Posted by: nancyisanders | August 29, 2016

Oldie But Goodie: More Middle Grade Musings

OK. I discovered I’d written even more posts on Middle Grade Novels…Here’s another one.

Everything I Need to Know about Middle Grade Novels I Learned from Jurassic Park
Part 4

Previously, I explained how fantastic characterization was used and developed in Jurassic Park. Each character had unique qualities, a distinctive voice, and over-the-top personality. However, Jurassic Park 2 (Lost World) and Jurassic Park 3 did NOT have the same use and development of characterization. As a result, the second and third move seemed flat and boring compared to the first.

In Jurassic Park 2, they gave each main character just one unique characterization, so they were essentially only as important as the minor characters in the first movie. None of them had three unique traits as did the main characters in the first movie, so none of them appeared 3-D. Plus, in Jurassic Park 2, even the one unique characterization of each actor was just kind of mentioned to introduce them but was NOT developed over the rest of the movie or used to influence the plot.

Main Characters:
The math guy (Malcolm): He still believed in chaos. However, unlike the first movie where every sentence of his was either a wisecrack or a reference to chaos, in the second movie, he just said mostly ordinary statements in his dialog. He did not change by the end of the movie.

The wealthy guy: He was just kind of not nice. There was nothing over-the-top about him, though. He was just kind of an ordinary wealthy guy who wasn’t very nice. Compared to the over-the-top computer geek bad guy in the first movie, this bad guy was bo-o-ring. Too ordinary.

Hunter guy: He was a very typical big game hunter. But again, that was it. One dimensional and flat. Also, his character wasn’t really developed through the movie. He was just the typical big game hunter. By the end of the movie, he changed to be sad about capturing the T. Rex. But this was a weak change because it hadn’t been developed well. He just changed and it didn’t even affect the plot.

Minor Characters:
Photographer girlfriend: She was supposed to be a safari expert in beginning but then this was forgotten because she made silly mistakes all the rest of the movie a safari expert would never make. The rest of the movie she just talked and acted like an ordinary person.

Daughter: She was a gymnist. This was mentioned once at beginning, then forgotten, and then her gymnist skills saved the day. Since this wasn’t developed through the middle, it seemed fake to bring it back in at the end.

Other minor characters didn’t even really have unique characterizations, so we didn’t even care what happened to them. They didn’t add tension to the plot or help move the plot forward. So not only were the characters one dimensional and flat in Jurassic Park 2, the plot was therefore also weak.

Seeing these weaknesses and analyzing them has really made a difference as I’m working to develop my characters for my middle grade historical novel. So far, I’ve only written two chapters of my novel. Before I proceed any further, I’m working on giving the main characters each 3 distinctive characterizations that I plan to develop in the beginning, middle, and end of the book. I plan to use these characterizations to also affect the plot by moving it forward or throwing obstacles in the way. Plus, I plan on giving my minor characters each one distinctive quality and a distinctive voice so that my readers care about each one. I am also working to figure out how each of my minor characters will use their one unique quality to save the day or ruin everything. This will increase the tension and add dimension to the plot. I’m doing all this BEFORE I write the book so that I make sure to add these qualities in as I’m writing the story.

Posted by: nancyisanders | August 26, 2016

Faith Building Fridays: Double Blessings

I promise this very day
that I will repay two blessings
for each of your troubles.
-Zechariah 9:12, NLT

Did you get a rejection? Rejoice, scribe! God promises two blessings in exchange for one sorrow. And in God’s economy, the bigger the pile of ashes we collect, the larger amount of beauty He’ll exchange for it! So don’t let those rejections or disappointments make you quit. Keep writing! He’s calculating the blessings that are coming your way, and they’re double the amount of troubles you’ve experienced so far!

Dear God, thank You for this encouraging word. Thank You for Your promises. I praise Your name! Amen.

_______________________________________________________________

Scribes: Devotions for Christian Writers is available at Amazon.

Posted by: nancyisanders | August 24, 2016

Oldie But Goodie: Middle Grade Musings

Here’s the third and final post on Middle Grade Novels I wrote several years ago here on my blog. Hope this helps!

