Posted by: nancyisanders | October 29, 2013

Highlights: Key Resources

I’m getting close to the finish line and I hope you are, too. It’s a little bit scary, but it’s a good feeling, too. Even if my work isn’t good enough to get published in Highlights yet, I know I’m trying to do the best I can do at this point in my career. And that’s a good feeling. I’m growing as a writer.

I pulled out my file with the print outs of Highlight’s “Submission Guidelines” and “Current Needs.” I’m reading over them multiple times to make sure I’m getting everything gathered to include with my file marked “Submissions.”

One of the things Highlights requires to see with a nonfiction submission is a batch of “photocopies of key pages in references.”

There are various items you can photocopy, but I decided I wanted to photocopy the resource I used for each one of the quotes I cited in a footnote. I decided that this would give a nice overview of the key pages I used in my research.

Before I did that step, though, I had one issue to solve.

My opening paragraph. It was bugging me. And it was bugging Jeff, too. We had been talking about it for the last couple of days. Jeff insisted my middle sentence in my opening paragraph should be the first sentence of my paragraph. He teaches how to write paragraphs to his fourth grade students, so he should know. But, I argued, it was kind of a boring sentence and didn’t pack the punch I wanted the first sentence to have.

So we talked about it and talked about it and talked about it some more. He wrote suggestions on my manuscript and I wrote even more. And then finally, it happened. I suddenly knew exactly what I wanted to say in that opening sentence. I used the INFORMATION Jeff knew was important and I added the PIZZAZZ I knew was important and BINGO! The first sentence was a winner. I had to rearrange the other sentences in the paragraph to flow better, but now I was finally satisfied. My manuscript was done. Yay!

Then I got my reference books and photocopied every single page I cited in my article in a footnote for a quote. Next, I made a copy of all these pages for me to keep for my records, too.

Then I got out my pink highlighter and highlighted each quote on each photocopy and wrote at the top of the page which footnote it went with. I stapled each batch of photocopies together according to which book they went with, along with a photocopy of each book’s cover, too. I did the same with the copy I’m keeping, too.

My photocopies were done. I added this batch to my “Submission” folder.

I also started a second pile of duplicates I’m making. I like to make a duplicate of everything I actually submit. I’ll keep this in my “Submission” folder after I mail the actual one in. This keeps me organized.


  1. Hi Nancy,
    Thank you for the insight into this submission. I sent a piece to them last year as a total novice. I left out my bibliography and footnotes and now I see source material. This gives me the thought that I should try again with the benefit of your blog information, thank you, thank you!
    Good luck:)

    • Oh I think that’s a great idea! I have re-submitted manuscripts that previously were rejected to various publishers after I learned how to fix some obvious mistakes I’d made. And they were accepted! So go for it!!!!

      Before you send it in, though, be sure to go back and follow the suggestions in previous posts to make sure it is focused like it needs to be. And don’t send it in until you read the final posts that I’ll put up here in the next week so you can make sure it has everything it needs. Best wishes with it!!!!

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