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!

Posted by: nancyisanders | August 12, 2021

Book Launch for BEDTIME WITH MOMMY

Hip hip hooray! It’s finally here! On August 24, my newest book, BEDTIME WITH MOMMY, launches into the world.

Here’s what it’s all about:

From polar bears in the Arctic to kangaroos in the Outback to elephants on the grasslands, all around the world mommies are tucking their little ones into bed with prayers, hymns, and goodnight snuggles. A padded board book for babies and toddlers, BEDTIME WITH MOMMY is sure to become a favorite bedtime read!

So many of my friends are asking me how you can help launch this new book. Here are some suggestions:

*If you’re on social media platforms and like to share, help spread the good news by clicking on the sharing buttons at the end of this post. And please feel free to share the news on any platform you like the most!

*If you’re looking for a new book to gift to little ones in your life, CLICK HERE to purchase copies of BEDTIME WITH MOMMY today. Pre-order sales help up the ranking of a new release, so this will really help get the word out.

*And speaking of gifting, here are some great giving ideas for this special little book:

It’s a great baby shower gift!

It’s a wonderful treasure to donate to a shoebox for Christmas ministry, an Angel tree ministry, Toys for Tots, or other ministries your local church supports for Christmas.

If your community or church has a pro-life ministry where you gift newborn baskets to young moms, this book is a very anointed blessing. Since it features a cast of animal mommies around the world, it is very inclusive of all backgrounds. Plus, the text is comforting, hope-filled, and reassuring of a mother’s special love for her child while it also offers a godly example many new moms might be encouraged to follow.

Thanks so much for sharing in my joy! And thank you for every single action you take to help spread the word about this brand new book. Truly you make a difference. Both in my heart and for mommies and little ones around the world.

I love to hike along beautiful mountain trails and paths like this one near Lake Arrowhead in southern California. And I love to journey along the path God has chosen for me as a KidLit writer.

With more than 100 books published over my career, about half of them have been published in the general market and half of them have been published in the Christian market.

I didn’t start out choosing this path, but one day, God opened a door. (Isn’t He good at doing that?) I started out only writing for the Christian market. Sunday school take home papers. Puzzles and crafts for children’s ministry. Retold Bible stories.

But when my kids were elementary age I discovered a line of historic-based craft books that I loved in the general market. I submitted a proposal to the publisher, along with my resume. I received a response back from the publisher. They couldn’t use the idea in my proposal but they noticed in my resume that I wrote Bible-based books. Could I write a book on the history of the Old Testament for kids?

That’s how my book Old Testament Days was born. It was published in the general market with Chicago Review Press. Since then I’ve published a number of nonfiction titles with them including Frederick Douglass for Kids and Jane Austen for Kids. All are still in print!

Around that time I also met a fellow Christian writer who wrote for Scholastic Teaching Resources. She introduced me to her editor and over the next decade or so I wrote 19 books for them, including their bestseller 25 Read and Write Mini-Books That Teach Word Families, a book of reproducible stories for teachers to use to teach little ones how to read.

So I get asked from time to time, “What is it like for a Christian to write for the general market?” First of all, it’s no different than any other job where you work in an environment with people who aren’t Christians themselves. It’s an opportunity to shine the light of Jesus’s love in a hurting and often dark world.

I’ll never forget the time I was teaching at a world-renowned writing conference in the general market. While I was still sitting at my seat, I was introduced to the other staff members in the large room as the person teaching a class on writing for the religious market. Heckling and derogatory comments ensued for several moments. I just waved and smiled. After introductions were finished, however, the editor whom I happened to be sitting next to and had never met before in my life, leaned close and with tears in her eyes asked me to pray for her family member who was ill.

First and foremost, everything I write is from a biblical perspective. At times this has been a little tricky to navigate. One time an editor changed my project to include statements that went against biblical truth. I didn’t see that until the book was in print so there was nothing I could do. Except pray, of course, which opens the door for God to work where my hands were tied.

Another time a publisher worked with my agent to offer me a contract to write a work-for-hire series of chapter books. When I finally received the instructions to write the series, it had key elements that went against biblical truth. I had to turn down the contract offer, even at that late stage of the deal. I simply explained that I also write for the Christian market and can’t take on projects that conflict with those other publishers I work with. My agent was very gracious about the whole process even though she lost that opportunity for a lot of income.

The attitude I’ve taken with my publishers is that I’m up front with them. They can see from my resume that I write for both the Christian and the general market. For some editors in the general market, this is a perk. They want to tap into the Christian audience and garner sales with these customers as well. One of my books for Scholastic was revamped with a second cover and sold to Christian schools and homeschooling families as well as the original book which was carried in public school book fairs. Some of my nonfiction biographies in the general market feature Christian men and women and these books have been marketed in church bookstores as well.

Has God called you to write for both the Christian market AND the general market? Good for you! Be strong and of good courage. You are an ambassador of Christ and for many folks you’re the only “Bible” they are willing to read. Stay strong in the Word and shine forth as His light. Pray often. Ask the Holy Spirit to encourage you, equip you, and empower you. It’s an exciting and rewarding journey to take with eternal impact for God’s kingdom!

Posted by: nancyisanders | August 6, 2021

Author Interview: Annette Whipple

Meet Author Annette Whipple!

Wet site: Annette Whipple

Blog: The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion

Facebook: @AnnetteWhippleBooks

Twitter: @AnnetteWhipple

Instagram: @AnnetteWhippleBooks

BIO:

Annette Whipple celebrates curiosity and inspires a sense of wonder while exciting readers about science and history. She’s the author of ten fact-filled children’s books including The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion: A Chapter-by-Chapter Guide (Chicago Review Press) and The Truth About series (Reycraft Books) including Whooo Knew? The Truth About Owls and Scurry! The Truth About Spiders. Get to know Annette and explore her resources for writers at her website: www.AnnetteWhipple.com.

Featured Book:

WOOF! The Truth About Dogs

by Annette Whipple

(Reycraft Books, 2021)

How do dogs communicate? Why do dogs sniff each other? Are dogs just tame wolves? These and other questions are answered by the author, along with some extra information provided by the dogs themselves in this second book in The Truth About series.

INTERVIEW

Q: Tell us your favs!

Color? My favorite color is probably green…but not all shades! I like muted colors that often have a touch of gray or brown.

Pet? I have two pets right now—cats. One is Kiwi and the other is Soka. But I really miss my childhood dog named Dog and a cat with a big personality named Mookie.

Kid’s book from when you were a kid? When I was a girl, I devoured The Baby-Sitters Club books by Ann M. Martin.

Place to write a first draft? I typically write first drafts at my desk if using a computer or at my kitchen table or couch if using paper.

Q: How did you experience breakthrough to work with this publishing house?

I met my Reycraft Books editor at a Highlights Foundation workshop. After giving my owl manuscript a break for a couple of years because it just wasn’t working, I completely changed the structure and loved it. I took the incomplete manuscript for Whooo Knew? The Truth About Owls to Highlights, and my editor expressed interest. Woof! The Truth About Dogs is the second book in The Truth About animal series which also includes the upcoming books about spiders, frogs, and cats. I can’t wait!

Q: Describe part of the research process it took to write this manuscript.

Oh my. Most of my research was at the beginning of the pandemic, so I had to rely heavily on less than a dozen books. Thankfully I had the internet and an expert to consult! Though I couldn’t meet with my expert manuscript reviewer, I was still able to hang out with some dogs during my research which helped.

Q: Where do you get most of your ideas?

I think this world is pretty amazing. However, ideas come from the things I do and people I meet or read about. CLICK HERE to read this blog post I wrote about my writing inspiration!

Q: Please share one word of advice you’d like to say to encourage other aspiring picture book writers.

One word of advice: ART! It’s an acronym. I know I’m a better writer today because of ACCOUNTABILITY (with critique partners), READING (lots of books in my genre including mentor texts), and TIME (investing in the craft of writing). CLICK HERE to read a blog post I wrote about this, too, which includes lots more detail.

I think facts are fun. And Nancy, I think you’re a lot of fun, too! Thanks for having me!

You’re welcome, Annette! Thanks for sharing so generously about your journey to success!

Posted by: nancyisanders | August 3, 2021

REALITY SHOW: KIDLIT WRITER SUPPORTS OTHER WRITERS

Recently my husband and I drove down to the beach for a nice day in the sun. I snapped a photo of all these boats floating in the bay as the sunset was reflecting a pretty pink on the water.

There are always lots of boats there at the beach whether they’re moored in the bay or being used for a variety of purposes and pleasures. And one thing’s for sure. There’s always room for more boats!

That’s how it is with writing. There are lots of writers. Have you ever noticed how many there are? Everywhere you go, somebody wants to be a writer. And writer’s conferences are packed to the gills with writers of all experiences and levels.

Throughout my career of 35 years as a KidLit writer, I’ve discovered an important truth. There’s always room for more writers! The publishing world is rich and varied with lots of genres and lots of publishers and lots of agents and lots of readers and lots of folks whose passion is to write.

So one of the things I love to do is support fellow writers. Especially KidLit writers. And I’ve gathered a wonderful group of writer friends over the years who love to support me, too.

There are some wonderful perks that can happen when we support each other as writers. It truly takes a village to raise a child and it takes a community of writers and readers to bring new books successfully into the world.

One of the ways you can step in to support your fellow writers is simply by commenting on a post. (Thank you so much for every time you comment here on my blog!) It’s also easy to use the sharing buttons I provide here on my blog (and you’ll find on many other sites as well) to pin a post on Pinterest, share it to Facebook, post it on Linked-in, and tweet it on Twitter.

The golden treasure is when you can give a fellow KidLit writer’s book a 5-star review on Goodreads and ultimately a 5-star review on Amazon! These 5 stars go far in the publishing world. I’ve even had publishers e-mail me a 5-star glowing Amazon review that gets passed around to all the editors and publishers at the publishing house. Woo-hoo! How’s that for getting your name in high places? All for the sake of supporting a fellow KidLit author.

So here on my blog in upcoming posts, you’ll see me featuring some of my writer friends along with some of their newest books. And you’ll see me providing links for you to visit my interviews or guest posts on the sites of some of my writer friends. I hope you’ll take the time to comment and support your fellow writers when you see a guest post. And use the sharing buttons to share their exciting news on your platform, too. And I want to thank you especially for every time you link to another site and comment and give your support of my writing, too.

And here’s the fun part…if you’re a KidLit writer and have a book or magazine story that you’d like to be featured here on my blog so we can all support you along your writing journey, let me know! I’d love to hear about it and see if it’s a potential fit for my blog’s readers and explore ways I can support you too!

Posted by: nancyisanders | July 16, 2021

KIDLIT AUTHOR KAREN WHITING SHARES MARKETING LEAD

My friend and fellow Christian KidLit Writer, Karen Whiting, is here today to share top tips for an exciting marketing lead with great opportunities to get published AND market your brand or published books.

Karen, thanks for joining us! I love how you shared recently with me about how you write for Crosswalk. Can you share with us some of the great marketing opportunities you’ve had from writing for Crosswalk?

Millions of readers follow Crosswalk online. That provides an opportunity to reach many people on a given topic. I like to pitch and write articles related to my books and include a direct link to the book in the bio at the end of the article. Since my book Growing a Mother’s Heart: Devotions of Faith, Hope, and Love released before Mother’s Day and contains one story every week related to moms in the Bible, I wrote about amazing actions and character qualities or ten biblical moms. My article had 240,000 hits within four days. (CLICK HERE to read 10 AMAZING THINGS ABOUT MOMS IN THE BIBLE THAT ARE WORTH CELEBRATING.) That’s an easy way to promote the book to many readers. When I had an article on 9 Ways to Pray as a Family it sat for a while and then months later hit number one, so millions read it. A related book will release this fall, 52 Weekly Devotions for Family Prayer, and I will link back to the article when the book releases. For marketing, it’s great that we can continue to link to popular articles to promote our books.

How does a new writer initiate a relationship with Crosswalk?

To write for Crosswalk, CLICK HERE to apply and be sure to include listing some writing credits. If accepted, you’ll be assigned to an editor. That editor may have a wish list of articles you could write, and you can also pitch ideas. They pay except for your first article. It’s owned by Salem Communications, so that can be helpful when you want to be a guest on one of their radio stations.

Do you have any tips about writing for Crosswalk?

Crosswalk uses a few types of articles so read several before applying or writing for them. Some are slide shows, some are numbered, and others are simply regular articles. They do like balance if you are doing a numbered or slide show article so that each section has about the same number of words. Also, consider long-tail SEO as you write with the use of questions that people might use in a search engine or on an audio device.

As usual, you need to communicate with your editor. When I pitch an idea, I also let the editor know when I can finish and submit it. I ask if there are any special needs, and if there’s a problem (like health issues) I let the editor know if it changes my ability to meet the deadline.

Karen, thank you so much for sharing such exciting information for all of us to use! What other writing projects are you currently working on?

I have three upcoming fall releases that can all be pre-ordered now, so I’m working on marketing them. I start with creating memes and posting photos and memes on hidden Pinterest boards. I also use the images for blog prompts and may write and schedule quite a few blog posts before the releases. That way I have blogs rolling out as the book releases and I can focus on media interviews. With the hidden board I either create a new public board and roll out the images over time or I make a big splash by converting it to public on the release day. The new books, all with Tyndale Kids, are:

  • 52 Weekly Devotions for Family Prayer releases in October

Every week provides a new way to pray as a family from simple ways for children to learn to form prayers to active play-and-pray activities and also reflective prayers. This lets children integrate prayer into their daily lives. Each week starts with a question children ask about prayer and three hands-on activities helps them explore the question. Chat prompts allow parents to converse about the prayer focus and dig deeper if children are older or keep it simple for younger ones.