Everything I Need to Know about Middle Grade Novels I Learned from Jurassic Park
Part 3

In Jurassic Park, each actor’s characterization was developed over the entire length of the movie and also affected the plot. Here’s how:

The main dinosaur guy:
1. His favorite dino was the raptor: By the middle of the movie, he was so scared of the raptors that he threw away his treasured possession (a raptor claw). By the end of the movie it was confirmed—the raptors were the most intelligent and scariest of all. He CHANGED by the end.
2. He disliked kids: By the middle of the movie, he was willing to help these kids even if he didn’t really like them. By the end of the movie, he cared deeply about these kids. He CHANGED by the end.
3. He always broke computers. In the middle of the movie, he couldn’t fix anything when technological/computer problems arose—even tho he was the most important person there. By the end of the movie, he was still helpless to solve the problem of getting the electricity turned back on via the broken computer. His characterization served to MOVE the plot forward by adding tension.

The math guy (Malcolm)
1. Believed everything was chaos: By the middle of the movie, he was a foreshadow of doom. By the end of the movie, his predictions occurred and everything became chaos. His characterization served to MOVE along the plot.
2. Gave a wisecrack about everything. Kept this up through the entire movie and never broke out of this. His characterization served to MOVE along the plot.
3. Was totally like a reptile and unlikeable (which made him somehow likeable!). Kept this up through the entire movie and never broke out of this. His characterization served to MOVE along the plot and added tension.

Grandpa (the owner of Jurassic Park)
1. Thought life was like an amusement park. By the end of the movie he CHANGED to know dinosaurs weren’t just an amusement park feature. His characterization brought RUIN.
2. Spared no expense. By the end of the movie he CHANGED to find out that no money could protect them from messing with “creation.” His characterization brought RUIN.
3. Was self-centered like a child. Kept this up through the entire move. His characterization served to MOVE along the plot and added tension.

The computer geek
1. Was totally over-the-top obnoxious. His characterization moved the plot along and brought RUIN to everything in the movie.
2. Was messy and irresponsible and greedy. His characterization moved the plot along and even RUINED himself.
3. Was the only guy who understood all the computer technology. This created a major plot issue when he figured out how to steal the DNA. Then it created a major plot issue when nobody knew how to fix his computer mess-up. His characterization actually affected the plot in major ways.

Each minor character had at least one unique characterization:
Grandson: very smart, invincible kid who loved dinosaurs: He got scared in the middle and needed care by the end—seemed a lot younger and vulnerable at the end.
Granddaughter: computer whiz. In the middle she was interested in anything techie. Her skills save the day at the end.
Lawyer: very totally predictable lawyer. Everything he said and did was so typical lawyer and everyone knew of course he’d be the first guy to go.
Overseer of dinosaurs: was in charge of raptors and worried about dinosaurs’ intelligence. This was a foreshadow technique and was used to move plot forward by adding tension. In the middle he keeps popping in to say he’s worried about raptor’s intelligence. He CHANGED by the end because the raptors took charge of him.

Writing this all down really helped me see how I need to develop the characterization of both my main characters and minor characters throughout the entire novel—beginning, middle, and end. It also showed me how I need to use their characterizations to move the plot along or throw obstacles in the way.

CLICK HERE to get information and purchase my audio workshop so you, YES YOU! can learn how to write a middle grade novel in one month.

Posted by: nancyisanders | August 22, 2016

Oldie But Goodie: Middle Grade Musings

Here’s Part 2 of my Oldie But Goodie on Middle Grade Novels:

Everything I Need to Know about Middle Grade Novels I Learned from Jurassic Park
Part 2

As I mentioned yesterday, the main characters in Jurassic Park all seemed to be 3-D with three main distinctive character qualities each:

The main dinosaur guy:
1. His favorite dino was the raptor.
2. He disliked kids.
3. He always broke computers.

The math guy (Malcolm)
1. Believed everything was chaos.
2. Gave a wisecrack about everything.
3. Was totally like a reptile and unlikeable (which made him somehow likeable!).

Grandpa (the owner of Jurassic Park)
1. Thought life was like an amusement park.
2. Spared no expense.
3. Was self-centered like a child.

The computer geek
1. Was totally over-the-top obnoxious.
2. Was messy and irresponsible and greedy.
3. Was the only guy who understood all the computer technology.

Each minor character had at least one unique characterization:
Grandson: very smart kid who loved dinosaurs
Granddaughter: computer whiz
Lawyer: very totally predictable lawyer
Overseer of dinosaurs: was in charge of raptors and worried about dinosaurs’ intelligence

Writing down these characterizations for Jurassic Park’s main and minor characters made me realize that every single one of my characters in my middle grade novel was one dimensional, a clone of the other, and bo-o-ring. My goal is now to give my main characters each 3 strong, over-the-top characterizations, and each of my minor characters at least one unique trait.

