May 22

Your Children’s Manuscript: Synopsis to Submissions

Before you decide to submit a story to a publishing house or literary agency, you’ll need a completed and polished manuscript.

This means your manuscript will have been edited and proofed. It should be in the best possible shape it can be.

Once this is done, you’ll move on to the next phase.

The Synopsis

Your synopsis is what your story is about. According to Jane Friedman, “The synopsis must convey a book’s entire narrative arc.”

It gives the editor or agent a quick look at the entire story, including the ending.

The synopsis is a sales pitch for your book, so it needs to be engaging (grabbing) enough to motivate the editor to want to read the manuscript or at least some chapters.

You’ll need a synopsis for your query letter.

Keep in mind that a synopsis is different than a description or back cover copy. While the synopsis reveals the ending, the description does not.

The description/back cover copy is intended to motivate the reader to read/buy your book. You should not reveal the ending in the description.

The Cover Letter

You’ll most likely need a cover letter if you’re writing a picture book, as most publishing houses want the manuscript sent along with the letter.

The cover letter won’t need as many details, as a query letter because the editor can quickly read the attached or enclosed manuscript itself.

You’ll need a query letter for chapter books, middle-grade, and young adult manuscripts.

The Query Letter

The query letter is similar to the cover letter, only it’s more detailed. The synopsis will tell the editor or agent all he needs to know to decide whether he’d like to see the manuscript of some of the chapters.

More about query letters:

Book Marketing and the Query Letter

The Query and the Author Bio

See below for an example of a query letter.

TIPS FOR SUBMITTING

  1. Study the publishing house guidelines.

It’s super-important to study the publisher’s website guidelines carefully.

Find out if they’re accepting manuscripts in your genre.

You’ll also want to know if they allow you to submit the entire manuscript. If they do, then you’ll use a cover letter.

If they only want a query letter, you’ll use a query letter without the manuscript.

The guidelines page should tell you everything you need to submit to that publishing house.

  1. Unsolicited manuscripts.

If you’re unagented, you need to be sure the publishing house you’re submitting to accepts unsolicited manuscripts.

Unfortunately, the big publishing houses don’t usually accept unsolicited manuscripts. You might consider smaller presses.

But it you’ve met an editor at a writing conference or workshop, or elsewhere and she requested your manuscript, then you have a invitation to submit.

  1. Find complementary books.

If at all possible, review a few of the publisher’s titles. If you can find one or two slightly similar to yours, mention it: I feel my story would complement ones already on your list, especially (title of book). Add it at the end of the paragraph where you’re requesting the editor to consider your manuscript.

The connection could be related to humor, school, social issues, sports, politics, friendship, family, etc. Just be sure not to make up a connection.

A good way to find out if a book is suitable for this is to read the book’s description on the publisher’s site or on Amazon.

If you can’t find any that your book will complement, leave it out.

In its place, put a brief sentence or two as to why you’re submitting to them. It may be that you love a particular title of theirs or something else.

If at all possible, try to make it personal as to why you chose their publishing house to submit to.

  1. The editor’s name you’re submitting to.

When addressing the individual you’re submitting to, try to find the actual editor’s name. You may need to contact the publishing house directly to ask for it. If you can’t find it anywhere, use “Dear Editor.”

  1. Simultaneous submissions or exclusivity.

If you’re submitting to multiple publishers at the same time, pay attention to whether they allow simultaneous submissions or require exclusivity.
If they accept simultaneous submissions, you can submit to other publishers at the same time; this should be limited to five at a time. Just be sure they each accept simultaneous submissions.

If they prefer exclusive submissions, you can only submit to that publishing house. They usually expect three months to decide on a project.

You may or may not receive a rejection letter within that time. Feel free to submit to other publishers after three months if you don’t receive one.

Either way, add a last line before “Sincerely,” mentioning whether it’s simultaneous or exclusive.

