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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: general
Apr 21, 2018

TO BUILD A GOOD MYSTERY JUST ASK THE RIGHT QUESTION

This episode is based on a post from Jan Fields, a ICL regular contributor. The experiences I refer to are hers, not mine.

At this point, Jan has sold well over two dozen mystery novels for adults and has written and sold mysteries for children, both as short stories and chapter books. In fact, many of her adventure stories have a strong mystery structure along with the adventure. This is because

  • mysteries are puzzling and kids love puzzles
  • a good puzzle has a clear question and a "right" answer that requires careful thought
  • good puzzles are challenging but not frustrating
  • good puzzles are fun.

But your first mystery story can feel overwhelming to plan and write so today's episode reveals how Jan does it, using a method she’s honed through all these published books and stories.

What's your question?

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.

IFW Critique Service
Don't waste your chance! Before you send your work to an editor, get professional feedback to make sure your manuscript is the best it can be. Get a full critique of your manuscript whether it's a picture book, middle grade chapter book, YA, Memoir, Fantasy, or Adult Fiction. Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

Apr 14, 2018

INTERVIEW WITH A CONTEST JUDGE

In this episode I interview frequent ICL contest judge and longtime instructor Nancy Coffelt. As well as being a multi-published picture book author and illustrator, Nancy is a fine artist and has been showing in galleries across the country since 1984. Her work is included in personal, public and corporate collections around the world. She works in both 2D and 3D, primarily in oil pastel and in paper mosaic. Animals are her main subject matter and Nancy welcomes custom orders! 

Nancy also writes and illustrates books for children. Her books include Catch That Baby, Fred Stays with Me, and The Big Eclipse

 

What's your question?

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.

IFW Critique Service
Don't waste your chance! Before you send your work to an editor, get professional feedback to make sure your manuscript is the best it can be. Get a full critique of your manuscript whether it's a picture book, middle grade chapter book, YA, Memoir, Fantasy, or Adult Fiction. Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

Mar 30, 2018

CHARACTER, SETTING, AND THEME

Today, we’re going to discuss three basic story elements: characters, setting, and theme. Characters, of course, are the lifeblood of fiction, whether they be human or animal. Setting denotes a story’s time and place (sometimes including its weather). There’s the point of the story—its main idea or theme.

Listen to the full episode as we go more in-depth with each of these and how to use each element in the appropriate way for the type of story you are writing.

What's your question?

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.

IFW Critique Service
Don't waste your chance! Before you send your work to a publisher or agent, get professional feedback to make sure your manuscript is the best it can be. Get a full critique of your manuscript whether it's a picture book, middle grade chapter book, YA, Memoir, Fantasy, or Adult Fiction. Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

Mar 23, 2018

UNDERSTANDING THE BUILDING BLOCKS OF STORY STRUCTURE

Inspired by our course, Writing for Children and Teens, we discuss:

• A story beginning establishes a main character and a basic situation.
• The middle develops a problem or difficulty and builds to a climax, which is then resolved.
• The ending concludes the story’s events.
• This structure applies equally to a two-page tale for small children and to a 400-page adult novel.
• The story problem may not take the form of an urgent conflict or challenge.
• Setting up a pre-existing problem.
• Conflict as the element that connects a story’s beginning, middle, and ending.
• What’s wrong with an identical twin or the old, “It was all a dream . . . or was it?” scenario.

What's your question?

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.

IFW Critique Service
Don't waste your chance! Before you send your work to a publisher or agent, get professional feedback to make sure your manuscript is the best it can be. Get a full critique of your manuscript whether it's a picture book, middle grade chapter book, YA, Memoir, Fantasy, or Adult Fiction. Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

Mar 16, 2018

ENGAGE THE READER BEYOND THE FIRST PARAGRAPH

Snagging the attention of a reader so that he or she will sit down with your short story or book can be challenging. We all know that short story illustrations and book covers play a part in grabbing reader attention. This part is often out of the author's hands. The same is true with things like the back of the book blurb. Grabbing that first interest is often a team effort, which is great. We can use all the help we can get. 

