Posted by: nancyisanders | January 13, 2014

Nonfiction Picture Book: The Triple Crown of Success

So much of writing successfully depends on self-motivation and self-worth. So many writers struggle with these issues…both beginning writers and talented, established writers. I’ve seen writers give up on their writing projects and their dreams. Sometimes they become so paralyzed because of these struggles that they can’t even finish an 800-word manuscript from beginning to end.

I’ve led critique groups and writer groups for over 25 years and I’ve seen writers at all ages and stages struggle with these issues. I’ve struggled with them myself. That’s why I’ve developed a method that helps me be motivated and find worth as a writer and that’s why I’m passionate about helping others like you do the same.

My method is called THE TRIPLE CROWN OF SUCCESS. I talk about it in depth in Chapter 5 of my how-to book for children’s writers, Yes! You Can Learn How to Write Children’s Books, Get Them Published, and Build a Successful Writing Career. It’s a method I started using early on in my writing career that helped me gain a solid footing in this industry. It’s a method I still use today.

In fact, I’m using this method as I’m moving forward along this journey to write an 800-word nonfiction picture book from beginning to end. That’s why I wanted to share this with you today so you can use it, too, and experience success like you’ve not yet done before.

The million dollar secret to the Triple Crown of Success is this:
Use three separate strategies to meet three separate goals.

Goal #1: Earn Income
I just finished one book deadline last week and last week I also signed a contract for a new book deadline in April that I’m going to write. This week I’m expecting to receive yet a third contract for a new book deadline after that. I’m landing contracts before I write the books so that I’m earning income while I write. This is the strategy I use with the Triple Crown of Success for the goal of earning income.

Goal #2: Get Published
I have two deadlines this month for this goal. One is to write an article for an online writing-for-children’s column I contribute to. The other is for a children’s magazine where I’ve been assigned a topic on spec. Both of these will give me published credits this year even tho there is little or no income involved. This is the strategy I use with the Triple Crown of Success for the goal of getting published.

Goal #3: Personal Fulfillment
I always like to be working on a separate manuscript for the goal of personal fulfillment. That’s what this nonfiction picture book manuscript is for me. I don’t have a signed contract. There’s no guaranteed income for this manuscript. It probably won’t get published this year…picture books take a long time to get published.

The benefits of choosing to work on this nonfiction picture book for the goal of personal fulfillment are many. For starters, we can stretch our writing muscles and explore new avenues. We won’t feel we’re wasting our time in hours of research because we’re pursuing this project without stressing out over its financial worth or whether or not it will get published.

We can really dive in and grow as a writer through this whole experience. This can really free you up in areas you may have struggled with before.

I recommend that you classify your nonfiction picture book as a project you’re doing to pursue the goal of personal fulfillment as a writer. No strings attached. Sure, if it eventually gets published, great! And sure, if it eventually earns a nice income, super! But for now, choose other manuscripts and other strategies to work on for the goals of earning income and getting published. You can discover self-motivation and self-worth as a writer working on this nonfiction picture book project for the goal of personal fulfillment as a writer. And that will help you stay motivated and find worth as a writer so that you can finish the first draft from beginning to end!


  1. Nancy this concept has been so helpful to me as I build my writing career. And I love this nonfiction PB series. I’ve been researching an idea for ages, but your series has helped me finally get the draft on paper.

    • Kirsten, I feel so glad that this series of blogs is helping you move forward with this manuscript…and your career! Thank you so much for sharing this today.

  2. I love your book, YES, YOU CAN LEARN HOW TO WRITE CHILDREN’S BOOKS…” This practical, step-by-step guide to earning income while working on a manuscript is helpful and encouraging. I emailed you a photo of my dog-eared copy. I refer to it often while working on a non-fiction picture book. Thanks, Nancy!

    • Thank YOU, Sally, for such kind and encouraging words. And I can hardly wait to see the photo you sent my way!!! How fun.

  3. The non-fiction book series of posts has been really helpful. Thanks.

    • You’re welcome, Rosi!!!! Glad you’re enjoying these. More to come…

  4. Soooo… what do you mean by you signed “a new book deadline in April”? By the way, I’m really enjoying this process and learning, in concrete terms, how to go about getting a good first draft on paper. Thanks!

    • I’m so glad you’re enjoying this journey with us, Meredith! And what I mean by signing a new book contract is that one of the publishers I work with sent me a contract. I signed it to say that I would write the book and send it to them by the deadline which is in April. Does that make sense to you? If not, let me know and I’ll try to explain how that works.

      • I was afraid that’s what you meant!! You really have to research and write a book by April? Wow!

      • Smile. 10,000 words. That particular one is historical fiction, but last year I signed 4 contracts for 10,000 word nonfiction children’s books and had one month to research and write each book. When I first started out, it took me a year to write a historical fiction book of that length. I guess it’s like going to the gym. The more you exercise, the stronger you get. The more you write, the stronger your writing muscles get, too. :o)

      • Meredith, I’m not sure which age range or genre you like to write in, but a turning point came in my writing when I learned to write a middle grade novel in one month. I actually offer a workshop for sale that helps you structure your writing and your schedule to be able to do this. You can find out more about this by starting at this link:

  5. Well, I’m impressed!!! I’ll certainly check out your workshop! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: