Posted by: nancyisanders | August 2, 2018

Help for Writers

lake fulmor reflection

Are you looking for help as a children’s writer? Do you want a paid critique, one-on-one coaching, or some other service to help you take the next step along your writing journey? Some of my writing friends provide various services that could just be the helpful hand you’ve been looking for. Check out the following information and get connected today!

Michelle Medlock Adams

Michelle Medlock Adams is the president of Platinum Literary Services and PlatLit Books.

Services include:
Marketing consultations
Book proposal services
Premier editing

Mini-Conference Prep Packages:
This service is provided to help writers get ready to meet with editors and publisher at an upcoming conference. Cost is $99.

Lisa Amtutz

Lisa Amstutz is the author of more than 80 children’s books for the educational and trade markets, including Applesauce Day (2017), Finding a Dove for Gramps (2018), and Amphibiology (2019) Her work has also appeared in a variety of magazines and newspapers. Lisa serves as a volunteer judge at Rate Your story and as Assistant Regional Advisor for SCBWI: Ohio North. She enjoys sharing what she’s learned and helping other writers to succeed.

Lisa critiques:
Picture books
Nonfiction proposals for any age
Work-for-hire packages (resume, cover letter, writing samples)

Lisa also does proofreading and copyediting.

For more details, please visit Lisa’s website.

Susan Kralovansky

Susan Kralovansky started writing for the children’s magazine market and published stories and poems in places such as Cat Fancy, Our Magic Window, The Mailbox, and Humpty Dumpty. Her first book, There Was a Tall Texan Who Swallowed a Flea,was released in 2013 from Pelican Publishing along with her first nonfiction series, Library Resources, with Abdo Publishing. Susan has written twelve nonfiction books and illustrated her second picture book, Twelve Cowboys Ropin’, which was released in 2015. She has three books forthcoming, two with Pelican and one with TCU Press. A former librarian, Susan has led writing workshops and served as the Austin SCBWI Picture Book Mentor.

Critique Services:
Picture Book Manuscripts
(under 1,000 words, although higher word counts can be prorated) $125.00
Susan will review your manuscript multiple times and will touch on the strengths and weaknesses of the following:

Age appropriateness
Voice, pacing and language
Overall story concept
Possible mentor texts to study

A 30 minute Skype or telephone call is included with every critique.

Second Looks
For a look at a manuscript I’ve already critiqued – $50.00.

Nonfiction Picture Book Work-for-Hire
(up to 1000 words, although higher word counts can be prorated) $125.00

Nonfiction Work-for-Hire Submission Package
(up to 1000 words, although higher word counts can be prorated) $200.00

Susan will review your submission package multiple times and critique the following:

Query letter
Outline and or project summary
Writing samples

Susan will check for age appropriateness, voice, flow, and reading level. She will provide recommendations for submission strategies.

Posted by: nancyisanders | July 11, 2018

Unsolicited Children’s Book Submissions


I love learning about open doors for us as writers.

And I’m excited to learn about two small publishing houses that publish children’s books.

Isn’t that great news? To discover new places that are publishing books for kids?

But even better news is that both of these houses…yes, I repeat BOTH…are open to unsolicited manuscript submissions!

So if you have a children’s book that you want to submit, check out these amazing presses. Read their current and past book catalogues. Follow them on social media. And READ. THEIR. BOOKS.

Then submit to them if you think your manuscript would be a good fit at their house.

Drum roll please.

Little Lamb Books

Ripple Grove Press

CLICK HERE for the links to get their submission guidelines and explore a list I’ve collected of publishers who are open to unsolicited manuscripts for kids’ books.


Happy submitting!

Posted by: nancyisanders | June 29, 2018

Beginning Readers

cover front

I know a lot of you love to write and many of you have a special heart for beginning readers.

Today I want to share about a writer friend who just discovered that one of her stories begged to be a beginning reader instead of the picture book she started out to write.

CLICK HERE to read more about her journey where she also discovered my book, HOW TO WRITE BEGINNING READERS AND CHAPTER BOOKS.

And CLICK HERE to read the very helpful and informative post she shared with tips on readability!

Thanks, Jean Matthew Hall, for the shout out on my book. And best wishes on your writing journey!!!


