Posted by: nancyisanders | July 27, 2016

Oldie But Goodie: Why Are You a Writer?

Why are you a writer? Why do you write for kids? Is it because you’re a child at heart? I know that’s one of the reasons I write.

Here are some “secrets” about me that reveal that yes, I’m still a kid at heart:
* I usually eat lunch on my Winnie-the-Pooh plastic children’s dishes set.
* I bought a Dr. Seuss T-Shirt last week–with One Fish, Two Fish on it. (It was a great buy! $9 at Kohls in the Young Men’s Department–similar to the one pictured above.)
* When my friend came over to my house last week, she asked me why I have a bunch of red, blue, yellow and green balloons hanging from my chandelier. “Ummm,” I said weakly. “They were from my son’s celebration because he finished college.” “When was that?” she asked. “About a month ago…” I replied. Well, hey! I LIKE red, blue, yellow and green balloons! (I haven’t tossed them out yet, but I hung them upside down because they lost their ability to float after the first day.) They make me smile.
* I finally convinced the same son to watch My Friend Flicka with me!
* I’d rather walk to the park than drive to the mall.
* I like to stop and smell the roses and hide behind our fence to watch a pair of grackles feed their babies in a nest under our neighbor’s eaves.
* I haven’t read an adult novel in so long that I can’t remember when. But recently I read Charlotte’s Web and listened to The Secret Garden on tape and am in the middle of the Laura Ingalls Wilder series!
*When I’m at home all day by myself writing and the phone rings, I have to turn down the CD that’s blaring before I answer it. It’s usually one of the records from my childhood. Most recently it’s an old Disney recording of nursery rhymes and songs from “A Child’s Garden of Verses.”

So there you have it. The cat is out of the bag! One of the reasons I write is because I’m a child at heart. And that’s why I write for kids.

Why are you a writer?

Posted by: nancyisanders | July 26, 2016

Hymn: Theme Song for Writers

Do any of you know the hymn, Blessed Assurance? I think it’s a great theme song for us as God’s scribes.

Recently, my husband and I had lunch with a dear writing friend Sherri Crawford, and her husband. Sherri and I wrote a bunch of books together for Scholastic Teaching Resources!

Sherri’s son, Dave Crawford is the lead singer on an album called No Less Days. He sings an amazing version of Blessed Assurance. It’s so awesome I’ve been listening to it over and over again since we had lunch that day and she e-mailed me the link to it.

It inspires me so much as a writer!!!!

Here’s No Less Days’ version of Blessed Assurance.

And if you want to download the entire album, (like I did after listening to it on Youtube over and over and over again!) CLICK HERE to purchase it on Amazon.

 

Posted by: nancyisanders | July 25, 2016

Oldie But Goodie: Contact an Editor–Today!

Here’s another oldie but goodie from several years ago on my blog. Enjoy!

I just contacted an editor I know about the possibility of writing a new book for an idea I have.

“Are you crazy?” you might ask. Aren’t I in the middle of a huge, overwhelming book contract that will take me until December to write? Don’t I have a historical MG novel to write, too?

Yes. But by the end of the year, both those manuscripts will be written. Done. I’ll want to have a new book contract to start working on.

And so I e-mailed an editor. If she’s not interested, I’ll e-mail another editor with a different idea to fit her publishing house. One I may never have worked with before. I’ll keep contacting editors until one sends me a contract. And I’ll schedule the deadline for sometime next year.

To establish a successful writing career, it takes planning for future deadlines while you’re working on current projects.

So go ahead. Look through your writer’s market guide and find a publisher who invites you to contact them by e-mail. (There’s lots, I just checked!) E-mail the editor and ask if she’d be interested in seeing a proposal for a topic that would dovetail with her product line. If she doesn’t respond within a couple of weeks, e-mail a different editor with a different idea that would suit her list. Plan ahead…and contact an editor today!

