have to take other steps to adopt the mindset of a modern children. We can start by revisiting the playground where we hung out, flipping through an old yearbook, or calling an old friend. But to think like today’s kids, you need to know some of your audience—the people you are writing for. You need to understand the technology they use, the places where they gather, and the books they are currently reading. Begin by taking stock of your contacts. Do you know any kids? It’s difficult to write for children if you haven’t spent much time with them and don’t understand their perspective. But if you aren’t a parent, teacher, coach, or librarian, you may find that meeting children is difficult. Here are a few ideas:

 

Form a writing group for kids. If you are friends with several parents, you may help start a book club or writing group. Or ask your local librarian if you can organize one for your community. While you offer your expertise to young kids, you will gain valuable insights about where young people are coming from. Try to be more of a group facilitator than a leader. If you let kids take charge of the discussions, you’ll have more opportunity to get their candid opinions on their books, and the conversation will overflow into other areas of their lives.

 

(Also check out Alison Lurie’s book, Don’t Tell the Grownups. This book is a wonderful read about the elements of children’s literature that have been consistent since the publication of Alice in Wonderland in 1863. An undercurrent of subversiveness tends to permeate children’s books with staying power. You’ll discover that kids of all ages love a rebel—and that by understanding the psyche of childhood, you may just create the next Peter Pan or Tom Sawyer.) Observe kids. Whether you are at a bookstore or library, observe children the same age as the audience for your book. Talk to librarians about what these kids read. Find out what makes them “tick.” When you watch kids, you may be surprised at how sophisticated, funny, and knowledgeable they are.

 

Consider doing a focus group for your manuscript. Do you have an idea for a plot? Or even a book series? In many other industries (i.e. toys), marketers do extensive testing with focus groups before bringing a product to market. Why not do the same thing with your children’s books? Before putting a lot of time into something, describe your project to several children you know and see if the basic premise is appealing to them, and if they find the characters believable and compelling. Don’t make the mistake of writing outside your protagonist’s perspective. There’s nothing more fatal than having a young protagonist refer to his “little friend” in a narrative; kids will immediately be reminded that an adult is writing this story, and their willingness to suspend disbelief and enter the world of the characters will be shattered.

 

Laugh like a kid. Notice what makes kids chuckle at different ages. Younger children love silly, visual comedy that is portrayed through the illustrations. Kids in second and third grades laugh at puns and wordplay. Older children appreciate humor that is situational, characters that act against expectations, and dialogue with a humorous subtext. Now, think like a kid. Wait impatiently for the school bell to ring. Step outside without a hat on in the middle of winter. Walk through the mall and take note of what a five-year-old would see from his younger, shorter viewpoint. And think about how you can’t wait to grow up. Now, transfer all that angst, that frustration, and that perspective to the page.

This is a post from writeforkids.org. Read the original post: How to Read (and Think) Like a Kid

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9. Traditional Writer Versus Indie Writer

By Guest Author

by Tracy Bryan

 

When a writer — whether a traditional writer or an indie writer — imagines a story, they usually can’t wait to bring it to life somehow. Most writers need to get it out of their head and put it somewhere else — on paper, in their computer, even at the bottom of a grocery list.

 

This is just the beginning of the creative process that the typical writer practices. Writers create art in the form of words. Some writers have great art and some writers not so much. The point is, all writers create something and they go through a process in order to create it.

 

This commonality that writers share gives them a reason to celebrate… together.

 

Unfortunately, like most human activities in life, there is competition. In the publishing world, where writers live, competition exists between other writers, between writers and agents, between writers and editors, and between writers and publishers.

 

There are so many elements of the publishing world that work against the common goal of most writers and their creative process. Competition is just one element that breeds negativity among writers. Publisher’s demands, editor’s needs and agent’s requests, are other elements that all get it the way of the creative process. Not to mention the cesspool of marketing schemes that writers need to solely wade through in order to find reputable ways of promoting their works. Who can a writer trust?

 

Finally, there is the reader. Even our readers (sometimes unintentionally) can be threatening to us. One bad review can diminish the creative and fragile process that we have tried to create.

 

So, how can we as writers make a difference and not succumb to the peril and rivalry of the publishing world?

 

Support each other.

 

It’s that simple. No one writer is expected to love every single work of another writer, but snubbing them is not a solution. Every writer should strive to create the highest level of excellence that they are capable of, while inspiring this in other writers, particularly new writers. This support is also an important part of the process.

 

Clique-ing together in a group of creators, and excluding certain creators because they are different, unique or unskilled, just isn’t acceptable behavior. In a way, this is bullying. Creators are a sensitive bunch for the most part, especially writers. Remember, they are pulling words out of their head and forming it together in hopes of creating something. This leaves them vulnerable, insecure at times and hyper sensitive to criticism.

 

The golden rule of ‘treating someone like you want to be treated’ seems like a good way to start in trying to solidify a positive union among writers. Wouldn’t this be great? We would have writers everywhere sticking up for one another, merely because they have empathy and respect for each other. Try mentoring a writer who is not already a part of your writing community or empower in a writer who is less experienced than you helpful techniques that they can benefit from.

 

Another form of support is to break down the walls of exclusion. This is everywhere. A writer being excluded from a contest, critique group, writing organization or review forum, and/or marketing opportunity simply because they don’t write a specific genre, or they don’t publish in a particular way, or they don’t have enough educational credentials. Wall, wall, wall. We have to stop labeling people!

 

The publishing world is still in a constant flux. Indie publishing is still on the rise and more writers are considering self-publishing. Traditional publishing houses are merging together and/or forcing some smaller presses out of the industry. Writers are being faced with the dilemma of having to decide which route to take and in some cases, which side to be on. Overall, they are at most times left with the responsibilities of designing their own marketing plan. All of this combined causes competition in the market and a rift among guess who… the writers.

 

Are there more ways that we can eliminate this rift? Possibly. If writers stick together, pull each other up, and use our creative energies together, we may just create a nurturing place to create. A place where we can all overcome the threatening elements of the publishing world. A place of happiness, where each of us reaches a level of success that we are all worthy of.

 

Together, let’s try to create an almost perfect, creative world.

 

Tracy Bryan is an award winning self-published author for kids aged 4-12. She writes whimsical non-fiction picture books about emotions, coping skills, mental health and mindfulness. Currently, Tracy has just released her debut fiction picture book called Put Away Your Phone!  View the book trailer.

 

Tracy writes a monthly personal Blog for adults on her website and one for kids aged 6-12 called The Awesomeness Blog. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads & Amazon. To learn more about Tracy or contact her, please email [email protected] or visit her website tracybryan.com

This is a post from writeforkids.org. Read the original post: Traditional Writer Versus Indie Writer

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10. Laura Backes on Writing Picture Books- Full Webinar Replay

By Laura Backes

 

 

Here’s the complete webinar from July 7, in which Children’s Book Insider publisher Laura Backes reveals her biggest insights on writing picture books . She also hosts a 30 minute “Ask me Anything” session that’s packed with great picture book writing advice.

 

There’s also a sneak preview of our upcoming tool Picture Book Blueprint.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

This is a post from writeforkids.org. Read the original post: Laura Backes on Writing Picture Books- Full Webinar Replay

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11. Get Started Writing for Kidlit Magazines

By Guest Author

What’s old is new again. The saying is never truer than when it comes to writing for children’s magazines. Did you think that magazines for children and teens had gone the way of the dinosaur with the proliferation of tablets and other electronic devices which children and teens have so enthusiastically embraced?

 

Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the use of tablets, smart phones, and other such devices have spawned online magazines in addition to print ones. Digital editions may have additional content since the publishers do not have to pay more for print costs. This is a plus for writers as it means that editors need more pieces than ever.

 

 

Themed Magazines and Theme Lists

 

A themed magazine focuses on a particular subject in every issue (such as American history after WW II). This is different from a more general-interest periodical that has a monthly theme for feature pieces (a nature magazine with a January theme of hibernating animals). You can learn about these themes and theme lists on the magazine’s web site. Familiarize yourself with them. Submitting a query or a story that has nothing to do with the theme is one of the fastest ways to mark yourself an amateur. Worse, an editor may think that you don’t care enough to find out what he/she is looking for. (Note: Theme lists have submission deadlines for each issue, often 6-18 months before publication date.)

 

 

Denominational Magazines

 

These are usually magazines with relatively small circulation and targeted toward specific religions or denominations. They frequently do not pay a great deal. However, one of the perks of writing for the denominational market is that you may be able to re-sell your story or article over and over as the readership of these magazines generally do not overlap. Of course, you’ll let the editor know if you’re sending in a piece that has already been published in another magazine.

 

 

Queries Required

 

Querying a magazine is much the same as sending in a book query. Study the magazine first. Understand what its audience is. Make your query shine. It doesn’t hurt to have a writer friend look it over. Don’t turn off an editor before you get out of the gate by turning in a sloppy query filled with misspellings, poor grammar, and inaccuracies. And, for heaven’s sake, make sure you spell the editor’s name right. Set your query up as a business letter, with your name and contact information, the date, a salutation, and the query itself.

 

Nonfiction pieces usually require that the author query before submitting. Some magazines also ask that you add a bibliography of your research sources to your query letter. You can up your chances of having your query hit its target by studying the magazine in advance. Know the underlying premise and purpose of the magazine. Is it a science-based publication? Is it related to a specific organization, i.e. Boy Scouts of America, which sponsors Boy’s Life? Sending a query about how to be more popular in school isn’t likely to be accepted by a magazine that focuses on health.

 

What can you do to increase your chances of having your query accepted? Include in it the slant you will take on a topic that will be both child-friendly and unusual enough that it doesn’t sound like everything else the magazine publishes. Editors are fond of saying that they want “the same but different.” Include the word count of the finished piece. Don’t plan on sending in a 1500 word piece when the writers’ guidelines clearly state the word limit is 900. That wastes everyone’s time.

 

More and more magazines are requiring a query for fictional pieces as well as nonfiction. Ignore this step at your peril. I had written for a particular children’s magazine for several decades, sending in stories without ever sending in a query. I was fortunate enough to sell well over half of my submissions. (I don’t know about you, but for me this is a great percentage of sales.) Several years ago, the magazine’s editorial board made a decision that authors needed to query the magazine before submitting a story. Though I resisted the idea at first—after all, I’d sold hundreds of stories without ever sending in a query—I began to see the wisdom of the change in policy. Queries are quick and easy to read, allowing editors to immediately make a decision on whether or not to give the go-ahead. What first seemed a drawback became a plus as my acceptance rate climbed to nearly 90%. It pays (in dollars and cents) to follow the guidelines.

 

 

The Submission Itself

 

Some writers for children’s magazines believe that they shouldn’t send in their “best stuff” because they want to save it for a book. This is foolish in the extreme. Every submission, whether article, story, or book, should be your “best stuff.” If you think an idea is mediocre, chances are the editor will as well.

 

Ask yourself these questions before submitting:

 

✏ Does my piece (fiction or nonfiction) fit the parameters of the magazine? For example, you won’t want to send a piece about birth control for teens to a magazine that promotes adherence to strict religious values. Nor will you want to send an article about religions around the world to a magazine that is purely secular in scope and content.

 

✏ Does my piece fit within the word count? If not, shorten it. If your story is directed to very young children, the word count may be even less than the standard word count. One magazine I write for wants their stories to come in at around 600 words, but stories for the preschool set are only 250 words.

 

✏ Does my piece fit within the magazine’s general theme or an upcoming theme on the theme list?

 

✏ Does my writing fit the tone of the magazine (conversational, literary, informational, etc.)?

 

✏ Is it free from misspellings, grammar mistakes, and other “oops?”

 

✏ Have I read several back issues of the magazine, and scanned the table of contents of at least a year’s worth of issues to be sure I’m not repeating an idea that was recently published? (You can find back issues of many magazines at the library.)

 

 

Final Words

 

Where should you look for magazines accepting articles and stories for children’s magazines? CBI is a great place. Look at other guides for writers as well, such as Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market, an annual guide published by Writer’s Digest which has an entire section devoted to children’s and teen magazines. You can also simply type in “magazines for children” into your search engine and then look for submission guidelines on each publication’s website. Many also offer sample issues online for you to study.

 

Why should you write for children’s magazines? Your goal is to write and sell books. That’s great. But don’t dismiss this market. Selling a story to a children’s periodical gives you that all important credit on your writing resume. Writing short stories and articles hones your writing skills

 

 

This is a post from writeforkids.org. Read the original post: Get Started Writing for Kidlit Magazines

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12. My Manuscript is Finished. What Do I Do Now?

By Guest Author

Writer’s coach Teresa Funke explains what to do with your completed book manuscript, including both traditional and self-publishing choices and some tips on marketing and promotion.

 

To get more great advice from Teresa, visit teresafunke.com

 

This is a post from writeforkids.org. Read the original post: My Manuscript is Finished. What Do I Do Now?

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13. Self-Published Author Assembles Magical Team

By Guest Author

by Tracy Bryan

 

From the moment I began writing my new release, Put Away Your Phone! I had imagined bright and vivid pictures to give it a real traditional feel. How was I going to find an illustrator for my book that fit these needs?

 

I first began searching for an illustrator towards the end of the final draft of the manuscript. Up to this point, I’d been writing picture books mostly about mental health and other diverse and social issues that affect kids. Although I consider myself a creative, I have absolutely no training in visual art. Besides, I wanted my first fiction picture book to be more conventional, with a hand drawn and painted look in the illustrations.

 

I’m a member of the Society of Children Book Writers (SCBWI) and I have access to a gallery of illustrators who are also members. Naturally, I looked here first. There are dozens of talented and professional illustrators in this database and each one has their own unique and distinctive style. I knew what look I wanted for my book, so now it was just a matter of finding someone that suited my budget, my project intentions, and my creative process.

