Jan 282016
 
What if NO Publishing House Approval was Required to get published?
Guess what? It’s NOT anymore! ūüėÄ

You may not realize it, but Kindle books an eBooks outsell printed books by two-to-one these days. For my books, I sell on average about twice as many Kindle books as print copies.
Authors can easily publish their own Kindle books using free tools on Amazon. You can ALSO publish print books through Amazon’s Createspace service.

I’ve self-published several books. Let me tell you.. It’s a LOT easier to self-publish a book than it is to get a traditional publisher to accept and publish your book. AND, your books will sell if they’re good books!
I self-published and am currently selling over 100 copies in a month. I have great reviews, and am looking at self-publishing additional titles because of how easy it is.

If you’re interested in getting started, the two training courses below are a good place to learn all you need to know:

I completed this course: Kindle Money Mastery – It is geared more towards publishing non-fiction titles than it is children’s books or fiction titles, but the how-to publish a book content is GREAT.

This is a similar course: Kindle Cash Code
You don’t need both courses–Just pick the one that you prefer.
You can use your writing skills and your unique life experiences, interests and hobbies, to develop a successful writing careero or as an at-home business.
Ordinary people CAN make money selling information on the Internet… Because I’m pretty ordinary and I’m doing it!
Being a writer already, you have a distinct advantage. YOU can use your talents to make money with your writing NOW.
You can get a good idea about how to write an ebook and publish it on the Internet for a profit with the following eBooks too. Internet Publishing is the BEST way I’ve found to fulfill my desire to write, to earn money in a non-invasive way, and to succeed while being a work-from-home mom.

The following two products are step-by-step courses about writing and publishing eBooks for fun or profit. For a writer, this is a highly effective way to get your career launched without waiting for a publisher to “discover” you.

My hope is that by browsing these products, you will begin to see new possibilities for your writing career. Who knows.. Maybe you’ll be the next eBook millionaire!

Ultimate Kindle Workshop (complete video tutorial course)

Write A Best-selling Ebook

I’ve read a TON of info on the Internet and watched a bunch of tutorial videos to figure out how to publish my own books. I’ll tell you–you can do it that way and you’ll reach your goals, but it is a lot easier to purchase a simple, robust “How-To” training course to get started with eBook publishing.

THANKFULLY, there are some publishers of courseware to teach us these things in a concise way these days!

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 Posted by at 1:57 am
Jan 282016
 

POLISHING YOUR MANUSCRIPT
by Sandra L. Cook, ©2001, All Rights Reserved

Tightening up your manuscript is always necessary. It is difficult in the beginning, but becomes easier with practice. As you consciously go through your manuscripts, you will develop an eye for whackable words. Soon you will be eliminating them from your writing before you put them on paper.

Whackable words are “telling” words, “-ly” adverbs and lame adjectives. “Telling” words are often forms of the “to be” verbs. In the statement, “She was surprised”, the word “was” tells the state she is in. What could you say besides “was surprised”?

She slapped her hand on her chest and gasped. By this action, we know she is surprised without being told. Using action is what editors mean when they say “Show, don’t tell.” To eliminate these telling words, search your manuscript and circle words such as:

was, were, is, has, had

Adverbs ending in -ly are whackable words. You may say, “He walked slowly towards me.” By combining the verb and adverb into one more descriptive verb, you can cut your word count and be precise with your language. If a person is walking slowly, then they may be described as sauntering, meandering, or strolling. You could then say, “He strolled towards me.” Maybe he sauntered towards you or meandered towards you. By controlling your adverb/verb combinations, you can set the tone or communicate emotion better.

Lame descriptors that don’t tell you very much about the very thing you are trying to describe very precisely can be eliminated very easily. Very often, a writer will be very non-committal and will use a word such as “very” to emphasize something they think is very important in their story. I hope using very very frequently will help make it evident how weak the word very is as a descriptor.

Instead of saying “very important”, you could say “critical”. Instead of saying “very often”, you could say “frequently”. “The very thing” can have “very” eliminated altogether since it doesn’t enhance the meaning at all. “The very thing” IS the same as “the thing”.

Eliminating a weak descriptor will strengthen the statement without adding additional words. Instead of saying “very lame”, just saying “lame” is equally as effective.