Posted by: nancyisanders | April 23, 2018

Happy 20th Anniversary, Sleeping Bear Press!


Happy 20th Anniversary, Sleeping Bear Press!

It’s a joy to be part of the Sleeping Bear Press legacy with my nonfiction picture book: D is for Drinking Gourd: An African American Alphabet.

Wishing the best to all the authors, illustrators, editors and every other person who has worked hard over the years to get quality books into the hands of young readers. It’s great being part of the family!

And if you’re not yet part of this wonderful publishing family, I hope one day you’ll be able to get your book published by this great press and celebrate milestones together, too!!!




Posted by: nancyisanders | April 19, 2018

Teachers Pay Teachers: Basic Worksheet


This past weekend I attended an amazing writer’s retreat. We all taught each other and critiqued each other’s manuscripts. Someone snapped a photo of me during my time to teach. (Yes, they had a tiara there that we took turns wearing!) During the retreat, we talked about using Teachers Pay Teachers as a platform to promote your published books.

The very first thing you will need to post in your store at Teachers Pay Teachers is a freebie.

If you’re super techie and comfortable with art programs such as Inkscape or Photoshop, or if you like to use a platform such as Powerpoint to create visually stunning presentations, this will be easy peasy. Just create a product in the platform you’re familiar with, save it as a pdf and upload it to your store at Teachers Pay Teachers.

However, if you’re already sweating in your socks at this very idea, click below for a basic worksheet you can create in a word document. No graphics. No frills. No fuss. But it gets the job done. As long as you know how to type in a word document program and save it as a pdf file, you’ve got all the technologocial savvy you need to know.

Jane Austen for Kids worksheet

(And yes! Now the secret is out!!! My upcoming book will be Jane Austen for Kids!)

The great thing about learning how to create this basic worksheet is that even if you do know how to use awesome graphics platforms, you can still create a bunch of these  basic worksheets to pad your product if you want to make educator’s guides to promote your published books or bundles or units to sell to teachers on topics you love best.

Here’s how to create a basic worksheet:

Please feel free to copy this entire worksheet, word for word, if that will help you overcome your fears about creating it. Just tailor your worksheet to either support your own book title that you’ve written, or a topic that you want to sell products for on Teachers Pay Teachers. (If you want this worksheet to support a topic, just change the wording to say something like: As you’re reading books or articles about this topic, look for three key things. etc.)

Be sure to include a space for students to write their name at the top.

Make your title in bold at the top center.

Underneath that, if you want your material to support Common Core or another educational standard, list the number of that standard. The letters CC.RA.R.10 is the anchor standard for reading informational text (nonfiction or fact-based text) or fiction. Basically, this anchor standard, R.10, just means that students are reading material that is geared for their age level in school. CLICK HERE to read this standard at the Common Core’s website for informational text. CLICK HERE to read this standard at the Common Core’s website for fiction.

At the very bottom of my worksheets, I like to include a footer. Open the footer of your document and type in the following information:

A title for your educator’s guide (In case you make more worksheets to go along with this book or topic)

Copyright info with the symbol, year you wrote this worksheet, and your name if you own the copyright (which you automatically should unless you are under contract with a publisher that states otherwise).

Your personal website or your book’s website so they can go look for more of your products and books.

The main thing to remember when preparing this worksheet is that this will be in the hands of the children. You want to keep it visually appealing to them and not put in extra info you want their teacher to see.

When you’ve typed out this worksheet, save it as a pdf file as that is a common file Teachers Pay Teachers uses.

To see what this looks like in my Teachers Pay Teachers store, CLICK HERE to see a worksheet I wrote for my book, Frederick Douglass for Kids. (Note that when I wrote it Common Core wasn’t yet adopted and I didn’t know to add my website at the footer.)

Once you reach this point, you have options. You can opt to upload your worksheet as it is, as your very first freebie in your Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Or you can opt to make a cover sheet for it. Look for other products on Teachers Pay Teachers to see what kind of style and format you’d like to use.

And you can opt to include a page or two after it that lists your books for sale or other products you want to sell.

If you’re already keen on that, go ahead and add those extras! But don’t feel like you have to. Feel free to just upload your basic worksheet to get your store started.

