Posted by: nancyisanders | August 2, 2022

Virtual Christian Writer’s Conference

(image courtesy of w2i newsletter)

Annette Whipple writes nonfiction for kids. Exciting. Fun. Engaging. Yep! It can be done. Nonfiction for kids doesn’t have to be boring or bleh. And Annette knows just how to do it.

CLICK HERE to read about Annette’s new adventure teaching an upcoming virtual Master Class at Write2Ignite.

Why am I sharing about all this? Because I’m so jazzed to announce the BIG, BIG day! (And it doesn’t have a big, big price tag, either!)

My writing friend Annette Whipple will be sharing her expertise on how to write nonfiction for kids. And she should know! She’s been going gangbusters with lots of nonfiction book contracts with a variety of children’s publishers.

And here’s more BIG, BIG news about this special virtual one-day event:

Editor Wiley Blevins of Reycraft Books will be visiting the Master Class to tell YOU how to submit your manuscript to HIM!

And editor Rache Pfeiffer of Clubhouse Jr. magazine will be there, too, to tell YOU what she’s looking for in nonfiction articles and how to submit to HER. (Can I tell you a secret? I write nonfiction for Clulbhouse Jr. and it’s one of the best ways for Kidlit writers to break into this coveted magazine!)

So CLICK HERE to hop on over to read more about Annette.

And CLICK HERE to learn more about the amazing virtual Master Class that is coming to your house on September 10.

And CLICK HERE to register today!

Posted by: nancyisanders | July 24, 2022

What Is a Good Book for a Baby Shower?

What is a good book for a baby shower?

That’s what my friends like to ask me!

And if you’re like me, you love it when new mommies get gifted books! At the shower for my friend’s first grandchild, they actually had a Red Flyer wagon (to gift to the new family) and it’s sole purpose was to load it up with baby books that they had requested us to bring! So adorable!!!

So I wanted to let you know about my newest book baby!

BEDTIME WITH DADDY will release September 6, 2022!

A companion to the award-winning board book, BEDTIME WITH MOMMY, this will be the perfect addition to gifts for the children in your life. Hugs, prayers, and lots of good-night snuggles make this book so precious for little ones to hold and have…both for Daddy and his own snugglebug!

I know so many of my friends have mentioned that they want to purchase multiples of BEDTIME WITH DADDY for baby showers and even early Christmas gift shopping, so if you’d like to join in the fun, you can pre-order your copies today!

During July, all pre-orders get a 40% discount at the publisher’s house at this link. CLICK HERE to take advantage of this amazing sale and stock up for the babies in your life!

Or if you prefer online shopping, CLICK HERE to pre-order your copies today on Amazon.

I wanted to give you a sneak peak into two of my favorite spreads in this book!

I love penguins. So of course, I had to put a penguin dad and his chick in the book, snuggling together in the snow. I mean, how precious it is that this animal dad cares for his baby for days and weeks at a time, protecting it against the harshest storms on the planet!

And I just love the art in this picture. This daddy’s keeping his baby safe from harm, that’s for sure! Plus, he’s rocking his little one in his arms. Sigh…I just can’t get enough of this illustration. Thank you, Felia Hanakata for such beautiful art in these books!

Thanks for your support of my books. Thanks for sharing the love of reading with the littles you love.

Posted by: nancyisanders | May 6, 2022

Hire a Writing Coach…Today!

I have an editor who is also my friend. Marianne Hering taught me the ropes on how to write chapter books for young readers when I worked with her on five books in the Imagination Station series for Focus on the Family. She’s the best!

Marianne also mentored me as my editor when we worked together on my early readers, One Sentence Storybooks, for Tyndale and Focus on the Family. She’s the best!

And today Marianne still edits and writes many books herself. And the exciting thing is that she also offers coaching services to other writers. Did I mention to you that she’s the best?!

CLICK HERE to learn more about Marianne and the services she offers as a writing coach.

Wondering if you should hire a writing coach to jumpstart your career? The answer is YES! Hire Marianne today!

Posted by: nancyisanders | April 12, 2022

Book Review: Howie’s Broken Hee-Haw

Every once in a while you come across a book that truly resonates with your heart that you know will become an important part of your faith journey.

That’s how it is with Howie’s Broken Hee-Haw by Josie Siler.

This isn’t just another book about Palm Sunday.

This isn’t just another holiday book for Easter.

This isn’t just another children’s retelling of Jesus riding a donkey into Jerusalem.

This is a tug-at-your heart that brings tears of joy to your eyes type of tale.

Howie, a little donkey, is frustrated and ashamed that he can’t bray like other donkeys his age. He tries and he practices but he just can’t get it out right. So when Jesus invites Howie to carry him into Jerusalem, Howie is sure there are other donkeys who can help better than he can.

But Jesus gently explains to Howie that he’s been created for a special purpose! To sing praises to Jesus!

Every child (and adult!) will be encouraged that we are each created for a purpose in God’s Kingdom, even in our brokenness. What a joy-filled message to share with our loved ones this Resurrection Day!

You’ll want to purchase multiples of this timeless treasure to gift to your littles this Easter.

This is author Josie Siler’s debut picture book and it’s a winner! Congratulations, Josie!

Posted by: nancyisanders | March 29, 2022

Exciting Picture Book Giveway!

I’m excited to invite you to post a comment on my friend’s blog for the chance to win a copy of my picture book, The Very Oldest Pear Tree!

