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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: Category: submitting & rejection
Jul 14, 2017

WHY SUBMISSION GUIDELINES MATTER

Many times, editors finally find time to dig into the slush pile or they open their email and check out submissions and get a disappointing surprise. People send poetry for children to publishers who list “no poetry” right in their guidelines. People send fiction for children to publishers who only publish nonfiction. People send parenting essays to magazines that only publish material for children. Why would anyone send things like this when it cannot possibly result in a sale?

They do it because they never read the magazine or checked out the publisher’s list. They didn’t read the submissions guidelines. They didn’t get our incredible annual guides that give you all the information you could possibly need in order to get published, and/or they didn’t do a search online for information about the publisher from third party sources.
 
They simply didn’t bother.

 

To find what editors do with these submissions and how you can avoid being one of them, listen to the full episode.

 

Do you have questions about how the children's publishing industry works?

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

 

Before you hit send...
Submit your manuscript to our critique service and one of our instructors will give you a full critique to make your story the best it can be before you send it to that perfect agent or publisher. Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

 

Jun 30, 2017

DON'T KILL THE QUERY

Among cover and query letters for children’s fiction, there exists one absolutely killer mistake that is frequently made by new writers. They forget why children read fiction. Most fiction that you write and will sell will not be assigned as homework, so none of the children who read it will be forced to read it. They must want to read it. Editors know this, so the number one thing they want to know about your manuscript is: will children want to read this?

That’s the number one thing you must prove with your query letter.

To learn how to create a query that conveys the fun of your story, listen to the full episode.

 

Do you have questions about how the children's publishing industry works?

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

 

Before you hit send...
Submit your manuscript to our critique service and one of our instructors will give you a full critique to make your story the best it can be before you send it to that perfect agent or publisher. Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

 

Jan 27, 2017

8 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF ABOUT YOUR SUBMISSION
1. Does the title grab an editor’s attention? Does it offer a peek at the tone, subject, theme or unique vision of your story?


2. Is the story appropriate for your target market? Don’t send magazine articles to book publishers. Don’t send fiction to a market that buys only nonfiction. The key to knowing what’s appropriate is research. One way to research is listen to Episode 012-Is-This-a-
Picture-Book?


3. Does the first sentence make you want to read the story? Does something happen in the first paragraph? If you can say “it gets better” about anything to do with your first page, then you need to revise. You only get one chance to grab the reader, so do it right away.

 

For 5 more questions to ask yourself about your submission, listen to the full episode.

Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/036

 

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/

Jan 6, 2017

SCAM PROOFING
If you think of yourself as tech savvy, you probably have virus protection, spam filters of some sort, and pop up blockers. You can chant, “Don’t open unfamiliar attachments” in your sleep. But there are worse things online than viruses and spam.

The Internet is like one of those ancient treasure troves you read about in stories. You can find wonderful things there. Or you can hit the booby traps and you’re trapped in the cave of doom forever. Not good.

A frightening numbers of writers have been scammed. By whom? By the unsavory people who’ve realized that writers can be a great source of funds. Some people have been scammed for thousands of dollars. Some cost you your pride and hope, which is sometimes worse than mere dollars. Writers have been seriously demoralized and made to feel like a fool. Some zealously guard the cheats because they can’t even face that fact that they were made fools of, believing they got exactly what they expected. At whatever level they’ve been cheated, it’s heart-breaking to see it happen to any writer, but especially to children’s writers. So let’s look at some things you really need to know to stay safe as a writer today.

For ways to scam proof your writing efforts listen to the full episode.

Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/033

 

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/

Dec 30, 2016

Today we’re going to talk about submissions. This is a topic that comes up frequently with each new contest. People ask about everything from naming and saving their Word documents to asking if we could rank all the entries. That way people would know where they stood. So, let’s spend a little time talking about the process of submissions.


Our contests were designed by the founders of ICL as a way for people to practice submitting their work to agents and editors. Let’s break down each piece of the contest process and how it applies to submitting to agents and editors.


FORMATTING GUIDELINES
Entries submitted to our contest must follow the guidelines listed in the contest rules page. Manuscripts should be double-spaced with one-inch margins and in Times New Roman or Courier 12-point font.


Why is this important in the publishing industry? It’s important because agents and editors may read hundreds of manuscripts a day, some from their current clients and some from hopeful writers trying to break through. By having a standard, it allows the editor to focus solely on the story and not be distracted by a strange font or hard-to-read size. It also allows them––at a glance––to get a feel for the length of your story. It also ensures that as
your manuscript goes up the publishing chain, formatting isn’t changed because someone’s computer doesn’t recognize the font you chose. Using the proper formatting and font shows you are professional. What did your teachers use to say? Neatness counts! (And it still does!)

 

For a better understanding of how submissions work (for our contest and out in the publishing world) listen to the full episode.

Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/032

 

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.

 

Is your manuscript ready for submission? Get a critique from an ICL instructor.
Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

Jul 15, 2016

Here's my heart.  Go ahead. Stomp on it. | Writing for Children 008

Why You NEED To Separate From Your Work

How to Deal with Rejection - It's Not About You

Anyone in any area of the arts knows it’s difficult to separate yourself from your work. Your writing feels like an extension of who you are. It hurts to hear anything negative said about a piece you’ve written. As long as you’re writing only for your own enjoyment, and not to be published, feeling totally bonded to each thing you produce is fine. But once you begin looking for publication, it can just kill you. Not only does rejection hurt, but every single step in the process of publication has fresh hurt for writers who cannot see the piece they produced as something other than a shard of their soul.

Go to the show notes HERE to get the links to the article included below.

Listener Question of the Week:

Wendy asks:

How do I handle back matter in a picture book? Is it included it in the word count, should the font be different, and how would I include it––as a separate document or within the story?

You can leave your question at http://www.speakpipe.com/WFC. If it’s featured on the show, you’ll receive the fab embroidered ICL cap.

 

Maybe It’s Your Punctuation?

This little PDF about using different punctuation marks is well worth printing out and putting up beside your computer.

 

12 Tips of Creating an Engaging Flawed Hero

Heroes can be tough. We have to be able to connect with them, but no one should be perfect. Here are some great tips to achieve the balance.

 

If Only My Mom Owned the Publishing Company

Rick Riordan on having connections. (Do you have any?)

 

Episode 007 has a question about rejection…click here to listen to the answer.

 

Join us at our webinar!

Click here to register. If you entered the novel contest, it’s free, and if not, it’s basically a $7 lesson from ICL on how to a whole bunch of great stuff every writer should know how to do!

 

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