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 on: November 06, 2014, 07:23:54 AM 
Started by jojocookie - Last post by jojocookie
In the bio section of your query, how can you make it interesting? I mean other than just a short summary and or list of what you've accomplished, and where you have been. Something that would make them remember you. Put a dent in their brain. While still sounding professional.

I don't mean that it should be long or anything like that.

How about something original?

Not boring.

Like a story format?

Is that concept too out there?

 on: November 06, 2014, 06:06:43 AM 
Started by jfields - Last post by jfields
Children's Writers eNews
November 6, 2014
"The Write Words to Read"
The Institute of Children's Literature
Editor: Jan Fields --

Almost anyone can be an author; the business is to collect money and fame from this state of being.
-- A.A. Milne
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. It's November. How did that happen?
2. In the Rx
Book Proposals, the Key to Selling Nonfiction
A master of the book proposal, Terry Whalin shares how to sell nonfiction by proposal.
3. Are You On The Writer's Retreat?
Come and check out the November discussion on writing proposals and synopsis.

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. 31: "3 Ideas to Give Your Writing a Boost"
Here are three articles that will help you in your writing. Pay particular attention to the third one--it will help you every single writing day.

Tuesday, Nov. 4: "Set Your OWN Course"
You don't want to reach the end of your writing days and realize you're clear off course. Chart your own course and determinedly stick to it.

5. Writing for Children's Magazines
Ev has updated her excellent ezine (and I don't just say that because it has an article by me in it!) For everyone checking out the magazine writing option, be sure to think of Ev when you want to share what you're learning with other writers. We all get better as we share what we know. As always, Ev's Tidbits are full of great marketing information and you should check out the links to all the magazines!
6. Know What A Magazine Wants
Tips from Andy Boyles, science editor at HIGHLIGHTS magazine -- these are part of a speech from Andy at a Chautauqua conference in 1997, but they're equally true today.
7. So You Want to Sell A Story?

I see a lot of writing that isn't publication ready. One of the problems is that many writers start right out of the gate looking for reasons NOT to write a saleable story. I'm not sure why. But I see a lot of it. For example, the following are not salable stories today, no matter how much fun you had writing it:
* the drive over to see grandma/grandpa
* a description of your dog (with or without a cute thing the dog did)
* a list of things you should be grateful to your parents about
* a list of things to like about your grandmother/grandfather
* a grandmother/grandfather telling a funny thing their grandkid did from grandmother/grandfather's viewpoint
* a list of things you find in a kindergarten classroom
* a list of stray things beginning with the letters of the alphabet
* counting to ten in steps (one-two, one-two-three, one-two-three-four, and so on)

If you look at these items (and they are VERY VERY VERY commonly submitted items to publishers of picture books or stories for young children), you might notice they have two things in common. One is "the incident." A common incident doesn't sell. Even if you enjoyed experiencing it. The other is "the list." A list of items doesn't sell.

BUT, you say, I've seen things in publication that were common incidents or lists. You probably have and if you trotted on out I could probably tell you why it was published despite being an incident or a list -- it was because of something else it did. Something you probably didn't notice when making your own incident or list. So really, if you're trying to break into publication, just start by setting aside your incident or list and writing a STORY instead.

But picture books and magazine stories for little kids are so short, how do I do a story at that length? It isn't easy, but it's worthwhile. See, there's a secret to writing. It isn't easy. It isn't always fun (though I most always find it enjoyable). It's challenging, sometimes it's hard, and sometimes it's frustrating. But if you want to SELL a story for very young readers, you're going to SELL the story far more quickly if it's ACTUALLY A STORY.

So what is a story? At it's heart, it's this:

[Main character] wants/needs [important thing TO THAT CHARACTER] but [this makes it hard] so he/she [does something about it.]

How does that work in a story you probably know. Let's go with WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE...

Max wants to be a wild thing, but his mother sends him to his room without supper, so he leaves to live with the wild things...and he learns something from it. That last bit is not necessarily essential to a story for very young children, but it will make a story just that much more delectable to an editor IF IT'S DONE RIGHT. Right means, not preachy, not lecturey, not moral-of-the-story-ish.

So let's try our little story plan on another classic story that is actually just one little mini-story within a middle grade novel, one about a character named RAMONA by Beverly Cleary.

Ramona wanted to wear her cozy pajamas to school but her mom wouldn't let her so she wore them under the clothes...and learned something from it. [Namely that wearing two layers of clothes is a hot, sweaty miserable business.]

Honestly, this little story structure can produce an infinite number of publishable stories if you just play around with it. Make a list of all the things a kid might want passionately -- a new friend, a new puppy, to get over his/her cold, to fly, to train a goldfish -- and then think of something that would stand in the way of every single one of those. Then have the character do something about it. This is the point where you need to think outside the box -- have the character do something really kid-like but really creative. Even wacky. Something that is sure to lead to some kind of interesting result, because that result will be where the characters grows and changes. That will be where your story becomes something unusual, unexpected, and amazing.

8. Good News

Christine Collier: I have two new books to announce. A Christian romance novella, “A Heartfelt Christmas,” and a book for middle graders and tweens, “That Recycling Kid.” Both are available on Amazon. Each book has humor, and a touch of mystery. Also, my craft article, “Star of Wonder,” will be in the December issue of Sparkle magazine. My essay, “Blizzard in the Music Room,” will be in the December issue of Prairie Times.

Diane Jones: My news is that my story "Pilgrim's Proof" is in the latest Chicken Soup for the Soul book, subtitled Touched by an Angel. It's in book stores & now

James J. Deeney: The Little Princess Santa Claus Forgot, is out now on Amazon, just in time for the holiday season..
Six lovely short Christmas stories kids will enjoy reading and being read to.

What's Your Good News? Send to -- 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 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 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.
2. TELL ME your OLD address as well as the NEW one. I cannot search by your name. I need the old address.
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: November 05, 2014, 01:40:15 PM 
Started by judyr - Last post by KatieC
Hi Judy. When I started sending packets to educational publishers and packagers, I had no experience and no huge education to offer. I did have a few magazine credits, and I had graduated from ICL. That was it. I can only think it MUST have been my writing sample that led that first publisher to pick me to work on a project. So don't despair! If this is something you're interested in, don't give up!

 on: November 05, 2014, 11:28:08 AM 
Started by judyr - Last post by judyr
As it turns out, clear communication is a lot more difficult than I thought.  Grin

 on: November 05, 2014, 09:39:00 AM 
Started by judyr - Last post by jfields
There is a small disadvantage, yes, because the companies want to be certain to choose people who can complete the project and past experience helps convince them of that. BUT, some of the folks who have gone to my HIGHLIGHTS workshop have gone on to get published even though they didn't have a bunch of things on their resumes. It's persistence and clear communication that wins the day in this area.

 on: November 05, 2014, 08:16:19 AM 
Started by judyr - Last post by judyr
Thanks, Jan. I always feel at a disadvantage when I don't have experience OR education to mention.

 on: November 04, 2014, 02:24:32 PM 
Started by judyr - Last post by jfields
Your cover letter should bring to the front anything about the extra material (sample/resume) that you feel would be particularly relevant. You'd say it as "As you can see by my resume, I'm particularly fond of writing mysteries and I see that's a specialty of your company. I particularly liked [name of book they've produced that you actually read] with its [specific detail to prove you actually read it.]" If there isn't anything specific you want to highlight, then I use the cover letter to show my research into them: "I love the clever way you've set up your packaging niche" and again mention on of their books if it's possible. I then talk about what types of writing I especially want to do "my areas of interest are natural science nonfiction, and action-adventure fiction. I also enjoy writing mysteries and science fiction."

 on: November 04, 2014, 01:11:05 PM 
Started by judyr - Last post by judyr
If you are allowed to send a sample (I only pitch to the ones who ask for samples) what should your cover letter look like?

 on: November 04, 2014, 12:39:41 PM 
Started by judyr - Last post by jfields
If you're not allowed to send a sample, then really...they're not looking for people who don't have some solid credits on their resume. Folks who are looking for new (which to publishers means inexpensive) writers will ask for samples. It's in the sample that you make or don't make the sale. That's where you SHOW that you can write to their style. It's not really something you can convince an editor of without demonstration.

The purpose of the resume in educational publishers is to show your range of experience in writing, life activities, and education. You can actually make the sale based on any of these. If, for example, you're a breeder of hamsters, you're going to be offered a book related to animals more quickly than someone who doesn't have that on their resume because you have the life experience to make it easier for you to translate the materials in a very practical way. If I don't have any animal experience, I have to either wow them with my experience as an educator (which I don't have) or my experience writing nonfiction (which I do have.). So there are three points of possible connection in the resume to the educational publisher.

For a packager -- if they allow samples, they care only minimally about your resume. A resume shows (basically) how likely you are to write cheap. And maybe how likely you are to write fast. If they don't allow samples, there is a decent chance you won't be invited to try out unless you have some fiction credits (which can be short stories for magazines) on your resume.

 on: November 04, 2014, 12:00:45 PM 
Started by judyr - Last post by judyr
When pitching to packagers and educational publishers, you have to talk up yourself instead of your writing. What's the best way to explain that while you don't have experience, you can write similar to their style? How do you write a resume when you don't have anything to put on it?

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