Hop on over to Carol Baldwin’s delightful blog today. CLICK HERE to join in the fun!

And while you’re visiting, be sure to sign up to get all of Carol’s blog posts in your email. She interviews amazing new (and sometimes classic) children’s books and most always offers a giveaway! (Plus, with the delightful interviews she features, it’s a great way to get connected with other children’s authors.) Stay in the know in our KidLit community.

But be sure to hurry! The giveaway ends April 1 and that’s no joke!

Posted by: nancyisanders | March 3, 2022

Master Class for Christian KidLit Writers

I’ve got some exciting news for children’s writers! My dear friend, Karen Whiting is teaching an online Master Class on how to write devotions for kids, teens, families and adults! Devotions are hot. Devotions are in. Devotions are one of the best kept secrets of how YOU can break into the world of getting published in the Christian market.

So mark your calendars for Saturday, April 23, 2022! And CLICK HERE to learn more about this event and how to register. It’s just $69 and that’s an investment in your writing career you’ll be glad you take.

Oh, did I mention that not just one, but TWO, (yes 2!) editors will be also popping in to tell you how you can submit to them!

Marianne Hering, editor at Focus on the Family who acquires parenting articles and tips and hacks, will be sharing what she’s looking for…and then inviting you to submit to her paying market!

And Michelle Medlock Adams will be talking with us to let us know all about her brand new children’s imprint with End Game Press. She’ll be sharing tips on how to submit your children’s book to her!

So join me and the other wonderful Christian children’s writers at Write2Ignite! This April.

And if you haven’t ever plugged into this amazing community of KidLit writers who have a heart for God, hop on over to our website and get plugged in!

CLICK HERE to follow our blog and stay in the know with all things Christian and all things KidLit from board books to young adult. (To get our blog delivered directly into your inbox, just scroll down along the right hand side of the blog page until you see the information where you can sign up.)

CLICK HERE to sign up and receive our monthly newsletter where you’ll learn more about our private critique groups and facebook group and picture book critique services (and more!) that make us a community you’ll want to be part of.

Bunny Fact  #1:  My own confusion as a child about the real meaning of Easter inspired me to write BUNNY FINDS EASTER.  

As a little one I loved dying Easter eggs and hunting for jelly beans, but I didn’t make the connection that Easter is when we celebrate Jesus’s resurrection until I was in grade school. So with my own children, I made extra sure to connect all the wonderful traditions of Easter to the real meaning of the holiday. For example, while nibbling jelly beans with my little ones, we’d ponder how they were good, just like God, who in His goodness, sent us Jesus. Or, while marveling over the first buds of spring, I’d connect that to our new life in Christ. These conversations eventually became the spark that got me writing this story.

Bunny Fact  #2:  BUNNY FINDS EASTER was written to be a board book from the beginning. 

Since I wanted my story to serve as a faith spark for littlest ones and was also keen to try my hand at a board book, I mapped the story out with that format in mind from the get-go. That meant fewer spreads (10 or so instead of 14) and very short text so that the words wouldn’t crowd the pages and would also allow the illustrations to tell part of the story. To help me get this just right, I read lots and lots of board books. (Special note: This is a must if you are interested in pursuing this format.)

Bunny Fact  #3:  I chose to write BUNNY FINDS EASTER in rhyme because it fit the feel of the story and Bunny’s personality.

After playing around with prose versus verse, I decided to tell the story using short bouncy rhyme because I thought it captured Bunny’s bouncy personality. Rhyme also resonates with youngest readers. (Special note: Choosing to write a story in rhyme is a tricky proposition. My opinion is that it should only be tried if you can execute it flawlessly in terms of both rhyme and meter, and if the rhyme makes sense for the story.)

Bunny Fact  #4:  I originally envisioned lift-the-flaps, but simplicity (and probably production costs) prevailed.

Since my hope from the beginning was that BUNNY FINDS EASTER could be used as the sweet spark for conversation with littlest ones about the real meaning of Easter, I thought I would help parents navigate that by including short explanations on each spread explaining how each moment depicted points to Easter in some way. For example, on the spread with the hot cross buns, there was an added phrase: “Is this Easter?”  And in then in a sidebar (or potentially under a flap) were the words: “No, but the cross shape reminds us of Easter.”

In the end, my editor and I agreed that those mini-explanations broke up the flow of the story. Still, it is my hope that families reading the book with their little ones will use the sweet illustrations and text as a spark for conversation about how all those items and traditions can remind us of Jesus: the real gift of Easter.

Bunny Fact  #5:  My prayer from the beginning has been that the book will serve as a fun conversation starter about Easter and JESUS!

Do you pray over your written projects for God’s wisdom and blessing, asking that the words you pen would be pleasing to Him?  I do. And because I do, my writing, in a sense, becomes a way giving my time and talents (which He has so generously given to me) back to Him.  And I am so excited, now that it is out, to see how God will use BUNNY FINDS EASTER.

BUNNY FUN

For a very meaningful (and fun!) activity, host a special book walk! You can do this with your own children, in your neighborhood, at your local Christian school, or with your children’s ministry at your church! Just click on the link below to download and print instructions for hosting your very own book walk with kids this year and celebrating Laura’s newest board book, BUNNY FINDS EASTER!