In my next post, I’ll show how strong characterizations were developed over the entire length of Jurassic park and also affected the plot.

CLICK HERE to get information and purchase my audio workshop so you, YES YOU! can learn how to write a middle grade novel in one month.

Posted by: nancyisanders | August 19, 2016

Faith Building Fridays: Live!

So I [wrote] the message as he commanded me,
and breath came into their bodies.
They all came to life and stood up on their feet—a great army.
-Ezekiel 37:10, NLT

There is a lost and dying world that we live in. Yet, through some mysterious power of God most high, the message He commands us to write can bring dead places to life! Let’s write words so others can come to life and stand up on their feet. Let’s write words that empower a great army in God’s kingdom. Let’s write words and live the purpose God has designed us for since before the creation of the world!

Dear God, sometimes I feel the words I write are powerless and meaningless. Thank you for reminding me that the words I write can bring life and that more abundantly. Help me always to remember this and write your words each day. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

_______________________________________________________________

Scribes: Devotions for Christian Writers is available at Amazon.

Posted by: nancyisanders | August 17, 2016

Oldie But Goodie: Middle Grade Musings

Here’s an Oldie But Goodie about Middle Grade Novels:

Everything I Need to Know about Middle Grade Novels I Learned from Jurassic Park
Part 1

Okay, okay…I may be a bit behind on the fact that I’ve never watched all three movies of Jurassic Park until this past month. But then, we’re a family who loves books, not movies. In fact, as some of you may know, we haven’t watched TV in the 25 years since my husband and I have been married. Oh sure, about 10 years ago we “inherited” a television that we keep out in our garage under a blanket. It’s handy for watching home videos. We have TV Guardian on the DVD player so that when we do watch an occasional movie, we don’t have to listen to all the swearing. (TV Guardian does a great job of blipping out all that stuff!)

So anyhow, we decided to watch all three movies of Jurassic Park this past month. Of course, I’m a wimp at watching icky stuff, so I closed my eyes for about half of each movie. But wow! Did it give me lots of material to work on with my historical middle grade novel that I’m writing!

Is my historical MG novel set back in dinosaur days? Not! It only goes as far back as the American Revolution. But watching Jurassic Park taught me AMAZING lessons about developing my characters. Here’s how.

Jurassic Park was the ultimate example of how strong characterization works. Each and every single character had unique qualities, distinctive voices, and over-the-top quirks. And each character either CHANGED or DIDN’T CHANGE by the end of the movie in a dramatic way. Also, they each used their unique characterizations to either SAVE THE DAY or BRING ABOUT TOTAL RUIN. In other words, their characterizations not only developed their personalities, but also worked to move the plot forward or throw obstacles in the way.

The main characters each seemed to be 3-D with three main distinctive character qualities each. Even each minor character had at least one unique quirk. The interesting thing, however, was that Jurassic Park 2 (Lost World) and Jurassic Park 3 did NOT have the same strong characterization. And my husband and son and I all agreed—as a result both the second and third movies were flat compared to the first. In an upcoming post, I’ll explain what I noted in more detail.


CLICK HERE to get information and purchase my audio workshop so you, YES YOU! can learn how to write a middle grade novel in one month.

 

Posted by: nancyisanders | August 15, 2016

Oldies But Goodies: Resumes

Here’s my final post on resumes that I published several years ago here on my blog:

By the time you have acquired enough writing credits that it’s too bulky to include in your query or cover letter, you’re ready to prepare an actual resume.

Keep it pertinent to writing and make it look professional. Here are several tips:

Header:
Center your name in a large font at the top of the page.
Underneath in regular font (Times New Roman 12), list your address, phone number, e-mail, and website or blog if it pertains to writing.

Directly underneath this list any job titles or membership in critique groups or writing societies. Many editors will actually take the time to seriously look at your manuscript if they see that you’re an active member of a writing society such as the Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).

Skip a space or two and then build the body of your resume. (Again, use regular font.) There are various ways to do this. In fact, over the years, the look of my resume keeps changing. At first, when I didn’t have many published credits, I listed the names of the various magazines I’d been published in. Then, underneath each one, I listed the title of my article and the date it was published. I centered all this to help give a better visual appearance. And of course, when my first book was published, it took top billing on the page!

