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Writing for Children: How to Write a Children's Book, Writing for Magazines, Getting Paid for Writing, Getting Published

Do you want to learn how to write a children's book? Make money writing for children's magazines? Every Friday the Writing for Children podcast publishes from The Institute of Children's Literature. Since 1969, ICL has taught over 470,205 aspiring writers. Listen to the director of both The Institute for Writers and The Institute of Children's Literature and bestselling children's author Katie Davis host the show as she focuses on the craft of writing for children. She talks about how to write a children’s book, how to write for children’s magazines, how to get paid for your writing, and how to get published in the world of kidlit. There are listener questions, with answers from the experts at the Institute, plus hard-to-find resources, tips, and links included in every week's show notes.
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Now displaying: March, 2017
Mar 31, 2017

WHAT NOT TO DO

Don’t try to give a manuscript to any editor or agent. If they want it, they’ll ask for it. It’s far more likely they will ask you to mail it to them so they don’t have to pack it. But nothing makes a bad impression on an editor or agent quicker than to have you hand them a manuscript. If the editor or agent shows interest in your work, offer a card with a note on the back saying you’re planning to follow up on the interest with a submission. No manuscripts; really.

WHAT NOT TO WEAR

Choose clothes that are comfortable. You’ll be doing two things a lot: sitting and walking. If your shoes pinch, it’ll be a lot harder to be cheerful and friendly, and being hot and sticky is no fun either. You can go funky, fun, or serious, but again, remember you are making an impression, and you can only do that once… for the first time at least.

WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED TO KNOW?

For more no-nos, tips on freebies you can expect, and what to pack, listen to the entire episode.

Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/045

 

You've got questions. We've got answers.

Let us answer your writing questions on the podcast. Go to this link and leave your question: http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak.

 

Polish up your manuscript before you submit. Get a critique from an ICL instructor.
Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

Mar 24, 2017

WHAT TO EXPECT AT A WRITING CONFERENCE
Many people sign up for writing conferences hoping they’ll send a manuscript home with an editor, or even better, be offered a contract right there at the conference. Has that ever happened at a conference? Probably. But you’re much more likely to come home with a cold than a contract. Does this mean writing conferences aren’t worth your time and money? Not at all. It does mean that you need to know what you can expect to gain from a conference so you can prepare for all it has to offer.

BEGIN BY BEING CHOOSY
When choosing a conference to attend, it’s easy to think “big” is “best.” Some writers start right out with one of the two big national conferences from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators as their first. But these huge conferences can be overwhelming. It’s difficult to connect with other writers in the bustling conference atmosphere (unless you’ve preplanned to meet up with online friends) and virtually impossible to chat with any of the conference presenters (with the huge number of people in attendance, the conference often has to limit contact for the presenter’s welfare). You will receive a wealth of valuable information, but if it’s your first conference, your overall impression may be that you didn’t “do it right” because you didn’t talk to people much.

Smaller conferences can be better because you’ll get more chance to meet other conference attendees, and there is more chance to interact with presenters also. However, not all small conferences are created equal. It’s important to choose wisely. One way to do that is to “check out” certain things.

For more helpful advice on making the most of your conference experience, listen to the full episode.

Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/044

 

You've got questions. We've got answers.

Let us answer your writing questions on the podcast. Go to this link and leave your question: http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak.

 

Polish up your manuscript before you submit. Get a critique from an ICL instructor.
Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

 

Mar 17, 2017

What's an ISBN?

It’s an International Standard Book Number. It’s a unique number code given to books so that anyone who wants to buy or stock a specific book can find that specific book. Bookstores, libraries, readers, publishers, or your fans can search and find your book based on its ISBN.

Every ISBN consists of thirteen digits, though it used to be ten until around 2007-8, and whenever it is printed it actually says ISBN right in front of the number.

You can buy an ISBN through CreateSpace, which means they’ll be listed as the publisher, however, if you ever want your book to be carried by an independent bookseller, spend the money and purchase what you need through Bowker. Why? Bookstores do not usually like to carry books published by Amazon, and Amazon owns CreateSpace. Self-published books, though gaining ground (especially if you produce them correctly by using aprofessional editor and designer), still do not have the caché that traditionally published books have, so you want every advantage you can get.

To hear more about ISBNs including when you do and don't need one, listen to the full episode.

Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/043

 

You've got questions. We've got answers.

Let us answer your writing questions on the podcast. Go to this link and leave your question: http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak.

 

Polish up your manuscript before you submit. Get a critique from an ICL instructor.
Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

 

Mar 10, 2017

IT’S NOT JUST YOU
All writers, whether brand new or seasoned veterans, get stuck sometimes. Even those of us who outline extensively before we begin sometimes realize the plot is simply not working and a new approach is needed. But getting stuck can be paralyzing, especially for those of us who struggle with our inner critic's assurance that we're about to crash and burn at any moment. So having some solid strategies for how to handle those sticky spots will certainly come in handy. With that in mind, here are five tips for pulling yourself out of the rut when you're stuck.


OUT OF THE BOX
Sometimes getting unstuck means thinking outside the box. For instance, when you totally don't know what should happen next, Pixar studio artist Emma Coates suggests making a list of all the things that couldn't possibly happen next. When creating such a list, don't be afraid to be completely silly and outrageous as you add more and more and more things that couldn't possibly happen next. With each item you add, think about why that thing won't work…or maybe it will get your book to go in a fun new direction like the Caldecott honor book Leave Me Alone! by Vera Brogsol. This kind of thought makes you look in directions you've never considered and really forces you to examine any expectations that are keeping you stuck. Sometimes we're stuck just because we're mentally considering something impossible when it's really exactly the right way to go.

To hear all five tips to help get you unstuck, listen to the full episode.

Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/042

 

You've got questions. We've got answers.

Let us answer your writing questions on the podcast. Go to this link and leave your question: http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak.

 

Polish up your manuscript before you submit. Get a critique from an ICL instructor.
Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

 

 

Mar 3, 2017

EXPLAINING THE ADVANCE

As with any profession, writing comes with a lot of profession-specific jargon that turns words we’ve always known into strangers. One such term is the advance.

This is money an author receives at some point after signing a book contract but before collecting royalties. The advance can be a confusing thing for many writers.

What exactly is an advance?

Is it bad for publishing?

Do you even want one?

Do you have to pay them back if your book doesn't do as well as expected?

All of these questions have led to some weird myths about advances.

For help debunking these myths, listen to the full episode.

Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/041

 

You've got questions. We've got answers.

Let us answer your writing questions on the podcast. Go to this link and leave your question: http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak.

 

Does your manuscript need a fresh pair of eyes? Get a critique from an ICL instructor.
Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

 

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