Posted by: nancyisanders | June 22, 2021

Reality Show: KidLit Writer Gets Motivated

We went to the beach. It was super hot when we left our house in Norco. And it was super cold when we reached the beach. (Isn’t this a fun photo from underneath the pier?!)

But we wrapped up in towels and sweatshirts and parked our beach chairs right next to the waves. We sat just close enough so that our feet wouldn’t get wet from the incoming tide, but just far enough back so we could still feel the salty spray on our cheeks.

And as my hubby and I sat and chatted and looked out at the booming, crashing waves, I asked myself a question…”Why was I avoiding one of my WIPs?”

I had brought one of my work-in-progress (WIP) manuscripts up to front and center about a month ago. I had created a space for it. I had cleared off a spot on one of my desks and spread out my research books and folders with notes and printed manuscript pages with lots of handwritten notes…

But I hadn’t picked it up since.

As I reflected there, surrounded by the sights, sounds, and smells of the sea, I realized the WHY of why I had been avoiding it.

And then I did a reality check. If I wanted to finish that manuscript. (Which I did.) And if I was having trouble finishing that manuscript. (Which I was.) Then there was really only one solution.

GET MOTIVATED.

There have been times in the past when I’ve lacked motivation and I’ve tried various ways to get motivated. Sometimes I dangle a carrot in front of my nose such as: You get to buy that new set of mixing bowls you’ve been wanting if you meet your goal. Sometimes I use a type of “punishment” such as: You can’t start your new quilt until you meet your goal. Sometimes I use a type of accountability such as: Invite a group of writer friends over for a 5-week class where we will all work on the type of manuscript I’m working on so I can have accountability to finish it.

Nope. I couldn’t wait for the muse to strike me to write. I couldn’t wait for inspiration to inspire me to write. If I didn’t figure out a way to motivate myself to write, this WIP might as well RIP. And I wanted to finish it!

So this time I chose a type of “punishment.” My husband has been reading 2 books lately that he declares, “You. Will. Love. These. Books.” One is Sharon Creech’s chapter book, ONE TIME. (Have you read it? Did you love it? Let me know! But don’t give away any spoilers!!!!!) The other is the first in a series of 14 books, I think, so I know once I get started on that series, there will be lots of delicious reading adventures for me to experience.

So my punishment? I am not allowed to start reading Sharon Creech’s book UNTIL I have picked up that current WIP and written a certain amount of fresh new content. And I’m not allowed to read the first book in that amazing series until I read another goal with my WIP.

Ooooohhhhh! This is REALLY, FINALLY motivating me!

WIP…here I come!

What do you do to get motivated to write when you’re in the doldrums?

Posted by: nancyisanders | June 17, 2021

Reality Show: KidLit Writer Buys a Book

I bought myself a $98 book today! CHASE’S CALENDAR OF EVENTS.

What?! Me? Who always likes to get freebies and not dish out any cold hard cash if I can help it?

Yep! But here’s the secret…I only paid $6.99 for it!

That’s because I bought the 2020 version (as a used book on Amazon) which most libraries are getting rid of because it’s being replaced on their reference shelves with the 2022 version.

I can’t tell you how excited I was to get it in the mail! I made my hubby take a photo of me holding it because I was so jazzed. I’ve had my copy for years but decided it was finally time to make an update.

And what do I do with this book?

I’m glad you asked!

Tons!!!! I can read through it to find holidays to write about for kid’s magazines or kid’s books. I can find holidays that my published books relate to so I can promote them on Pinterest and Instagram as great reads for those holidays.

Yes, I know I can go online and find this information, too. But sigh. I just like to hold a good book in my hands. So I’ve already read through the month of July and highlighted and tagged and marked the pages for my favorite holiday listings.

If you’ve never seen this book, get out to your local library and ask for it. Chances are, they might let you borrow last year’s copy so you can become familiar with it.

And you just might find out you’re itching to buy a copy of your own.

May I recommend saving $90 and buying it used? Lol.

Posted by: nancyisanders | June 14, 2021

Reality Show: KidLit Writer Writes

Yep. The reality of my life as a KidLit writer is that first and foremost I try to put my energy into actual writing. Writing fresh new content on at least one of my works-in-progress almost every day.

Not just editing. Writing.

Not marketing or working on my blog or creating pins for pinterest. Writing on my WIP.

Right now one of my WIPs is a teacher resource that I’m creating on my computer. So first thing most days (unless I sleep in and have to feed the cats first) I sit down at my computer and create 5 new worksheets to add to my WIP.

And when I work on my other WIPs such as poems for Babybug, I usually sit in this chair here in my living room (this is a photo from last winter when it was cold enough to wear a sweater!). I can sit here and look out our front window at our birdfeeder in our front yard.

I like to write the first draft of a devotional or a chapter book or even a picture book AWAY from the computer. For several reasons. I like to work away from the computer as much as I can to limit strain with screen time (eyestrain, wriststrain, backstrain, etc). Plus, I like the creative place my brain goes to during a first draft when I’m writing in my writing journal instead of typing on the computer.

