Posted by: nancyisanders | September 12, 2013

Author Interview: Melissa Abramovitz

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Meet Author Melissa Abramovitz
Website:
Melissa Abramovitz

Bio:
Melissa Abramovitz has been a freelance writer for over 25 years and specializes in writing nonfiction magazine articles and books for all age groups. She is the author of hundreds of magazine articles, more than 30 educational books for children and teenagers, numerous poems and short stories, and several children’s picture books. Her book for writers, A Treasure Trove of Opportunity: How to Write and Sell Articles for Children’s Magazines, has been widely acclaimed since its publication in 2012. She has a degree in psychology from the University of California, San Diego, is a graduate of The Institute of Children’s Literature, and is a member of SCBWI and The Working Writer’s Club.

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Featured Book:
A Treasure Trove of Opportunity:
How to Write and Sell Articles for Children’s Magazines

by Melissa Abramovitz

The need for children’s magazine nonfiction is one of the best kept secrets in the trade. At the risk of divulging well-kept secrets and tips for succeeding in this market, I’ve written this book to provide a comprehensive guide to planning, researching, writing, and marketing magazine nonfiction for children and teens. There are books out there on writing nonfiction in general and on magazine nonfiction in general, but they offer limited insight into the specifics of writing and selling articles for children and teens. This book will give you the specifics you need to get started in a richly fulfilling and financially rewarding full- or part-time career. Welcome to the exciting world of children’s nonfiction articles, and enjoy the journey towards success as you explore this Treasure Trove of Opportunity.

Interview:
Q: Share a highlight for you personally while you were writing this book.
A:
One of the biggest highlights for me was discovering how much I enjoy teaching and mentoring other writers. Before I wrote Treasure Trove, my only teaching/mentoring experience was writing a couple of articles for the Children’s Writer newsletter and conducting a couple of writer’s workshops at a local writer’s conference. I spent the vast majority of my time working on my own writing projects. But when I was approached about writing the Treasure Trove book, it opened a new, significant opportunity for me to share the “tricks of the trade” I’ve picked up over many years. Lacking a teaching background, I had to experiment with and develop methods of motivating my readers to follow my suggestions so they could succeed in a market that I love writing for. Throughout the process of research, writing, and rewriting the book, I realized that I truly enjoyed developing these teaching strategies. I also find that hearing about how my book helps others achieve their goals brings me great satisfaction.

Since the book was published, I have gotten involved in other teaching/ critiquing adventures. I have taught several teleclasses for The Working Writers Club and write a regular column for them on topics of interest to children’s writers. I’ve also written articles with writing tips for Evelyn Christensen’s Writing for Children’s Magazines ezine, and I regularly do manuscript critiques as well.

Q: What is your favorite genre to write in at this point in your career?
A:
Writing rhyming fiction and nonfiction picture books is my absolute favorite. I have so much fun, challenging as they are. That said, I also enjoy writing in other genres – magazine articles, nonfiction books, poetry, and so on.

Q: Describe the journey you’ve taken as a writer.
A:
I started writing professionally back in 1986 after completing the Institute of Children’s Literature’s writing for children course. I’ve always loved to write, and although I did not obtain my college degree in anything related to writing, I decided that doing freelance writing would be a nice part-time career for me when my kids were growing up. I was a stay-at-home mom and homemaker, and much as I always enjoyed this, I also wanted to do something just for me.

I sold the first magazine article I submitted and thought okay, this will be fun. After that I started getting more rejections than acceptances, but still forged ahead even though rejections are never fun. I branched out into writing for all age groups and into doing a bit of fiction along with mostly nonfiction. I started getting assignments from several magazines, a novella I wrote for adults won an award, and I also started writing work-for-hire educational books for educational publishers. Doing this type of work turned out to be perfect for me, because I could accept assignments and do my writing work around my family’s schedule. To this day, most of the work I do is work-for-hire.

Now that my kids are grown, I have time to take on many more assignments than I once did! I started writing rhyming children’s picture books a few years back too, and one was published in 2012 (The ABCs of Health and Safety; Guardian Angel Publishing). A second is under contract. I’ve also written a novel (for adults) and have haphazardly tried looking for an agent to market it. I really need to devote some time to that or it won’t happen, but I much prefer actually writing! And as I mentioned before, I’ve also been doing some manuscript critiques and online teaching. One thing I can say about my writing journey is that I feel blessed to work in a career that I truly love.

Q: What is one word of advice you received as a writer that you would like to share with others?
A:
Professionalism. If you want to succeed as a working writer, being professional in every aspect of your work is key. Don’t view rejections as personal assaults. They are business decisions by editors, so accept them as such and learn from them. Present your work in a professional manner (error-free, typed etc). Be respectful of editors and others with whom you work. Dress like a professional when you interview people or promote your work. Okay, you asked for one word, and I’m going on and on.


Responses

  1. Nice interview, Melissa and Nancy. Thanks for sharing your new book and experiences.

  2. Yes, thanks Melissa, for giving us an inside peek at your writing life, along with info about your helpful resource you’ve written for writers!

  3. Thank you so much for featuring me on your blog, Nancy! Your passion for teaching and encouraging other writers, as well as your impressive body of published works, gives me so much inspiration!

  4. Hmmm… Is that book available in e-book format?

  5. Nancy, what a wonderful and informative interview with Melissa. I give you credit, Melissa, for liking to write in rhyme. It certainly is a challenging genre. Your book sounds so helpful; it’s now on my ‘to get’ list.

    • Thanks for stopping by, Karen. Yes, I enjoy writing in rhyme, but as you state, it is challenging. Sometimes it takes hundreds of revisions to find just the right words and meter!

  6. You inspire me, Melissa! I dream of adding writing children’s books to my ‘bucket’ list but am building my speaker support business presently. Congratulations on your success!

    • Thanks for stopping by, Karen. I hope your speaker support business is going well, and that someday you will find time to realize your dream of writing for children! Hope you don’t mind if I tell everyone else reading Nancy’s blog that you and I have known each other since we were on our high school drill team together – that’s forever ago!

      Melissa

      • What a fun bit of trivia, Melissa and Karen!!!! Thanks for sharing and letting us in our your “secret.” :o)

  7. I love writing non-fiction for kids. I haven’t done much lately, but you’ve nudged me into thinking about that again. Thanks.

    • Glad to hear you’re considering nonfiction again, cleemckenzie. I think the opportunities for publication are greater than for fiction, and I personally enjoy doing nonfiction more than fiction as well!

      Melissa

  8. Thank you, Melissa and Nancy, for this interview. I really enjoyed hearing more about your writing career, Melissa. I’ve been impressed with your articles for my Writing for Children’s Magazines ezine and have appreciated your sharing with other writers from your wealth of experience and knowledge.


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