 

As for my budget, I needed to do some research first. The industry rates of services for a children’s illustrator are based mostly on the time it takes to complete the project, materials needed and the artist’s level of experience.

 

According to the creativepenn.com: “The current industry rates for children’s picture books (based on a 32pg book) estimates range from $3,000 – $12,000, plus royalties. To break it down another way, if you estimate that an illustrator is creating 20 original illustrations for your book and you are paying them $3,000 for art that is $150 per illustration.”
Before I made a final decision about my budget projections, I wanted to ask myself a series of important questions regarding the criteria of this project (my book) and my objectives for it.

 

WHAT is the project?

 

I was creating an illustrated children’s book. This was the number one question I asked in the beginning because it helped me focus on exactly what my intentions were. I didn’t necessarily want a graphic designer who only created digital advertisements to work on my project. They probably wouldn’t understand my market like a picture book artist would. Also, it’s essential to me to see previous work done by any artist so that I can get a feel for what their level of expertise and style is. I wanted to see evidence of what my pictures might look like.

 

WHO is the project for?

 

My book is for kids aged 4-8. Age group criteria can really matter when seeking a children’s illustrator. While most illustrators are happy to get the work, there are certain artist’s that specialize in creating pictures that appeal to a certain age group. I was looking for someone that could relate to kids of this age and possibly even know young kids that they could work from.

 

WHEN is the project needed?

 

A timeline is a definite must on both sides of the working agreement. In most situations, this is based on the artist’s skill level. I had a time frame in mind, but from being a creative myself, I wanted to respect that my illustrator would need to work at a speed that was in balance with their process. Although it’s critical to establish a set time for publication in a written contract, I also know that putting too much constraint on the end date can kill the creative flow.

 

WHERE will the illustrations be used?

 

I would be using the illustrated artwork in my book, but I also had to consider some of this art being used on my website, in guest blogs, in my book trailer, and on social media. With all the copyright laws now, it’s vital to know each party’s rights in the project. Again a written contract is absolutely necessary in order to protect all of those involved, establish clear boundaries for the project and to make it fair on both ends.

 

My husband is my agent so I had him assist in drawing up a document that worked for me. There are many resources available to authors and illustrators with regards to contemporary user rights (and other legal issues) and I highly suggest setting out these guidelines before any project is started. As a side note: Just to protect the artists and their work that I would use, I kept in mind to make sure to purchase rights to the work, ask permissions and/or insert a copyright image on any artwork (and stock audio) that I was using, if it wasn’t there already.

 

So…HOW MUCH?

 

Because I’m an Indie Author and I self-publish myself, I had to keep a budget in mind. Also, I knew that if I chose a “professional” artist, (someone that was already established, had a reputation and was getting paid according to the industry rate) I would have to consider their asking price first and then begin negotiations there. Pretty standard stuff. However, because I was a novice in this industry, I had a feeling that what I wanted to pay and what I actually would have to pay might be different figures.

 

If an illustrator asks for a price that fits your budget, sometimes negotiations aren’t even necessary. This is exactly what happened with me. I accepted the price because it seemed fair and I was the novice after all. My illustrator had been in this industry for longer than me and they had much more experience.

 

I had created a business and marketing plan for this project and cost of an illustrator was on it. I figured this final fee into my author/illustrator contract agreement, where I pay half up front for services and the other half upon completion of the project. This was going to be a flat fee and that meant there would be no “add on” service fees later when the project was finished. The fee included the purchase of all rights to the illustrated pictures and even if the book became really successful, there would be no future royalty payments either. This was really confusing details and legal information for me, so I had my husband/agent explain some of this to me and I did a lot of research too.

 

Finally…WHY do this project?

 

Above all, the most important question I needed to ask myself. Why was I doing this? I wrote Put Away Your Phone! two years ago and I still feel as much passion for it now as I did then, if not more! There is a message in my book that I believe the world needs to hear-especially kids. I knew I couldn’t do this alone, I still don’t. Some projects just need collaboration in order for them to be the absolute best they can be. My project would be bland without my illustrator… David Barrow.

 

I feel so grateful to have found David that day, when I was searching through the gallery on SCBWI. Several emails later, project complete and book launched, and I can genuinely say I’ve found someone that I hope to continue doing projects with for a long time. Working with David has been exciting, rewarding and enlightening. Looking back at all the questions I initially asked myself, he has met all those criteria and more! Together, we have created a complete book with our own unique styles combined. I think we are a small, magical team.

 

In an industry where some creatives massively produce according to the market demands, I like being a part of something that produces exclusively for those in which the work was intended…the kids!

 

Follow this link to return to Tracy’s website and continue on her virtual Book Tour!

 

 

tracyTracy Bryan is a self-published author for kids aged 4-12. She writes whimsical picture books about emotions, mental health, mindfulness and social issues.

 

Tracy’s latest release is called Put Away Your Phone! and is now available on Amazon. This quirky and important tale about modern technology stars a little girl and her dislike for grown-ups who are always on their phone.

 

View the book trailer for Put Away Your Phone! here. To learn more about Tracy, please visit tracybryan.com

 

 

 

David Barrow began by drawing pictures on the floor in front of the family TV. Mostly self-taught,barrow he pored over the books and images of the world around him. Throughout his career, he has been known for his congenial attitude, innovation, creativity, and drive.

 

Eventually, the pull of visually telling stories drove him to strike out on his own, illustrating, animating and designing for local and national clients. Today, David has built a wide-ranging portfolio and a reputation for fairness and excellence. David also writes a personal blog.
To learn more about David and to view his blog and portfolio, please visit drawingdavidbarrow.weebly.com

 

This is a post from writeforkids.org. Read the original post: Self-Published Author Assembles Magical Team

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14. The Adventures of Dan Santat: A Conversation with the Caldecott-winning Author & Illustrator

By Guest Author

This interview originally appeared in the March, 2016 issue of Children’s Book Insider, the Children’s Writing Monthly. To learn more about this essential resource, click here.

 
 
by PJ McIlvaine
 
 
SHAZAM! It’s a plane! A train! A speeding bullet!
 
No! It’s SUPER DAN — as in the prolific (a mind-boggling 40-plus books, with 5 books coming out in 2016) author/illustrator Dan Santat.

 

Super Dan does it all in kid lit, and in 2015 he added a 2015 Caldecott Medal to his prestigious resume for The Adventures of Beekle: An Unimaginary Friend, soon to be an animation feature film from DreamWorks. However, Dan would be the first to tell you that it wasn’t always so. His father wanted him to be a doctor, he almost gave up on his dreams for a steady paycheck at Google, and Little, Brown initially passed on Beekle. Dan is the real deal: candid, humble and down to earth. And he looks pretty good in a cape and tights.

 

 

PJ McIlvaine: How did majoring in microbiology become a springboard to becoming a 2015 Caldecott winner? Did you write and draw as a child? Did your family encourage your creativity?