So how about you? What are you writing, actually writing, this week?

Posted by: nancyisanders | June 11, 2021

Reality Show: KidLit Writer on Teachers Pay Teachers

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Every KidLit writer needs to have a store on the website Teachers Pay Teachers.

Why? Because if you write for children, one of the biggest buying market for our books is…teachers! And teachers hang out on Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT for short). And teachers BUY on TpT.

Okay, you may be saying…you aren’t really interested in selling products. You just want to sell your books. I hear you! But you don’t have to sell anything on TpT! You can just put freebies on there that will help sell your books. For starters, the very first product you put in your story is required to be a freebie.

You can put free coloring sheets that go with your book. You can put free bookmarks to download and print out for kids to use while they read your books. You can put free educator’s guides to use along with your book. Who is going to want these? Teachers! And librarians! And homeschooling mamas!

And they all hang out on Teachers Pay Teachers!

When I started on TpT, I first e-mailed them and asked if I could have a store on there because I’m not a teacher. I explained to them, though, that I write resources for teachers that go along with my books. And they said, “Sure! Join in the fun!” So even if you’re not a teacher, you can open a store.

When I started my store on TpT, I joined for the free option. I didn’t pay for paid membership until I sold enough products to earn enough to pay for my membership…and I’ve never looked back.

When I started my store on TpT, I first just put up a number of reader’s theater scripts for sale for $3 each. That’s because I only knew how to create a pdf from a word file, so that’s what I created. I just made things to put in my store that I already knew how to work techie-wise.

But then I set out on a journey to learn how to illustrate wonderful pdfs and teacher resources. I learned that most people buy clipart and copy the art into powerpoint and create pdfs that way. Others use CANVA. But I wanted to make my own art, to I learned how to use Inkscape. It’s a free art drawing program. (I’ll share more about that later.) It took me months and a year or two until I felt comfortable on it, but now I love it and use it every day to draw my own art and create my own digital teacher resources.

As you can see at the top of this post, one of my resources is 42 ANIMAL HABITAT MINI-BOOKS. It’s the #2 bestseller in my store. I don’t earn a ton of money on TpT. Right now I earn between $20-$100 a month. But that’s okay. I’m still in my growing stages.

The important thing to me is that I’m connecting with teachers as a KidLit author and offering free teacher’s guides to most of my books on there (which hopefully translates to sales of my books). CLICK HERE to visit my store on TpT to see what I have up there as a KidLit author.

How about you? Do you have a store on TpT? If so, let us know in the comments. Follow my TpT store at Teacher + Writer and I’ll follow you back!

Posted by: nancyisanders | June 8, 2021

Reality Show: KidLit Write Submits

I just wanted to update you on my progress writing little poems and stories for Babybug magazine.

I put together about a dozen little things and went to Babybug’s website and followed their guidelines for submission. (You can read about this currenet WIP here.) If you’re going to submit something to Babybug, too, let us know and we’ll cheer you on!

Then what did I do next? Did I put that WIP away and choose another?

Nope!

I decided to continue working on this WIP some more.

There are several reasons why.

Reason #1: I want to continue writing and submitting to Babybug for awhile. I’m not going to worry about whether or not they accept my manuscript. I’m not going to sit by and twiddle my thumbs for 3 months waiting for a response…or not. I’m going to keep on moving forward on this journey because I want to learn how to write better for this age and this is a great target to aim for!

Reason #2: I want to polish my skills as a KidLit writer. And one of the ways that we can polish our skills as a KidLit writer is to learn how to write better poetry. Even if you only write in prose and even if you only write nonfiction, the rules and rigors of poetry are key skills to learn. Metaphors, hyperbole, figurative language, meter that flows smoothly within a line of words…all these skills and more add up to becoming a better writer, so I want to park here for awhile and work through my how-to-write poetry book (and others!) as I sharpen my poetry writing skills.

Reason #3: Because I have 4 grandchildren ages 6 and under who all love Babybug, this is a perfect stage for me to EXPERIENCE my target audience! So instead of waiting until they’re teenagers and I’ve lost touch with this age, I’m going to maximize my opportunity and write for it!

Reason #4: Writing these little Babybug stories and poems gives me practice for my other WIP as well that I’m working on: teacher resources for this age that I’m planning on selling on Teachers Pay Teachers.

So here’s a question for you…do you study how-to-write poetry books? I have one that I like a lot (Complete Idiot’s Guide to Writing Poetry) but I want to add to my collection and learn more. Can you let us know what your go-to books are for learning how to write great poetry?

Posted by: nancyisanders | June 4, 2021

REALITY SHOW: KIDLIT WRITER TIME-SAVER HACK

The other day I cooked a spaghetti casserole that’s a favorite in our house. And I doubled the recipe and made TWO spaghetti casseroles. I think it took me 10 extra minutes to double it.