Posted by: nancyisanders | July 22, 2016

Faith Building Fridays: Bold

The wicked flee when no one pursues,
but the righteous are bold as a lion.
Proverbs 28:1, NKJV

Our Father is the King of kings! Jesus, our Savior, is the Lion of Judah. We can be bold in our writing to proclaim the words God is calling us to write. We can be bold to represent our faith in the writing conferences and writer’s groups God has called us to join. We are ambassadors of Christ, shining God’s glory wherever we go.

Dear God, please anoint me with a holy boldness to step out and carry your Gospel to a lost and lonely world through the words I write. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Scribes: Devotions for Christian Writers is available at Amazon.

Posted by: nancyisanders | July 20, 2016

Oldie But Goodie: Work for Hire–Now!

Here’s another oldie but goodie from the past on my blog. I hope it helps you on your own writing journey today!

If you go to a writer’s conference or read a writer’s magazine or talk with other writers, you’ll hear a variety of opinions about writing on work-for-hire projects.

So today you get to hear mine! Smile.

My first book contract was a work-for-hire project. So was my second book contract and my third and I think my fourth and my fifth.

And I’m glad they were. To a brand new writer like I was, the structure and training a work-for-hire project provide landed me on solid ground as a writer. Work-for-hire projects are usually under tight deadlines. You’re forced to write. Work-for-hire projects usually come with unbelievably detailed writer’s guidelines. You’re forced to examine punctuation details and spelling preferences and word count. Work-for hire projects have to fit a certain series as tight as a glove. You’re forced to step out of your fairy tale castle wanna-be-a-writer world to learn the nitty gritty details of writing what an editor wants.

And the amazing thing was that as I listed more and more published books on my resume, whenever I contacted an editor for a royalty-based, stuff-of-your-dreams kind of book contract, that editor didn’t come back to say, “Stop! Were those books you’ve written work-for-hire?”

No. On the contrary. The editor would say, “Wow! You’ve published ten books! We want to sign a contract with you, too!” Wahoo!

In fact, I still write books for work-for-hire in between my sweet royalty-based dream books. It’s good training for me as a writer and an extra perk is that it gives me quick cash to pay my bills.

So, how do you land a work-for-hire book contract? If you haven’t yet had many books published, start with small publishers. Step out of your favorite genre and look for something you think you can write rather than for something that you want to write. Get out of your box and look around at what’s out there for work-for-hire writers.

Sunday School curriculum, school library books on animals or science or personal profiles, craft or puzzle books, recipes books, gift books, books about pet care, how-to books. Look for books that don’t make it to the New York Times best-seller list but are written to meet the everyday needs of ordinary people.

Google their publishers and look them up in market guides. Search the publishers’ websites for information about how to contact them for work-for-hire projects. It might take some searching. Often, first find a little link and click “Contact us” and then click another little link that says “Submissions.” When you find an actual editor’s name, only contact those who list an e-mail address. State simply in your initial e-mail that you are interested in writing for their work-for-hire projects. Tell them you’d be interested in sending them a writing sample.

One thing I’ve noticed is that some work-for-hire publishers ask for a writing sample. I’ve sent these in and don’t land a contract. I think it’s because what I’ve already written doesn’t match the style they are looking for. So instead, I tell the editor that I’d prefer sending in an original writing sample that I write for a topic and series she’d like to give me. Then I’m writing something for her exact need and she can better see if it’s what she’s looking for.

So–have some fun! Go out there and start a new journey today. Make it your goal to land a work-for-hire contract! And then another!

Posted by: nancyisanders | July 18, 2016

Oldie But Goodie: Break Into the Market–Now!

Are you dreaming of writing for a publisher? Don’t just sit and dream about it. Do something about it!

Nearly every publisher big or small, magazine or book, has an “easier” way to get your foot in the door. Sure, they get a mile-high slush pile from wannabe writers who submit for their featured fiction articles or fabulous novels, but most don’t get enough submissions for their nitty gritty departmental needs.

I’ve been published in Pockets magazine, Star Wars for Kids, and Better Homes and Gardens! Was it because of my great awesome talent as a writer? I think not. It was because I was willing to roll up my sleeves and write for the little corners and spots where they needed new ideas on a constant basis.

I wrote puzzles for Pockets, games for Star Wars for Kids, and crafts for Better Homes and Gardens. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not a puzzle-writer, game-inventor, craft-designer kind of gal! I wanna write the big stuff–articles and stories and books and “important” manuscripts!

But as I have worked to establish myself as a writer with a successful writing career, I have studied various publishers and looked for ways to break into the market. I looked for fillers they might need a lot of on a regular basis. I searched their writers’ guidelines for departments that said were mostly freelance written. I looked for numbers that said they needed a lot of these kinds of submissions each year. So even though the types of manuscripts, genre, or topics weren’t necessarily my cup of tea, I studied up on them and submitted to the various publishers.

And landed contracts.

You can, too!

Posted by: nancyisanders | July 15, 2016

Faith Building Fridays: Expectancy

These all wait for You,
that You may give them their food
in due season.
-Psalm 104:27, NKJV

Are you waiting on the Lord regarding your writing? Then wait with expectancy as a bird waits in its nest. Wait with expectancy because God will bring it to pass in due season.

Dear God, please give me joy in my heart as I wait quietly before you. Help me trust that you’re molding and shaping and working deep in the places where I cannot see. Help me keep my eyes on you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Scribes: Devotions for Christian Writers is available at Amazon.

Posted by: nancyisanders | July 13, 2016

Oldie But Goodie: Get Published Now!

Here’s an oldie but goodie I posted on my blog several years ago. I hope you find it helpful!

Are you published? Have you experienced the delight of seeing your words in print? Are you familiar with the thrill of knowing your words are being read by other people?

If your answer is “No,” or “Not as much as I’d like to be,” then you can roll up your sleeves and make a change…today. Really!

No, you probably won’t sell that book manuscript you’ve been struggling to submit to publishers. You probably won’t even get that article accepted in the big magazine you’ve dreamed about. Not today. Those types of projects take time.

But you can land an assignment today for a manuscript targeted to a no pay or low pay publisher. There are zillions of opportunities out there for writers who are willing to write for no pay or low pay. Consider your church newsletter, a small e-zine for writers, your local throw away community magazine, or an online site that publishes devotions…the list is endless.

But why should a writer waste their time writing manuscripts for these types of places?

I’ll tell you why. It feels good! It’s relatively easy to land an acceptance. It validates you as a writer. It lists published credits on your resume. It brings you frequent opportunities to see your words in print. It connects you with editors and deadlines and submission guidelines. It lands you in the actual factual world of writers.

Throughout my entire 22-year writing career, I’ve always been writing for no pay or low pay assignments. Last year alone I earned over $4,000 writing for assignments I earned between $25 to $75 per manuscript. All that was done in between waiting and working on long-term book projects–some of which I may never land a contract for or I won’t see in print for a long long time.

This year I’ve landed some new assignments–one monthly magazine assignment brings me in a whopping $10 per manuscript! But about a week ago, when I contacted an editor of a big magazine everyone wants to write for, the editor said, “Funny! I was just sitting here reading your article in a magazine I have.” Wow! That was worth way more than the $10 I got paid for it.

So go out there and find a no-pay or low-pay publisher today. E-mail them if they list an editor’s e-mail and tell them you’re interested in submitting an article to them–today. Write an article for them–today. Send it in. Today. If you get rejected–look lower! Start writing on a steady and frequent basis and start getting published now!

 

Posted by: nancyisanders | July 11, 2016

Oldie But Goodie: Research Tip

ABC quilt HPIM8148.JPG

Here’s an oldie but goodie post I found from several years ago on my blog. Enjoy!

