Posted by: nancyisanders | November 1, 2013

Highlights: Your Resume

After I wrote my cover letter to send in with my nonfiction article I’ve written for Highlights magazine, I printed out a copy of my resume to include as well.

If you’ve never written a resume before to include with your manuscript submissions, you can find out how it’s done in Section 13.1 Manuscript Submissions of my how-to book for writers, Yes! You Can Learn How to Write Children’s Books, Get Them Published, and Build a Successful Writing Career.

No matter what I submit, I always like to include a resume. At various times over the years, editors have offered me contracts to write manuscripts for them based on what they see on my resume.

Don’t worry if you don’t yet have any published credits. Just start writing for the no-pay, low-pay market and you’ll build credits amazingly fast. You’ll find out more about how to do this in Section 5.3 Write to Get Published in my book, Yes! You Can Learn How to Write Children’s Books, Get Them Published, and Build a Successful Writing Career.

And then, guess what I did? I wrote a second letter to the editor at Highlights.

This letter, alone, could be the most important item in my submission to Highlights. This letter, alone, could be the most important item in YOUR submission to Highlights.

This letter, alone, has landed me more contracts to write more manuscripts and has earned me more money than any manuscript I’ve ever submitted anywhere. This letter, alone, could land you an actual contract and earn you actual money from Highlights.

Why?

Because, actually, I have no way of knowing if Highlights already has an article in the publishing queue on the exact same topic as my article. If they do, and they can’t use mine, they’ll send me a standard rejection letter. End of story.

But this letter gives them the opportunity to ask me for a new article on a topic they’re interested in if they like my writing but can’t use that particular article for whatever reason.

Sometimes I refer to this letter as a resume extension. Sometimes I refer to it as a pitch or a query. Whatever we call it, the principle is the same.

In this letter I tell the editor I’ve been studying their Submission Guidelines and their product and was wondering if they’d like a submission on any of the following ideas. And then I list 3-5 ideas for them to choose from.

I highly recommend that you take time to think of ideas to include in this letter and send it along with your submission. To help you write your letter, here is a sample you can download and print out. The blue text explains instructions and tips on writing different sections of the letter. Feel free to copy any part of it that you want to use.

Sample Resume Extension

To learn more about how to brainstorm ideas for this process and write these letters, you can read about it in these sections of my book, Yes! You Can Learn How to Write Children’s Books, Get Them Published, and Build a Successful Writing Career.:

8.3 Brainstorm Ideas
8.4 Contact the Publisher
8.5 Target Practice


Responses

  1. Great idea to include the extra query letter.

  2. This is fantastic advice, Nancy. I’ve kind of put Highlights on the back burner because it seems like a lot of work for a shot in the dark. But your suggestion to include a pitch letter is great advice.

    • Kirsten, I’m glad you like this idea! I’ve landed more contracts via the extra letter or page I include with my submission. I guess it’s like my submission is a sample of my writing and then the list of other ideas gives the editor a chance to choose what she REALLY needs. Plus, by choosing a topic she wants me to write about, she has an investment in the article/book so the editor seems more willing to help me hit the mark if the next submission needs some revision.


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