Now that I’ve had over 75 books published, my resume is kind of easy. I just have the header with my name, contact information, and positions I’ve held as Contributing Editor, etc. at the top. Plus I include membership in writing societies.

Underneath that, I just list the various publishers and the titles of books I’ve written for each one. In columns. That’s it. Nothing fancy. It gets the job done.

One more note—over the years I’ve also had some news that certain publishers might be interested in. For instance, one of my books was a bestseller for Scholastic. Another book has won several nice awards. Stuff like that. I include that information on a separate sheet I call Noteworthy News. I also include lists of magazines I’ve written for over the years on that page. If an editor wants to know more about my publishing background, I e-mail them this page along with my resume. But not usually.

The final thing about building a resume is just to use good old-fashioned common sense. If it makes sense to you to include something, put it in. If it makes the layout of the page look good, put it in. If in doubt, keep it out. Don’t stress over it, and don’t worry about it. Just create your resume as it seems best. Then send it in with your manuscript submission.

Posted by: nancyisanders | August 12, 2016

Faith Building Fridays: Reputation

So the Lord was with Joshua,
and his reputation spread
throughout the land.
-Joshua 6:27, NLT

It’s important to gain name-recognition as an author. People tell us to tweet on Twitter, post on Facebook, and spend overwhelming chunks of time participating in social media. Yes, each of these venues has its purpose and its value for an author. But ONLY after we first spend a meaningful portion of our day meeting alone with God.

If you have to make the choice…social media or God…choose God first. Meet with God each day BEFORE you sign onto the Internet. God is the one who spreads our reputation and name recognition in the industry after all.

Dear God, please help me keep my priorities straight. Help me prioritize my time alone with you each day as more important than chatting with any friends online. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

_______________________________________________________________

Scribes: Devotions for Christian Writers is available at Amazon.

Posted by: nancyisanders | August 10, 2016

Oldie But Goodie: Resumes

This Oldie But Goodie continues our discussion on resumes:

When I was a beginning writer, I never submitted a resume. Why not? I didn’t have anything to put on it.

If you’re just starting out as a writer, you don’t need a resume either. What you do need, however, is a sentence or paragraph in your query or cover letter that describes your qualifications as a writer. Don’t even have that yet? Don’t worry! Just skip this part at first. If you don’t have any educational background, job skill experience related to your manuscript, or writing credits, don’t say anything about this in your query or cover letter. The worst thing you can do is describe something about yourself that has no relevancy to the manuscript you’re submitting. It’s better not to say anything. Just target your manuscript to a publisher who is open to working with new writers. How can you know this? Read your market guide.

For instance, I just randomly opened my Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market Guide. Moon Mountain Publishers was listed on the page. In their little blurb it says, “50% of books by first-time authors.” Bingo. They understand someone who doesn’t yet have publishing credits or a resume. Target publishers like this who say 50% or more of their titles or articles are with first-time authors. It ups your chances of getting your foot in the door so you can start on your way to acquiring an impressing resume.

After you do start accumulating publishing credits, then you can state in your query or cover letter a sentence or two about what you’ve had published. At first, you can list the one title of your article and the publisher it was published with and the year it was printed. As you gain more and more credits, you can list them as bullets in your paragraph of the letter. When you start to have so many that they don’t all fit in one paragraph, then it’s time to prepare an actual resume!

In an upcoming post, I’ll share about how to prepare your first resume as a writer.

Posted by: nancyisanders | August 8, 2016

Oldie But Goodie: Resumes

Here’s an Oldie But Goodie series I posted about resumes. I hope you find it helpful!

For a writer, a resume is part of a standard manuscript proposal. However, not all resumes look the same.

My older son is a social worker. He helps clients locate career-level jobs. He also helps clients prepare their resumes. In fact, he wrote guidelines the company uses to explain how it’s done. My younger son is graduating from college and just got accepted to grad school. Recently, he wanted to prepare a resume to apply as an intern to a local Hollywood company. They needed to know his academic background as well as his publishing accomplishments in the world of academia. His fellow grad students who already work at the company gave him tips on what to include in his resume. With this in mind, I turned to both my sons for advice on how a professional resume should be prepared. Here are key points they shared:

Keep resume one page long.
Use a professional font such as Times New Roman.
Use a font that is easy to read such as size 12.
Use standard margins on your page layout.
Make information pertinent to the project.
List experience that matters for the project.
Include educational background.
List job titles that relate to your field of expertise.
List honors or awards related to your project.