In November, 2007, I landed a contract to write a nonfiction book for kids. My deadline is December 15, 2008. As I’ve been working on this project, sometimes I feel like I’ve been invited to eat an elephant for dinner. I’m often overwhelmed by the huge task of writing the manuscript. I have to keep reminding myself, “How do you eat an elephant?–One bite at a time.” This translates into, “How do you write a huge nonfiction manuscript?–One word at a time.”

As I’ve been doing the research, I’ve also been overwhelmed. I feel like I’ve been dropped in the middle of an ocean just close enough to swim to shore if I really, really pace myself. I have to keep reminding myself, “How do you swim to shore?–One stroke at a time.” This translates into, “How do you dig through 200 years of research?–One item at a time.”

I’ve written nonfiction projects before, but for some reason, the research on this project is daunting. I’m dealing mostly with primary sources–letters filed away in forgotten library holdings, hand-written poems still stored in private collections, testimonies, and autobiographies. Even the government documents are mostly written by hand.

In a business where I’m used to finding three sources to support each fact I want to write about, I’ve discovered that all my sources for nearly every topic I want to write about each point back to the same document in discussion. I finally contacted my editor about how they want their authors to conduct research.

Before I share what he said, let me backtrack to a book I finished writing for a different publisher just as I landed this new contract last November. As I began research for that particular book, I contacted the editor of that other publisher and asked how they wanted me to document my research. “Document three sources for each fact you state in the manuscript,” she said. So I did. I prepared one manuscript to submit to the publisher and one manuscript with detailed footnotes for nearly every single sentence of the book. The bibliography I prepared was astounding!

So when the editor of this new book project with a different publisher responded to my question about how they wanted me to document my sources, he said that for this type of book, which is dealing with so many primary sources, that as long as I knew I was dealing with a trusted source, I could feel free to use the information I found. He even said they don’t need a detailed bibliography–just about ten books that students might be interested in reading to find out more about my topic.

Wow. This really changed my approach. In fact, I’ve been trying to determine how I’m going to proceed with the manuscript based on these parameters. I’ve been tossing ideas back and forth all this past week as I’ve spent many, many hours doing research. For all my week of research, yesterday, I finally wrote one sentence:

“Alice loved history because she lived it!”

But I am so-o-o excited about that sentence. For one thing, it means I wrote one word per each day of research. (Remember the elephant for dinner?) Mostly, however, I’m excited because as I’ve researched Alice all last week (and no, Alice didn’t have a last name) I finally connected with a curator of a library yesterday on the phone. After a perfectly delightful conversation of introductions and realization that we were interested in the same topic in history, I explained I was looking for a 200-year old portrait of Alice. I heard the excitement in the curator’s voice as he said, “Alice? I’ve got the portrait of Alice!”

And that’s what writing nonfiction is all about…it’s a treasure hunt, really. You get dusty and scared and tired and lost. But then, when you find the treasure, it’s all worth it. Because now, just like Indiana Jones, you can take that treasure and put it where it belongs. For Indiana Jones, he felt his treasures belonged in a museum. For a children’s book writer, I know the treasures I find belong in the hands of kids in a book they can read again and again on their journey to learn more about the wonderful world they live in.

Posted by: nancyisanders | July 9, 2016

The Parable of the Shoemaker – Part 5

I originally wrote the Parable of the Shoemaker eight years ago and posted it here on my blog. I wanted to let you know the lessons I learned about working in the publishing industry and landing contracts.

After I posted it last week here as an Oldie but Goodie, I received an e-mail in my inbox. It’s from an editor I never worked with before. But she requested that I write and submit a potential children’s manuscript to her because she was looking for a specific book.

How did this happen? How have I managed to work with editors like this for over 20 years and engage them in discussion about potential book contracts?

There are several steps I’ve taken.

  1. One way is to meet editors at conferences. Only instead of just meeting them and showing them what I’ve written, I always try to ask them, “What type of manuscripts are you looking for?” After they answer me, I ask, “Would you be interested in receiving a proposal (for a longer book) or a manuscript (for a shorter book such as a picture book) from me on this?” For my very first editor appointment 25 years ago at a writer’s conference, I did this and landed my very first book contract as a result.