In upcoming posts, I’ll share how you can make even more worksheets to sell on Teachers Pay Teachers as part of an educator’s guide to promote your book or topic you love, using only your basic word document program.


Posted by: nancyisanders | February 26, 2018

Teachers Pay Teachers

This past week several of my writer friends met together with me at my house.

I think the greatest joy was to sit with friends face-to-face and chat together instead of on Facebook. We shared hugs, laughter, lunch, manuscript critiques, encouragement, inspiration, and friendship.

For the first hour or so we discussed Teachers Pay Teachers. It’s a site where teachers can purchase stuff to use in their classrooms. Why were we talking about this site in a writer’s group?

Good question!

There are 4 main reasons as writers we can benefit from Teachers Pay Teachers.

    1. IDEAS: It’s a great place to get ideas. Do you want to write a nonfiction picture book for ages 4-7? Browse through Teachers Pay Teachers and see what nonfiction topics teachers are teaching in the classroom. Can’t think of how to word a scene in your historical fiction novel you’re writing? Go to Teachers Pay Teachers, look up that historical event in their product line, preview various products and see if you can find mentor texts that word your topic well. This will help you formulate your own words better.
    2. PROMOTE: Teachers Pay Teachers is an awesome place to promote your published children’s book. Whether your book is fiction or nonfiction, you can create a grade-appropriate educator’s guide that goes along with your book and post it for free to teachers. Inside the guide, be sure to advertise your author’s website and published book to go along with the material. A super bonus perk is that some teachers might purchase classroom sets of your book to use with their students! Or they’ll order your book for their school library. At the very least, it’s a practical way to get the word out and promote your book. CLICK HERE to see the educator’s guide I offer for free for my book, A Pirate’s Mother Goose.
    3. SELF-PUBLISH: Teachers Pay Teachers is an amazing place to self-publish. Just think of it…you’ve got ideas for children’s stories or children’s nonfiction. Imagine not needing a contract, not needing an agent or an editor, and getting your material out to the public while keeping all your rights. If you’re an illustrator too, you’ve already got that covered and can produce the art for your own stories. If you’re not an illustrator, there are oodles of folks on Teachers Pay Teachers who offer their illustrations or clipart for very reasonable prices in package deals. If you’re super techie, it will be a snap, and if you’re not you can still create a wide range of products using the basic skills you probably already have.
    4. EARN INCOME: Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT) is an opportunity to earn income. Yes, that’s right. You can set up a store of your own on TpT and start earning money pretty quickly. Some folks have even earned over a million dollars selling their material on TpT! For folks like me who just post a few products from time to time, I get enough money to pay for my ink and paper supplies, which is a big help for me.



Click here to check out my store, Teacher + Writer, on TpT. (Please follow my store, and if you have a store, let me know the name and I’ll follow you, too.)

Now, the first question everyone had in my writing group that met was this: Can you join TpT and set up a store if you’re not a teacher?

If that’s you, do like we did. Go on the website for Teachers Pay Teachers. Scroll down to the bottom and find the “Contact Us” link. Send them an e-mail. Explain that you are not a teacher but you want to write materials for teachers to use in their classroom. Ask if you can join.

Hopefully they’ll say “Yes” and you’ll be on your way! The first product you have to post on TpT must be a freebie.

In upcoming posts, I’m going to share some simple worksheets you can make to post your first freebie and then sell on Teachers Pay Teachers. These can be on any topic you choose or go along with your published children’s book to help promote your book.

I’m busy right now creating an educator’s guide for my newest book that will be published in October 2018, so I’ll share with you some of the steps I’m taking along the way.

Posted by: nancyisanders | February 7, 2018

Submit Your Manuscript Today


Now that I’m done with the h-u-g-e book project I’ve been working on for the past year and half, people are asking me…what’s next?

For starters, getting a book published continues to require work even after it’s submitted to the publisher. There’s a website to build, edits to work on, first pages to proof, etc.

But in between all of that, I’m also getting back to other manuscript projects of mine. I’m finishing up some picture book projects and starting others.

And I’m also back into submitting.

Yup. Submissions.

Whether you have an agent or don’t have an agent, you’ve got to get your manuscript(s) out of your computer hard drive and into the hands of someone in the publishing industry.

See the photograph at the top of this post? It’s a caterpillar that will one day turn into the biggest butterfly in North America, the Swallowtail. It was on our orange tree in our back yard last summer. (It’s self-defense is to look like a bird dropping in its caterpillar stage, which is pretty funny if you think about it.)

If you leave your manuscript on your computer and never submit it anywhere, your “caterpillar” will never have the opportunity to turn into a beautiful butterfly.

So there’s good news for those of us who don’t have agents…there are oodles of publishers who are taking unsolicited manuscripts right now.

CLICK HERE to see the page on my blog where I list these publishers along with a link to their submission guidelines. I’m going through this list this week and submitting my manuscript and I encourage you to do the same.

So if you haven’t done so recently, make it your goal to submit your manuscript to at least one place today.

Best wishes on your journey! Hopefully one day soon your caterpillar will turn into a beautiful butterfly flitting and floating around the world.

Posted by: nancyisanders | February 3, 2018

Welcome to My World

14.2.P1020392 Nancy

(Photo: Here I am standing at the Arch of Triumph on Bastille Day 2017 in Paris France)

It’s been more than a year since I last posted on this blog.

A lot can happen in a year. Life gets busy, as it did for me, and I know it was for you, too.

Life was busy for me in many ways, but most of all, this past year I spent working on a book that took me on a greater journey than any book has taken me. That’s mostly why I never had the time to post here on my blog–this book consumed all my time.

This book took me to places I’d never been to before…the site of the Bastille in Paris and Winchester Cathedral in England, among others, to be exact.

But now the book is done. The deadline (extended twice!) is finished.

But really, it’s only the beginning. The book is already undergoing the production process and will be published in October of this year. So you’ll be hearing about it as it takes on a brand new life of its own.

And I’m looking forward to hearing about the new beginnings you’re looking forward to in your own life as well.

May you find joy in your journey!



Posted by: nancyisanders | May 15, 2017

Local Writer’s Conference

cherry blossoms and orange bridge HPIM0252.jpg

Isn’t this a beautiful setting? It’s the cherry blossoms in a local garden near where I live in southern CA.

Setting is important. It’s important to us in special events and important to us in our day to day lives. It’s also important in the stories we write.

Do you live near me in southern CA? Are you free this coming Saturday on May 20? Then come join me at a local Christian writing conference in Chino and take my setting workshop. We’ll be doing setting exercises with your personal writing project in mind, so hopefully you will get some great strategies to make your setting as meaningful and well-written as you can.

Most of all, however, the goal of this conference is to connect local Christian writers with other local Christian writers. So come on over and get connected!

CLICK HERE to see the Facebook page for the event, CHINO VALLEY ASPIRING WRITERS’ CONFERENCE.

CLICK HERE to register. It’s just $20. What a great deal for connections and information that can make a difference in your life as a writer.

Mark your calendar. Hope to see you there!



Posted by: nancyisanders | April 7, 2017

Faith Building Friday: Strength


My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. -Psalm 73:26, NKJV


Dear Scribe, beloved of your Master. Do you feel like a failure as a writer? Perhaps you struggle with a chronic illness or a physical weakness that limits your capacity to write. Perhaps your daily commitments are so taxing that you have no physical strength left at the end of the day to write. Or maybe instead of your flesh it is your heart that has lost hope, and you are overwhelmed with the idea of ever acquiring the skills to get published. The thought of experiencing breakthrough in the published market feels like an impossible task. Or you might be a seasoned writer but can find no fresh creativity to move forward in your calling. You might even be experiencing burnout and are too tired or heartsick in this challenging industry to submit anything just to receive yet another rejection. Yes, our cry can often be, “MY flesh and MY heart fail!” But wait! There is a higher power that is not bound by human flesh. There is a greater strength that is not chained to human emotions. There is an infinite resource that is not limited by human frailties. This is none other than God Himself. God—the Creator of the universe whose Word spoke the galaxies into existence—wants to speak life into the dead places of our writer’s heart. God Himself is the strength of our heart. He will lift us up on eagle’s wings and carry us in His arms close to His heart as a shepherd carries an orphaned lamb. He is our portion, our daily bread, our new mercy every day, our joy that comes in the morning even when weeping lasts for the night. He will be our strength when we have none: today, tomorrow, and each new day into eternity.


Dear God, restore my hope and renew my strength. Thank You for Your promise that Your power is perfected in my weakness. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Posted by: nancyisanders | April 4, 2017

Hippity, Hoppity, Easter’s On Its Way!

He is Risen.png

Easter’s coming! My favorite time of year!! I love celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This year my hubby and I are singing in the worship choir on Sunday for all four services. What a wonderful day of rejoicing that will be!

For Easter this year, I wanted to give you some choices of items you can put in your child’s Easter basket to help them remember what Easter is truly all about…Jesus’s death and resurrection to offer us the free gift of salvation.

Here’s a free, colorful tract you can download and print out yourself to tuck into your child’s Easter basket. This also makes a great handout for your church to distribute in children’s ministry or along with your bulletin. It’s a great classroom resource as well if you teach at a Christian school. Please feel free to use this in any way you want. Let’s teach our children about Jesus and the free gift He offers to us because of what He did on the very first Easter! (And if you like this tract, please take a minute to rate it…I appreciate that…thanks!)

Do you have a two-year-old or preschooler in your family or neighborhood? Or perhaps you have a little one who is just learning how to read. These 3 boxed sets are the perfect size for tucking in their Easter basket. Plus, they’re the perfect size for little hands to hold and little hearts to learn from. My two-year-old grandson loves these books and asks to read them again and again!

This series of nonfiction books teach second through sixth graders the TRUTH! Using historical documents, artifacts, and true facts, young readers learn how God has a plan for the world that includes Jesus, the Bible, and us. These are great for Easter baskets for kids in elementary school. Visit the website for these books for free printables you can also download and print out to put in their baskets: puzzles, crafts, and more!

He is Risen

Posted by: nancyisanders | April 3, 2017

Nonfiction Biographies

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Thanks to all of you who have purchased my audio class on how to write a nonfiction book. And thanks to one of my cyberspace writing friends who purchased the course and has asked me for some tips on writing a nonfiction biography on a current personality.

Years ago when I started writing, before I ever published my first book, one of the first things I did was interview an author and submit it to a writing magazine that published author/editor interviews. It was one of my first acceptances ever! So I continued to interview fellow authors as well as editors, eventually becoming a Contributing Editor to the writing magazine myself. Over several years, I built up experience with interviewing skills and was able to eventually interview TV and musical personalities, too.

Learning how to interview someone is a learning curve in itself. Learning how to interview a famous person is an even bigger learning curve. And learning what it takes to get that person’s interview published can involve copyright issues, permissions, and journalism/research skills.

So, what happens if you want to interview a current personality and get it published as a children’s nonfiction biography?

First of all, know your publishers. Most current picture book biographies are published by educational publishers. These publishers usually do entire series on these biographies. They often offer work-for-hire contracts and expect to hire you and have you sign a contract with them before you write the book.

For example, Scholastic published this book on Taylor Swift as part of its easy reader series. And National Geographic published this book on Barack Obama.

If you’d rather write a chapter book or a YA nonfiction title about a celebrity, that would include a different list of publishers as well. Find out which publishers publish these types of books. Look on their submissions guidelines to see if they prefer to sign a contract with you before you write the book or want to see the finished book.

You don’t always need to go this route, however. There are some publishers who publish individual titles on current personalities. If you would rather go this route, but don’t have any experience with this type of project, you can start with baby steps:

  • Contact this celebrity person and ask if you can interview her on  your blog.
  • Then after that is published, ask if you can interview her for a small magazine or local freebie magazine that most likely publishes anything people submit.
  • In the meantime while you are developing a relationship with this personality, you can be working on your book writing skills. Eventually you can ask her if you can write her story up as a picture book or other book for potential publication.

If you’re apprehensive about any of this, however, you can save this particular goal of yours for Nonfiction Book #2.

Start instead writing a nonfiction biography with an old dead guy like Alexander Hamilton or Bach. It will make your life much much easier and let you focus on learning how to write a nonfiction biography without all the extra work, copyright issues, permission requirements, journalism skills, and interview skills you need to learn to navigate through to write about a current living celebrity.

Then, after you get your Nonfiction Book #1 published, ask your editor if she’d like a book on your favorite celebrity. It will make your writing journey so much easier!





Posted by: nancyisanders | March 31, 2017

My Cat Is an Alien

sandman with alien eyes

Sometimes I wonder if my cat Sandman is an alien, and now I know it’s true. I set up the portable crib for my grandbabies to come and visit. Next thing I knew, this alien jumped in and decided to blast off to outer space in his new rocket ship.

Okay, okay. I know Sandman isn’t actually an alien, even if he does look like he has glowing alien eyes in this photo. But he is actually my writing buddy and a good writer, too! (Well, maybe not that good. It depends on your definition of good writing.)

But today he’s appearing as a guest blogger on the blog of my cyberspace writing friend, Jean Matthew Hall. He’s talking about primary sources and digging into research to get at the bottom of things.

Stop on over at Jean’s blog and say “Hi!” Hopefully you’ll learn a tip or two to help you in your research.


Posted by: nancyisanders | March 17, 2017

Faith Building Fridays: God’s Book

You saw me before I was born
and scheduled each day of my life
before I began to breathe.
Every day was recorded in your book!
-Psalm 139:16, TLB

What an amazing concept this is! In His great love for us, God has kept a memory book about us from even before we were born. How precious each day of our lives is to Him–may we as His scribes grasp this wonder and dedicate ourselves to His purposes. May we not waste another day away from His great call upon us to write.

Dear God, on this particular day of my life, may I spend time writing the words You planned for me to write from even before when I was born. In Jesus’s name. Amen.


Scribes: Devotions for Christian Writers is available at Amazon.

Posted by: nancyisanders | March 13, 2017

Book Review: I Believe in Jesus

I Believe in Jesus: Leading Your Child to Christ
by John MacArthur
Illustrated by Dominique Mertens
Published by Tommy Nelson

Starting with the account of Creation, this beautifully illustrated picture book shares the Gospel in clear words for children. John MacArthur, the author, explains how everything God created was good. But then the sins of Adam and Eve separated them (and us) from God. Yet because of His great love for us, God did not want heaven without us. So God had a plan. His plan included sending Jesus to die on the cross and offer us forgiveness for our sins. God offers us the gift of eternal life to each one of us so that we can live with Him in heaven forever.

What I Like
One of my favorite things about this book is that it provides an understandable and practical way for parents and grandparents as well as teachers and caregivers to share the Gospel with children. The text is conversational and engaging to draw the child in. Plus, there are Scriptures all throughout the book that ground each concept on the Bible. At the end of the book, there is an opportunity for children to BELIEVE that Jesus is the Savior of the world. And then RECEIVE Jesus as their personal Savior.

The most important thing we can share with anyone is the Truth about Jesus Christ and the Gospel. This is a wonderful book to read with children and share the Gospel in a meaningful and complete way. But it is more than that. It is a book that can be shared with adults, too. If you have unbelieving relatives or friends, this would be a very meaningful gift to give them or have in your home when they come to visit. Highly recommended.

Thanks, BookLook Bloggers for another wonderful book in exchange for my honest review.

I review for BookLook Bloggers

Posted by: nancyisanders | March 10, 2017

Faith Building Fridays: The Door

Then Jesus said to them again, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.”

As writers, God opens doors for us or closes them. How comforting it is to be reassured that Jesus, Himself, IS the door for us as His scribes. Do you feel like you’re stuck in the sheep pen because of all the rejections you receive? Learn to hand over your manuscript that has just been rejected and work on the next manuscript He is calling you to write. He calls us to write and keep on writing whether or not the manuscripts are rejected. He is the door. He will take our manuscript where it is supposed to be on its journey through eternity. We’re just called to be His sheep…and as His scribes this calling means we continue to write no matter what the current market trends are or today’s publishing world does.

Dear God, Thank You for helping me keep my writing in perspective. Please encourage me to continue writing for Your glory even while I am inside the sheep pen. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


Scribes: Devotions for Christian Writers is available at Amazon.