But once the reader begins reading, only one person can keep that reader connected and turning pages: the author. Kids have so many things pulling on their attention these days. So how do we keep a reader going past that first paragraph? Here are six tips for doing just that.

What's your question?

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.

IFW Critique Service
Don't waste your chance! Before you send your work to a publisher or agent, get professional feedback to make sure your manuscript is the best it can be. Get a full critique of your manuscript whether it's a picture book, middle grade chapter book, YA, Memoir, Fantasy, or Adult Fiction. Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

Mar 9, 2018

WHAT ARE THE RULES?

If you've tried writing fantasy in any form—picture books, magazine story, chapter book, or novel—you know that a key element of fantasy is that things happen in the story that cannot happen in real life. Thus, you are deciding that your story will violate natural universal laws in some way. Some stories only slip outside the real world a little, and some create a totally extreme world that has little "normal" in it. But all stories abide by rules—you just get to decide what those rules will be.

What's your question?

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.

IFW Critique Service
Don't waste your chance! Before you send your work to a publisher or agent, get professional feedback to make sure your manuscript is the best it can be. Get a full critique of your manuscript whether it's a picture book, middle grade chapter book, YA, Memoir, Fantasy, or Adult Fiction. Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

Feb 23, 2018

HOW TO SUBMIT TO AN EDITOR

When writers don't know how to submit to an editor it's often because they don't think like editors. Writers think about their reasons for writing something. At the submission point, editors do not care what your reason for writing something was. They don't care that you want to encourage children to obey their parents. They don't care that you want to share with kids the joys of playing outside. They don't care what motivated you to write the thing. At some point they might care. That kind of extra information is interesting. But at the query or cover letter stage, editors only care about whether they want to buy this piece. So what kinds of things will influence whether an editor will want to buy something? Let's explore that in today's episode.

What's your question?

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.

IFW Critique Service
Don't waste your chance! Before you send your work to an editor, get professional feedback to make sure your manuscript is the best it can be. Get a full critique of your manuscript whether it's a picture book, middle grade chapter book, YA, Memoir, Fantasy, or Adult Fiction. Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

Feb 16, 2018

THE SECRETS TO SAMPLES

Many who write for educational publishers are very familiar with samples. These are the bits of writing publishers use to judge whether you're a writer who can do the job for them. If you've never handled writing samples, they can be scary. How do you know if the sample you're sending will wow the publisher? What about reading levels? The questions and fears can build to the point that you let a great potential opportunity pass simply because you were too scared to try. So let's tackle samples and how to handle them.

What's your question?

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.

NEW Expanded Critique Service
We've just expanded the IFW Critique Service! You can now get a full critique of your manuscript whether it's a picture book, middle grade chapter book, YA, Memoir, Fantasy, or Adult Fiction. It's time 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/

Feb 9, 2018

WHAT'S YOUR PLAN?

There is nothing like the thrill of finishing a story or article or book. You're worked hard on it, you know it's the best you can do, and you're probably still a little in love with it. Now all you have to do is send it out. So you scramble for an agent or market. You discover it's harder than you thought to find a place that really fits with what you've written, and that's discouraging. But you pick somewhere. It fits okay. You send it out. And then you either haunt your mail––whether digital or snail mail––a lot. For days, weeks, maybe months.

And then you get a response. It may be a rejection. So what do you do next? (I mean, besides mope?) It may be an acceptance. But are you sure you want to go with that agent? That publisher? How much did you know about them? What do you do next, besides panic? Or maybe you don't get any response.

What do you do, wait forever?

The complexities of submission are why it behooves every one of us to have a submissions plan. To develop yours, listen to the full episode.

What's your question?

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.

NEW Expanded Critique Service
We've just expanded the IFW Critique Service! You can now get a full critique of your manuscript whether it's a picture book, middle grade chapter book, YA, Memoir, Fantasy, or Adult Fiction. It's time 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/

Feb 2, 2018

TOP 3 SUBMISSION TIPS

In this episode, I interview author and 12 x 12 founder Julie Hedlund. Along with Emma Walton Hamilton, Julie co-created the Complete Guide to Picture Book Submissions. With experience on both sides of the submissions desk, they know what makes a query stand out—in any genre.

Julie Hedlund is an award-winning picture book author, 21st century publishing expert and founder of the 12 x 12 Picture Book Writing Challenge. Since 2012, 12 x 12 has encouraged thousands of picture book writers to get their stories out of their heads and onto the page. Julie is a frequent speaker at writing retreats and conferences. Her picture book credits include My Love For You is the Sun and A Troop is a Group of Monkeys. She developed The Complete Picture Book Submissions System with Emma Walton Hamilton and is one of the founders of Picture Book Summit, a yearly online conference for picture book writers from around the world.

Julie also developed content for our new Writers' Block membership! Check out how the Writers' Block can help you achieve your writing goals this year. Click here!

What's your question?

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.

NEW Expanded Critique Service
We've just expanded the IFW Critique Service! You can now get a full critique of your manuscript whether it's a picture book, middle grade chapter book, YA, Memoir, Fantasy, or Adult Fiction. It's time 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 26, 2018

WHEN THE IDEAS WON'T COME

One of the questions writers tend to be asked a lot is "where do you get your ideas?" Of course, two other questions are "can you read something for me?" and "can you pass this on to your publisher/ agent?" but let's stick with the question of ideas.

Ideas are both the most valuable and the least valuable thing a writer can have. They are valuable because an idea is the seed from which a story grows. They are the least valuable because no one is paying you just for having an idea. It's the execution that brings in the cash. And few ideas are completely original. We build on the culture and work of those who came before us, even when we think we're not.

Still, it all starts with an idea. So where do they come from? Ideas grow out of all the things you've encountered or heard about in your lifetime. And each of us lives a different life, so each of us has ideas that are just ours. But each of us lives as part of a larger community (even when we're a bit hermit-like) so each of us has ideas that have connections to the community and culture in which we live.

Now, that sounds reasonable, but the process of teasing an idea out of our brain can sometimes be tricky.

Listen to the episode for tricks on getting those ideas to make an appearance.

What's your question?

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.

NEW Expanded Critique Service
We've just expanded the IFW Critique Service! You can now get a full critique of your manuscript whether it's a picture book, middle grade chapter book, YA, Memoir, Fantasy, or Adult Fiction. It's time 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 19, 2018

WILL SOMEONE STEAL YOUR IDEA?

Writers sometimes worry that someone will steal their idea. It's rare. If a publisher sees an idea that suits their publishing line and is executed really well, it's improbable they do anything but buy it.

But if they see an idea with amazing potential that isn't realized in the story––well, it is possible to be unethical and go looking for an author who can make that idea blossom. Still, one of the best ways to protect your idea from creative theft is to execute it well. In other words, your hard work doesn't stop at coming up with a good idea.

It begins there.

What's your question?

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.

NEW Expanded Critique Service
We've just expanded the IFW Critique Service! You can now get a full critique of your manuscript whether it's a picture book, middle grade chapter book, YA, Memoir, Fantasy, or Adult Fiction. It's time 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 12, 2018

WHERE DO IDEAS COME FROM?

It is a common question that is difficult to answer.

Ideas are elusive and their sources hard to pin down. In her guidebook Take Joy: A Writer’s Guide to Loving the Craft, Jane Yolen, prolific author of more than 300 books for children and young adults, reflects, “How much easier it would be if there were some central warehouse where ideas were stored, waiting to be claimed.”

Alas, this is not the case. Yolen offers the image of writers as idea archeologists. “We gather the forward and backward remnants of our own and others’ histories, mining the final part of that word: histories. What we find there is always a surprise.”

CAST A WIDE NET

“Generating new ideas isn’t something that can happen in a vacuum. Be aware of the world around you, read the news, pay attention to children and what they are interested in, and think of ways to inform that are fun,” suggests Debra Hess, former Senior Editor at Highlights for Children.

“Listen to and watch the people around you for inspiration,” advises Scholastic Editor Emily Seife.

“The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas,” says Literary Agent Emily Mitchell (Wernick & Pratt Agency LLC).

For more thoughts on idea mining, listen to the full episode!