BIO:  Laura Sassi has a passion for telling stories in prose and rhyme. She is the author of six books for children including the best-selling Goodnight, Ark, which was a 2015 Christian Book Award Finalist; Goodnight, MangerDiva Delores and the Opera House Mouse, which won First Honor Book for the 2019 Best in Rhyme Award and is a 2021-2022 Iowa Goldfinch Award Nominee; Love Is Kind, which was a 2020 Anna Dewdney Read Together Award Honor Book; Little Ewe: The Story of One Lost Sheep and Bunny Finds Easter, her new board book with Zonderkidz! 

Laura Sassi, Author
Posted by: nancyisanders | January 17, 2022

Bedtime E-book and Memory Maker!

For Christmas we like to exchange Christmas cards and small gifts with our neighbors. We live on a cul-de-sac and the community mailbox is in our front yard, so every day each one of the 12 families who live on our street come to visit our mailbox. If we’re outside doing yardwork or working in the garage, they often stop and say hi and chat for a moment.

So this Christmas as our gift to the families with little children on our street or with grandchildren who come to visit, we gave them each a gift of my newest book, the bedtime board book, Bedtime with Mommy.

It was such a joy to my heart, then, to chat with one of our neighbors last week and she told me that her one-year-old’s favorite book is now Bedtime with Mommy! She said that every night they HAVE to read it together with him when they put him to bed. And they can’t skip a word or he knows.

My other neighbor stopped to get her mail a few days earlier and said she bought a second copy of Bedtime with Mommy to give to her second grandbaby who was born this year (after getting our Christmas gift of the first copy). She asked me to autograph it to him personally, so I did. Fortunately, her grandbabies live close by.

I know that so many of us grandparents have grandchildren who live far away, so I’m excited to share that my book Bedtime with Mommy is available in e-book format on a new storytelling platform, Make Momentos. With Make Momentos, adults can record their own audio narration of a children’s e-book and send it to a special child in their life. The best part is, the gift is a permanent keepsake that can be passed down to future generations. So even for mommies and grandmamas whose snugglebumpkin is close by, you can even create a keepsake for your special little ones.

I was invited to write a guest blog post for Make Momentos this month on creating meaningful bedtime routines. Click here to read it.

Posted by: nancyisanders | December 13, 2021

Merry Christmas Gift for You!

Merry Christmas from me to you!

This year I have an exciting gift for you, a beautiful new ezine, The Heart of Christmas. I want to thank you personally for following me here on my blog as a fellow KidLit writer.

Inspirational. (Because you inspire me in so many ways.) Poignant. (Because life is full of poignant and meaningful moments.) Full of hope and good cheer. (Because you do so many things throughout the year to bring hope and cheer to my heart, too!)

Click below to download this free gift from me to you!

And thank you to the amazing women who put this beautiful Christmas Ezine together and the wonderful writers who gifted their talents to this project! Ruth Schmeckpeper and Elizabeth Daghfal, the editors and creators behind this project. And authors Marlene Houk, Stephanie Smith, Kathi Bloy, Chris Stratton, Beth Ann Ziarnik, Susan Marlene, Kris Orkin, Marilyn Nutter, Krisann Blair, and Lori Z. Scott.

And while you’re enjoying this cozy Christmas read, here’s my brand-new favorite Christmas song this year. CLICK HERE to enjoy Glory Hallelujah! by Selah.

Merry Christmas!

#HeartofChristmas #amtrustingHim

Posted by: nancyisanders | November 26, 2021

PERFECT CHRISTMAS GIFT!

https://www.endgamepress.com/store/p/bedtimewithmommy

I’ve got great news for you today! Yes, my publisher is having a Black Friday sale today through Monday with 30% off!

BEDTIME WITH MOMMY is the perfect gift for giving this year, especially if you love to give gifts to your local ministries. Toys with Tots, Sanctity of Life volunteers, Shoebox ministries, and more! This year be intentional and gift little ones a gift that helps build a strong foundation of faith from babies and up.

BEDTIME WITH MOMMY is a sweet adorable padded board book, just perfect for bedtime reading. But it’s so much more that that. It teaches young mommies to pray with their little ones. To sing hymns and songs of worship together. To read a Psalm and find comfort and hope. To snuggle and pray a blessing over their child.

I know so many of you have told me you want to use this book to give to your children or grandchildren or local ministries this year.

Now is a good time to purchase multiples…and my publisher is offering a Black Friday sale to help!

CLICK HERE to purchase Bedtime with Mommy directly from the publisher.

Posted by: nancyisanders | November 22, 2021

Author Interview: Kelly Wilson Mize

Meet Author Kelly Wilson Mize!

Follow her and connect with another fellow Christian KidLit author on social media today!

Website: Kelly Wilson Mize

Instagram: kelly_wilson_mize

Twitter: @kellywilsonmize

Facebook: @kellywilsonmize

FEATURED BOOK

The Beautiful Story Within Me

by Kelly Wilson Mize

Art by Mark Brayer

Support your local bookstore and order it in. Or order it online at:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

The Beautiful Story Within Me is a lyrical tale of love and redemption. Bringing the classic adage, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” to life with a surprising twist, the vibrantly illustrated book, rooted in simple Biblical truth, is an enchanting adventure for both children and adults.

INTERVIEW

Q: Please tell us the story behind the story of why you wrote this book.

A: A few years ago, when I was an elementary librarian, I started thinking about all the books on the library shelves that were never or rarely checked out. Sadly, most of those books were overlooked because their covers were old and worn out. Many of the tattered books were full of wonderful stories and ideas, but were literally being ‘judged by their covers.’ I often spent time repairing the worn books the best I could, so that more children could enjoy them. But books age, just like we do. Does that make their content diminish? I started comparing the characteristics of people–all of us loved and treasured by Jesus–to books on a library shelf.

The age-old advice, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” is not only wise, but it’s also Biblical. I wanted to write a book that took the old adage and brought it to life in a way that was uplifting–one that I hoped would be encouraging for people of all ages.

Note: The gray cat in the book is a tribute to our family cat, Chester, who lived to be 15. Chester grew up along with my children and died not long before I finished The Beautiful Story Within Me. Since my library students always loved to hear storiesabout animals in the library, I wanted to make sure there was a cat in my story. And I knew the perfect model! I also gave my illustrator photos of my children when they were young, and he drew two of the kids in the crowd scene to resemble them.

Q: Can you share the journey you took to get this book published?

A: I have been a freelance writer for the past 20 years. Before this book, I had a lot of relative “success” doing contract work for publishers. On paper, I had a ton of writing experience, but still had not ever written a full-length, stand-alone piece that was completely mine. So, a couple of years ago, I took the plunge. I consulted with a writing acquaintance who had recently self-published two picture books. I asked her lots of questions about the publisher she worked with to create her books, and ultimately chose the same independent publishing company she used (Palmetto). And here I am! It’s been a moment-by-moment learning experience for me, and I am thankful to have had the opportunity to have my own book published–and available to readers all over the world. All in God’s time. 

Q: What other kinds of writing do you do along with your picture book?

A: I’ve written a variety of material for both children and adults, online and in print. Over the years, I’ve written articles, devotionals (for kids and adults), and children’s curriculum for Lifeway Christian Resources on a regular basis. Several years ago, I interviewed a number of well-known people in the faith-based community for Lifeway’s ParentLife magazine. My most memorable interviews were with Patricia Heaton (from Everybody Loves Raymond) and Max Lucado. I will always treasure those experiences and feel so grateful for the opportunities I’ve been blessed with.

When my children were small, I also wrote a weekly community column in a newspaper for a while (remember actual paper newspapers?!). 

I still write devotionals, short stories for compilation books, and curriculum whenever I can. I feel like writing, with the purpose of encouraging others (and myself!), is a God-given mission. I am always open to new writing/speaking experiences and look forward to seeing what God has in store for me next.

Q: Do you have a word or two of advice for your fellow KidLit authors?

A: Work hard, pray hard, and learn as much as you can from experts in the field. But also–try not to compare your success to the success of other writers. We all have our own gifts and each person’s journey is unique.

If you love to write and feel called to it–make time to write! But don’t let writing become your entire identity. If you do, the inevitable rejection and setbacks will discourage you and affect your confidence in a way that is unhealthy. Remember, you are a whole person, with great worth and many talents, not just writing!

NOTE FROM NANCY

Not too long ago, I connected with Kelly because we both recently joined an amazing network of Christian writers at just about the same time, AWSA, the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. When I learned about Kelly’s book and we began networking together, I fell in love with this beautiful picture book she has written. It moved me in such a powerful way I bought 4 copies to give as Christmas gifts this year! First of all, I encourage you to read Kelly’s book. You’ll see how powerful of a message it has for us as writers and for every child of God. Secondly, I encourage you to join AWSA and take advantage of this amazing community of Christian writers. Don’t go into the new year alone!

Thank you, Kelly, for sharing your amazing story behind this anointed book here for my blog readers.

Posted by: nancyisanders | November 15, 2021

GUEST POST by Karen Cioffi: Top Tips for a KidLit Ghostwriter

Today I want to welcome my KidLit friend, Karen Cioffi, here to my blog. Karen earns a living as a ghostwriter for children’s manuscripts. Today she’s here to share her wisdom and experience with us. Welcome, Karen!

Being a Children’s Ghostwriter

In case you’re wondering, as I now and then get asked how I got into the business of ghostwriting children’s stories, it started with editing for authors.

I edited everything from children’s books to business articles to articles for medical journals.

The majority of my clients were children’s authors, and much of the work they gave me was in such poor condition, I ended up rewriting the stories, some almost to the point of ghostwriting.

It just seemed to evolve from there.

Now, let’s go over some of the basics of being a children’s ghostwriter.

What is a ghostwriter?

A ghostwriter is a writer for hire. She’ll take your idea, notes, outline, or other information and write a story for you. And, ghostwriters write in every genre you can think of: fiction, nonfiction, memoirs, screenplays, video, TV scripts, technical, medical, speeches, music, and so on.

The ghostwriter offers a nondisclosure agreement and freelance agreement. And, she usually doesn’t get any recognition for her work. Although, there are instances where the ghostwriter and client agree to other terms.

Two other terms that may arise between a ghostwriter and client:

The ghostwriter has her name on the book as co-author for a reduced fee.

The ghostwriter gets a percentage of the sales, again for a reduced fee.

It’s never a good idea to accept either of these terms unless you absolutely know the book will be successful or the author is famous.

Who hires a children’s ghostwriter?

The answer to this question always amazes me.

There are people from around the world who want to be author of a children’s book, but don’t have the skills or time to do it themselves.

I’ve worked with clients from Italy, the United Kingdom, Scotland, Norway, Saipan, Jordon, Dubai, and all over the United States, even Hawaii. And, I’m sure I’m forgetting some countries.

It seems most often it’s parents or grandparents who develop a desire to be an author of a children’s book. Usually, they want to have a story created about their children or grandchildren, or they want to impart some wisdom to children.