2. Another way is to read editor interviews in writing publications such as the SCBWI Bulletin, SCBWI Insight, Institute of Children’s literature e-news, and the Children’s Book Insider. (Google each of these for their websites to learn more.) One year as a beginning writer I made it my goal to contact one editor a month that I read an interview and saw what kind of manuscripts the editor was looking for. After three months I had to quit doing this, however. I landed so many book contracts (I think 5 or 6) in that short time, I was too busy to do that again for quite awhile! I simply contacted them, said I read their interview, saw that they were looking for a certain kind of manuscript, and asked if they’d be interested in receiving a proposal or sample manuscript to fill that need.

3. Another strategy that works is to join groups where editors hang out such as Kidlit College and 12×12 Challenge (for writing picture books). Watch the webinars where editors speak and listen to what they say. Again, contact them and follow through!

So how did I get this e-mail that just arrived in my inbox? I had been studying a publisher’s catalog for this past year. I noticed that they are pumping out a significant number of new books in a genre I want to get published in. So I submitted my two manuscripts to this editor. (Some publishers only accept one, but this one was okay with submitting two at a time.) But in my cover letter, I also stated that I have been studying their product line, I want to write in this genre, and if these manuscripts don’t meet their current need, is there a manuscript they’d like me to write and submit instead?

Bingo! The editor responded and said that my first manuscript was very similar to a brand new on they’ll be publishing soon so they can’t use it. She said that my second manuscript just wasn’t what they were looking for. But then she handed me the golden ticket. She answered my question by saying that if I were interested in writing a manuscript on such and such a topic, she’d really like to see it.

Again, this ties back to the Parable of the Shoemaker. A certain publisher is looking for a very specific fit and asked me if I’d be willing to send her one.

So that’s what I’m going to do!

I hope you have success doing the same.

Oh, and if you feel frustrated because you don’t know any publishers who accept unsolicited children’s books, CLICK HERE to find a list of those who do.

 

 

 

Posted by: nancyisanders | July 8, 2016

Faith Building Fridays: Marvelous!

You will be able to tell wonderful stories to your children and grandchildren about the marvelous things I am doing among the Egyptians to prove that I am the Lord.
-Exodus 10:2, NLT

Isn’t God amazing? And isn’t it marvelous that we have the amazing privilege to write stories that will prove to others that God is the Lord! Through the stories we write and the testimony of how God calls us to be His scribe, we are able to witness to others and affect eternity!

Dear God, Thank You for this amazing opportunity to write stories, whether for children or adults, to prove of your goodness and faithfulness. Please help me find the time to write the words You have called me to write. In Jesus’ name. -Amen.

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Scribes: Devotions for Christian Writers is available at Amazon.

Posted by: nancyisanders | July 7, 2016

The Parable of the Shoemaker: Part 4

A parable about writing…
In the first three parts of the story posted earlier this week on my blog, the shoemaker tried to sell the shoes she made, but all she got were rejections. Until one day, she met a new friend who invited her to study the websites of the places she tried to market her shoes to and learn more about the exact kind of shoes each one was looking for…

Part 4
After studying the website and reading the interview, it was as if a light suddenly dawned in her head. Quickly, the shoemaker sent an e-mail. In the e-mail, she said, “I have studied your website and see that you all wear cowboy boots. I also read your interview and understand that you wear sizes 4, 7, and 15. However, I didn’t see anywhere that you have a matching pair of cowboy boots for your whole family to wear. I have an idea for a matching set—would you like me to show you the idea?”

To her surprise and amazement, the shoemaker got a reply the very next day. The owner sent her an e-mail! In the e-mail, the owner said, “I like your idea of matching cowboy boots for all four of us to wear. Even though they will look the same, however, I would like mine to have comfortable innersoles included inside. Plus, the two matching pairs for the twins need a special arch built inside because the twins need the extra support. Can you make these for us?”

Excited, the shoemaker replied that yes, she could make the cowboy books like the woman described. So she signed a contract to make them, started work on them right away, and soon sold her first four pairs of shoes.

From then on, the shoemaker never mailed another pair of shoes randomly to someone again. First she studied the websites of different places to see what kinds of shoes they liked to wear. Then she looked for interviews of people who explained the exact size of shoes that fit. Finally, she contacted the people personally to see if they would be interested in having her make them a pair of shoes like they said they were looking for in the interview. From then on, she sold many, many pairs of shoes and her shoes were always the perfect fit!

(Did she ever sell the little blue jogging shoes that she first made? No, but just last month the shoemaker’s daughter had the sweetest little baby boy you ever did see. And the little blue jogging shoes fit her new grandson perfectly—which makes a perfectly delightful end to this story about the Parable of the Shoemaker.)

The End

This is really a parable about writing, not about making shoes. I’ve tried to show you how I’ve had success landing book contracts over the years—and I hope you can do the same.

Posted by: nancyisanders | July 5, 2016

The Parable of the Shoemaker: Part 3

A parable about writing…
In Part 1 and 2 of the story, the shoemaker finished making her very first pair of shoes. All her friends agreed they were perfect! She decided to market the shoes and sell them, but all she got were rejections. Until one day, she met a new friend…

Part 3
The shoemaker was so excited to meet her new friend. This friend had made many, many shoes. In fact, this friend had sold a pair of shoes to the very first place the shoemaker had sent the little blue jogging shoes. “Why did they buy your shoes and not mine?” the shoemaker asked her new friend. The shoemaker showed her friend the little blue jogging shoes. “Can you tell me how I need to improve the shoes to have that place buy my shoes, too?”

The friend looked at the little blue jogging shoes and agreed that they were perfect. But then the friend invited the shoemaker to go online and visit the website of the place who had sent her the very first rejection.

When she looked at the website, the shoemaker discovered to her surprise that everyone at that place only wore cowboy boots. “You see,” her new friend explained, “it wasn’t that your blue jogging shoes were poorly made, it’s just that they weren’t the right fit for this place. Everyone here only wears cowboy boots. So they only buy cowboy boots. They don’t ever buy blue jogging shoes and probably never will.”

The shoemaker went right home and designed a beautiful, brand new pair of cowboy boots. She studied her books and learned how to make the very best cowboy boots. Soon the boots were finished! So she sent the boots to the very first place where she had first sent her little blue jogging shoes. As soon as they were in the mail, she started making another pair of cowboy boots.

One day, however, she went to hear mailbox. There were two items in her mailbox. One was the pair of cowboy boots, with a note attached to it. The note was a form note, just like the first. Once again it said, “Thanks, but not quite the right fit.”

The second item in the mailbox was a magazine about how to make shoes. The shoemaker was so disappointed that her cowboy boots were rejected. She didn’t feel like working on any more shoes that day, so she sat down and read her magazine. Lo and behold, one of the owners of the place who just rejected her cowboy boots was interviewed in that very issue!

The shoemaker read the interview. In the interview, the owner said, “My family and I own this business. We always wear cowboy boots because we like them the best. I wear a size 7 cowboy boot. My husband wears a size 15, and we have twin daughters who wear a size 4. We’re always on the lookout to purchase a brand new pair of cowboy boots for each of us to wear. If you have a pair for us to look at, please e-mail me about it.”

The shoemaker looked at the cowboy boots she had just gotten rejected and returned in the mail. They were a size 9. Suddenly, it dawned on her—no wonder they were rejected! Even though they were cowboy boots, they weren’t quite the right fit for anyone at that place to wear!

It was as if the shoemaker’s eyes were suddenly opened. She went online and looked at the website again—yes, they all wore cowboy boots and yes, each one of them wore a different size…suddenly a light dawned on in her head.

Come back tomorrow for the last and final episode–Part 4 of the Shoemaker!