What's your question?

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.

NEW Expanded Critique Service
We've just expanded the IFW Critique Service! You can now get a full critique of your manuscript whether it's a picture book, middle grade chapter book, YA, Memoir, Fantasy, or Adult Fiction. It's time 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/

What's your question?

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.

NEW Expanded Critique Service
We've just expanded the IFW Critique Service! You can now get a full critique of your manuscript whether it's a picture book, middle grade chapter book, YA, Memoir, Fantasy, or Adult Fiction. It's time 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 6, 2018

FROM SELF-PUBLISHED TO PUBLISHER

In this episode, I interview bestselling, self-published children's book author and publisher Maria Dismondy.

Award-winning author and founder of the publishing company, Cardinal Rule Press, Maria Dismondy inspires and educates others in the book industry. Maria’s background in early education and research enables her to touch lives the world over while touring as a public speaker in schools, community forums and at national conferences.

Maria also developed content for our new Writer's Block membership! Check out how the Writer's Block can help you achieve your goals in the new year. Click here!

What's your question?

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.

NEW Expanded Critique Service
We've just expanded the IFW Critique Service! You can now get a full critique of your manuscript whether it's a picture book, middle grade chapter book, YA, Memoir, Fantasy, or Adult Fiction. It's time 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/

Dec 15, 2017

HAPPY NEW YEAR: NOW WHAT?

The New Year is galloping toward us at an alarming rate. Are we ready for new challenges and the work to meet them? For many of us, preparing for the New Year means setting goals. Now, goal setting can get us in trouble as we either set unrealistic goals, goals dependent on the behavior of people and factors outside our control, and goals that reflect what we think we ought to do rather than things we are actually motivated to accomplish. This year, I've decided to pursue a new method of setting goals based on the things that have been the most rewarding for me in the past. I thought you might be interested in this six point process.

Listen to the episode for all six points!

What's your question?

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.

NEW Expanded Critique Service
We've just expanded the IFW Critique Service! You can now get a full critique of your manuscript whether it's a picture book, middle grade chapter book, YA, Memoir, Fantasy, or Adult Fiction. It's time 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/

Dec 8, 2017

A KIND ASSESSMENT OF YOUR YEAR (AKA DO NOT USE YOUR PAST YEAR TO BEAT YOURSELF UP)

For many of us, as the end of the year creeps closer, so does the inevitable assessment.

• How did I do at meeting my goals?
• Where did I fall short?
• Why did I fall short?

And those are perfectly reasonable questions as long as they’re not used as a stick with which to beat ourselves up.

For many of us, the yearly assessment looked good for the first month or so. And then we began to slide farther and farther from the goals we'd intended to meet. And as we slid, so did our morale. For many, goals are completely abandoned by Fall and the self-condemnation begins.

What does it mean when we don't reach our goals and what should we do about it? Listen to the full episode to find out.

What's your question?

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.

NEW Expanded Critique Service
We've just expanded the IFW Critique Service! You can now get a full critique of your manuscript whether it's a picture book, middle grade chapter book, YA, Memoir, Fantasy, or Adult Fiction. It's time 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/

Dec 1, 2017

ARE YOU FEELING WRITER'S HIBERNATION?

It's been my experience that one of two things happen this time of year. Editors work in a white-hot frenzy to clear out all submissions before holiday break (so things you've been waiting to hear back about forever may suddenly pop up with responses) or editors become covered over with all the “stuff" that comes around this time of year and anything you submit basically gets an extra month or two added to the response time. So, I said all that to say: it can be frustrating. It's better to stay flexible this time of year.

Editors are not the only ones frustrated by the busy stuff this time of year. As writers, we are often trying to cram a little bit of writing in a day already packed to the gills. Some of us, just give up and spend the winter on a kind of writing hibernation, planning to get back in the swing of things when our blood warms up. Others only hibernate until January 1, when New Year's Resolutions push us into a frenzy of writing.

Whether you're getting any writing time or not, you're probably feeling guilty. Let's talk about that in today's episode.

What's your question?

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.

NEW Expanded Critique Service
We've just expanded the IFW Critique Service! You can now get a full critique of your manuscript whether it's a picture book, middle grade chapter book, YA, Memoir, Fantasy, or Adult Fiction. It's time 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/

 

Nov 24, 2017

WHO'S ACCEPTING SUBMISSIONS?

There's is a lot of research that goes into figuring out which publishers and agents to submit to when your manuscript is ready. In this episode, Katie interviews Marni McNiff, the editor of the ICL Market Guides.

The Book Market Guide for Children's Writers and the Magazine Market Guide for Children's Writers comes out each year with updated information and new listings for publishers and agents. Marni and her team have done the legwork to help you find the perfect home for your stories.

Marni gives tips and tricks for using the Market Guides as well as a behind-the-scenes peek at how the guides are put together. If you're going to be ready to go out on submission in the coming year, don't miss this episode.

What's your question?

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.

NEW Expanded Critique Service
We've just expanded the IFW Critique Service! You can now get a full critique of your manuscript whether it's a picture book, middle grade chapter book, YA, Memoir, Fantasy, or Adult Fiction. It's time 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/

Nov 17, 2017

I'M GRATEFUL FOR WRITING

Writing for a living can be scary, frustrating, exhausting, and just plain hard. And things like rejection or lack of support from the people around us can cause us to lose sight of all the wonderful things about writing.

So, since Thanksgiving is a great time for meditating on good things: here are some of the things I'm most grateful for relating to writing.

I'M THANKFUL FOR READERS
Without readers, writing can still be a wonderful pastime. It can help you make sense of the world around you and within you. It can help us work through pain. It can let us relive joy. But all of those things are heightened when you bring readers to the table. Readers make the things we write bigger, because the reader brings thoughts, loves, hates, and beliefs into the reading experience and that means the words I write, or you write, can expand beyond our imagination. And readers give us an opportunity to effect. There are few things I enjoy more than making readers laugh or scare them silly or making them think. Readers rock. I'm so glad to have them.

For more of what I'm thankful for and inspiration to start your own grateful list, list to the full episode.

What's your question?

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.

NEW Expanded Critique Service
We've just expanded the IFW Critique Service! You can now get a full critique of your manuscript whether it's a picture book, middle grade chapter book, YA, Memoir, Fantasy, or Adult Fiction. It's time 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/

Nov 3, 2017

REWARDS AND CHALLENGES

Long ago, researchers were studying how creatures react to reward. They learned that if you put a "reward station" in a rat's cage and have a treat appear every time the rat pushes a button, the rat will push the button a lot at first, then taper off. Eventually, he'll push the button only when he wants a treat and his desire for the treat seems to lessen over time. But if you have the reward station only produce a treat sometimes, and give nothing the rest of the time, the rat will actually push the button a lot more often and that frequency will never taper off.

The whole model of action/reward is one to consider as a writer, especially a new writer. If you can write things that aren’t necessarily your favorite type of writing to do, you may get more rewards than failures. How? How-to, actually. Say you write a lot of how-to pieces. If you’re able to sell them to magazines, and are having a much harder time selling your fiction, the publication experience with the how-to pieces can give you enough reward to pull you through those dark, rejection blues.

I think this is something that can have value for any writer. If you’re getting the blues about the struggle to publish a picture book or the rough job of finishing a novel, consider taking a small break and doing a piece
 that will give you a treat at that reward station. You could write for a no pay market or write an essay on your writing journey as you've been living it and consider one of the online markets for it. You could offer a guest
 blog post on writing to a writing site. During the tough times, these rewards can be enormously helpful to morale.

What's your question?

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.

NEW Expanded Critique Service
We've just expanded the IFW Critique Service! You can now get a full critique of your manuscript whether it's a picture book, middle grade chapter book, YA, Memoir, Fantasy, or Adult Fiction. It's time 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/

Oct 27, 2017

WHO'S ACCEPTING SUBMISSIONS?

There's is a lot of research that goes into figuring out which publishers and agents to submit to when your manuscript is ready. In this episode, Katie interviews Marni McNiff, the editor of the ICL Market Guides.

The Book Market Guide for Children's Writers and the Magazine Market Guide for Children's Writers comes out each year with updated information and new listings for publishers and agents. Marni and her team have done the legwork to help you find the perfect home for your stories.

Marni gives tips and tricks for using the Market Guides as well as a behind-the-scenes peek at how the guides are put together. If you're going to be ready to go out on submission in the coming year, don't miss this episode.

What's your question?

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.

NEW Expanded Critique Service
We've just expanded the IFW Critique Service! You can now get a full critique of your manuscript whether it's a picture book, middle grade chapter book, YA, Memoir, Fantasy, or Adult Fiction. It's time 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/

Aug 26, 2017

HARD TIMES HAPPEN

People often tell me how lucky I am to make a profession from something I enjoy deeply. And I am thrilled that this has been possible for me. I love being a writer. Except when I don't. No profession is made up of only happy days. Since I line up deadlines, I then I have to meet them. All of them. Some days, that's hard. Some days the words not only don't pour out of me, they don't even dribble. Some days, it just feels too hard. And that's when the professional side is going well. There are also the surprises, like when a publisher cancels a project you've been working on or decides not to publish something they've already said yes to. Those days are rough.

For writers who have been published, and especially for those who have been published with some regularity, it can be difficult to talk about the hard days. You don't want to sound ungrateful. And you don't want to sound like you're actually whining about your success, or bragging through complaining. There are lots of ways to be a braggart and none of us want to fall into any of those. So it can be easy to let the hard days isolate you from other writers. But the community of writers is sometimes the only support we have, so we need to work through the hard days as well as dance through the good ones.

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.

Is your manuscript submission-ready?
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/

Aug 4, 2017

Picturing Picture Book Summit

My guest today is fellow Picture Book Summit Co-Founder Julie Hedlund. This episode is a rebroadcast from my previous podcast Brain Burps About Books. In this interview, we talk about how Picture Book Summit came to be and what you, as a picture book writer, can learn from an online conference.

If you're curious how an online writing conference works, you're in luck! We are hosting a FREE Mini Summit on August 22, 2017. In "Don't Write Your Grandma's Picture Books," the Picture Book Summit Team will reveal how music, movies, and media have changed the ways kids read picture books, how kids today are in search of more sophisticated humor and shorter pacing, and how nonfiction has drastically changed in the last decade. 

You can see all the details at

http://bit.ly/PBMini2017

 

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.

Is your manuscript submission-ready?
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/

May 19, 2017

FUN WITH SOUND
One way to add bounce to your writing is to play with sound. You can choose words that depict sounds like bump, crash, bang, or gong–that’s called onomatopoeia. Which means the word sounds like what it is, or the sound it’s making, like “zip.” Or you can play with sounds within words. That can be more subtle, but still lots of fun.

Alliteration is the repetition of similar word sounds, and can take the form of assonance or consonance. When a vowel sound is repeated, it is assonance; repeated consonants create consonance (which is often identified as simply alliteration).

Listen to the full episode for more fun ways to use sound in your stories. Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/052

 

What's the writing question you have but are afraid to ask?

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.

 

Does your manuscript need a fresh set of eyes?
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. Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

May 12, 2017

GET CRAFTY!

Crafts are one of those things that many writers don’t really consider when coming up with a publishable project. But the magazines that use crafts, need a steady stream. The reason crafts are a staple of many children's magazines is because they help to make content interactive. They don’t just offer a story or article, but let the child move beyond the magazine to create something new. Interactivity is a goal of many magazines, work that engages the reader and also leads to the reader doing something. A craft can fit this bill. Also, crafts and other hands-on creative activities are particularly popular with the “maker movement” that has taken over popular culture.


Craft how-to articles are not difficult to write, either, and you can be paid for them. In fact, writing a craft article has a lot in common with writing a recipe. You usually have a list of ingredients (materials and tools needed) and a list of directions.

Listen to the full episode for three keys to an effective craft for children’s magazines. Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/051

 

What's the writing question you have but are afraid to ask?

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.

 

Does your manuscript need a fresh set of eyes?
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. Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

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