The result? We ate the one casserole over a couple of days and I froze the other in individual servings.

So…for 10 extra minutes that one day, I get two entire days that I don’t have to cook dinner. I can spend those two extra hours writing.

I figured out this time-saving hack a few years ago. I don’t know why it had never crossed my mind before! It works so well that we went out and purchased a stand-alone freezer for our garage.

If I make a pumpkin pie, I make two. We eat one and I freeze the others in slices. If I cook a quiche or pot pie or casserole, I make two. We eat one and I freeze the other in individual portions.

Now I only have to cook once or twice a week and most other nights we grab a favorite frozen dinner from the garage. I seriously use those extra hours each week when I’m not in the kitchen to write. (The only downside, lol, is that we’re always stocked with homemade pies, cookies, cakes and more in our freezer…it does take some discipline not to go out and eat them all up!)

How about you? Do you have any time-saving hacks you’d like to share with us so we can log in more writing time instead?

Image by Lukas Bieri from Pixabay

Posted by: nancyisanders | June 1, 2021

REALITY SHOW: KIDLIT WRITER’S WORK IN PROGRESS

If you’ve been following my blog for awhile, you know about my TRIPLE CROWN OF SUCCESS. But if you’re one of the newcomers to my blog, chances are you’re not quite sure what that means.

Basically, the TRIPLE CROWN OF SUCCESS is a way of setting goals as a children’s writer. I always like to set 3 different goals and have 3 different WIPs or Works-in-Progress that I’m working on to aim toward each goal.

What are these goals?

GOAL ONE: Personal fulfillment. I always like to be working on a WIP for personal fulfillment. Something I want to write and I want it to be just as I want it to be. I might get paid for this but probably not. I might sell this to a publisher or I might self-publish it. But it’s a manuscript that is near and dear to my heart. This WIP is often the one that motivates me to keep on writing, even on my other WIPs. Right now my current WIP for personal fulfillment is something I want to self-publish as a pdf file to sell on Teachers Pay Teachers. (CLICK HERE to visit my store on Teachers Pay Teachers.)

GOAL TWO: Write to Get Published. I always like to be working on a WIP to get published. And I like to get published frequently. So I write magazine articles and stories and submit to manuscript call-outs that interest me. I typically get published 3-5 times a year doing this. It doesn’t pay much sometimes, but it keeps building my published credits and it validates me as a writer. I’m currently working on writing a submission for Babybug for this goal. After that I’ll query another magazine I like to write for.

GOAL THREE: Write to Earn Income. I’m a career writer and I earn a nice income as a writer. But this doesn’t happen by chance. I study the market and write manuscripts that I have a strong sense will get picked up by a publisher in today’s current market. Often I submit queries and land the contract before I write the book. Currently, I’ve landed a potential series contract and am writing books on spec in the series…recently my publisher assured me that my most current submission in the series is practically guaranteed a contract. (If you ever want to know what kind of income I’m talking about, just let me know in the comments and I’ll write about this here in my Realty Show.)

So there you have it. When I mention that I’m currently working on three WIPs, that’s what I mean.

If you want to find out more about my TRIPLE CROWN OF SUCCESS and other insider secrets from my 30+ career as a successful KidLit writer with 100+ published books under my belt, you can read about it in my self-published book, YES! YOU CAN LEARN HOW TO WRITE CHILDREN’S BOOKS, GET THEM PUBLISHED, AND BUILD A SUCCESSFUL WRITING CAREER. Click here to learn more about my book.

So how about you? Do you have a current plan for your WIPs? And goals you’re working toward? Let us know!!!! We’d love to hear from your corner of the KidLit world.

Posted by: nancyisanders | May 27, 2021

REALITY SHOW: KIDLIT WRITER FINDS EXPERT

Recently I mailed out a couple of complimentary copies of my newest picture book, THE VERY OLDEST PEAR TREE, to some of the experts who helped me along my journey. One of these experts is influential in the local historical society in Danvers, Massachusetts where this ancient tree still stands. Another expert is a descendant of Governor Endecott who actually planted the tree. Both these experts, plus others, were so helpful along my journey!

(CLICK HERE to find out how you can buy a copy of THE VERY OLDEST PEAR TREE or download a free educator’s guide to share with a teacher friend or homeschooling family you know.)

What exactly does an expert bring to a KidLit author’s project? For starters, they can help fill in the gaps with research that might have holes and answer questions I have. Sometimes they are needed for permission to use their research in my research. Other times they offer images to use. And sometimes they agree to read over my manuscript before I submit it to the publisher to check for glaring mistakes, which was the case with some of my experts for this picture book.

So this week, I was also fortunate to make connections with potential new experts for my current Work-in-Progress. As I’ve been working on one of my WIPs over this past year (I always like to work on at least 3 WIPs at once, as you may know if you’ve studied my TRIPLE CROWN OF SUCCESS) I knew I’d be needing some experts to help. I’ve had my ear out for potential people to connect with, so when my hubby came back from an errand and excitedly told me he met some people who specialize on my current topic, I immediately hopped in the truck with him and returned with him to meet them myself. Cards were exchanged when I explained my task briefly (I never give out TOO much information about a WIP) and I assured them I’d be in touch soon. I am excited…a LOCAL expert…and a GROUP of potential experts at that! One of them has 3 Ph.Ds. That’s a rare find indeed!

So now I’ll plan to get in touch with them. I have a special e-mail set up just for this purpose. It has an automatic signature at the end explaining the confidentiality of the e-mail. And since I only use this specific e-mail for either contacting an expert or acquiring images, the conversation trail is easy to follow and doesn’t get bogged down in my everyday inbox.

Have you ever worked with an expert? How did that go? How did that help? I’d love to hear your experience in this journey!

Posted by: nancyisanders | May 24, 2021

REALITY SHOW: KIDLIT WRITER SUBMITS

Sometimes I fit short little writing projects into my writing day. For example, I just submitted a very short article (300 words) on Toddler Safety to a publisher who was asking for submissions.

How did I hear about this potential place to submit?

Several sources…

I have a new toddler book scheduled for release on August 24, 2021. It’s BEDTIME WITH MOMMY, an adorable board book that shows animal mommies all over the world tucking their little ones to bed with hymns, hugs, and bedtime prayers. (Click here to pre-order your copies of BEDTIME WITH MOMMY today!) So when I had a scheduled meeting with the marketing folks from my publisher, they recommended I submit Mommy/toddler articles to Focus on the Family’s call-for-submissions page. One reason is they give authors a byline and I can add my new book title along with my name if they publish my submission.

So this was already on my radar when my author/editor friend (you know who you are!) put a call-out on Facebook last week for a submission to Focus with Toddler Safety tips. Same place as the marketing folks suggested.

So naturally, I felt this was a win-win!

So for about 24 hours I walked around jotting down Toddler Safety tips and brainstorming for the most unique and unusual Toddler Safety tips I could think of that we have done in our home for our own kids as well as now with grandchildren. And then I typed them up and e-mailed them in. Now my fingers and my toes are crossed that they’ll accept and publish my tips.

So since I’m giving you a peek into my corner of the KidLit world, I thought you’d like to know about this great opportunity for writers. And it pays, too!

CLICK HERE to see Focus’s Call for Submissions page. And be sure to check back on it frequently as they are constantly updating their needs.

I’ve actually written for Focus for years and years. At times I’ve been part of their stable of writers who write regularly for their parenting publications. Now I mostly just write for their children’s magazine. Do you have any places you like to submit to that might be a great opportunity for others to check out? If so and you’d like to share that in the comments, we’d love to know!

Image by Jess Foami from Pixabay

Posted by: nancyisanders | May 21, 2021

Reality Show: KidLit Writer Types Mentor Text

Yep. Here in my corner of the KidLit world, I’m typing. (But of course, I’m not typing on this ancient typewriter but on my laptop, instead. But I do remember the day!)

What am I typing? you may ask.

My mentor text. Little poems and ditties in the Babybug magazines I borrowed and then photocopied.

But why am I typing these if I already photocopied these?

So glad you asked!

You see, I always like to schedule in some important time to type portions of my mentor text. When I’m working on writing a new picture book, I always like to have a mentor picture book or two…and I type these out word for word.

Sometimes I’m working on a chapter book or an easy reader. I type portions of these, too, on my laptop. Sometimes a whole chapter or two.

Why? Oh why do I go to all that trouble?

For a variety of reasons!

The number one reason is to train my brain. You see, when we want to learn how to ride a bike, we get on and ride. And our brain is trained on how to do it. Likewise when we want to learn how to WRITE a certain genre, if we type out portions of our mentor text, it trains our brain to work along the same paths.

Another reason I like to type these out is to see visually what an actual submission will look like on a typed manuscript page.

For example, there is a poem in Babybug that covers 4 pages of beautiful and fun artwork.

But when I type it out, it only covers two lines of text.

This teaches me what to expect with what I’m actually going to produce to submit.

Another reason I like to type things out is that then I can print out individual sections of my mentor text and glue these into my journal as I’m creating the first draft. These are handy point of references as I’m working on creating.

And another reason I like to type out my mentor text is because now I have this on my laptop. So if I’m working on my manuscript and my journal isn’t nearby and my photocopies aren’t nearby, I can just click on these files and presto! What I need is at my fingertips.

How about you? Do you type out your mentor texts? And if so, what are some of the benefits you’ve found?

Posted by: nancyisanders | May 18, 2021

REALITY SHOW: KidLit Writer Journals

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, I am creating a journal for my newest WIP (work in progress) which is to write little poems and stories to submit to Babybug magazine.

The first thing I did was to get out my scrapbooking supplies and cover a blank wide-ruled composition notebook that I buy in batches for $1 from Walmart or Staples when they’re on sale. I keep a stack of 10 or so empty ones on my office shelves at all times for this very purpose.