Posted by: nancyisanders | July 1, 2016

Faith Building Fridays: Timing

Say from the heart,
“Let us live in awe of the Lord our God,
for He gives rain each spring and fall,
assuring us of a harvest
when the time is right.”
-Jeremiah 5:24, NLT

God’s promise is sure. He ASSURES us of a harvest at just the exact right time. But first we must experience the rain. If you’re feeling like you’re in a gray and dismal season of your life as a writer, rejoice! After the rain comes the harvest! It’s a promise. And it will come exactly on time.

Dear God, Thank You for your promise. Thank You for the rain because I know it will produce the best harvest! Thank You for encouraging my writer’s heart today. And thank You for always doing things at the best time. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Scribes: Devotions for Christian Writers is available at Amazon.

Posted by: nancyisanders | June 29, 2016

The Parable of the Shoemaker: Part 2

A parable about writing…
In Part 1 of the story on my previous blog post, the shoemaker finished making her very first pair of shoes. All her friends agreed they were perfect! She decided to market the shoes and sell them.

Part 2
The shoemaker found a book of addresses of people who bought shoes. She mailed the little blue jogging shoes to the first name in the book. And following the advice of her fellow shoemakers, as soon as those shoes were in the mail, she started work to make her next pair of shoes.

She was almost done making her second pair of shoes when the first pair arrived back in her mailbox with a note. The note said, “Thanks, but not quite the right fit.” Disappointed, but realizing that it was tough to sell shoes in today’s market, she mailed them right out to the second name in her book. In the meantime, she continued working on her second pair of shoes.

Everyone agreed that her second pair of shoes was even more beautiful than the first. And so she mailed her second pair of shoes to a name from her book. In the meantime, she started work on another pair of shoes…and then another…each time, mailing the finished shoes out to another name from her book. But each time the shoes would arrive back in her mailbox. Nobody purchased a single pair of shoes.

The shoemaker (for by now she dared to call herself a shoemaker) was really starting to get depressed. All her life she had dreamed of being a shoemaker, but now nobody would buy her shoes even though she was sure they were well made. All her friends agreed that her shoes were very beautiful and well crafted. But without any success, she was almost to the point where she was going to quit making shoes forever.

Until one day, the shoemaker met a new friend.

Come back soon for Part 3 of the Shoemaker!

Posted by: nancyisanders | June 27, 2016

The Parable of the Shoemaker: Part 1

A Parable About Writing…

Once there was a girl who loved shoes. And more than anything else in the world, when she grew up, she wanted to become a shoemaker.

So as she got older, she attended the best seminars and workshops that taught how to make shoes. She studied late into the night, reading every book she could find about how to make shoes.

Eventually, finally, she felt enough confidence to make a pair of shoes on her own. She decided to make a little pair of blue jogging shoes. They would be just perfect for a little boy to wear to play. As she worked, she showed the shoes to other shoemakers and received their tips and suggestions for improvement. She took every helpful hint to heart and worked to make her shoes the best she could design.

Finally, her first pair of shoes was finished. All her friends agreed they were perfect! She decided to market the shoes and sell them.

Come back soon for Part 2 of The Shoemaker!

Posted by: nancyisanders | June 24, 2016

Faith Building Fridays: Moving Forward

The work is going forward
with great energy and success.
-Ezra 5:8b, NLT

There is one way to move forward as a writer. It is to sit down and write. Take time to write today! Even if you can only fit in 15 minutes, sit down and write. Ask God to renew your zeal and your energy. Then block in your calendar for tomorrow’s schedule to sit down and write again. Day by day, step by step, commit your path to the Lord and He will help you move forward!

Dear God, please help me move forward, just as you helped the scribes of Old Testament times move forward with the tasks you assigned to them. I dedicate my writing in the year ahead to the glory of your name. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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Scribes: Devotions for Christian Writers is available at Amazon.