 

Dan Santat: Depriving me of the opportunity to draw was what fueled me. My parents wanted me to become a doctor, but drawing was what I loved to do most in life. I was an only child and so I would spend hours copying pictures of comics that I liked. I remember I used to get mad at myself if I couldn’t get a drawing exactly right. I would write stories but they would start out with a basic greeting and then mostly evolved into pages of action scenes. My mom encouraged me most. She liked to help me win ribbons at the county fair every year, though my dad was worried that it would detract from me someday becoming a doctor.

 

 

PJ: How do your parents feel about your career choice now?

 

DS: They’re happy and proud of me, but I don’t think they truly fully understand what I’ve achieved. They understand that it’s significant, but I don’t think? they could?exactly explain to their friends in full detail what it means.

 

 

PJ: I understand you once turned down a job at Google to pursue your ambitions. Was that somewhat of a leap of faith?
 
DS: Absolutely. I had always felt the need to earn a steady paycheck because I was the type of person that always felt as if my career could go into the tank in an instant. The job offer came about a year after I had left a full time job at a video game company, I had my own cartoon show at Disney (The Replacements) and I was working at home after hours illustrating books and magazine editorials. I was doing fine, but I was constantly worrying about the negative. Google was a type of job that would have secured me financially, but I also realized that I would probably regret life if I didn’t get to see how far I could take my freelance career if I just focused on it solely and gave it a 110% effort. When I turned them down I kept the job offer (which I still have) and I remember telling myself, “Don’t ever let yourself regret this decision.”

 

 

PJ: How do you pick your projects or do they choose you?

 

DS: I get a good offering of projects but I choose the ones with an emotional hook or something that speaks to a reader on a deeper level. I try not to pigeonhole myself into taking the same projects over and over. Prior to Beekle, I don’t think I would even have gotten then chance to work on a deeper emotional type of project. For many years I was just getting funny manuscripts and cute animal stories. I had to show that I was capable of being more than that.

 

 

PJ: How do you decide which projects to collaborate on? Now that you’re on top of the heap, so to speak, do you have your choice of projects?

 

DS: Collaborations are usually presented to me with the author already prepared to present his/her material to a publisher. I don’t seek them or work with others actively to present a project. I wouldn’t exactly say I have my choice of projects either, but I do think my name is thrown into the mix more often. Even prior to winning the Caldecott Medal I was already working with well-known authors whom I admired and they were often opportunities that I knew I would be silly to pass up. Folks like Jon Scieszka, Dave Pilkey, Michael Buckley, Mac Barnett, etc.

 

 

PJ: How has winning the Caldecott for Beekle changed your life? What keeps you grounded? What does your son think of Beekle (he was the inspiration, correct)?

 

DS: I no longer feel like a “has-been” or a “never-will-be”. I always felt like my books were invisible to folks. This is the first time in my life where I have felt like folks are asking what I’ve got next up my sleeve. I’m grounded by the fact that I don’t ever want to settle on the success. I don’t want to look at Beekle as the peak of my career just yet. I want to feel that my books can be even better than that in the future. Then you’ll see a hot new artist with a great new style or a writer who can really string a great sentence together and you realize you still have a ton too learn. My son loves the book and the story behind the origin of it (a metaphor of his birth) but I think he’ll appreciate it much more when he’s an adult possibly reading the book to his own kids.

 

 

PJ: How did the sale of Beekle to DreamWorks come about? Was that on your dream list? How involved—-or not—will you be with the movie?

 

DS: Funny story is that Little, Brown actually passed on Beekle when I presented it to them. It was too rough for them to fully comprehend. DreamWorks met with me a few months later because they were fans of my earlier work and wanted to see what I was working on. I showed them sketches and told them what the story was about, and I think being face to face with someone just really made it clear as to what I had intended. Once Little, Brown learned that DreamWorks had optioned it they reworked it into my two-book deal that I had signed with them and also made it my first title. I never actively seek to have a book be made into a movie. I think doing so is insincere to the content. I make a book for kids to read, not to be a means to an end in hopes that it becomes something else. I’ve already had experience with my own cartoon show (The Replacements) and I wasn’t particularly fond of the process.

 

There are a lot of emotional highs and lows that come with putting a show together and I’m not really big on adding more stress to my life. I just try to make the best work I can possibly do. Right now, Jason Reitman is writing and directing this feature for DreamWorks and I couldn’t think of a better person to do the job. I’ve been a huge fan of his for years and he’s approaching the material from a place that’s personal to him, as well, so I know it’s in safe hands. I don’t want any involvement in the project. I think doing so will just muddle the process and I think I’ve already said all I’ve wanted to say with my book. Jason probably won’t make it exactly like my book and I don’t expect him to. If anything, I’m interested to see another artist’s interpretation of my work. That’s what making art is all about sometimes.

 

 

PJ: You’re comfortable in picture books, graphic novels, and TV animation—is there one genre you prefer over the others?

 

DS: I honestly think I’m best suited to making graphic novels. My voice lends itself better to a slightly older audience of kids. You also have more room to build emotion and a sense of pacing. The only problem is that they take years to produce, though I’m trying to change all that by creating more time in my schedule for my own works. Picture books are the hardest things to make. It’s about making a story as efficiently and economically as possible. They’re very easy to screw up and I don’t think people fully realize how delicate the balance is from making a good book, to a great book, to an awful book. It could just be a matter of changing a few words that can completely change the meaning or emotional arc of a story. TV is a completely different beast. In television you’re trying to please as many people as you can in order to get the most viewers and the content can become very homogenized.

 

 

PJ: How easy—or hard—is it to balance your work life and family life?

 

DS: You have your ups and downs. For me, I realized that I’ve been very intense with my career but I’m also the type of person who never wants personal life to suffer because of it, so I would often just work longer hours to offset the time I made for family. I always wanted to have my cake and eat it too but I never wanted anyone to feel deprived of their needs from me so I took the burden upon myself to try to please everyone by working harder both as an artist and as a parent (If that makes any sense). Now, I think my body took a toll from all the hard work I’ve done for the last ten years. I’ve been making efforts to find a new balance that I’m comfortable with, which has been hard for me. If I do too much then I get tired and stressed out. If I do too little then my mind gets anxious and I get depressed.

 

 

PJ: What comes first for you, in terms of inspiration, the prose or the illustrations?

 

DS: For me the concept is leaps and bounds the most important aspect out of the entire process. If you have a good idea then everything falls into place much easier, but coming up with a good idea can take years. It’s easily 80% of my entire book making process without having to draw a single image or write a single word. Now, to answer your question, my illustrations are good at setting a mood, but I feel my prose is good at delivering the emotion. One relies heavily on the other, but had it not been for my ability to illustrate I wouldn’t be where I am today.

 

 

PJ: Do you draw by hand or on a computer?

 

DS: I draw by hand on the computer if that makes sense. I paint textures traditionally with watercolors and pen and ink and then I scan them into the computer. Then I use the textures to incorporate them into my digital work. I have a whole hard drive filled with textures, which I’ve accumulated over many years. It’s been a long learning process.