I’ve also worked with child therapists and child psychologists who use children’s books as a tool to help children. And, then there are the business people who see a children’s book as part of a marketing strategy for the industry they’re in or as an addition to a product they already have.

In addition to this, I’ve worked with clients who wanted a series of children’s books to use as the foundation of a new business.

I’ve even ghostwritten for a dentist.

What skills does a children’s ghostwriter need?

1. Being a skilled writer.

While a number of authors who self-publish ‘wing’ their books into publication, you can’t do this when someone is paying you to write a professional story.

Aside from knowing how to write, it’s essential to know the rules of writing for children. The ghostwriter needs to know what the current industry guidelines are.

2. Knowing how to listen.

Listening carefully to the client is a must. The ghostwriter needs to take simple things like an idea given over the phone or in an email, notes, or a basic outline and create an engaging and publishable book.

Along with this, the writer needs to ensure the book reflects the client’s voice and vision. Listening is an essential factor in doing this.

3. Being patient.

It may seem unusual, but a ghostwriter needs to be patient.

I’ve had a couple of clients who approved a final story, then came back in a week or two and decided they wanted revisions.

I had a middle-grade client who kept putting multiple point of views within one chapter. I’d edit it, and he’d change it.

I had another client who pretty much kept ignoring my advice as I rewrote his young adult novel.

It’s important to be patient and tactful while explaining over and over why something doesn’t work. The reason to keep after the client is that it’s the ghostwriter’s job to make sure the final product is professional.

4. Being organized and focused.

I usually handle more than one project at a time. In one instance, I worked on eight projects simultaneously.

If you’re dealing with multiple clients, you need to be able to switch stories and sometimes genres without losing a beat. This takes focus… and flexibility.

For organization, I use a Word and excel file for each client. I keep track of every email and every phone call.

As the writer, you need to keep things moving smoothly and keep your clients satisfied and in-the-loop throughout each project.

5. Having the ability to follow through, and be on time.

As with any writing project, you’ve got to complete it and come in on time.

In the terms of the agreement, there is a time period for the project to be complete. The ghostwriter must meet the deadline.

Above all else, a ghostwriter wants to make sure her client is thrilled with the final product.

What’s the motivation?

I can’t speak for all children’s ghostwriters, but for me, I love writing for children. It’s very satisfying to teach children, engage them, amaze them, bring them on adventures, and stretch their imaginations. And, I love helping others fulfill a desire they have to see their children’s story ideas come to life.

Karen Cioffi is an award-winning children’s author and working children’s ghostwriter. She is also founder and editor-in-chief of Writers on the Move and an author online platform instructor with WOW! Women on Writing. For writing tips and to learn more about Karen, her books, and her services, CLICK HERE to visit her website.

Thank you, Karen, for giving us an insider’s peek to this little-known opportunity for KidLit writers!

Posted by: nancyisanders | November 6, 2021

KidLit Career Building: Get Published Step 2

Image by Larisa Koshkina from Pixabay

Yes, I like to get published regularly every year. In between working on my book deadlines I’m writing for the goal of earning income and other book manuscripts I’m writing for the goal of personal fulfillment.

To get published on a steady basis, I have certain magazines and periodicals I like to write and submit to every year. Plus, I’m always on the lookout for new opportunities as well.

HACK TO GET PUBLISHED

Here’s a hack I use to practically guarantee continuously seeing my name in print several times each year:

Whether I submit a query or a completed manuscript to my target publication, I always include 3-5 pitches for potential manuscripts I feel will fit in well with that publication. The exciting news? Even if my completed manuscript isn’t quite a good fit for them, they most always pick one or more of my pitches and ask me to submit a potential manuscript based on that.

And what usually happens next? After I write and submit my manuscript to them, because they initially asked for this, they usually buy it, even if they ask me to edit it before the final approval.

If I’m submitting a completed manuscript to them, I include these 3-5 pitches in the cover letter of that manuscript.

If I’m just sending them an email query, I include those 3-5 pitches in the query letter.

HOW TO PITCH FOR POTENTIAL PUBLICATION

Basically, I pick a catchy working title for my idea.

Then I write a 3-5 sentence paragraph about that idea.

Then I list 3-5 of these ideas in my letter to the editor.

THE REWARDS OF GETTING PUBLISHED REGULARLY

As I’ve mentioned before, getting published and seeing our name in print is essential as a writer. Working regularly with editors and meeting deadlines and targeting publisher’s needs are skills we constantly need to hone in this career. By writing for magazines and online publications regularly throughout each year, we build confidence and experience as a writer while we’re waiting for our book contracts to come through.

TAKE ACTION STEP:

If you aren’t getting published regularly every year as a KidLit writer, plan to write and submit to an editor this month. And throughout the year ahead. The benefits are too many to count! You can submit to the publisher of your choice. Need ideas? Here are some publishers in the Christian market that currently NEED submissions. (That’s right…they are LOOKING for writers to submit!):

Crosswalk: This online publication needs Christian writers to submit articles on parenting, faith, and more! If you’re a Christian KidLit writer, this is a great place to build credentials on the topic your published books feature. It’s also a great platform to include a byline of your published books as these articles have the potential to get a huge circulation. And if you’re not yet published, it’s a great place to build a platform for that manuscript you’re trying to sell to a book editor. CLICK HERE for their submission guidelines.