Posted by: nancyisanders | June 20, 2016

Oldie But Goodie

2015 Los Angeles bookstore DSCN2905.JPG

I hope this OLDIE BUT GOODIE from blog inspires you today!

Chances are, if you dream about being a writer, you either loved to read as a child or are a natural storyteller! What a wonderful imagination you probably have!

As you take steps to make your dreams come true, let me encourage you. I started out knowing NOTHING about the field of writing. I didn’t know about writers’ conferences, critique groups, market guides, publishing houses, agents, queries or book proposals. I didn’t even know how to type a manuscript in its proper format. I didn’t even know the word “submissions” meant to send something to an editor–I just typed up my story and mailed it to the first magazine that came to mind!

Yet, little by little, step by step I moved forward in pursuit of my dreams of one day being a published author. And now I am! With over 70 books published in houses big and small, I am a full-time writer landing 3-4 new book contracts every year for the last ten years.

Often when I speak at a local writer’s event, someone says, “Well, you can land a book contract because you’re already established.” I try to remind them that I started at square one, just like most of us do.

So, be encouraged! Take heart! Put on your writer’s hat and sit down at your computer. Fasten on your seatbelt until you actually type at least one page of new material today on your manuscript. Step by step, day by day, you can work towards making your dreams come true!

Posted by: nancyisanders | June 17, 2016

Faith Building Fridays: Shine!

Let your light so shine before men,
that they may see your good works
and glorify your Father in heaven.
-Matthew 5:16, NKJV

As writers, we get to choose the words we write. We choose our topics. We choose the perspective and point of view. We choose the nuggets for take-away value. We choose the setting and the characters and the plot. Let’s make it our goal to choose words that glorify our Father in heaven and not words that conform to the standards of this world. Let’s shine in this world of darkness whether we’re writing fiction, nonfiction, for children, or adults! May the manuscripts we write be like a lighthouse guiding lost and storm-weary travelers into the safety and comfort of the Father’s arms.

Dear God, please anoint me anew with Your Holy Spirit. Guide me to only write words that bring You glory. Teach me how to write manuscripts that shine in the darkness. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

_______________________________________________________________

Scribes: Devotions for Christian Writers is available at Amazon.

Posted by: nancyisanders | June 15, 2016

Oldie But Goodie: More Picture Book Pointers

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Here’s another OLDIE BUT GOODIE I found on my blog with more picture book pointers.

If you want to learn more about how to write a picture book, here are several steps you can take this month towards your goal:

Step 1:
Read a book about how to write picture books.

Step 2:
Tuck a pen and notepad or mini journal in your pocket. Go to your local bookstore, sit in the children’s area, if they have one. Go ahead and sit down on the carpet with all the other kids who are there, if that’s how it’s set up. Read at least five brand new picture books. Jot down notes or thought as you read.

Step 3:
Go to your local library and check out at least 20 picture books to read over the next few weeks. During this time, read each one ALOUD at least once. Pick your favorite and type it out, word for word.

Step 4:
Start a picture book notebook. A small 3-ring binder is nice because you can add pages as you go. Write down kid-friendly words you come across like PIZZAZZ and YEE-HAW! Make a list of favorite and fun names you might like to use in your stories. Write down titles of favorite picture books and names of favorite picture book authors. Write mini-book reviews about the strengths and weaknesses of various picture books you read. Use it as a place to keep notes that will help you grow as a writer of picture books.

Step 5:
Choose two picture book projects to work on at the same time. One will be a picture book that you just want to write. The second one will be a picture book that you write specifically for publication. The process will be different for each one. For the first one, you might already have it in the works or have completed the first draft. Go ahead and pick it up and plan to work on it more until it is polished. For the second book, it should be a manuscript you haven’t yet started. First find a publisher of picture books you like. Then find a series of picture books they do. Then find a favorite title in that series that’s already published. Then think of several brand new topics you could write about that they haven’t published yet in that series. Finally, choose one of those topics. Then write your new manuscript to fit exactly into that series. That’s how to write a manuscript specifically to get published.

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