In my next post, I’ll share what to do about a resume if you’re just starting out as a writer and don’t yet have writing credits established or necessarily have an educational background.

Posted by: nancyisanders | August 5, 2016

Faith Building Fridays: Report

pict0777

So Moses went out and reported the Lord’s
words to the people.
-Numbers 11:24, NLT

Before we can report God’s word to others, we need to hear what God wants to say. Let’s take time today to sit at God’ feet. Let’s ask Him what is on His heart to share with our generation for such a time as this. Let’s listen for His still small voice. Let’s read the Bible and pray. Then, after God speaks to our hearts, let’s go out, sit down at our computers, and write a report of God’s words for others to know.

Dear Father, thank You for giving us the Bible. Thank You for giving us prayer. Thank You for giving us each new day where we can meet alone with You and hear the words You want us to report. In Jesus’s name. Amen.

_______________________________________________________________

Scribes: Devotions for Christian Writers is available at Amazon.

Posted by: nancyisanders | August 3, 2016

Oldie But Goodie: Why Are You A Writer?

Here’s the second part I posted several years ago on this topic…Enjoy!

Why are you a writer? Is it because you can’t NOT write? I know I can’t stop writing. It’s one of my favorite things to do.

Sure, I like to quilt, crochet, play the piano, take walks, garden, and watch the birds. Plus do all sorts of fun things with my family when they come home at the end of a long day of work.

But when I sit down to relax and put my writing away for the day, what do I do? I write! Even if I start to read a good book, I soon put it down because a brand new idea pops into my head that I just want to get on paper.

Even if I plan to crochet in the evening while my husband’s grading papers (he’s a teacher) and I’m sitting in the chair next to him, without thinking, I’ll pick up my notebook that I keep next to my chair. Before I realize it, I’m writing a little poem for kids or jotting down ideas for a fun, new manuscript.

I even place a notepad on the ironing board while I iron. I always get such great ideas while I’m standing there!

I have a notepad in the car because when we’re driving somewhere something always pops into my head. I have a notepad in my purse for when I’m out shopping. I just love to write.

So I just gotta write! That’s one of the reasons I write, too.

How about you?

Posted by: nancyisanders | August 1, 2016

Oldie But Goodie: Why Are You A Writer?

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

Why are you a writer? Is it to change your world? I know that’s one of the reasons I write. I yearn to make a difference in this world…and I truly believe I am.

I’ll never forget the librarian who told me recently that she wanted to create a display at her school for Black History Month–but all the books she found were so sad she felt overwhelmed with the thought. Until she discovered my book, D is for Drinking Gourd: An African American Alphabet. She said the illustrations and information on each page were so inspiring that it gave her the motivation to decorate the library to likewise inspire students to follow in the footsteps of the many African Americans who dared to stand up and make a difference in their world.

Through the easy readers I’ve written over the years, I know I’m helping give the gift of literacy to children. And if I can help just one child learn to read–and love it!–then all the hard work, piles of rejections, and lonely hours of writing have been worth it.

I’ve written puzzles and crafts and poems for kids. How awesome it is to think that I’ve brought joy and fun and laughter into the lives of children. Truly, in this day and age when children have to grow up long before it’s time and deal with amazing levels of stress and disappointment, even the most simple puzzle or basic craft becomes a very precious jewel.

I want to change my world and make it a better place. That’s one of the reasons I write.

Why do you?

 


Check out my how-to-write book for writers, Yes! You Can Learn How to Write Beginning Readers and Chapter Books.

Posted by: nancyisanders | July 29, 2016

Faith Building Fridays: Pure

pict0907
The words of the Lord are pure words,
Like silver tried in a furnace of earth,
Purified seven times
You shall keep them, O Lord,
You shall preserve them from this generation forever.
-Psalm 12:6-7

It’s easy to slip into writing words that will be accepted by publishers because they are edgy, or deal with current trends in immorality, fortune tellers, or psychics. But God’s words are pure words, refined and purified. As we write our manuscripts, may our words be pure and holy as well.

Dear God, purify me! Try me! Refine me as a writer until the words I write are pure and will stand the test of time.

_______________________________________________________________

Scribes: Devotions for Christian Writers is available at Amazon.

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.

_______________________________________________________________

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!

Older Posts »

Categories

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 419 other followers

%d bloggers like this: