Posted by: nancyisanders | February 21, 2023


Whether you’ve been in the publishing industry for years or are just starting out as a newbie, you’ve probably already realized that titles are important. Choosing a great book title catches an editor’s eye. A book title with pizzazz grabs the attention of social media. Choosing a book’s winning title can make the difference in sales.

With over 100 books published by houses big and small, I’ve gone through my share of title angst. From brainstorming a title, to submitting my manuscript, to waiting for the decision of the editorial team on choosing the final book title, the process your book goes through to choose its official name can be very daunting.

I’m happy to say that many of the titles I submitted on my manuscripts actually made it to the published book. But many others didn’t. That’s okay. I’ve learned that publishing a book or a magazine article is a team effort and the marketing team (who often holds a powerful influence on the final title decision) has cutting edge experience in today’s competitive market that I rely on.


Brainstorming sessions are always a win-win for writers. They come in handy when choosing a title, too. (If you’re a picture book writer, CLICK HERE to read my blog post on how titles can influence your picture book, too.)

To help you in your own title brainstorming session, here is a list of prompts to consider:

Write down a title for your manuscript:

Using alliteration such as Sideways Stories from Wayside School

That you like such as A Pirate’s Mother Goose

About your Main Character’s (MC’s) problem such as Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Featuring your MC’s name such as Jane Austen for Kids

That’s in the form of a question such as Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

That’s a declarative sentence such as I Don’t Want to Be a Frog

That’s a list of 3 words such as Click, Clack, Moo

Using words that rhyme such as The Cat in the Hat

That’s only 2 words such as Math Curse

Featuring the setting such as The Door in the Wall

That’s just 1 word such as Flotsam

After you have brainstormed an idea or two for each of these prompts, also list any other ideas you think of. Then go through and choose the best title to represent your manuscript.


As you narrow down your decision for a working title, here are some more top tips to consider:

Has your title been used before? Look online to double check no other books have been published with the same one.

Do you want your title to connect with your “brand”? CLICK HERE to read Cindy Lynn Sawyer’s great blog post and learn more about branding yourself and your books.

Will your target audience be able to find your book by its topic or is the wording in your title too obscure so that it’s hard to know what your book is about? (This is especially important when writing nonfiction.)

Does your title start with a number (such as 51) that would make it hard to find in a catalog or online list? Some people will list the title starting with F for fifty-one and others will list the title starting with the number, which even varies in different venues because some list titles beginning with numbers at the top and others list these at the bottom.

Is your title so unique or have such a strange word it in people won’t be able to easily remember it?

Compare your title with the titles of other books on a similar topic as yours. CLICK HERE to read Karley M. Conklin’s blog post on finding titles like yours.


If you’re not sure which title from your brainstorming session is the best, ask your writing buddies for help. Get votes from critique members, family members, educators you know, your librarian friends, and social media contacts. Unless your project is under wraps and confidential, enlisting your writing community to help choose a working title can be a lot of fun.

So put on your thinking cap, brainstorm a potential list, then choose your favorite working title. One day, you just might see it in print!

And if you have a published book or article, tell us the journey your title took in the comments below!

-Nancy I. Sanders is the children’s author of over 100 books including the how-to book for writers, Yes! You Can Learn How to Write Children’s Books, Get Them Published and Build a Successful Writing Career. Visit her website at

Image of pirate story by Tumisu from Pixabay.

Image of Astronaut by Cdd20 from Pixabay.

Image of Books and Door by Nino Care from Pixabay.

Posted by: nancyisanders | January 23, 2023

Giveaway Time!

It’s the perfect season to snuggle with your kiddos to read a book, and we want to bless YOU with a Children’s Book giveaway! Enter today for your chance to win one of three prizes!

Prize One!

PRIZE ONE: $150 Target Gift Card

Prize Two!

PRIZE TWO: Picture Book Bundle ($110 value)

My Heart’s Garden book and workbookby Charity Rios

Chantal MacDonalds’ Lester the Lobster and the Great Escape book and lobster plush toy

Quinn’s Promise Rock by Christie Thomas

Ladybug Wonder by Jenny Harmon

Quinn Says Goodbye by Christie Thomas

Garden Tales: A Seed’s Story by Brandie Muncaster

Matt, Sam, and the Swimming Unicorn by Elizabeth Harlan

Prize Three!

PRIZE THREE: Chapter Book Bundle ($84 value)

Erin Greneaux’s The Enchanted Garden book and a Gold Feather Gardeners necklace

The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman

Zayd Saleem, Chasing the Dream by Hena Khan

Abbie’s Woods: Defending the Nest by Susan Thogerson Maas

Cosmic Chaos by Carole Marie Shelton

Kate Frantz’s A Painted Rosary and Hail Mary Flipbook

Join the Giveaway Today!