  • Devos for Brave Boys releases in November

60 dynamic devotions to inspire courage are each paired with an activity. My co-author Jesse Florea and I wrote various types of devotions that include retold Bible stories, ones based on unusual facts, and true stories of heroes and kids like themselves. Activities include jokes, puzzles, tongue twisters, hands-on fun and experiments, and lift-off lists to help boys do short self-assessments.

  • The Super-Sized Book of Bible Gift Crafts (my 30th book) releases in December

My daughter Rebecca White and I wrote this book of paper crafts for children to make. Each craft includes a Scripture, patterns, and directions. The crafts focus on kindness, encouragement, and outreach with ideas of words to add to the crafts. They are fun and inexpensive to make. Many can be made fast for children to create gifts to give friends or groups to pass out at events to share faith messages. Twelve types of crafts include games, puppets, storytelling aids, school items, cards, decorations, holiday crafts, and friendship crafts.

Karen, congratulations on all your wonderful new books! And thanks so much for stopping by and sharing with us. I’m so excited with the possibilities of connecting with Crosswalk!

Posted by: nancyisanders | July 12, 2021

REALITY SHOW: KIDLIT WRITER NETWORKS

Recently, my hubby and I took a drive to visit one of our favorite streets where the jacarandas always put on a show! It felt good to connect with this beautiful scene once again. Isn’t this just stunning?!

And recently I connected with a writer friend on the phone. It felt good to chat and get caught up on our lives as writers.

So when my writer friend shared some news about an exciting writing opportunity for lots of writers, I asked her to share it with all of you! Stay tuned for my next post where you’ll get to meet one of my writing friends who I’ve known for years. AND in that post you’ll get in the know about an opportunity you just might want to check into if you’re a writer.

(Which I know you are!)

Posted by: nancyisanders | July 1, 2021

REALITY SHOW: KIDLIT WRITER PITCH PERFECT

Sometimes I spend my time pitching. That’s right.

When I first started writing, I never knew that learning how to pitch a perfect game is part of a KidLit writer’s job description. In fact, it’s probably one of the best kept secrets around.

I’ve landed most of my book and magazine contracts over my writing career after first pitching ideas to an editor.

In this little REALITY SHOW series here on my blog, I’m just trying to share what I do, actually do, in my little corner of the KidLit world. And recently, I put on my mitt and hat and walked out to the pitching mound. Well, actually, I sat down at my writing desk, but you get the picture.

Here’s what I did:

I like to write every year for the magazine Clubhouse Jr. Every year they have a theme list that they use, so when I asked the editor for this year’s theme list, I prayed about it and brainstormed ideas for several days that would fit in with their month-by-month theme list. And then I e-mailed the editor with a list of about 10 ideas. Just paragraph blurbs about each idea and how it would fit in with their themes. Pitches.

And then I heard back and the editor chose a couple of those ideas and asked me to write and submit the articles they were interested in on the dates they needed. So now I have a couple of deadlines. All from pitching.

I also sent a couple of pitches to a book editor I work with. I already got a no on one pitch and am waiting to hear about the second. Again, these were just little paragraph blurbs about each idea.

Plus, I’m getting ready to send a couple of pitches to book editors I’ve never worked with before. How do I do this?

When I pitch ideas to an editor I’ve never worked with before, I usually send in either a completed manuscript (such as a picture book) or a 3-chapter proposal (such as a chapter book). But in the cover letter, I always include several pitches for other ideas.

I say something such as: If this manuscript isn’t a good fit for you right now, here are several ideas that I think could fit your publishing house in today’s market. Then I list several ideas (usually for manuscripts not yet written) that I have brainstormed after carefully looking at their current catalogs.

I’ve landed a number of book contracts from this type of pitching alone. Even when they reject the original manuscript!

Contrary to what most authors think, the world of publishing often includes pitching. KidLit author friends I know are constantly pitching ideas to editors they’ve worked with, and new editors as well, and then writing the manuscripts after they sign the contracts. Both in the magazine and book market.

If you’ve never learned how to pitch, may I recommend that you start learning today? It just might open a whole new world of opportunity for you as a writer!

Image by Keith Johnston from Pixabay

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?

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