Christian Devotions: Like to write for teens and young adults? This is a great ministry to write for. They need devotions to impact our world for Christ. (Did I mention that devotions for kids are hot manuscripts right now for book publishers?) Learn how to write devos by getting published here! Build your resume by getting published here! Reach hearts for Jesus by getting published here! CLICK HERE for their submission guidelines.

Focus on the Family Clubhouse: I love writing for this magazine. Not only are they great to work with and their magazine is super professional, they reach tons of kids for Christ. HOT TIP: The best way to experience breakthrough with this magazine is to submit a nonfiction piece to them. We’re talking quizzes, activities, and crafts. Then after they accept your breakthrough manuscript, you can pitch ideas for their other features, too. Just remember to include your pitches when you submit! CLICK HERE for their submission guidelines.

ACCOUNTABILITY STEP:

Tell us in a comment below where you are going to submit. (If it’s confidential, just give us a general idea.)

BREAKTHROUGH STEP:

If you read this post and have already decided not to do the TAKE ACTION STEP, tell us in a comment below why you made this choice. Maybe we can help you overcome your writer’s block in this area so you can experience breakthrough as a published author.

Posted by: nancyisanders | October 31, 2021

KidLit Career Building: Get Published Step 1

Hey…owls are supposed to be wise, right? So let’s look at this bit of wisdom regarding your KidLit career…

When was the last time you got something published?

I’m not talking self-published. I’m not talking like here on a blog. I’m not talking for a writer’s group website that you post for.

I’m talking published with a publisher and working with an editor and having word counts and submission guidelines and perhaps even contracts to sign or checks to get in the mail.

When was the last time you did this?

My heart aches for my talented and gifted author friends who haven’t had anything published through the hands of a bona fide editor in the past year…two years…three years…perhaps even never.

So I’ve decided to start a new series here on my blog. I’m going to share steps I’ve taken, actually taken, to build a successful KidLit writing career. And I’m encouraging you to do the same.

The first step I took when I got started was to get published.

Yep. Right away before I even really knew what a chapter book was or a picture book dummy looked like, I started getting published. I wrote editor interviews for a Christian writer’s magazine. Pretty much every month for a number of years. I cannot tell you how this boosted my self-esteem as a writer! No, I didn’t get paid for it at first. But the experience I gained working for deadlines and word counts and submission guidelines was worth every penny I didn’t cash in at the bank.

I also started writing book reviews for a magazine for church librarians, too. Again, it was for the goal of getting published. My name was in print! I got assignments from an editor! I learned how to write and polish a manuscript for submission!

I didn’t do this for the goal of earning income. (I’ll tell you hacks on how to do that in future posts in this series.) I didn’t do this for personal fulfillment so that I was writing about my heart’s desire. (I’ll tell you hacks on how to do this, too, in future posts.)

I was writing for these editors for one key goal: The goal to get published.

And guess what?! I still write for this goal. I still get published 3-5 times every year with this kind of publisher. I see my name in print. Yippee! I share my published stories and the cute art that comes with them with my grandkids. Hooray! And I feel validated as a writer, even through dry spells when book contracts seem few and far between.

TAKE ACTION STEP:

If you aren’t getting published regularly every year as a KidLit writer, plan to write and submit to an editor this month. And throughout the year ahead. The benefits are too many to count! You can submit to the publisher of your choice. Need ideas? Here are some publishers in the Christian market that currently NEED submissions. (That’s right…they are LOOKING for writers to submit!):

Keys for Kids: This ministry needs stories and articles and devotions for their quarterly print booklet AND their daily online ministry. (That’s a lot of opportunities to get published!) They even offer a small payment. (HOT TIP here: Christian book publishers for kids are publishing lots of children’s devotions right now in book format so this is a great opportunity to build your resume in this genre.) CLICK HERE for their submission guidelines.

Nature Friend: This monthly print magazine buys 40-50 manuscripts each year! They offer a small payment. There’s a variety of genres they need such as crafts, experiments, fiction, and even photo features. (HOT TIP here: Book publishers are looking for craft and experiment books right now so this is a great training ground for that type of experience. Just sayin!) CLICK HERE for their submission guidelines.

Primary Treasure: This take-home paper (and the other take-home papers by this publisher for different ages) is published EVERY WEEK. That’s a lot of opportunity for writers! (HOT TIP here: They prefer true stories and nonfiction is a winning market for writers these days!) They offer a small payment and purchase 104 manuscripts every year. CLICK HERE for their submission guidelines.

ACCOUNTABILITY STEP:

Tell us in a comment below where you are going to submit. (If it’s confidential, just give us a general idea.)

BREAKTHROUGH STEP:

If you read this post and have already decided not to do the TAKE ACTION STEP, tell us in a comment below why you made this choice. Maybe we can help you overcome your writer’s block in this area so you can experience breakthrough as a published author.

Posted by: nancyisanders | October 26, 2021

The Perfect Metaphor for Writing

Writing is like a charcuterie and cheese board.

Say what?!

For years I believed that writing was like baking a cake.

I mean, this metaphor is everywhere. Writing is like adding all the ingredients into a bowl, mixing the right amounts together, and then popping it in the oven and hoping it comes out perfect.

Right?

WRONG!!!!!!

Maybe it’s because I’ve had too many cakes come out of the oven burned on the bottom. Or sunk in the middle. Or tasteless and nobody wants to read, I mean, eat it. I’ve been so STRESSED as I wait for them to bake in the oven, feeling like I can’t do ANYTHING to fix them after this point.