 

 

PJ: Do you use a special drawing application on your computer? What kind of computer do you use?

 

DS: I use a five-year old iMac with Adobe Photoshop, and a Wacom drawing tablet.

 

 

PJ: How many drafts of a book/artwork do you do? Do you write/draw every day? Any rituals? How long does you it take you to complete a book?

 

DS: It depends on each project. Beekle was maybe over 10 drafts, but my newest book, Are We There Yet was only about two drafts. Some things just click into place and I’ll have it fully formed in my head in advance. I’ll work on something every day. Even if I don’t actually draw or write I’m thinking of something. As a ritual I’ll go for a jog and have a cup of coffee to really wake myself up. I listen to podcasts or audiobooks while I’m jogging to inspire me. I’m constantly juggling projects, sometimes five or more at once. I’ve worked on my graphic novel, Sidekicks, which took about five years and I’ve illustrated a picture book, Because I’m Your Dad, in 30 days.

 

 

PJ: From acceptance to publication on your first book—how long did it take? Any wisdom or tips you wish you had known?

 

DS: Two years, for me. Signed the contract, wrote and illustrated the book in about a year, and then it was a year of marketing by the publisher. Can’t really complain about the experience. I met my editor, Arthur Levine, at an SCBWI conference and he gave me a two-book deal on the spot, which kind of falls into the category of “Cinderella Story”.

 

 

PJ: You’re represented by Jodi Reamer of Writer’s House. How difficult—or easy—was it to secure representation?

 

DS: It’s tough when you never submit your work to an agency because you don’t think you’re good enough to be represented by them. I met Jodi through a friend who was repped by her and Jodi became familiar with my work because she is a Disney nut (she saw The Replacements). After leaving my old agent, my friend asked Jodi for me when I was looking and Jodi reached out to me by email. Jodi and I have been extremely close friends ever since.

 

 

PJ: If there were one thing about the writing/drawing process you could change, what would it be? Is there one you prefer over the other?

 

DS: I wish picture books could be longer than 40 pages without the publisher stressing out about it. I always feel like I could use an extra spread or two in every book I do to nail the pacing. I prefer drawing. I feel I’m a stronger illustrator than a writer, but I’ve improved on my writing tremendously in the last five years.

 

 

PJ: Do you multitask? If so, how many projects do you work on at one time? You’re so prolific, how do you keep your energy going?

 

DS: My entire life is a multitask. I would say I burned out three years ago but was too busy to realize it. I worked on 13 books in 2014 and I almost killed myself (I had one week where I slept for only 12 hours). Since then I had to seriously reflect on how I was living my life and I’ve tried slowing down, but as a result I’ve realized that I absolutely hate just sitting around. I even watch TV on the Internet while I work so I feel productive while I’m “relaxing”. The sad part is that I only took up jogging because it gave me more energy so I could work. The one word I could use to describe my work ethic is “ambition”, or maybe it’s just the fear of failure.

 

 

PJ: Do you ever get writer’s or artist’s block? And if so, how do you overcome it?

 

DS: I just had the worst case of writer’s block a few months after winning the Caldecott Medal. It’s frustrating because after winning an award like that you feel like everyone expects you to uphold that standard, you find yourself comparing everything you do to that award winning thing and you become very critical of everything you make. Previously, I would occasionally get small bouts of writers block and I would typically force myself to work through it. Honestly, the way I got my mind out of this recent big one was that one day Jodi called me and told me to take a month off. I just needed my brain to rest and after about eight weeks my mind started sparking with ideas again. It was a feeling that I realized I didn’t experience for about six years because I was so busy with life in general.

 

 

PJ: What was your favorite picture book as a child? Writers? Artists?

 

DS: Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs was my favorite book ever. I’ve been a fan of folks like William Joyce, David Macauley, Chris Van Allsburg, and Bill Watterson for years.

 

 

PJ: You have a delightful presence on Twitter and Facebook. How important is social media to the budding writer/artist?

 

DS: Not at all unless you want to get to know folks. I will say it definitely helps things when it’s time to promote a new book, but I resent the folks who only use social media to sell you something. I talk about my family, and other interests with folks and recipes I’m trying out. What I’m trying to say is that social media won’t necessarily make you a better writer/artist, etc.

 

 

PJ: If you could gaze into a crystal ball, where would you be five years from now?

 

DS: If all goes well I’ll be at the DreamWorks premiere of the Beekle movie (fingers crossed) but still same old me with more achy joints and muscles, and gray hairs.

 

 

PJ: What’s a day in the life of Dan Santat like?

 

DS: I try to not take things too seriously. I like to keep my mind occupied by trying new things and making sure everyone around me is happy. If you’re having fun then everyone else will have fun. It’s one life to live, so let it be merry.

 

 

PJ: What are you working on now?

 

DS: I signed on to illustrate three picture books with three different authors and I’m working on my next two picture books, a graphic novel memoir, and another graphic novel adventure. Lots of traveling to events, too.

 

 

PJ: Is there a question you wish someone would ask?

 

DS: “Would you like an extra month to finish that book?”

 

 

See more from Dan on his Tumblr page at http://dansantat.tumblr.com/

 

 

PJ McIlvaine is a produced screenwriter/kid lit author/blogger/journalist. She lives with her family and Sasha the Psycho Cat in Eastern Long Island. In a  previous life, PJ was a great baker of Europe. For kid lit, PJ is represented by Jessica Sinsheimer of Sarah Jane Freymann; for screenplays, Mark Lawyer of Markerstone Management.

This is a post from writeforkids.org. Read the original post: The Adventures of Dan Santat: A Conversation with the Caldecott-winning Author & Illustrator

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15. Tips for Working with a Self-Publishing Company

By Guest Author

Editor’s Note: If you’re considering self-publishing your book, you can research and piece together the process entirely on your own, or you can hire a publishing company like Mascot Books that assists authors in the production, marketing and distribution of their work. In this post, Naren Aryal, CEO of Mascot Books, explains the format picture book authors should use when submitting their story to a self-publishing company.

 

These days, it’s not uncommon for an author (whether a newbie or seasoned pro) to choose to self-publish.

 

So you have a good idea for a children’s picture book. Now what? I’m often asked what form the manuscript should take. In the world of children’s books, manuscript style can vary as much as the subject matter of each book. Here’s some practical advice from someone that’s reviewed countless manuscripts over the years.

 

First, you should know that most picture books are thirty-two pages, and after you’ve allocating space for end pages, copyright page, and title page, you’re typically left with twenty-four pages … or twelve spreads of artwork. A “spread” is comprised of the left and right pages when you open a book. A spread is sometimes referred to as “scene” which is also an appropriate term, but here we’ll stick with the term “spread.” Sure, some books may have more or less than twelve spreads, but twelve is most common.

 

You’ll want to divide your story into twelve spreads, and for each spread include your text and your thoughts regarding accompanying illustrations (to the extent you have strong feelings about the illustrations). I find it helpful to know what an author has in mind for illustrations when reviewing a manuscript. The final illustrations rarely end up being exactly as described in the initial manuscript, but it is a good starting point for discussions among the author, publisher, and illustrator. The final script almost always changes from the time of the initial submission to the printed book … but that’s okay! There’s editing that occurs, and after the illustrations are done it’s normal for lines that seemed to work previously to end up requiring some tweaking when coupled with artwork.

 

It’s not necessary to use actual page breaks when formatting your manuscript, but spread headings (usually as simple as Spread One, Spread Two, etc.) are useful. If you prefer the spread to consist of two unrelated illustrations, you can indicate that by creating sub-headings on the spreads listed as “pages,” (for example, Spread One would consist of pages 1 and 2; Spread Two would consist of pages 3 and 4, etc).

 

Remember, these are general guidelines. Since substance always trumps form, don’t be shy about submitting your story. The publisher will help with formatting if needed.

 

Write away!

 


 

Naren Aryal co-founded Mascot Books in 2003. Mascot Books is a full service book publishing company that works closely with independent authors in every phase of writing/editorial, book production, book marketing, and book distribution. Their roster includes bestselling authors who have previously traditionally published, first time authors, and authors at various levels in between.

 

This is a post from writeforkids.org. Read the original post: Tips for Working with a Self-Publishing Company

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16. Tips for Working with a Self-Publishing Company

By Guest Author

Editor’s Note: If you’re considering self-publishing your book, you can research and piece together the process entirely on your own, or you can hire a publishing company like Mascot Books that assists authors in the production, marketing and distribution of their work. In this post, Naren Aryal, CEO of Mascot Books, explains the format picture book authors should use when submitting their story to a self-publishing company.

 

These days, it’s not uncommon for an author (whether a newbie or seasoned pro) to choose to self-publish.

 

So you have a good idea for a children’s picture book. Now what? I’m often asked what form the manuscript should take. In the world of children’s books, manuscript style can vary as much as the subject matter of each book. Here’s some practical advice from someone that’s reviewed countless manuscripts over the years.

 

First, you should know that most picture books are thirty-two pages, and after you’ve allocating space for end pages, copyright page, and title page, you’re typically left with twenty-four pages … or twelve spreads of artwork. A “spread” is comprised of the left and right pages when you open a book. A spread is sometimes referred to as “scene” which is also an appropriate term, but here we’ll stick with the term “spread.” Sure, some books may have more or less than twelve spreads, but twelve is most common.

 

You’ll want to divide your story into twelve spreads, and for each spread include your text and your thoughts regarding accompanying illustrations (to the extent you have strong feelings about the illustrations). I find it helpful to know what an author has in mind for illustrations when reviewing a manuscript. The final illustrations rarely end up being exactly as described in the initial manuscript, but it is a good starting point for discussions among the author, publisher, and illustrator. The final script almost always changes from the time of the initial submission to the printed book … but that’s okay! There’s editing that occurs, and after the illustrations are done it’s normal for lines that seemed to work previously to end up requiring some tweaking when coupled with artwork.

 

It’s not necessary to use actual page breaks when formatting your manuscript, but spread headings (usually as simple as Spread One, Spread Two, etc.) are useful. If you prefer the spread to consist of two unrelated illustrations, you can indicate that by creating sub-headings on the spreads listed as “pages,” (for example, Spread One would consist of pages 1 and 2; Spread Two would consist of pages 3 and 4, etc).

 

Remember, these are general guidelines. Since substance always trumps form, don’t be shy about submitting your story. The publisher will help with formatting if needed.

 

Write away!

 


 

Naren Aryal co-founded Mascot Books in 2003. Mascot Books is a full service book publishing company that works closely with independent authors in every phase of writing/editorial, book production, book marketing, and book distribution. Their roster includes bestselling authors who have previously traditionally published, first time authors, and authors at various levels in between.

 

This is a post from writeforkids.org. Read the original post: Tips for Working with a Self-Publishing Company

Add a Comment
17. Tips for Working with a Self-Publishing Company

By Guest Author

Editor’s Note: If you’re considering self-publishing your book, you can research and piece together the process entirely on your own, or you can hire a publishing company like Mascot Books that assists authors in the production, marketing and distribution of their work. In this post, Naren Aryal, CEO of Mascot Books, explains the format picture book authors should use when submitting their story to a self-publishing company.

 

These days, it’s not uncommon for an author (whether a newbie or seasoned pro) to choose to self-publish.

 

So you have a good idea for a children’s picture book. Now what? I’m often asked what form the manuscript should take. In the world of children’s books, manuscript style can vary as much as the subject matter of each book. Here’s some practical advice from someone that’s reviewed countless manuscripts over the years.

 

First, you should know that most picture books are thirty-two pages, and after you’ve allocating space for end pages, copyright page, and title page, you’re typically left with twenty-four pages … or twelve spreads of artwork. A “spread” is comprised of the left and right pages when you open a book. A spread is sometimes referred to as “scene” which is also an appropriate term, but here we’ll stick with the term “spread.” Sure, some books may have more or less than twelve spreads, but twelve is most common.

 

You’ll want to divide your story into twelve spreads, and for each spread include your text and your thoughts regarding accompanying illustrations (to the extent you have strong feelings about the illustrations). I find it helpful to know what an author has in mind for illustrations when reviewing a manuscript. The final illustrations rarely end up being exactly as described in the initial manuscript, but it is a good starting point for discussions among the author, publisher, and illustrator. The final script almost always changes from the time of the initial submission to the printed book … but that’s okay! There’s editing that occurs, and after the illustrations are done it’s normal for lines that seemed to work previously to end up requiring some tweaking when coupled with artwork.

 

It’s not necessary to use actual page breaks when formatting your manuscript, but spread headings (usually as simple as Spread One, Spread Two, etc.) are useful. If you prefer the spread to consist of two unrelated illustrations, you can indicate that by creating sub-headings on the spreads listed as “pages,” (for example, Spread One would consist of pages 1 and 2; Spread Two would consist of pages 3 and 4, etc).

 

Remember, these are general guidelines. Since substance always trumps form, don’t be shy about submitting your story. The publisher will help with formatting if needed.

 

Write away!

 


 

Naren Aryal co-founded Mascot Books in 2003. Mascot Books is a full service book publishing company that works closely with independent authors in every phase of writing/editorial, book production, book marketing, and book distribution. Their roster includes bestselling authors who have previously traditionally published, first time authors, and authors at various levels in between.

 

This is a post from writeforkids.org. Read the original post: Tips for Working with a Self-Publishing Company

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18. Comment on The World Is Now Ours. A Children’s Writing Vision for the 21st Century by Pamela

I subscribed to CBI back in the mid-nineties after I had a few books published in New Zealand. After 28 years of teaching (soon to retire), I have found the two of you once again- online, and I am so empowered! Using my expertise in educating young minds, my goal is to develop curriculum related books. I want to continue to make a contribution to the world. Your mission sounds wonderful. I am eager to hear more about your goals.

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19. Writing Is Easier When You Stop Trying So Hard

By Guest Author

 

by Noelle Sterne

 

I usually know when I’m trying too hard in writing. When I review one of my pieces toward revision or sending out, the first sign is my quiet giggling to myself at the puns. The second is my murmurs of approval at the turns of phrase. The third is imagining readers’ gasps of delight at my ingenuity. The fourth, and most important, is the red-yellow warning flare that shoots through my brain—Oh, oh, ego ascendant.

 

If I don’t heed that flare, I know it heralds disaster: I’m trying too hard. The work cannot help reflect this overconscious effort. Somehow, the technique, wordplay, and resplendent diction I so admire overpower whatever message I want to convey.

 

In The Writer’s Book of Wisdom: 101 Rules for Mastering Your Craft, Stephen Taylor Goldsberry’s Number 36 admonishes, “Try not to overdo it. . . . Beware of contrived lyrical embellishment and fluffy metaphors” (p. 87). I would add beware too of eloquent, balanced rhetoric. And repetition for effect. And overly ripe similes. And too- intricate expositions. And too-pithy observations.

 

After reading Eat Pray Love, I read a transcript of an interview with Elizabeth Gilbert. As she worked on her next book, she said, she produced 500 pages trying to imitate the bestseller in a similar breezy, flippant, and pseudo-deep style. After all these pages, Gilbert realized what she was doing and knew she had to junk the whole new manuscript. Then, no longer trying to duplicate the earlier success, she wrote a completely different and honest book, Committed. Committed was successful in its own right.

 

Like Gilbert in her post E-P-L foray, when we try, even with all our might, we end up failing or at least falling short. I think of a friend’s story about his father, who came from Italy, settled in New Jersey, and founded an automotive products store. As a twelve-year-old, my friend helped his father after school in the store. One day, his father instructed him to unpack a shipment of tires and stack them in a certain corner for maximum display. The boy answered, “I’ll try.”

 

In his limited but effective English, his father bellowed, “No try! You do!” My friend did. And never forgot the lesson.

 

Our writing lesson? We shouldn’t try. We do, or don’t. Maybe it means not writing at all for a while. Or writing a lot of nonsense first, accompanied by that horrid hollow feeling. Or using the slash/option method incessantly. This is one of my favorites/best practices/most helpful methods/greatest techniques for skirting stuckness and continuing to slog. Or going back countless times to excise, refine, replace, restructure, or even, like Gilbert, pitch it all out.

 

Trying means we’re writing too self-consciously, usually to impress or force. In contrast, doing, like my friend’s immigrant father knew, means total immersion. However many drafts we need, however many dunks in the uncertain creative mud we can dare, our success rests not in trying—but doing.

 

So, I tell myself, Stop trying to be clever and knowing. Stop trying to beat out your writing colleagues. Stop trying to show off your wit and dazzle everyone. Stop trying to replicate your just-success. All that trying cuts off your talent and expressive truth. Especially, that trying chokes off your honesty as a writer. I tell myself, and you too—turn away from all that trying and just write.

 


 

 

Author, editor, dissertation and writing coach, ghostwriter, and spiritual counselor, Noelle Sterne has published  over 300 pieces in print and online venues, including Author Magazine, Chicken Soup for the Soul,  Children’s Book  Insider, Funds For Writers,  Graduate Schools Magazine, GradShare, InnerSelf, Inspire Me Today, Pen &  Prosper, Romance Writers Report, Textbook and Academic Authors Association, Transformation Magazine, Unity Magazine, Women in Higher Education, Women on Writing, Writer’s Digest, and The Writer. She has also published  pieces in anthologies, has contributed several columns to writing publications, and has been a volunteer judge of  children’s stories, poems, and books for Rate Your Story. With a Ph.D. from Columbia University, Noelle has for 30 years assisted doctoral candidates to complete their dissertations (finally). Based on her practice, her handbook  addressing dissertation writers’ overlooked but very important nonacademic difficulties was published in September  2015 by Rowman & Littlefield Education. The title: Challenges in Writing Your Dissertation: Coping with the Emotional, Interpersonal, and Spiritual Struggles. Excerpts from this book continue to be published in academic magazines and blogs. In Noelle`s previous book, Trust Your Life: Forgive Yourself and Go After Your Dreams (Unity Books, 2011), she draws examples from her academic consulting and other aspects of life to help readers release regrets, relabel their past, and reach their lifelong yearnings. Visit Noelle at her website: http://www.trustyourlifenow.com/

This is a post from writeforkids.org. Read the original post: Writing Is Easier When You Stop Trying So Hard

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20. Writing Is Easier When You Stop Trying So Hard

By Guest Author

 

by Noelle Sterne

 

I usually know when I’m trying too hard in writing. When I review one of my pieces toward revision or sending out, the first sign is my quiet giggling to myself at the puns. The second is my murmurs of approval at the turns of phrase. The third is imagining readers’ gasps of delight at my ingenuity. The fourth, and most important, is the red-yellow warning flare that shoots through my brain—Oh, oh, ego ascendant.

 

If I don’t heed that flare, I know it heralds disaster: I’m trying too hard. The work cannot help reflect this overconscious effort. Somehow, the technique, wordplay, and resplendent diction I so admire overpower whatever message I want to convey.

 

In The Writer’s Book of Wisdom: 101 Rules for Mastering Your Craft, Stephen Taylor Goldsberry’s Number 36 admonishes, “Try not to overdo it. . . . Beware of contrived lyrical embellishment and fluffy metaphors” (p. 87). I would add beware too of eloquent, balanced rhetoric. And repetition for effect. And overly ripe similes. And too- intricate expositions. And too-pithy observations.

 

After reading Eat Pray Love, I read a transcript of an interview with Elizabeth Gilbert. As she worked on her next book, she said, she produced 500 pages trying to imitate the bestseller in a similar breezy, flippant, and pseudo-deep style. After all these pages, Gilbert realized what she was doing and knew she had to junk the whole new manuscript. Then, no longer trying to duplicate the earlier success, she wrote a completely different and honest book, Committed. Committed was successful in its own right.

 

Like Gilbert in her post E-P-L foray, when we try, even with all our might, we end up failing or at least falling short. I think of a friend’s story about his father, who came from Italy, settled in New Jersey, and founded an automotive products store. As a twelve-year-old, my friend helped his father after school in the store. One day, his father instructed him to unpack a shipment of tires and stack them in a certain corner for maximum display. The boy answered, “I’ll try.”

 

In his limited but effective English, his father bellowed, “No try! You do!” My friend did. And never forgot the lesson.

 

Our writing lesson? We shouldn’t try. We do, or don’t. Maybe it means not writing at all for a while. Or writing a lot of nonsense first, accompanied by that horrid hollow feeling. Or using the slash/option method incessantly. This is one of my favorites/best practices/most helpful methods/greatest techniques for skirting stuckness and continuing to slog. Or going back countless times to excise, refine, replace, restructure, or even, like Gilbert, pitch it all out.