The next thing I do is create a table of contents and number all the pages inside.

There isn’t much yet to show you about the inside of this journal because I’m just getting started, but I’ve written numerous blog posts on how I keep my writing journals and what I put inside them. Just search “journals” in the search bar here inside my blog to find some of those posts. Or CLICK HERE to read the beginning of a series of blog posts where I really explain the process I go through for various types of journals I create. This link takes you to the first post I made and then you just follow the links for the next posts to continue reading about journals.

Do you create writer’s journals, too? If so, I’d love to hear about it!

Posted by: nancyisanders | May 13, 2021

KidLit Writer Gathers

As a KidLit writer, I love to gather. I gather books from the library. I gather photos for my blog posts and marketing and social media. I gather friends (like you!) among my writing peers.

And when I’m preparing for a new WIP (Work in Progress) I love to gather all the materials I need to get started on my project.

Recently, I gathered my tools for preparing to write for submitting to Babybug magazine. CLICK HERE to read my post about submitting to Babybug.

I took a photo of what I gathered so you can see what kind of tools I like to have on hand for a project such as this one.

  1. I love to create a brand new writing journal for most of my writing projects. (More about this soon!) So I grabbed a blank composition notebook from the stack I keep on my shelves. I decorated it with scrapbooking paper and cute stickers. In this journal I’ll keep my notes and brainstorming and ideas and actual first drafts of the manuscripts I write.
  2. I grabbed my handy dandy pocket pouch of writing and editing tools. Inside are pens and highlighters and scissors and tape and white-out to help me during the process of writing my first drafts.
  3. I grabbed a cute file folder from my stash of cute file folders (I have a weakness for cute file folders!) and picked this adorable red and white polka dot one because it reminds me of a ladybug which kind of relates to Babybug…lol. I’ve already started filling it with samples of Babybug magazines that I’m photocopying for my mentor texts. (I checked with my libraries and you’re allowed to photocopy anything they own for research purposes as long as I don’t share them.)
  4. I grabbed my how-to-write poetry book since most of my submissions will be in rhyme.
  5. I chose a music CD to listen to while I’m working on my writing process. Choosing one single music CD to listen to when I sit down to work on one specific project helps my brain avoid writer’s block and it opens up my brain to work better on that particular project. I always choose an instrumental because I can’t think very well if there are words in the music. This time I chose Emile Pandolfe piano music of favorite Disney movie and childhood songs such as Baby Mine from Dumbo since this is a writing project for babies and toddlers.
  6. I chose one of my cute totebags that I got from a writer’s event (Okay, I have a weakness for cute totebags, too!) I put everything in my totebag so I’m ready to go!

So now that I’m done gathering, I’m ready to start digging in! What do you do to prepare for a new WIP?

Posted by: nancyisanders | May 10, 2021

REALITY SHOW: KIDLIT WRITER GETS BOOKS FROM LIBRARY

Recently I maxed out both my husband’s library card and my library card as I sat at home and requested books to be picked up at my local library from my county’s library system. All the books arrived in about a week’s time (I’m so thankful the library is open again!), so we picked them up, used them for my purposes, and then returned them.

Then I promptly maxed out both our library cards again as I requested another batch of similar books. Every book I ordered in was a book on Mother Goose.

What did I do with all these Mother Goose books, you may ask? For starters, I was preparing a proposal for another Mother Goose spin-off picture book. (My first one is A PIRATE’S MOTHER GOOSE which was published by Albert Whitman with adorable art by the delightfully talented Colin Jack. CLICK HERE to learn more about A PIRATE’S MOTHER GOOSE.)

So I read through bunches of these library books and found comparable titles I could list in the proposal I was crafting. (And yes, I submitted the proposal to my agent…whew!)

Then I did some photo shoots with the books I liked best. Like the one above, grouping some favorites with my own picture book. I just used my phone. Nothing fancy. These photo groups can be used for a variety of purposes such as posting here on my blog, or creating a pin on Pinterest to help market my books.

I also took individual shots of lots of my favorite Mother Goose books because I like to “give back” to fellow KidLit authors and post 5-star reviews on Goodreads and Amazon and also on Instagram, to name a few.

And then I actually purchased at least one of my absolute favorites! To read with my grandkids, of course. I plan on purchasing more of my favorites, too, for sharing in the Little Free Library we’re planning on building for our front yard. (Thanks to my hubby for an awesome Christmas gift!)

So today, I’m already planning on the next batch of books I’m going to order in from my local library. This time I want comparable titles for a series of bedtime baby books I’m working on, the first one being BEDTIME WITH MOMMY, which has a book birthday of August 24, 2021.

So that’s what’s been going on recently in my corner of the KidLit world. If you’ve been using your local library for something, I’d love to hear about it, too. Don’t you just love your local library? (And librarians?!!!)

Posted by: nancyisanders | May 5, 2021

REALITY SHOW: KIDLIT WRITER PICKS NEW WORK IN PROGRESS

Welcome back to our Realty Show: KidLit Writer!

My goal is to show you what’s really happening in my corner of the world as a KidLit writer and I hope you’ll comment and share what’s happening in yours!

A couple of weeks ago I finished up a work-in-progress, WIP. I sent it to my agent and the publisher is already looking at it. It was part of a series that’s getting published, so it’s hopefully just a matter of when it will be published, not if, like so many other manuscripts of mine. (Yours too? I hear you!)

But I’ve been wandering around aimlessly since then with just 2 WIPs on my plate when I always like to have 3. Three MAIN ones, that is, to focus on.

Right now what are my other 2?

#1 I’m working on a kid’s devotional. It seems like every Christian KidLit writer I know is getting a kid’s devotional published right now. So I thought, hey, why not try my hand at it, too? It’s not under contract, but I’m hoping it will be picked up after I finish it. (More about that later.)

#2 I’m working on a teacher’s product I can self-publish on Teacher’s Pay Teachers. Zillions of worksheets. Stuff I really have fun writing. It will take me months and months and months at a steady pace to create all the art and design and content for these worksheets, so I’m trying to create a certain number of them every day. (More on this later, too.)

#3 This was my blank plate for the last few weeks. But I’m happy to report, not any more! After I received an email with the Children’s Writer eNews from Jan Fields and the folks at the Institute of Children’s Literature, I got motivated to pick out my new WIP! CLICK HERE to sign up for their free eNews and scroll down to the bottom to find the link. Get in the KNOW!

In the newsletter, Jan shared that a current HOT MARKET is BABYBUG MAGAZINE.

Now, I love BABYBUG MAGAZINE. I have a KidLit writer friend who has written for it. I’ve read it for years, even before I had grandbabies! But now that I have grandbabies and they have a subscription to it, I get to see how much my favorite littles LOVE to read their newest issue of BABYBUG and all the past ones, too.

So after several days of thinking about it, it’s official! I’ve decided to write and submit to BABYBUG. From time to time, it will be fun to share inside peeks with you about what this process looks like. Right here in our very own Reality Show!!!

So that’s what I’ve been doing this week…how about you? What’s happening in your corner of the KidLit world?

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Posted by: nancyisanders | May 2, 2021

REALITY SHOW: KIDLIT WRITER

I just listened to an amazing Zoom meeting with a successful KidLit writer sharing tips and tools of the trade. As I listened, I found myself longing to know more about this author. How many hours did she write each day? What was her office like? How did she land her contracts with some of those publishers I was wishing I could get published with?

You get the picture…what’s happening behind-the-scenes in this other KidLit writer’s life?

So then I though…hey! You might want to see what’s happening behind-the-scenes in my corner of the world, too. And you could even share in the comments about what’s happening in yours. We could have a kind of reality show going on, LOL, where we let each other see the nitty gritty of what a real KidLit writer’s life is like with all the ups and downs.

So here’s my first share for our new reality show. After watching that free Zoom meeting–yes! it was FREE as are many of the Zoom meetings hosted by the amazing duo, husband and wife team Laura Backes and Jon Bard, at Children’s Book Insider (CBI)–I visited their website and signed up to pay to renew my membership which had lapsed. (That’s why I was so jazzed to get to participate for free even though I needed to catch up on my membership dues.)

Every year I INVEST in tools to help me grow as a writer. You know…market guides, online subscriptions, and how-to-write courses etc. It doesn’t take much, but it’s worth it. I choose very carefully what I invest in and that morning it was time to renew at CBI.

Next on my list is to dig into all the great resources they’ve already provided me! First up: their monthly subscription.

Posted by: nancyisanders | April 8, 2021

Cover Reveal BEDTIME WITH MOMMY

I’m so excited to share the cover reveal for my newest title!

BEDTIME WITH MOMMY

It’s a board book. Yay!

It’s a snugglewumpums bedtime book. Yay!

It’s an adorable “I love Mommy” book. Yay!

And it will be here in August to share with your favorite littles.

Thanks Felia Hanakata for your delightful art!

Thanks End Game Press for believing in this new book!

Thank you, Mommies everywhere, for snuggles at bedtime with your cherished ones!

I love trees! And I love hanging out with these amazing creatives who have published some of my favorite KidLit books on trees!

Earth Day 2021 is April 22 and it’s just around the corner. There’s just enough time to order these books in at your local library or purchase them from your favorite online or local bookstore. Let’s share these treasures with the littles in our life and nurture a love for trees!