I’d write my story, think I had gotten it mixed together to perfection. But then, I was so stressed out. What if in the end it wasn’t perfect?

Now I’ve found a better metaphor for us as writers. Writing is like a charcuterie and cheese board.

The first draft is like when you arrange all those yummy bits of meat and cheese and olives and pickles and crackers and crusty artisan bread on the board.

Whew! The first draft is finished.

But now I have FREEDOM! If I want to add baby carrots, I can. If I want to add slices of cheddar cheese next to the Swiss cheese, I can. If I want to take away the crackers and replace it with artisan bread, I can. In fact, if I want to take off the slices of meat from the right side of the board and rearrange them on the left side, I can!!!! If a guest arrives with tasty olives and pickles, I can add that on the board, too. I can keep rearranging and tweaking and improving that board up until it’s time to eat.

That’s how it is with writing.

I can write my first draft. And then the fun begins of tweaking and changing and throwing out stuff and adding in better stuff. And then the editor sees it and want to put in her valuable input. And in the case of a picture book (as has happened to me) the illustrator sees it and wants to throw out one page and add in a completely different topic because it’s a topic he’s always wanted to illustrate…so we do.

With this metaphor in mind, I’m not as anxious anymore about the manuscripts I write. They are a continual work in progress and team effort until we get them ready to send to the printers and out to our beloved readers to enjoy.

Okay, at that point I have to admit, a book’s launch day and release day can be stressful, lol. But that’s a different metaphor for a different day!

For now, as you write your manuscript, relax. Have fun! Writing is like a charcuterie and cheese board!

(Image by matticasco from Pixabay)

Posted by: nancyisanders | September 28, 2021

Calling Christian Children’s Writers: Fun Fall Follow Fests

It’s Fall! It’s Fun! It’s time for Fun Fall Follow Fests!

Friends, I have two blogs I contribute to that I would like to invite you to follow.

The first blog is for Christian Children’s Authors. We’re a group of Christian writers who write for children. Our blog is a great resource for you as a writer. We feature book reviews of the newest and best Christian books being released on the market so you stay in the know.

CLICK HERE to learn more and choose to subscribe to you don’t miss out on a single post!

But this blog is also a super great resource for you as a parent, grandparent, Sunday school teacher, children’s ministry worker, homeschooling family, Christian educator or librarian. It’s chock full of posts with reviews of classic and vintage books as well, plus oodles of suggested books written from a biblical worldview. And there’s more! So many activities and resources to engage with kids in your life and ministry.

CLICK HERE to visit our site and subscribe by e-mail!

WRITE 2 IGNITE

Plus, I’m excited to announce I just joined as a new blogger for the amazing site for Christian writers, WRITE 2 IGNITE!

On this blog you’ll find so many helpful tips and resources for you life as a Christian who writes. You’ll get the inside scoop on how to navigate through today’s tough industry so you can experience success. You’ll learn about tools of the trade and more!

And one of the best things of all, you’ll keep in the know about the two Masterclasses Write 2 Ignite hosts online each year. The cost is reasonable. The online resource is valuable. The networking with other writers is essential. It’s available on Zoom so you don’t even have to buy a plane ticket. They have some pretty exciting speakers lining up for 2022!!!!

CLICK HERE to read an introduction to welcome me to their blogging team. And when you visit their site, be sure to subscribe to get all their amazing posts for writers!

Posted by: nancyisanders | September 23, 2021

Author Interview: Janie Reinart

E-mail: janiereinart@gmail.com

Blog: https://www.janiereinart.com/blog/

Web site:  www.janiereinart.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/smile73777

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/janiereinart/

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/janiereinart/

With her words, Janie Reinart makes something from nothing. From paper and pencil to page turns, she crafts stories celebrating the creativity and playfulness of children. Janie encourages readers to use their imagination, find their voice, share their stories, and believe in their dreams. She lives in Ohio with her darling husband and delights in playing with their 16 grandchildren. 

Featured Book: When Water Makes Mud: A Story of Refugee Children 

Written by Janie Reinart and illustrated by Morgan Taylor.

When war forces two sisters to flee their home in South Sudan with nothing but the clothes they are wearing, Big Sister strives to help Little Sister smile again at the refugee settlement. But as quickly as Little Sister’s smile appears, it disappears…that is, until water makes mud. In the end, Big Sister’s artistry and kindness brings hope to their situation. This title is a tribute to the resourcefulness of children who have no toys but continue to play and is dedicated to the 200,000 refugee children living at the Bidibidi settlement in Uganda.

All publisher profits from this title will be donated to UNICEF Uganda.

Free downloadable resources at www.janiereinart.com under BOOKS tab.

Watch the book trailer here.

Interview: Author questions

Thank you so much Nancy for the interview. I am a big fan of yours. It was my pleasure to meet you several years ago at a retreat. Thank you for being such a positive light in this world!

Question: Describe a highlight for you personally while you were writing this book.

The stunning photography in a National Geographic story started my picture book, When Water Makes Mud: A Story of Refugee Children. I noticed the photographer, Nora Lorek was on Instagram. I gathered my courage and sent her a private message.  Nora was so kind and generous. She sent me her email address and became my inspiration and resource. In addition to connecting with Nora, (she lives in Sweden) having the very picture of hers that started the story for me in the back matter of the book was definitely a highlight.

Question: Describe the journey you’ve taken as a writer.

I’ve worn many hats on this journey. A hat that set my path was the black and white broad brimmed one I wore portraying Eliza Doolittle in my high school senior class play. I was very shy and quiet. My high school English and speech teacher, Mr. David Shaner, changed my life and inspired me. In his class, I began to write and present speeches and perform on stage.  I wanted to be like Mr. Shaner. Because of him, I got my degree in education, speech, and theater so that I could give students confidence to find their voice and tell their stories. Other hats include:

  • a funny hat writing skits to be performed at a children’s hospitals as part of a gentle clowning ministry
  • full body costumes and hats sharing original tales in schools as an interactive musical storyteller
  • a poet’s beret as a poet in residence at an inner-city school to help children find their voice through free verse poetry
  • best of all, an author’s hat to play with words and write books for children

Q: What is one word of advice you received as a writer that you would like to share with others?

I can’t do one word. Only you can write your story! Write what you are passionate about and make that heart-to-heart writer/reader connection.

Q: Share one goal you have as a children’s writer and the steps you are taking to achieve it.

My next goal is learning to write a graphic novel. I am taking several webinars and reading lots of middle grade graphic novels.

Thank you, Janie, for being here on my blog! Best wishes with your new book and future projects!

Posted by: nancyisanders | September 14, 2021

Guest Post with Rebecca Hirsch

I’m so delighted to introduce you to my writing friend and amazing nonfiction children’s author, Rebecca E. Hirsch. Today Rebecca is posting a guest post here on my blog where she shares some of the story behind her success of her brand new beautiful and amazing picture book, Night Creatures. Meet Rebecca!!!!

GUEST POST with REBECCA HIRSCH!

Website: rebeccahirsch.com

Instagram: @rebeccaehirsch

Twitter: @rebeccaehirsch

Bio:

Rebecca E. Hirsch loves connecting children to nature and scientific discovery. She has written more than eighty nonfiction books for young readers, including Plants Can’t Sit Still, Night Creatures, and the forthcoming The Tallest Trees. Rebecca lives with her family in the mountains of central Pennsylvania. You can learn more at http://www.rebeccahirsch.com

Featured book:

Night Creatures: Animals That Swoop, Crawl, and Creep while You Sleep

As the sun sets, night creatures awaken. In their rural backyard, a parent and child camp out, watching as fireflies flicker, bats flap, and rabbits race. Atmospheric illustrations bring the nocturnal world to life in this lyrical and informative picture book.

GUEST BLOG POST

I’ve been following Nancy’s advice for writers for years, ever since I was a beginner and trying to figure out how to build a career as a children’s writer. Her advice is not only warm and wise, it also works! I’d like to share one way her excellent advice has worked for me.

Nancy advocates an approach she calls The Triple Crown of Success. In a nutshell, The Triple Crown of Success means using different strategies to achieve different goals in your writing. So, you might pursue one writing project to earn publication credits, another to earn income, and a third because you are passionate about it.

My new book Night Creatures: Animals That Swoop, Crawl, and Creep while You Sleep (illustrated by the fabulous Sonia Possentini) was a passion project. It would never have happened if I hadn’t been following The Triple Crown of Success. Nancy had taught me to make time for the projects that feed my writer’s soul. For me, those are nature-themed picture books. Night Creatures was inspired both by my childhood growing up in the Pennsylvania countryside and also by a nature camp my children attended.

Although I am usually juggling multiple writing projects to earn a living, I always try to carve out time to write picture books. It isn’t always easy to fit them in, but I keep at it. Night Creatures is my second published picture book (after Plants Can’t Sit Still.) And a third picture book, on the world’s tallest trees, is under contract!

If you want to achieve your own writing success, I recommend you curl up with a copy of Nancy’s book, Yes! You Can Learn How To Write Children’s Books, Get Them Published, and Build a Successful Writing Career. You’ll find loads about The Triple Crown of Success and other practical strategies that will help you build your own writing career.

Thanks for having me, Nancy! And thanks for years and years of wonderful advice!

Rebecca, it is such a joy to have you join me here on my blog. And I am so touched to hear of your success story and know that we’ve shared so much of our journeys as part of a writing community. Thanks for sharing some of the story behind the story. Best wishes on your brand new book and Happy Book Birthday!!!!

Posted by: nancyisanders | September 7, 2021

Writing Is Community

Recently, I was blessed to attend the Christian Product Expo in St. Louis, Missouri.

Wow…it’s been quite a while since I met with fellow authors and friends in the publishing industry. 2020 was a quiet year.

It was so fun to gather together again.

There were dinners, and awards, and book signings, and friends, and so many “God-moments.”

And did I mention friends?

One of my writing friends, Crystal Bowman, made a comment there that has really stuck with me. She mentioned that many people mistakenly think that as writers, we compete against each other. Instead, Crystal said, writers are a community.

I heartily agree!

Instead of competing against each other, we’re a community of dedicated scribes, encouraging each other, helping each other promote our books, lending a helping hand and heart to one another in any area or need that arises, and cheering each other on along our journey.

Thank you to each one of you who are part of my writing community!

You certainly add joy to my journey.

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

Posted by: nancyisanders | August 28, 2021

Finding Joy as a Writer

Would you like to find joy joy on your journey as a writer?

Click here to hop on over to to my friend’s blog where I did a guest post on 5 Ways to Find Joy on your journey.

Be sure to comment on Josie Siler’s blog and say hi!

And while you’re there, you can sign up for her newsletter where you’ll get lots of inspiration as a writer.

Thank you, Josie for the wonderful opportunity to join you today!

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