Other lame words include “just” (she just wanted), or “that” (I told you that he left), “due to the fact” condenses to “because”. Taking out “just” or “that” does not change the meaning of the statement, so zap them! There will be occasions where keeping the words will make the sentences flow. By being aware of need versus unnecessary usage, you can make your manuscript better.

In order to make your writing the best it can be, you can utilize books like ones they use in correspondence schools that teach writing skills. I have located several top-notch books which come highly recommended by others. Books in our Bookroom cover scenery, character, plot, dialogue, etc. and will teach you skills taught in the top correspondence schools for a pretty penny less! You will also want to check out other Books that will help you with your Writing Improvement and Refinement to help you with general polishing of your writing.

Happy Writing,
Sandy

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 Posted by at 1:57 am
Jan 282016
 

Can false teeth fly in a tornado? Finding The Experts
By Kathryn Lay

I had a great idea for a cave story. In actuality, the story was about a boy with claustrophobia and the creative way he dealt with it while spelunking. Considering that I’m afraid of all things creepy and crawly, I’ve been in few caves and knew little about caving.

But the father of one of my daughter’s friends did. He’d traipsed through nearly every cave in and around Texas. He was more than willing to answer my “what if” and “how” questions. I wrote the short story and it sold to SPIDER with few changes.

When working on a short story about a girl who decided to runaway from the circus, I went back to an interview I’d done with a circus family years ago. Their information helped me to delve into the feelings of my character and the realities of circus life. The story sold to HOPSCOTCH.

Unlike some writers, I don’t enjoy spending hours of time researching for one fact that I need to put believability in a 900 word story. When an idea comes, I just want to get it down on the computer.

In an effort to ‘think ahead’, I began creating an expert file a few years ago. My Expert Box has helped me many times in both fiction and nonfiction writing.

Do you know any experts? Sure you do. My experts have come from various sources and are easily found when I need them.

First, I made lists of experts I knew. Family, friends, co-workers, family of my friends, friends of my family, my husband’s co-workers, parents of my daughter’s friends. I was surprised at how many different ‘experts’ I came up with and the variety of information they could provide.

On 3X5 cards I wrote down their names and contact information, and what they were experts at; whether it was their job, hobby, or interest. Sometimes, they became multi-experts. A computer technician who is a close friend is also a storm-chaser. He has come in handy with tornado information and loves to talk about storms. My brother is a mail carrier. My sister-in-law a travel agent. A friend of a friend raises horses.


My next resource is the newspaper. I watch for stories on local people who are profiled because of their specific hobby, ability, interest, job, or area of expertise. Lastly, as a writer of adult nonfiction, I am often in need of an expert for a quote or source of information. Once I’ve interviewed them, I ask if I can use them or their information again. If they agree, they also become a part of my Expert Box. A safety expert from the Red Cross or National Safety Council will be a big help for information that involves bicycle, swimming, or other safety issues children encounter.

Try having an expert party with your writer’s group. Bring information on your experts to share with your friends. Make a note on the card where you got the information, and if it’s through a friend or another expert, make sure to mention their name when contacting the expert.

Don’t become a pest with your experts. When you have a question on a topic, plan the questions ahead so that you won’t take much of their time. If you’re not in a hurry, they may prefer to have the questions mailed or emailed so they can have time to think about the answers.

My Expert Box full of 3X5 cards is on my desk, within easy reach. By creating an expert file, you don’t always have to spend hours searching through stacks of dusty tomes to find your information. Just pick a card.

The End

Kathryn has had over 1000 articles, stories and essays published in magazines and anthologies. Her first children’s novel, CROWN ME! was published in 2004 with Holiday House books. You can learn more about her writing, her online classes, and her writing book “The Organized Writer is a Selling Writer” at her website at www.kathrynlay.com or email her atrlay15@aol.com.

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 Posted by at 1:57 am
Jan 282016
 

If you are new to children’s writing, you may feel like there is a lot to learn.. and there IS! There are some good courses available through providers like the Institute of Children’s Literature and Writer’s Digest University. The issue with these courses for most writers is their cost. You can teach yourself all you need to know about writing children’s books by purchasing books used to teach writing skills.