  • A Leaf Can Be…by Laura Purdie Salas. Art by Violeta Dabija
    • With soft illustrations and a simple poetic feel, young readers will be inspired to think of leaves and trees in meaningful ways.
  • A Swinger of Birches: Poems of Robert Frost for Young People. Art by Peter Koeppen
    • A wonderful way to introduce the joy of trees to children through the eyes and voice of Robert Frost. Beautifully illustrated.
  • A Tree is Nice by Janice May Udry. Art by Marc Simont
    • From climbing its branches to sitting under its shade, this award-winning classic reminds readers of all the wonderful ways a tree is nice.
  • Almost Time by Gary D. Schmidt and Elizabeth Stickney. Art by G. Brian Karas
    • Sweet story of Ethan waiting for spring to arrive (and his loose tooth to fall out!) so the sap will run and he can have maple syrup on his pancakes once again.
  • Because of an Acorn by Lola M. Schaefer and Adam Schaefer. Art by Frann Preston-Gannon
    • With lovely art and simple text, this beautiful book demonstrates the magnificent result of little acts in nature such as how a tree can grow…just because an acorn falls to the ground.
  • Maple by Lori Nichols
    • A sweet and refreshing book about a little girl who is named for a tree that is planted in honor of her birth…and the arrival of a baby sister who continues the wonderful tradition in their family who loves trees.
  • Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors by Joyce Sidman. Art by Pamela Zagarenski
    • The joy and poetry of celebrating trees (and nature) all through the year in the rich palette of colors they provide.
  • The Camping Trip That Changed America: Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir, and our National Parks by Barb Rosenstock. Art by Mordicai Gerstein
    • This rollicking good fun read tells the story of how Yosemite National Park and the preservation of the giant sequoias came to be.
  • The Tree Lady by H. Joseph Hopkins. Art by Jill McElmurry.
    • This true story tells how one woman transformed a desert-like community into an oasis of trees because of her love of trees.
  • The Very Oldest Pear Tree by Nancy I. Sanders. Art by Yas Imamura
    • The exciting history of an amazing tree…the first pear tree that was ever planted in America and is still alive and strong at nearly 400 years old today. Beautifully illustrated.
  • Trees Make Perfect Pets by Paul Czajak. Art by Cathy Gendron
    • This delightful story will inspire every child to grow a tree of their own. Why?! Because a tree makes a perfect pet, of course!
  • Who Will Plant a Tree? By Jerry Pallotta. Art by Tom Leonard
    • From an owl coughing up an owl pellet and an elm tree growing to ants carrying a pine nut into their tunnel and planting a pine tree, this engaging book demonstrates a variety of ways seeds are planted and trees grow.
  • 1,000 Things in Nature by Usborne. Art by Mar Ferrero
    • With sturdy board pages and a thousand labeled illustrations, young readers will identify lots of trees as well as fruits, leaves, seeds, and other natural wonders.

Love these KidLit authors and illustrators! Love these books! Which books about trees are your favorites? I’d love to add more to my list.

@laurapsalas @violeta.dabija.illustrator @frann.pg @lorinicholsbook @joycesidman @sacredbee @brosenstock @jillmcelmurry @yas.illustration @paulczajak @cathgendron @jerrypallotta

#earthday #earthdayeveryday #earthday2021 #trees #treestreestrees #treeslover

Posted by: nancyisanders | March 4, 2021

KidLit Writers Connect With Homeschoolers

Thank you, Mary, for asking such great questions about my previous post. Rather than write a lengthy comment in the comments section, I thought it would be more helpful to all of us to answer your questions in this post.

Here is a recap of Mary’s questions:

  1. How can a KidLit writer connect to the homeschooling market?
  2. Where would I find homeschooling groups to follow?
  3. How did the homeschoolers find your books?

Q: How can a KidLit writer connect to the homeschooling market?

A: My goal is to connect with the homeschooling market on various platforms. In other words, I want to hang out online where they are hanging out.

Q: Where would I find homeschooling groups to follow?

A: On Instagram, I follow two very influential homeschool bloggers. (CLICK HERE to follow me on Instagram @nancyisanders and I’ll follow you back!) I also like to follow people who comment on their posts because most are homeschooling mamas and families who love children’s books.

@wovenchildhood has 47.6K followers and will get 1.5K comments on her posts.

@Lacy.arrowsmith has 46.7 followers and will get close to a thousand comments on each post.

On Facebook I have joined a couple of homeschool private groups. (CLICK HERE to like my Author’s Page on Facebook. Then post the link to your page in the comments and I’ll like/follow you too!) I am just starting here but I am commenting and getting to know these folks. Already I’ve been able to recommend some of my books as answers to their questions. And unlike if you make a post on Facebook and only a small amount of your followers actually end up seeing it, every person who is reading the posts in these private Facebook groups will read your post, too. And that’s a lot of eyes!

Christian Homeschool Families has 45K members.

Hip Homeschool Moms has 36K members.

On Pinterest, I am just getting my feet wet, but the gal to follow as the Homeschooling Queen of Pinterest is @writebonnierose. Bonnie Rose Hudson has 124.3 monthly views and 5.9K followers. All looking for homeschooling products to use. Follow her on Pinterest. Repin her pins. Help her amazing audience connect with you. (CLICK HERE to follow me on Pinterest. @nancyisanders. Then post the link in the comments below and I’ll follow you back!)