CLICK HERE to enter the giveaway.

✨Use the sharing buttons at the end of this post to tell friends about the giveaway!

P.S. Check out the bonus entries to increase your chance of winning! We hope you are blessed by the wonderful offerings of each giveaway sponsor whether you win one of the prizes or not!

If you’re willing to share the giveaway, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! You’re the best.

*** The giveaway runs 1/23-1/26. Random winners will be selected via KingSumo on 1/27/23 and notified within 24 hrs. US and Canada residents shipping only. This is a collaborative giveaway sponsored solely by Greneaux Gardens and some writing friends. By entering you agree to receive relevant emails from several of the sponsors. No hard feelings if you need to opt-out. Thank you for joining the fun!

Posted by: nancyisanders | December 26, 2022

Happy New Year, KidLit Writers!

If you’re like me, you’re thinking and praying about the year ahead. 2023 for your writing. What will it be like? What journeys does God have in store for us in the next 12 months? How can we improve our craft and grow as a scribe?

If you’d like some inspiration and motivation for the year ahead, CLICK HERE to read this amazing post by my friend and fellow KidLit author, Kathy O’Neill. Leave a comment and use the sharing buttons to help spread the word to your writer friends, too!

Happy New Year, friend!

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Posted by: nancyisanders | November 17, 2022

The Words We Choose to Use

As children’s writers, we all know the importance of choosing the right word to use. Shakespeare has a famous quote “What’s in a name? that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” That philosophy might work in Romeo and Juliet’s situation but not for ours. In a nonfiction book for middle graders that same rose blooms with a flower structure called a corolla. In a whimsical board book, a “happy red flower” could suffice. And if writing a lyrical book about a rose and its place in the garden, we could use words such as “inspirational,” “glorious,” and “majestic.”

Yes, the words we choose influence our readers. Like an artist selecting which colors to mix on their palette, we use words to paint the pictures our readers imagine and impact their emotional response to the story we’re creating. Here are simple strategies that can help you make the best choice.


Create word walls. In elementary school, teachers decorate a bulletin board called a word wall. For example, if they are studying a unit on frogs the teacher designs a large blue paper pond with brown paper bulrushes, green lilypads, and green frogs. Writing with a thick black pen in the center of the paper pond, she posts lists of frog-related words and phrases such as tadpole, vernal pool, life cycle, predator, amphibian, and camouflage. During the time they study frogs, students can simply look at the bulletin board and find a ready supply of words to use for the assignments they write. As writers, we can create our own versions of word walls for each manuscript in progress.

You can design your own bulletin board next to your writing desk with visuals and bold lists of words. Or you can write down lists of words related to your topic in a notebook or on your computer. You can build a word wall using an encyclopedia article on your topic (yes, Wikipedia is okay to use for this type of research!) and other resources such as topic-related children’s books. I even use travel sites to help build my word wall if I’m writing a story that takes place in an exotic setting. Whether you’re writing fiction or nonfiction, picture books, middle grade, or for young adult, creating word walls helps add depth and scope to your topic and is a handy reference while you write.        


But how do you choose the best words to use? Brainstorming helps, especially with visuals such as a bubble map. First draw a 2-inch circle on a blank sheet of paper. Write your key word in the center of the circle, or bubble. Next draw a ring of bubbles around this key word. Connect these bubbles with the center word drawing lines like the spokes on a wheel. Look up your key word in a thesaurus. (If you’re writing a beginning reader or want your manuscript to register for a certain reading level, refer to the thesaurus in the back of The Children’s Writer’s Word Book to find grade-appropriate synonyms.) Write synonyms in the bubbles around the key word. If you want to find synonyms of synonyms, branch off with more bubbles. Or choose a new key word and start a new bubble to map on your paper.

If you want to use pre-designed Word Walls that I actually use when I’m brainstorming, I’ve included a variety of free designs that you can print out to use. Some are in black and white and some are in color. Some are basic construction blocks where some are fancy like teacups. Save and use whichever suits your fancy or your theme for your current project!


After you’ve written the first draft of your paragraph, scene, or chapter, go through and circle key words such as nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. Check that each one works together as a team to create your intended emotion, image, character development, or plot point. Use your word wall and bubble maps to synchronize the effect on your reader, and polish your manuscript until it shines!

Have you ever used word walls before as a KidLit writer? If so, share the benefits in the comments below. If not, let us know which kind of word wall you’re going to choose to use for your current project!

Happy brainstorming to choose the right words to use!