If you’d like a less expensive route, and are capable of self-teaching, the following books are recommended for consideration:

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Publishing Children’s Books, 3rd Edition

Writing with Pictures: How to Write and Illustrate Children’s Books

Elements of Fiction Writing – Beginnings, Middles & Ends

Creating Characters Kids Will Love

Fiction Writer’s Workshop

The Plot Thickens: 8 Ways to Bring Fiction to Life

Make a Scene: Crafting a Powerful Story One Scene at a Time

Writing Active Setting: The Complete How-to Guide with Bonus Section on Hooks Box Set

How to Write Dazzling Dialogue: The Fastest Way to Improve Any Manuscript

The Writer’s Guide to Queries, Pitches and Proposals

Reading some, or all of these books, rather than spending several hundred dollars for one of the popular courses will help you write better stories for publication. By reading these books before you begin submitting, you will also gain critical skills that will help you get your first contract.

Best of luck with your writing and I hope this site, the tips within, and the resources we’ve provided will help you further your career as a children’s writer.

Happy Submissions!
Sandy

Also, please note: I am an author, not a publisher nor an agent, so I do not accept submissions of any kind.  Neither do I make recommendations regarding where to submit your manuscript. I wish you the BEST of luck in your publishing endeavors.

May I suggest starting with:
How Do I Get Started Writing for Children?
Which Publisher Should I Submit To?
How do I find a critique group?
How do I find an Agent?
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 Posted by at 1:57 am
Jan 282016
 

Finding an agent who will work well with you and will represent your work well is a task that is just as difficult and involved as finding a publisher.¬†¬†Agents are selective and will not accept work that is not publishable.¬†¬†Often agents won’t consider clients who have not had something previously published.

It will not be an easy task to find representation, but if your stories are publishable РTRULY publishable Рyou can submit to agents whether or not you have ever been published.  You will want to be careful to select an agent that you get along with and to check the credentials carefully of any agent you are considering.

You can begin your research by acquiring the list of agents from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.¬†¬†This list contains reputable agents who specialize in the children’s literature market.

The agents have different criteria and guidelines for submission.  You should follow the submission process specified.  If there are no guidelines given, it would be wise to write asking what the submission requirements are and if they are accepting new clients.

There are several good books which list agents.¬†¬†I’ve provided a list containing variety of these books. Access our list ofGuidebooks for Finding Literary Agents and Marketing Your Manuscript to view books that will fill your specific needs for marketing your book to an agent.

Once you have located agents whose terms are compatible with your needs, you can contact them with a query letter and/or submission.¬†¬†Response times vary greatly so be prepared to wait.¬†¬†If your work is publishable or compatible with the agents’ tastes, you will get a positive response.

Some agents work with a verbal contract, others require you to sign a written agreement. If you are uncomfortable working with a verbal agreement, you can always request a written one and most agents will comply. Be sure you understand the conditions and terms under which you can cancel the contract too.

Best of Luck,
Sandy Cook

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 Posted by at 1:57 am
Jan 232016
 

If you are interested in writing and/or illustrating children’s books for publication, you will need to study various aspects of the industry prior to seeking publication. You must learn what makes a manuscript publishable, how to find the right publisher for your book and how to submit your manuscript to the selected publisher(s).

You will not be able to write a story, print it, then send it to the first publisher you find and expect to be published. There are many beginners out there who think this is how to get published. You will be well ahead in the game if you do a bit of reading first.

You should be able to put together your own “course” about writing for children by selecting books from the different areas of the craft. If learn by reading these books, you won’t have to spend several hundred books for a writer’s workshop!

First, I would recommend acquiring a book (possibly two books) about the process of writing and illustrating for children.  Some of the best books available are listed on this Reference List of Books about Writing for Children:

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Publishing Children’s Books, 3rd Edition

Writing with Pictures: How to Write and Illustrate Children’s Books

How to Write a Children’s Picture Book: And get it published

How to Write and Illustrate Children’s Books and Get Them Published

You Can Write Children’s Books
The Writer’s Guide to Crafting Stories for Children (Write for Kids Library)

How to Write a Children’s Book and Get It Published

How to Write for Children and Get Published

How to Publish Your Children’s Book: A Complete Guide to Making the Right Publisher Say Yes (Square One Writer’s Guide)

The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published: How to Write It, Sell It, and Market It . . . Successfully

The ABCs of Writing for Children: 114 Children’s Authors and Illustrators Talk About the Art, the Business, the Craft & the Life of Writing Children’s Literature

These books have the overview information you will need to learn about writing for different age groups, word counts, editing, and seeking publication. For more detailed information, you will want to select books in the specific area of interest. You can find a wide variety of books about writing and illustrating for children in our Bookroom.

After you have read one or more of the basic books, you will have a good idea of what makes a publishable book and how to market your story.  BUT, you may not be ready to get published yet.  There is one thing I highly recommend to improve the publishability of your manuscript.  Join a critique group.  Since you are already online, the best way for you to do this is probably through an email critique group.

Once your manuscript is the best you can make it, your marketing campaign can begin.¬†¬†This is a highly challenging part of the profession.¬†¬†You will need to acquire a copy of Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market 2016: The Most Trusted Guide to Getting Published¬†(CWIM).¬†¬†This is the essential market guide for finding publishers who are interested in your manuscripts.

The CWIM contains contact information, descriptions of needs, and payment information for hundreds of publishers.¬†¬†It also includes essays on the craft of writing.¬†¬†This book is required for you if you want to sell manuscripts in today’s marketplace.

Publishers offer a variety of genres (A genre is a specific type literature that is based on subject area, fiction or non-fiction, or age group).¬†¬†You must research to find a publisher that handles books of the same genre as yours.¬†¬†If you have written an easy reader, you MUST find a publisher that publishes easy readers or your manuscript will be doomed for rejection.¬†¬†The same applies if you write picture books, non-fiction, christian literature, chapter books or if you illustrate for children’s books.

I get numerous emails asking, “Who should I submit my manuscript to?”¬†¬†My answer is, “I cannot possibly answer that question as I am not an agent nor a publisher.¬†¬†I have no idea what your story is about and it is research you must do for yourself.”¬†¬†With that said, I can assist you by pointing you to the many publishers listed on this website.¬†¬†When their submission guidelines can be found, I have provided a direct link to those guidelines.¬†¬†In either case you will want to look for stories or books that are similar to, but not the same as, yours.

I truly hope that you have found this information helpful.  Happy Reading AND Happy Writing!

Best of Luck,
Sandy Cook

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 Posted by at 3:37 am
Jan 232016
 

HOW TO FORMAT YOUR MANUSCRIPT FOR SUBMISSION SUCCESS
by Sandra L. Cook, ©2001, All Rights Reserved

Preparing your manuscript for the publisher is like preparing a term paper.

“Ahhh!!” You scream!

Do not fear, because it isn’t THAT scary. Like a term paper, once you have the content written, the presentation mechanics are the easier part.

Preparation Basics:
– Use plain white, decent quality, standard 8.5×11 paper.
– Text should be typed in one standard font style.
– Double space your lines.
– Allow at least one inch margins all around the page.

Do NOT type a separate sheet for each page you anticipate in your published book unless an odd layout is required; submit your story as a single piece leaving page delineation to the publisher.

Do not submit illustrations with your story. You may point out that you are an illustrator if you wish to illustrate your own work; in which case you may submit an illustration sample. Publishers generally prefer to select an illustrator so it is unnecessary for you to do so.

Your submission package should consist of three elements prepared in a manner similar to the following:

1) Cover Letter:

The question often comes up regarding cover letters. Should you include one? In my opinion, you ALWAYS, always, always send a cover letter. Why? Because it is a more professional approach. Even if the editor gives it a cursory glance, tosses it aside, and delves into your manuscript.. If they like your manuscript, they will scrounge around looking for the priceless information contained in your cover letter. They’ll be digging through stacks of manuscripts with beads of sweat oozing out of their pores, desperately vowing never to toss another cover letter aside! (Okay, back to reality ūüėČ The cover letter gives you an opportunity to introduce yourself and show a bit of personality that may not come through in a tightly written manuscript. Write a concise, informative cover letter and make it the first paper the person opening your package sees.

2) Title Page:

In the upper left corner of the first manuscript page provide your name, address, email, and telephone number. In the upper right corner provide the word count of your text. Mid-page, centered, provide the title in all capital letters. Double space after title and begin your story or chapter text

3) Subsequent story/chapter text pages:

In the upper left corner label with the following information in this basic format: your-last-name / story-chapter-title. In the upper right corner provide the current page number. Double space and continue with story/chapter text.