Q: How did the homeschoolers find your books?

A: I have written a 6-book homeschooling writing curriculum called WriteShop Primary and WriteShop Junior. When Covid hit and many parents suddenly found themselves homeschooling, sales of these 6 books skyrocketed. Where did they find these books? Kim Kautzer, publisher and editor (and writer for some of the primary/junior material) is very active on various social media platforms where she engages with homeschoolers and promotes WriteShop. WriteShop has its own website and it also has its own private Facebook group for homeschooling mamas to join.

Hopefully these answers will help you find WHERE to connect to the homeschooling market. But for the HOW to build your platform so that homeschoolers and others in your target audience connect with you and your books, I highly recommend a year-long class on marketing that I’ve been taking since last May. It has been a game changer for me as a KidLit writer. The best thing is that it’s a very reasonable pace. We learn one platform a month with one new video class every Friday—and it’s all for a very reasonable monthly fee.

So if you would like to learn marketing strategies at a nice pace, with an author who is a social media guru to hold your hand and help inspire you each step of the way, CLICK HERE on this affiliate link to find out the amazing details and pay a monthly fee.  CLICK HERE on this affiliate link to sign up and pay all at once for the whole year.

Let me know if you have any more questions to add to Mary’s list!

Posted by: nancyisanders | February 27, 2021

KidLit Writers and Homeschoolers

I’ve always had my ear to the ground, so to speak, regarding homeschooling families, even though my husband and I didn’t homeschool our two sons. For one thing, two of my sisters homeschooled their children, so I learned how wonderful this experience can be.

But now that our grandson is being homeschooled, I feel even more connected with the homeschooling community. And little did I expect that every child in our neighborhood and many in our nation and countless around the world would be homeschooled over the course of this last year…and still continuing!

Yes, homeschooling families have become a big part of our current culture, whether by choice or by circumstances.

So what does this have to do with KidLit writers? With you and me?

Plenty! As I discovered this last year when some of my books and products for homeschoolers skyrocketed in sales, this is a valuable target audience for us authors who write for children.

And as we’re building our social media platform, it’s important to include homeschooling groups on our radar as we spread the word about the books and products we create and publish for kids.

Even if you’ve never homeschooled before, it’s a good time to start connecting with homeschooling groups who use your favorite social media platforms. Join their groups. Follow their loops. Connect with members. Get to know their needs and wants. Not only will this help generate ideas for you to write about in future book projects, but you can connect with folks who will want to read your current published books. And that’s good news for marketing!

Image by Jozef Mikulcik from Pixabay

Posted by: nancyisanders | February 25, 2021

A Helping Hand for Indie Authors

I am a traditionally published author. This means that I have more than 100 books published with traditional publishers such as Scholastic Teaching Resources, Chicago Review Press, Tyndale Publishers, Zonderkidz, and Albert Whitman, among others.

But I’m also an indie author. This means that like many of you, I have self published a number of my own books. And as you know if you’re also an indie author, this means I am sole marketer and publicist for these books. If I don’t initiate getting the word out, the books don’t sell.

Well, as you may have already experienced, this basically means that my self-published books haven’t been selling. (Do I hear an “Amen”?)

But I’m excited to share…in 2021 that will not be the case! I now have a helping hand to guide me as I sail my course and set off on my personal adventure towards indie success!

This helping hand has come in the form of a year-long class I signed up for last May to learn how to build my platform as a writer. Every year I invest in some form of learning to help me grow as a writer. This year, for a very reasonable monthly fee (think the cost of one restaurant date with a writer friend each month) I have made MILESTONES and I mean MILESTONES on learning how to build my brand, build a solid foundation on key social media platforms, and gain the tools and the confidence I need to market my books as an indie author. This class has been a game changer for me both as an indie author AND a traditionally published author.

But one of the best perks of all is the helping hand. This hand is in the form of our amazing and wonderful teacher and group leader, Victoria Duerstock. I mean, does this woman ever sleep? She’s there to answer each and every one of my personal questions. She’s amazingly assessible and offers monthly in person group Zoom meetings as well as live chats a couple of days each week during office hours. She leads our awesome private Facebook group where she’s just a question away from answering and encouraging and helping us get in the KNOW and experience success.

Plus did I mention how fun she is?!!! She mailed me a hardhat! Yes! My own personal hardhat to wear because I’m a builder building my amazing platform. And as I complete each month’s class where I’m learning and building and growing on a different platform, she sends me these awesome stickers to stick on my hardhat. Is that fun or what?!!!!

So if you would like to learn marketing strategies at a nice pace, with an author who is a social media guru to hold your hand and help inspire you each step of the way, CLICK HERE on this affiliate link to find out the amazing details and pay a monthly fee.  CLICK HERE on this affiliate link to sign up and pay all at once for the whole year.

Happy marketing and may your books get in the hands of the people you are trying to reach!

Older Posts »

Categories

%d bloggers like this: