Posted by: nancyisanders | November 26, 2021


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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by: nancyisanders | November 22, 2021

Author Interview: Kelly Wilson Mize

Meet Author Kelly Wilson Mize!

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

Website: Kelly Wilson Mize

Instagram: kelly_wilson_mize

Twitter: @kellywilsonmize

Facebook: @kellywilsonmize


The Beautiful Story Within Me

by Kelly Wilson Mize

Art by Mark Brayer

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


Barnes and Noble

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Posted by: nancyisanders | November 15, 2021

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

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

Being a Children’s Ghostwriter

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

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

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

It just seemed to evolve from there.

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

What is a ghostwriter?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who hires a children’s ghostwriter?

The answer to this question always amazes me.

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

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

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

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

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

I’ve even ghostwritten for a dentist.

What skills does a children’s ghostwriter need?

1. Being a skilled writer.

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

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

2. Knowing how to listen.

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

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

3. Being patient.

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

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

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

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

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

4. Being organized and focused.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s the motivation?

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

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

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

Posted by: nancyisanders | November 6, 2021

KidLit Career Building: Get Published Step 2

Image by Larisa Koshkina from Pixabay

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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


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


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

Posted by: nancyisanders | October 31, 2021

KidLit Career Building: Get Published Step 1

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

When was the last time you got something published?

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

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

When was the last time you did this?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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


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

Posted by: nancyisanders | October 26, 2021

The Perfect Metaphor for Writing

Writing is like a charcuterie and cheese board.

Say what?!

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

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



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

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

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

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

Whew! The first draft is finished.

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

That’s how it is with writing.

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

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

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

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

(Image by matticasco from Pixabay)

Posted by: nancyisanders | September 28, 2021

Calling Christian Children’s Writers: Fun Fall Follow Fests

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Posted by: nancyisanders | September 23, 2021

Author Interview: Janie Reinart



Web site:




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

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

Written by Janie Reinart and illustrated by Morgan Taylor.

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

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

Free downloadable resources at under BOOKS tab.

Watch the book trailer here.

Interview: Author questions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by: nancyisanders | September 14, 2021

Guest Post with Rebecca Hirsch

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



Instagram: @rebeccaehirsch

Twitter: @rebeccaehirsch


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

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.


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


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


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:

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.


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


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


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


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


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.


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.

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