EXAMPLE: This manuscript is a simultaneous submission.

  1. The SASE.

If you’re using regular mail to submit your manuscript, include a self-addressed, stamped envelope. (SASE). The publisher’s site will advise whether to submit by email or regular mail.

  1. Submitting via email.

If submitting email, pay attention to whether the publisher wants the query letter and manuscript attached to the email or in the body of the email.

  1. Tools to use.

If you’re a children’s writer, it’d be a good idea to get the most recent edition of Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market.

EXAMPLE OF QUERY LETTER

Author name
Address
Phone number
Email 
Website

Date

Publishing House name
Address or Email (depending on how you’re submitting)

Dear, Editor’s Name,

At twelve years old, Wang wants to be rich, powerful, and famous. He’s done working in the wheat fields with his father. He believes becoming an Eternal will allow him to get what he wants, so he journeys to the Lao Mountains to find them. Becoming an Eternal apprentice is hard work with no benefits, so he decides to leave, but only after learning how to ‘walk through walls.’ With his new magic, he is intent on stealing from the wealthy. About to enter a rich man’s home, he stops. The lessons he learned as an apprentice flood over him. He journeys back to the Lao Mountains the next day to finish his apprenticeship.

Set in 16th century China, WALKING THROUGH WALLS is a 10,000-word chapter book based on an ancient Chinese tale. It is filled with magic, adventure, and subtle lessons on being a good citizen and a good friend.

I would like to submit my manuscript for your consideration. According to your guidelines, I’ve attached the first three chapters. I feel this book would complement other titles on your list, especially, XXXXX.

I’m a children’s author and ghostwriter with clients worldwide. I have three traditionally published children’s books and two self-published books. I have an established author/writer website, and I’m an author online platform instructor with WOW! Women on Writing.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,
Karen Cioffi
References:
https://marykole.com/how-to-write-a-book-proposal 
https://www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-submit-a-book-manuscript-to-an-agent#how-to-submit-your-manuscript-to-an-agent-in-6-steps
I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and coach. I can help turn your story into a book you’ll be proud to be author of, one that’s publishable and marketable.

Contact me at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Or, you can give me a call at 834---347---6700

Or, if you’d rather do-it-yourself, check out my book, How to Write a Children’s Fiction Book.
Social media sharing
May 15

Self, Indie, and Hybrid Publishing – Which is for You?

Most of my clients take the self-publishing road. It’s important, though, to understand what self-publishing means as there are other terms in the arena: indie authors and hybrid publishing.

It’s important to know the difference before jumping in.

Self-Publishing

Self-publishing is kind of a catch-all for anyone who writes a story and takes it through to publishing and distribution.

This includes formatting and designing the book, creating print-ready files and uploading to aggregators like IngramSpark and/or retailers like Amazon for distribution and sales.

This is not to say the author has to do everything herself, she may hire services to help with some of the phases.

All the costs are on the authors’ shoulders.

In this group, creating a book does not necessarily mean the author intends to sell it. It could be for family, friends, a specific event, etc.

This group is a mix of everyone who produces a book on their own whether for sale of not. It includes one-time writers and career writers.

It also includes less than professional writers, those who don’t take the time or put in the effort to learn how to write before putting their name on the book cover and publishing it.

The unprofessional authors in this group is why self-publishing still has somewhat of a stigma to it. There are a lot of terrible self-published books.

Indie Publishing

Originally, indie publishing was a term used for small publishers, like the home-grown, mom and pop publishers that filled in the cracks of the 5 large publishers. And it still is, somewhat.

Lately, though, the term is more in line with the author who does it all on his own.

According to Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi), “An indie author is a writer of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry books who self-publishes their own work and retains and controls their own publishing rights.”

You may pause here and question: Isn’t that the same as self-publishing?

The answer is yes and no.

Self-publishing encompasses everyone who takes control of publishing their book.