After you have professionally formatted your script, you are ready to prepare your envelope or box. For the best presentation, do not fold your manuscript; use an envelope large enough to send it flat. Use a box if you are sending a large number of pages.

It will look more professional if you type your recipient’s address as well as your return address. Also, always include a SASE (Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope) for the publishers’ reply. Without a SASE, you’re unlikely to get any response at all!

If you’ve done your market research and have found publishers who’d be interested in your work, you are ready to send off your submission package. Then… off to write the next story!

If you want more detailed information about formatting your manuscript for submission, there are a few excellent books available to aid you in our Bookroom.

Best of Luck and Happy Submissions,
Sandy

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 Posted by at 3:35 am
Jan 232016
 

One of the questions I am asked most frequently is, “How do I find an illustrator?”

My response is, “You don’t!”

Many new authors who write picture books assume that they must have illustrations before submitting their story to a publisher. The truth is.. your chances for publication are better if you do not pair up with an illustrator.

Most publishers prefer to pair unknown authors with established illustrators to enhance the marketability of the book. They also pair new illustrators with established authors for this purpose. If you are a brand new author with a brand new illustrator, there is no built in fan market for your book.

The likelihood that the publisher will love both the manuscript and illustrations is not that good either. Publishers will often reject the entire package rather than one element or the other. This limits your chance for success.

One case where these factors do not apply is in the case of an author/illustrator. If you do both well, then you have a marketable talent that will serve you well. Having to deal with only one person makes the editor’s life easier. It saves on costs and time which are required when coordinating the work of two individuals.

If you are both, you can submit both illustrations and manuscript together. You can also save on your own costs and submit the manuscript alone while mentioning in your cover letter that you are also an illustrator. Then offer to send the illustrations if they are interested in your manuscript.

As a note: NEVER send original illustrations with a submission!

In conclusion, if you have your manuscript written, then you are ready to research the market, professionally package your manuscript submission, and start submitting. If you do your market research, you will meet with success sooner than most!

If you are interested in learning more about illustrating children’s books, you can check out books on the subject. Simplyclick here to launch a new search for Children’s Book Illustration.

Happy Writing,
Sandy

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 Posted by at 3:32 am
Jan 232016
 

STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO FINDING THE PERFECT PUBLISHER FOR YOUR MANUSCRIPT
by Sandra L. Cook, © All Rights Reserved

When getting ready to submit your manuscript to publishers, there are several things to consider before making your first submission. Start with a sheet of notebook paper for each manuscript. Write the title of your story at the top of the page. Use this sheet for information gathering prior to submitting your manuscript to publishers. Let’s begin the market research process….

First determine your audience’s age and write it down. Is your manuscript for toddlers or very young children? Is it an early reader, an early chapter book, a mid-grade novel or a young adult novel?

Picture books are generally written for the very young child, but can be geared towards children as old as 10. Early Readers have very simple text and generally cover 5-8 year-olds. Early Readers allow children to read the book themselves. Early chapter books are for 7-10 year-olds, Midgrades cover 8 through young teen, and Young Adult books are for teenagers.

There is variation in reading abilities at every age, so these ranges are not set in concrete. Use your common sense about topics are of interest to your targeted age group and what is readable by them.

Once you have decided the appropriate age range, pinpoint the topic (or genre) of your book. Is it fiction, fantasy, non-fiction, nature, concept, religious, adventure, suspense, history, contemporary, humor, folktale or educational? What type of book is it?

Jot down the names of all categories your manuscript will fit into along with your targeted audience’s age-level.

To narrow your field of publishers, write a descriptive statement for your book. Include its genre and choose two adjectives that capture the personality of your book. In example, “This is an energetic and comical non-fiction picture book”. Use the two adjectives to help you verbalize the tone, mood, and pace of your manuscript.

The tone is generally the overall ‘feel’ of the book that is a blend of emotion and read speed. Pace is whether the reading is fast or slow, steady or rhythmic. Mood is emotional… happy, sad, excited, angry.

Descriptive examples would include:

Deep (with meaning) and Simple
Straightforward and Uplifting
Dark and Suspenseful

It is important to have an established description. Editors say they like to get a ‘feel’ for a book from the cover letter and your descriptive statement is excellent material for your cover letter that will accompany any submission you make.

