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 on: October 16, 2014, 10:23:10 AM 
Started by judyr - Last post by KatieC
Hi cchogan! I don't keep my NF and fiction separate at all. No one seems to have a problem with it (now, I do have some romances I'm trying to find publishers for, and if they get picked up I will be using a penname). I started with the magazine market for kids. I had around 35 articles for kids published before I started subbing to educational markets. I sent out packets with my resume, writing sample, and introductory letter. I was actually stunned when I was contacted by Capstone for my first book. As for how many years, I'm not sure how to measure that. The magazine articles built up over a couple of years--then I took a long break from writing. When I came back to the game a few years later, it took me 18 months to get a book contract. It's been two and half years (?) since then.

Judy, when it came to studying magazines, I just read them. Literally. I read Highlights, Guardian Angel Kids e-zine, basically anything I could find. I made note of how each of their articles were presented (a lot of histories? biographies? science articles?).

 on: October 16, 2014, 08:49:34 AM 
Started by judyr - Last post by cchogan
judyr, I hope you don't mind if I pose another question on the same topic. Katie Clark, you are where I'd like to be in a few years.  Smiley I've worked as a freelance writer for adults but have taken a break to be home full-time with my kids the past five years. I'm starting back to work now and have decided to focus on YA fantasy and educational nonfiction. I'm working on finishing my novel and have sent out author packets to six nonfiction publishers so far. How did you get started and how long has it taken you to get where you are? Any advice (from Katie or anyone else) on nonfiction markets that are more willing to accept writers who haven't been published in the children's market before? And do you keep your fiction and nonfiction personaes separate or do publishers understand that you operate in both worlds? Thanks for any advice from ya'll.

 on: October 16, 2014, 07:09:26 AM 
Started by judyr - Last post by judyr
So much good news  Grin  My next question sounds dumb, but nonfiction guidelines always seem a little vague to me. What's the best way to study the market?

 on: October 16, 2014, 04:58:58 AM 
Started by jfields - Last post by jfields
Children's Writers eNews
October 16, 2014
"The Write Words to Read"
The Institute of Children's Literature
Editor: Jan Fields -- author@janfields.com

"There are dozens of desperately important reasons why we need to publish books as diverse as the readership. But maybe the simplest one is because readers want them."
- Andrew Karre
from a post on writersblock.loft.org
1. News
2. Online in Rx
3. At the Writer's Retreat
4. What's New at Kristi's?
5. Market
6. Cool Site
7. Essay
8. Good News
1. ICL has a new writing contest: for Kindergarten Stories
2. In the Rx
"The Purpose of Plot"
Plot is what changes incidents into story, so check this out for more on why we need plot and what it's meant to do.
3. Are You On The Writer's Retreat?
Come and check out the new October discussion on "Nonfiction." We'll discuss the creation of nonfiction from idea to finished product.

And for all visitors whether registered or not, you'll find plenty of helpful information: get help for student lessons. Learn to build solid plots. Share your ups and downs with fellow writers. It's all there.
4. What's New at Kristi's?

Friday, Oct. 10: "Writing Fast or Writing Slow: Which is Better?"
Before today's technology, writing a rough draft was a slow, thoughtful process. With computers, have we lost some powerful first drafts?

Tuesday, Oct. 14: "Jealousy: Conquering the Green-Eyed Monster"
Being jealous of another writer's success--or having someone jealous of your success--can stir up trouble. Here's how to deal with jealousy--and even make it work for you.

5. Soundings Review
"Soundings Review is now paying contributors for accepted work. Starting with our Summer 2015 issue, we will offer $25 for each piece of prose and $10 for each poem, paid on publication. Submissions for the issue are now open. The current reading period runs from October 1 to December 1. Soundings Review welcomes submissions of high quality, accessible poetry, fiction (including genre such as fantasy, science fiction, or mystery), nonfiction, and writing for children & young adults."
6. Laying the Groundwork for a Series
A great post on how to create a solid stand alone book with "series potential."
7. Short-Fiction Plotting

_____ Does your story have a clear main character? Short fiction can’t support a rambling assortment of characters vying for the main character job. Omniscient viewpoint nearly never works in short fiction – readers need a main character to relate to, care about and focus on. The more you dilute the job of main character, the more you dilute the impact of your story.

_____ Does your story have a clear problem or conflict facing the main character? The story problem needs to be important, challenging, and emotionally significant. The story problem needs to apply pressure to the main character. It should be clear that the main character could not simply walk away from this problem.

_____ Is the story problem solved by the main character? Sometimes a main character cannot solve his own problem. It is simply too big for him. However, the resolution of the story must not be taken completely out of his hands. His efforts must be crucial in bringing about the ending of the story. For example, a child could not carry his hurt father out of the wilderness, but the child’s efforts would have to be key to bringing help to his father. Don’t take the job away from your main character.

_____ Does your story keep the cast of characters small? Short stories cannot be epics. A reader simply will not be able to get to “know” more than two or three people within the confines of the story, so keep the cast small. Avoid bringing too many names into a story. For example, if you need a policeman for a walk on, you can identify him by his job, rather than adding another name for the reader to remember.

_____ Is there sufficient change in the story? Virtually any story will involve a change of circumstance, but change should go beyond the physical. A memorable story is one that involves realistic change for the main character. Realistic change grows out of the story circumstances, and does not involve the main character just “deciding” to be different.

_____ Is the ending for the story built slowly, starting with the first words? A satisfying story ending is built; it doesn’t just happen. A reader may be surprised by the ending but not perplexed. Once the story is over, the reader needs a sense that the ending given is the logical one for the plot, characters and setting. Having a minor character suddenly reveal himself as a secret agent and save the day is not good plotting unless you are writing a farce where every moment leads you to expect the absurd and unexpected.

_____ Is everything in your story necessary and purposeful? Writing is the ultimate downsizing because you cannot afford dead weight. Every bit of dialogue should reveal character and move the plot along. Descriptive detail should be scattered throughout but must also be chosen because it is necessary to reveal important aspects of character or setting. As you revise, ask yourself what the purpose of each sentence is – what job is it doing? – Why do you need it? If you cannot answer these questions, you need to refocus the sentence until you can, or strike it from the story.

8. Good News

Raven Howell: My poetry compilation to help calm active children, titled "Dozy Poems, Cozy Days"(Dog Ear Publishing), has been released and is available for order on-line from Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and other fine book stores.

What's Your Good News? Send to author@janfields.com -- be sure to put "good news" in the subject line since I get a lot of book announcements due to the review work I do. So I don't want your good news to slip through the cracks.

9. For All Subscribers

Many of our enews issues are being blocked from getting to all of our subscribers. It can be difficult to convince your email provider that you truly want to receive this enews. Therefore we've created a list of directions to make it easier for you find the exact steps to ensure the enews always makes it to your inbox.

Please, check out this link http://institutechildrenslit.com/email_whitelist_instructions.htm for specific directions to ensure you get every issue of the Children's Writers eNews.

To Unsubscribe from the email version of Children's Writers eNews, go to
NOTE: I can add you, remove you, or change your address manually and will be happy to do so.
To have your address changed, email author@janfields.com and do the following:
1. TELL ME that it's a change of address for the enews. I handle a lot of things so if you don't tell me what you want me to do, I may not do it.
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3. DO NOT send me a mass mailing that you sent to everyone in your address book that just tells me your new email. I won't know what you want me to do or if it's really for me at all. And I'll probably just delete it.

 on: October 15, 2014, 07:19:08 PM 
Started by judyr - Last post by DonnaMW
I've had more luck with non-fiction than fiction.

 on: October 15, 2014, 05:20:38 PM 
Started by judyr - Last post by jfields
A note about educational publisher and resumes. Educational publishers DO NOT ask for resumes as a way of shutting out writers. They use the resume as a kind of checklist of possible things you might do for them. So they'll look at places you've lived (oh, you're from Arizona, want to do a book on deserts?), at your interests (oh, you're a rock climber, do you want to do a book on rock climbing?), and at your previous publications (I see you sold a piece to Highlights on Abraham Lincoln, would you like to do a book for us on the Civil War?). They're actually LOOKING for ways to use you. The writer who contacts them is way more valuable than the one they have to go looking for, so if they can use you -- they will. It's what they're hoping for when they open the contact stuff you send. Think of it as the EXACT OPPOSITE of what happens when you submit to anyone else. The only reason an educational publisher passes on a writer is because they don't have a project RIGHT AT THAT MOMENT that fits what they get ascertain are your interests and experience.

 on: October 15, 2014, 01:41:52 PM 
Started by judyr - Last post by KatieC
Yes, I chose a subject I liked. That's how I've chosen every nonfiction subject I've written about (except the WFH books). The world is full of really awesome, real stuff. History is my favorite, but some people like science. Some people write really great how-to's. Others do awesome biography/profile pieces. Find a subject that makes YOU come alive, and bring it alive for readers.

 on: October 15, 2014, 01:36:48 PM 
Started by judyr - Last post by judyr
When you wrote that first piece, did you just choose a subject that you were interested in?

 on: October 15, 2014, 12:25:30 PM 
Started by judyr - Last post by KatieC
Nonfiction is easier to break into than fiction, hands down. I encourage you to NOT be discouraged  Grin. The first piece I ever had accepted for publication was a nonfiction kids article about the pony express. It had actually started as an ICL assignment. I wasn't an expert by any means. I did lots of research, wrote a fun piece, and eventually sent it to a handful of magazines (including e-zines). It was accepted by an e-zine. Not all magazines ask for clips (in fact, lots don't). Don't let this frighten you away from writing nonfiction altogether. Once I had a few NF pieces published, THEN I had some clips to send out. Also, when I started sending packets to educational publishers, I didn't even use my published pieces as samples. I sent in unpublished samples of my work. Don't dishearten!

 on: October 15, 2014, 12:00:03 PM 
Started by judyr - Last post by judyr
Okay, I read over some of the nonfiction info, and I'm more than a little intimidated. Is getting nonfiction published even harder than fiction? Educational publishers seem to want a resume, and magazines want clips. If you don't have any experience that makes you qualified, do you have a chance? Is there a good place to start?

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