But indie authors specifically write and publish with the intent to make money, hopefully to make a living at it. They’re in it for the long haul and take pride in their books.

These authors spend the time and put in the effort to get it right.

-They learn how to write.
-They learn about the genre they’re writing in.
-They learn about revisions, editing, and proofreading their work.
-They learn the process of going through to publication.

This doesn’t mean they do it all themselves. The author may hire a formatter or a designer. And if writing a children’s picture book, she will hire a professional illustrator, unless she is a professional illustrator.

I’m sure some indie authors hire quality publishing companies to help them from formatting to publishing to distribution.

But they are in control and it’s a business to them.

Hybrid Publishing

Hybrid publishing is a newer publishing model.

This publishing path is a combination of traditional publishing and self-publishing. It’s a partnership between the publisher and the author.

The publisher is vested in the author’s success because they invest in the book by covering some of the expenses.

The author covers whatever the hybrid publisher doesn’t cover. How much depends on the company, so always read your contract.

Hybrid publishing provides a more affordable avenue outside of the traditional publishing road, which keeps getting more and more difficult to get on to.

It is important to be careful, though, as there are a lot of scam services out there. Some are vanity presses with a new title. It’s up to you to do your research and know who you’re dealing with.

Look for a service with a track record, one that knows what they’re doing and is in line with industry standards.

A tell-tale mark they’re legit is a quality service will publish under their own imprint with their own ISBNs.

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

Think carefully about how you want to enter the self-publishing arena.

Choose the type of publishing that will work best for you. Sometimes budget is the deciding factor, especially if you’re writing children’s picture books or even chapter books. These books need illustrations which can be costly.

If you take the hybrid road, look for a quality service. The same goes for self-publishing and indie publishing to work with.

There are probably more scam services than legit services out there, so again be careful.

References:
(1) https://www.allianceindependentauthors.org/what-is-an-indie-author/
(2) https://www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-use-hybrid-publishing-to-get-your-novel-published#quiz-0

I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and coach. I can help turn your story into a book you’ll be proud to be author of. You can contact me at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Or, you can give me a call at 834—347—6700

If you’d rather do-it-yourself, check out my book, How to Write a Children’s Fiction Book.

Please Share
May 08

6 Things a Writer Should Always Do

While there are a number of writing tips and processes, below are six of the most important for new authors.

1. Stop. Learn. Jump.

I see it much too often. Authors jump into writing and publishing a book without knowing a thing about writing. 

If you STOP and think about it, anything a person wants to accomplish needs a foundation and building materials to accomplish it.

Want to play the piano?

Guess what. You need to learn how to play.

Want to become an electrician or plumber?

Guess what. You need to learn how to do it.

Want to be in finance or become a nurse, a doctor? 

Again… you need to learn how to do it.

Writing is a skill; it’s a profession just like any other. 

This is especially true when writing for children. There are many additional guidelines to follow in the children’s writing arena.

This process involves spelling, writing mechanics, grammar, and so on. These are the foundation of good writing.

So, stop and think about what you want to do. Then take the time and effort, and if needed, spend the money to learn how to write. The next step is to jump in and write your outline or first draft.

2. Decide how you want to write.

I’m a pantser, usually. This means I fly by the seat of my pants. I jump in and start my story without an outline. I have an idea, then let the story and characters take me on the journey.

Now, this isn’t for everyone. And if you’re writing a novel, it’s probably best to have some kind of outline to guide you from point A to point B.

While I jump in with picture books and chapter books, I do use an outline for middle-grade stories. 

When you’re writing 30,000 to 100,000+ words, there are so many things to remember. It’s not wise to leave the details to chance; it will lead to mistakes.

There’s no right or wrong way to write in regard to outlining or flying by the seat of your pants. Just use whichever process you’re comfortable with.

3. It’s always a good idea to use character sheets (cards).

While character sheets are a useful tool, if you’re writing a children’s picture book of under 800 words, you shouldn’t need them. But beyond that, it’d be wise to create one for each character in your story.