While the cover letter will not replace reading the manuscript, it will arouse the editor’s interest if your descriptive statement fits a need they wish to fill. After drafting descriptive sentences for your manuscript(s), write them down also.

Now it is time to research publishers….

You must figure out which publishers publish books in your manuscript’s category (genre). You must hunt for publishers that want YOUR book. Randomly submitting to publishers will insure rejection (which we all hate), will waste your time and money (which we all hate) and will waste the publishers’ time (which they hate)!

A 2012 Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market (Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market) or Children’s Writer Guide is essential (Ordering information offered at the beginning and end of this newsletter).

Get a highlighter or pencil and get ready to mark in your book. If you cannot bear to write in your book, get post-it notes to use as placemarks. Start at the beginning of the publisher listings.

Scan each listing asking yourself the following questions in order(if at any time you answer ‘NO’ then move on to the next publisher’s listing):

1) Do they accept submissions or queries from writers like me? (‘like me’ takes into consideration unagented, unpublished, SCBWI member, etc – YOUR individual qualifications as a writer)

2) Do they accept submissions for the age range my manuscript targets?

3) Do they accept submissions of this type? (nature, adventure, humor,
history, etc.)

Add any question you wish to use as a screening criteria – For example, I always see if the publisher buys ‘All Rights’. If they do, I don’t want to submit to them so I eliminate that publisher from my submission pool. Also scan for publishers that specifically say they DON’T want what you’ve written (such as “No Picture Books”).

If you answered ‘Yes’ to all of the questions you’ve listed, highlight or put a post-it note by that publisher’s listing. Go through ALL of the publishers. Mark each one that fits your manuscript and personal qualifications.

Highlight parts of the publishers’ listings that are important to you. I highlight in different colors depending on how strongly I feel the publisher fits my stories and style. I highlight in one color if they match everything, in another if they match most characteristics of my manuscripts, and in other colors for various criteria such as “simultaneous submissions” or “query only”. I keep a `highlight’ guide in the front to remember what highlight color represents which information.

Now comes the difficult part! Make a list of all potential publishers for your manuscript. It is time to get down to the nitty gritty. Go to the publisher website (if they have one) by coming here, then to the publisher sites to see what books the publisher is currently publishing.

You can also go to our Bookroom to search for books by publisher. Other places to do research are the library or a bookstore, but the online sources often have the newest publishings available.

Look at the books published by each publisher. Do they look anything like yours? In other words, can any of the books be described with the same adjectives you’ve chosen to describe your book?

On some books, you will be able to determine this from the description alone. With other books you won’t be certain.

If the publishers’ books are NOT at all similar to yours, mark that publisher off your list. If their books are compatible, note at least three or four titles they have in the same genre as your manuscript. After looking up each publisher, you will have a list of several who seem like good matches.

What I am about to suggest next will seem like an overwhelming task, BUT… you do NOT have to do this EVERY time for EVERY manuscript you write. After you have completed the following exercise, you will have solid knowledge about which publishers publish which types of books right now. This is an exercise to do at least once a year – I like to do it over the Christmas break (two weeks of reading by the fire with a cup of hot cocoa ūüėČ – Or on an ongoing basis. It’s relaxing, fun, and educational!

Go to the library and check out the titles you have listed for publishers who publish books like yours. Then.. Read them. WHAT?!?!

Yes, read them.

You don’t have to check them all out at once and you don’t have to read them in one sitting, but you MUST read the publishers’ books to know the flavor and style of the publishing house. As you read each book, write two adjectives next to the publisher’s listing to describe that particular book.

Many publishers will have a few adjectives that will describe book after book. Some will have varying books that are described with a wide range of adjectives. This is because some publishers have a narrower focus than others.

It will be easy for you to see if your manuscript fits a particular publisher’s style. If it doesn’t, cross them off the list for this manuscript, but keep the information on file for future manuscripts.

Since I write picture books, I check out 20 books at a time and read them. When I’m done, I return them and check out the next 20. I have been known to make great progress and have checked out 80 books in a week!!

If you are writing mid-grades, obviously you will not be able to cover the same number of books. Research any series’ published by a particular house as well as the best-selling books in their line. Two or three books from each house is all that is practical to read initially, but you can make your reading exercise ongoing throughout the year.

Any time you read a book, note the publisher and add the title with adjectives to your list. Look over your list of adjectives and see what publishers have books that are described with the same adjectives you used to describe your manuscript. Highlight them. These are the houses you want to target.

Look down your list for publishers that have books described with similar adjectives. Highlight them too. These are the houses you want to target if needed.

NOW you are finally ready to get down to addressing envelopes! Are you tired yet? Writing, researching and submitting is NOT for the faint-at-heart! But, if you have made it this far, you have done the HARDEST part of the job. You will KNOW your publishers and can submit with confidence knowing you have done your research. You are likely to reach the right editor at the right time by doing this research up front.

Next locate the submission policies for each publisher. You need to acquire a copy of the CURRENT submission guidelines. You can write the publisher for the guidelines, being certain to enclose a SASE for their reply, or you can look on my website for a direct link to their guidelines. I’d recommend coming here first and saving yourself the postage costs if possible.

When you get the publishers’ guidelines, follow them. This may seem blatantly obvious, but there are many writers who don’t bother. The publishers have guidelines to fit their work flow and will not be happy if you don’t comply. If they aren’t happy, they are less likely to make you happy!

Your final step is Submitting and Waiting…. and waiting… and waiting. Now, submit and wait. Write some more and wait. And write some more and wait.

By time you get your response, hopefully you will have more manuscripts circulating. Your targeted submissions will be more likely to land you a coveted publishing contract in less time than average. Your goal in getting a contract is to be ‘below average’ (that is, meeting with success in less than the “average” amount of time)!!! Of course, your writing MUST be above average, which will lead to the former.

You can order the “Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market” for the required research at:

Our Amazon Associates Store

If you’d like to learn more about writing for children, I’d highly recommend ordering “Writer’s Guide to Crafting Stories for Children” or “You Can Write Children’s Books.” You must have a “Publishable” manuscript before any publisher will purchase it. You can find more books about perfecting your manuscript at
Our Amazon Associates Store

I hope this information helps you in your quest for publication.

Best of luck and Happy Submissions!!
Sandy

Join The CBI Clubhouse Children’s Writing Community!

 Posted by at 3:31 am
Jan 232016
 

When you think your manuscripts are ready for publication, the best thing you can do for your writing career is join a critique group.  Be aware that a bad critique group can hinder your career, but a good one can cut years off of the time spent refining your skills.  You will want to select your group carefully or establish well defined guidelines if you create a new group.  Keep reading for critique group guidelines.

Groups are usually formed by a few individuals coming together for that purpose.¬†¬†If you are a member of SCBWI, you can look in your directory for individuals near you. ¬†Contact them about starting a group (or to find out if they know of one locally).¬†¬†You can also post a message on the Write4Kids message board (found on my “Favorite Sites” page) to locate other writers interested in creating a critique group.

If you start a new group, you will want to be certain to establish well defined guidelines for participation at the very beginning.  This will avert problems that may come up later or assist in the handling of situations. Things to consider are:

Maximum group size – (8-10) is ideal – too small and the group may fold for lack of support and participation, too large and there may be too much work for everyone to keep up.

Allowable Submission Sizes – one picture book or one mid-grade chapter per submission period are standard.

Submission period – weekly, biweekly, or monthly keeping in mind that in the beginning submissions will be heavy due to a backlog of manuscripts, but will slack off after some period of time.

Required critiquing РWill everyone be required to critique everything?  If not, what rules define lack of participation; how much is too little?  How long will a person be allowed to hold a manuscript before critiquing it?

Membership РHow will membership terminations be handled?  What will constitute an offense leading to dismissal from the group?  What behaviors will / will not be tolerated?

These are guidelines for establishing and running a critique group.  The most important thing is to establish rules that suit the individuals in your group.  Every group will be slightly different, but the bonding and comraderie that takes place in a well formed critique group is nothing short of amazing!

I wish you the best of luck in finding or forming a group.  It will greatly enhance your ability to get published.  Thank you also for visiting my site.  I hope it helps you find homes for your manuscripts in the future!

Best of Luck,
Sandy Cook

Join The CBI Clubhouse Children’s Writing Community!

 Posted by at 3:29 am