 

Trying means we’re writing too self-consciously, usually to impress or force. In contrast, doing, like my friend’s immigrant father knew, means total immersion. However many drafts we need, however many dunks in the uncertain creative mud we can dare, our success rests not in trying—but doing.

 

So, I tell myself, Stop trying to be clever and knowing. Stop trying to beat out your writing colleagues. Stop trying to show off your wit and dazzle everyone. Stop trying to replicate your just-success. All that trying cuts off your talent and expressive truth. Especially, that trying chokes off your honesty as a writer. I tell myself, and you too—turn away from all that trying and just write.

 


Author, editor, dissertation and writing coach, ghostwriter, and spiritual counselor, Noelle Sterne has published  over 300 pieces in print and online venues, including Author Magazine, Chicken Soup for the Soul,  Children’s Book  Insider, Funds For Writers,  Women on Writing, Writer’s Digest, and The Writer. She has also published  pieces in anthologies, has contributed several columns to writing publications, and has been a volunteer judge of  children’s stories, poems, and books for Rate Your Story.

 

With a Ph.D. from Columbia University, Noelle has for 30 years assisted doctoral candidates to complete their dissertations. She’s the author of Challenges in Writing Your Dissertation: Coping with the Emotional, Interpersonal, and Spiritual Struggles.  Noelle`s previous book, Trust Your Life: Forgive Yourself and Go After Your Dreams (Unity Books, 2011), draws examples from her academic consulting and other aspects of life to help readers release regrets, relabel their past, and reach their lifelong yearnings. Visit Noelle at her website: http://www.trustyourlifenow.com/

 

This is a post from writeforkids.org. Read the original post: Writing Is Easier When You Stop Trying So Hard

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21. Writing Is Easier When You Stop Trying So Hard

By Guest Author

 

by Noelle Sterne

 

I usually know when I’m trying too hard in writing. When I review one of my pieces toward revision or sending out, the first sign is my quiet giggling to myself at the puns. The second is my murmurs of approval at the turns of phrase. The third is imagining readers’ gasps of delight at my ingenuity. The fourth, and most important, is the red-yellow warning flare that shoots through my brain—Oh, oh, ego ascendant.

 

If I don’t heed that flare, I know it heralds disaster: I’m trying too hard. The work cannot help reflect this overconscious effort. Somehow, the technique, wordplay, and resplendent diction I so admire overpower whatever message I want to convey.

 

In The Writer’s Book of Wisdom: 101 Rules for Mastering Your Craft, Stephen Taylor Goldsberry’s Number 36 admonishes, “Try not to overdo it. . . . Beware of contrived lyrical embellishment and fluffy metaphors” (p. 87). I would add beware too of eloquent, balanced rhetoric. And repetition for effect. And overly ripe similes. And too- intricate expositions. And too-pithy observations.

 

After reading Eat Pray Love, I read a transcript of an interview with Elizabeth Gilbert. As she worked on her next book, she said, she produced 500 pages trying to imitate the bestseller in a similar breezy, flippant, and pseudo-deep style. After all these pages, Gilbert realized what she was doing and knew she had to junk the whole new manuscript. Then, no longer trying to duplicate the earlier success, she wrote a completely different and honest book, Committed. Committed was successful in its own right.

 

Like Gilbert in her post E-P-L foray, when we try, even with all our might, we end up failing or at least falling short. I think of a friend’s story about his father, who came from Italy, settled in New Jersey, and founded an automotive products store. As a twelve-year-old, my friend helped his father after school in the store. One day, his father instructed him to unpack a shipment of tires and stack them in a certain corner for maximum display. The boy answered, “I’ll try.”

 

In his limited but effective English, his father bellowed, “No try! You do!” My friend did. And never forgot the lesson.

 

Our writing lesson? We shouldn’t try. We do, or don’t. Maybe it means not writing at all for a while. Or writing a lot of nonsense first, accompanied by that horrid hollow feeling. Or using the slash/option method incessantly. This is one of my favorites/best practices/most helpful methods/greatest techniques for skirting stuckness and continuing to slog. Or going back countless times to excise, refine, replace, restructure, or even, like Gilbert, pitch it all out.

 

Trying means we’re writing too self-consciously, usually to impress or force. In contrast, doing, like my friend’s immigrant father knew, means total immersion. However many drafts we need, however many dunks in the uncertain creative mud we can dare, our success rests not in trying—but doing.

 

So, I tell myself, Stop trying to be clever and knowing. Stop trying to beat out your writing colleagues. Stop trying to show off your wit and dazzle everyone. Stop trying to replicate your just-success. All that trying cuts off your talent and expressive truth. Especially, that trying chokes off your honesty as a writer. I tell myself, and you too—turn away from all that trying and just write.

 


Author, editor, dissertation and writing coach, ghostwriter, and spiritual counselor, Noelle Sterne has published  over 300 pieces in print and online venues, including Author Magazine, Chicken Soup for the Soul,  Children’s Book  Insider, Funds For Writers,  Women on Writing, Writer’s Digest, and The Writer. She has also published  pieces in anthologies, has contributed several columns to writing publications, and has been a volunteer judge of  children’s stories, poems, and books for Rate Your Story.

 

With a Ph.D. from Columbia University, Noelle has for 30 years assisted doctoral candidates to complete their dissertations. She’s the author of Challenges in Writing Your Dissertation: Coping with the Emotional, Interpersonal, and Spiritual Struggles.  Noelle`s previous book, Trust Your Life: Forgive Yourself and Go After Your Dreams (Unity Books, 2011), draws examples from her academic consulting and other aspects of life to help readers release regrets, relabel their past, and reach their lifelong yearnings. Visit Noelle at her website: http://www.trustyourlifenow.com/

 

This is a post from writeforkids.org. Read the original post: Writing Is Easier When You Stop Trying So Hard

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22. Comment on Thanks! Your ebook is on its way… by Laura Backes

Raiha:

It’s best not to send illustrations with your manuscript unless you are a professional illustrator or artist. Otherwise, the publisher will find an illustrator for your book.

Good luck!
Best,
Laura Backes

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23. Comment on 7 Things Editors at Children’s Book Publishers Wish Writers Knew by Heman Harris

Many years ago I was published in a monthly Magazine that was about two children meeting new friends at different campgrounds and ending up having an adventure
The total of stories amounted to around 25 months Many parents and grand-parents wrote in asking for more.
I was thinking of doing some short stories for children and submitting them.
I found a pretty good artist that can do the drawings/
Thank you for any comment

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24. Comment on Start Here: Writing for Children, Step One by Oh Happy Kids

Thanks for the tips. Really helpful for new authors.

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25. Comment on Thanks! Your ebook is on its way… by Raiha

Hi Laura,
I love to write and I wrote a story for a children’s book. I am asking my friend to edit it for me as English is not my first language. However I am just wondering, If I do illustrations too would that be an added point or no? I am just wondering what the process is with a publishing house?

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