According to Reference.com:

“The term ‘character development’ can be used in literary contexts to refer to the way in which a written character is described and fleshed out.” (1)

Creating your character is the process of adding factors like personality, family and friends, appearance, and the other elements that make your character believable and unique. Even your character’s name matters.

Character sheets help you keep all the details intact. If you forget something about a character, just check the sheet.

And if you create a new quality to the character, add it to the sheet.

4. Pause before acting on information you get online.

The internet lets everyone and anyone offer writing advice. Some of it is excellent, but some not so much.

Keep in mind that someone just starting out on the writing path may decide to give advice on her blog just to keep an active blog.

Be cautious and know who is offering the advice. It’s always best to take advice from an experienced writer with a track record.

5. Revise. Edit. Proof.

Revising, editing, and proofing is a must, but after you actually write the first draft. Let the first draft just flow – get the words down. 

Once you have the first draft, it’s time to revise. 

Revision is the major process in writing. It’s the fine-tuning of the overall story. This process is where you look at the story structurally and logically. It’s making sure all the elements of a good story are there. 

Once you revise the story and it’s where it should be, it’s on to editing.

Editing deals with sentence structure. It makes sure each sentence is structurally sound and understandable.

Finally, it’s on to proofing. 

This is where you get out your magnifying glass to check each sentence, line by line. The job here is to find typos, misspelled words, beginnings of sentences and paragraphs, and so on.

6. Get your work critiqued and accept feedback graciously.

If you’re a smart writer, you will have a critique group or at least one qualified person to review your work. Or you may hire a professional to review or critique it.

It’s just about impossible to see all the mistakes you might have made. Basically, your brain knows what you wrote, and that’s what it’ll see. 

In an article at Wired.com, psychologist Tom Stafford is quoted saying:

“The reason we don't see our own typos is because what we see on the screen is competing with the version that exists in our heads.” (2)

This is why it’s a good idea for a critique group or professional writer to go over your manuscript.

While it’s important to have your manuscript critiqued, it’s also important to accept any feedback graciously. 

This isn’t to say you need to incorporate everything you’re told into your story, but you should take the feedback to heart. If it makes sense, use it. If it doesn’t make sense, don’t use it. You know what your story is about better than anyone else.

(1) https://www.reference.com/world-view/definition-character-development-1a0cb87e27929d2d

(2) https://www.wired.com/2014/08/wuwt-typos/

Need help with your story?
I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and coach. I can help turn your story into a book you’ll be proud to be author of.

Contact me at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Or, you can give me a call at 834---347---6700

Or, if you’d rather do-it-yourself, check out my book, How to Write a Children’s Fiction Book.
Please Share!
Apr 24

Shaun the Sheep and Marketing with Animation

I’ve watched silent movies in the past, and a couple of the ‘oldie’ cartoons (e.g., Tom and Jerry) that had no talking. But I would never have thought a full-length movie for kids, without words,  would work in today’s dwindling attention span society.

Well, I was wrong.

Shaun the sheep has NO talking. No captions either.

The entire 1 hour and 25-minute cartoon movie conveyed the-grass-is-greener concept, conflict, obstacles, heroism, loyalty, and emotions. And, it did it all through actions, through animation.

I took my grandsons to the movie several years ago and the theater had lots of other grandparents with their grandchildren. Every child was captivated, the adults too. In fact, you forgot there were no words – no dialogue.

My 9-year-old grandson (at the time) who has ADD paid attention through the entire movie – and, he didn’t want to go in the first place, thinking it was a baby movie.

I was amazed, not only that it held his attention, but it held my attention. Me, who is always thinking of what I have to do next.

Quite an accomplishment.

This is the power of animation.

And, just imagine if an hour and a half animated movie can hold children’s attention, think how it will hold your readers’ and visitors’ attention on your website in short focused clips.