Posted by: nancyisanders | March 8, 2017

What Motivates You to Write?


What’s the main difference between a career writer and a wannabe writer? Is it skill? Is it networking? Is it luck? In many cases, it’s none of these. The main difference between a writer with multiple published books to their credit and someone who longs to get a book published is motivation. Motivation is key. The good news is that you can get to know yourself better as a writer so you, too, can be motivated to write the books of your dreams.

Without motivation, our passion dries up before we finish our manuscript. Without motivation, we spend valuable time attending to a hundred smaller immediate tasks rather than working on our important writing goals. Without motivation we are like a forgotten pool of stagnant water instead of a rushing stream cascading down a mountainside, pouring out the words that burn on our hearts.

Motivation gives us the drive to pursue our passion for writing, day after day, in good weather or bad. Motivation lights the flame for a “do-it-or-else” attitude that gets the job done. Motivation compels us to find the time to write and then fuels our desire to actually take that time and sit down to write.

Motivation is not a one-size-fits-all topic. What motivates me to write may be immensely different than what motivates you. And during different seasons entirely different things might motivate us altogether!

Discovering what motivates you will help you actually find the time to write.

Understanding what really motivates you on this day at this time right now will help you actually sit down to write in the time you have.

What motivates you to write?

Posted by: nancyisanders | March 6, 2017

Book Review: Starter Bible

Starter Bible
Published by Tommy Nelson

This is a sturdy board book with a plastic handle for little hands to carry. It has twenty Bible stories from the Creation account in the Old Testament up to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. Each Bible story is told in a short paragraph that is just right for little hearts to hear.

What I Like
I love introducing God’s Word to babies and toddlers. This board book is a great way to snuggle with your children or grandchildren and share stories of the Bible with them. I also think it’s important to teach little ones to take their Bible with them to church. Having the handle on this Bible makes it a wonderful choice. It’s just meant to go somewhere and church is a great place to take it!

Each story is short enough to hold the attention of toddlers, but not too short to miss the important lessons to learn. A great gift for Resurrection Sunday!

-Thanks, Book Look Blogger for another wonderful free book for my honest review!

I review for BookLook Bloggers

Posted by: nancyisanders | March 1, 2017

Submit in Faith


Isn’t this a beautiful scene? My husband Jeff and I recently took a walk at San Elijo State Beach here in southern CA and captured the sunset and the waves on film. What vibrant waters…what a glorious sun!

In my last post for FAITH BUILDING FRIDAYS, we looked at the Scripture, Ecclesiastes 11:1 about casting our bread upon the waters. (Just look again at those waters and know the “Son of God” is shining down on you.)

After posting that last devotion, I submitted one of my picture book manuscripts.

I want to encourage you to submit one of your children’s manuscripts, too. Don’t just let it sit there forgotten in your computer files. Polish it up and submit it.


Well, if you’re looking for an agent to submit it too, click here to check out this list I collect here on my blog.

And if you’re NOT looking for an agent right now, but want to submit directly to an editor, click here to check out this list of publishers who accept manuscripts directly from writers.

And then pop on over to a brand new interview of yours truly that is featured on the blog of children’s writer, Patricia Saunders.

CLICK HERE to read the interview.

CLICK HERE to click “like” or add a comment on Facebook! (And especially let me know if you decide to submit something!!!)


Posted by: nancyisanders | February 10, 2017

Faith Building Fridays: Cast

Cast your bread upon the waters,
for you will find it after many days.
-Ecclesiastes 11:1, NKJV

Submitting a manuscript is like casting our bread upon the waters. How often as a writer it is tempting to leave a finished manuscript in our file cabinet. Yet it is very important to submit it. Otherwise, how can God do anything with it? As we start this brand new year, let’s commit ourselves and our manuscripts into the Lord’s hands. Let’s submit our manuscripts on a regular basis until they find a home.

Dear God, thank You for Your promises. I stand upon Your Word today. I will cast my bread upon the waters. I will submit my manuscripts this year. You promise that I will find the good and just reward! Amen.


For more faith-building encouragement as a writer, visit my site, Scribes.

Scribes: Devotions for Christian Writers is available at Amazon. What a great gift of encouragement for you to have to start a brand new year as a writer!

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