-Written by Nancy I. Sanders. Nancy is a bestselling and award-winning children’s author of more than 100 books. She’s an instructor at the Serious Writer Academy. CLICK HERE to check out her list of classes.   Click on Nancy’s name at the top of this article to learn more about her and her writing.

Image Credits:

Rose Image by Brigitte Werner from Pixabay

Paint Pallette Image by Alexander Lesnitsky from Pixabay

Lightbulb Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

Posted by: nancyisanders | October 1, 2022

Bedtime with Daddy Author Interview

Yep. It’s book launch time!

And that means lots of fun interviews and helping each other spread the news.

I’m thrilled to share that one of my favorite Christian KidLit authors is hosting an author interview for Bedtime with Daddy!

CLICK HERE to visit Brock Eastman’s blog and learn more about the story behind the story of this book and its companion, Bedtime with Mommy.

Oh, and did I mention WHY Brock is one of my favorite Christian KidLit authors? Because my grandkids own and love many of his books. In fact, just the other day, our 6-year-old grandson said, “Grandma, do you know who Dr. Fizzlebop is? He’s cool!”

And I got to tell my grandson that not only do I KNOW Dr. Fizzlebop, but he’s a friend of mine, too!

Talk about scoring with the grandkids!

Posted by: nancyisanders | September 23, 2022

Bedtime with Daddy: It’s Not Just for Babies!

Yes! That’s right! It turns out my newest bedtime board book for babies is also being read by cats…and dogs!

CLICK HERE to read a cute and sweet interview Molly the Dog posted today about BEDTIME WITH DADDY.

And please leave a comment, too! (Maybe your favorite furry pal would like to read it, too!)

Posted by: nancyisanders | September 6, 2022

Happy Book Birthday! Bedtime with Daddy

Today is the day! Bedtime with Daddy is ready for little hands and hearts everywhere!

Thank you, Victoria Duerstock and End Game Press for bringing this book into the world.

Thank you, Cyle Young, for helping bring this about. It’s a joy to have you as an agent!

Thank you, Felia Hanakata, for the precious art that makes this book extra adorable.

Thank you, dear friends, for all your support to help spread the love about this new bedtime board book I’m hoping little ones will treasure.

Thank you, mommies and daddies all around the world who are committed to reading your young children off to dreamland.

Thank you, God, for opening doors and opening hearts to hear your message of love.

Posted by: nancyisanders | September 1, 2022

Attn Writers! Do You Need Help with Your Platform?

As writers, all we want to do is write. Right? Yet in today’s publishing world, we are required to host a website, build our brand, market ourselves and our books, and more! No wonder so many of us are turning to self-publishing. But that opens a whole new Pandora’s box.

At this stage of my career, I’ve realized I can’t do it alone. And you probably can’t either. That’s why I want to tell you about a wonderful service run by two amazing Christian gals. They want to be here for you. So you can get back to your first love: writing those books or articles you feel called to write.

Meet Teri and Madison at Word & Design Co.! Together, you’ll want to work with this team! Here’s what they have to offer…

Word & Design Co.


There is so much more to the world of publishing than simply writing a great book. From creating the perfect proposal, to having your manuscript professionally edited, to designing a beautiful website that showcases your work, Word & Design Co. exists to support authors in communicating their message with clarity and confidence. Started by two sisters-in-law, Word & Design Co. offers the total package of professional industry services and creative solutions.

Our Team:

Teri McKinley is a bestselling, award-winning author of over a dozen children’s books. With a decade of experience in the publishing industry, she brings an intentional eye to editing, helpful guidance in book proposals, and background knowledge to making manuscripts publisher-ready. As the daughter of Crystal Bowman, Teri has spent most of her life in and around the publishing world and is passionate about helping authors take their writing to the next level.

Madison Asher is a highly sought-after graphic designer and branding expert. With degrees in strategic communication and graphic design from TCU, she has worked with corporate, nonprofit, and individual clients seeking professional branding concepts. Madison is an expert in creating original and timeless logos and marketing materials that perfectly capture her clients’ image and message. As a web designer, Madison also creates the perfect platform to reach audiences and support blogs, contact forms, and shops.


  • Marketing
  • Website Design
  • Book Proposal Services
  • Editing
  • Self-Publishing Packages (including editing, book cover design, layout, marketing)
  • Branding Packages (including logo design, business card design, and marketing materials)

Every client at Word & Design Co. receives a customized proposal outlining the services and deliverables they would receive for their needs. We stay in close communication with our clients to ensure their goals are met and they are updated every step of the way. Contact us with any inquiries you may have:

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.


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


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


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:


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.


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!


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!

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