Posted by: nancyisanders | March 16, 2009

Book In A Month Club: Sterling Publishers

Welcome back to the Book In A Month Club! If this is the first day you’re joining us, you might want to backtrack and start your journey at the beginning. Go back to where it started on my post for March 2, 2009. Then follow each day’s post for the month of March and have fun sending in those queries! Our goal this month is to TRY to land a book contract–all in just one month. It’s crazy. It’s zany. But it’s fun, fun, fun!

Today, let’s explore another potential publisher: Sterling Publishing Company. Print out this post as a guide to follow along the various steps. Copy and paste the links into your browser and explore their website.

Sterling Publishing Company:
Manuscript Guidelines:

I recently discovered this publisher, and when I first saw their website I realized I’d discovered a potential goldmine. This publisher of nonfiction has a book catalog bursting with different series and a wide variety of opportunity for writers of every taste and genre (except fiction, of course!). Even if you have never considered writing nonfiction, I encourage you to send this publisher a query. When I first started writing, all I wanted to write was fiction, but I started venturing out into the world of nonfiction and started getting book contract after published book. Why don’t you explore this vast world of opportunity, too?

Check out the guidelines. The Book Market for Children’s Writers says Sterling accepts a query with outline. The website guidelines say “Please write to us explaining your idea and enclose an outline and a sample chapter…” Well, that sounds like a proposal to me. Unlike some publishers who do, Sterling doesn’t say on their guidelines NOT to send a query first, so I decided to go ahead and send them a query first. I recommend you do, too. Why not? The worst thing that can happen is that they tell you they don’t accept a query first and to send them a proposal. Then we’ll know.

Now, let’s see if they have series. Do they?!! Go to their home page and look on the left side. They list CATEGORIES. This publisher is bursting at the seams with series for a variety of interests and tastes! Click on a couple that interest you. Explore them until you find a book or two where you say, “I think I could write a book like that.”

Since I know most of our Book In A Month Club members for this year are interested in writing for children, just like I am, let’s click on the link JUVENILE. Look at that huge long list of categories or series they offer! Click on any link that interests you. Look for sets or series of books within the category of your choice.

Let’s click on the EARLY READER I’M GOING TO READ series. We find there are 9 pages of titles in this series. Look over all 9 pages and make a list of any sets or groups of topics they already publish. I like to print out this list, so I printed it out and really pored over the list, making notes as I studied the list.

An interesting thing to note is that even though Sterling says they only publish nonfiction titles, we see by this list that they publish plenty of fiction in their Easy Reader series! Bingo! For all you fiction lovers, here’s your chance.

Make a list of their early readers that they’ve already published, then brainstorm ideas for topics they haven’t yet covered. Come up with 3-5 ideas, and then send them in a query as they direct you to on their guidelines.

Now let’s try another category.
How about POETRY FOR YOUNG READERS for all you poets? Click on the link and we find they have a series of books each featuring poems by one poet. Many of these books are edited by a different author so that kids can enjoy the poems of each famous poet.

Make a list of the books they’ve already published. Then brainstorm ideas for poets they haven’t yet covered. Come up with 3-5 poets, and then send them a query.

Remember, don’t use this time to submit a manuscript you already wrote to this publisher. For the Book In A Month Club, we’re trying to land a contract to write a book and get paid while we write. It’s not our goal to try to find a publishing house for a manuscript we already wrote.

Sure, if the editor asks for a proposal, offers you a contract, and then you write the book, AFTER you’re finished, THEN you can pitch her the manuscript you already wrote. But that’s not our goal right now. We’re trying to earn income while we write and the best way to do this is submit a query to try to land a potential book contract.

Whew! What a lot of work you’ve been doing. Good for you! Check back in again this week for more marketing leads. Let’s send in those queries and TRY to land a contract to write a book–all in just one month for the Book In A Month Club!

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