But, aside from my own viewpoints of Shaun the Sheep, there is research that backs up animation’s benefit in book marketing. 

Some Statistics

According to TippingpointLabs.com:

•	People are 64% – 85% more likely to purchase your product or service after watching an animation/video – that’s a significant boost to your conversions.
•	Visit lengths are another factor that gets a boost. Visitors will stay on your site at least two minutes longer with animation/video.
•	And, there’s the power of YouTube. You’re 53x more likely to get on Google’s first-page for search results by embedding video on your site. (1)

Along with this, another site that is now closed explained that, “Google, Yahoo, MSN, AOL are among the hundreds of Search Engines that give priority listings to websites that host video content.” Taking advantage of tags, descriptions, and any other kind of SEO strategies allowed when publishing the video is another avenue of search visibility.

If this isn’t enough incentive to jump on the animation bandwagon, think about the social media marketing aspect. Sharing and clickthrough rates are increased significantly with video.

Animated videos can be humorous, serious, entertaining, and educational.

Using animation in your marketing, specifically your blog posts, is a win-win strategy that you should be taking advantage of.

For the icing on the cake, according to Hubspot:

•	Ninety percent of the information the brain receives is visual.
•	The brain processes visual information 60,000 faster than text.
•	Videos in posts get 3X the inbound links than posts with only text.
•	Animation (visual content) increases engagement. (2)

If you’d like to try your hand at a free animation tool, go to PowToon.com and click on the FREE option.  (I’m NOT an affiliate, I just think it’s a great marketing tool.)

References:
(1) http://www.slideshare.net/tpldrew/steal-this-slide-ecommerce-video-conversion-rates-statistics
(2) http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33423/19-Reasons-You-Should-Include-Visual-Content-in-Your-Marketing-Data.aspx

This article was originally published at: http://www.articlewritingdoctor.com/2015/08/shaun-the-sheep-and-marketing-with-animation/
Need help with your story?
I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and coach. Let me help turn your story into a book you’ll be proud to be author of.

You can send me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com to discuss your project. Or, you can give me a call at 834---347---6700

Let’s get your story in publishable and marketable shape today!

Or, if you'd rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN'S FICTION BOOK.
 
Writing for children tips
The Writing for Children Ropes - 8 Tips

Are You Overthinking Your Story?

Making Your Book Reviews Work for You

Like thie post? Please Share!
Apr 17

Sell Your Books Face-to-Face

Contributed by Linda Wilson

Pre-pandemic, I was gearing up to arrange a book signing, school visits, and gather materials to sell my books in a booth at local events. At the same time, I was working on creating a viable platform that would introduce the world to MOI.

All that changed, of course, but we indie authors are forever optimists. I’m glad I had to wait. Now, another year smarter, I’ve come up with a much better plan than I ever could have had a year ago, one that I think will be attractive enough to interest local librarians, teachers and parents, and online readers.

Find your Platform: Explore your Deepest Desire

If you need to create a plan and an author platform on how to present yourself as a tour-de-force author, here is an idea. Explore what you’ve done in the past, what you’re doing now, or a skill you’d like to develop; use it as your focus and expand on it.

My focus has turned out to be puppets—a project I pursued when my two daughters were very young, under five years old. My idea at the time stemmed from my elementary-teaching background. I wanted to enhance my children’s creativity. That, and being involved in my children’s lives, worked. My daughters, now in their 30s, are both very creative.

The reason this idea of focusing on puppets hadn’t occurred to me until now is because my first book project was a mystery/ghost series for 7-10-year-olds. Puppets never occurred to me as perhaps in the back of my mind I must have thought that children that age wouldn't be interested in puppets. Rather, I devised a way to present myself in the classroom and at libraries by doing a science experiment, which would illuminate part of the Secret in the Stars story. The ghost in the story appears to Abi Wunder in a cloud. I would create a cloud. I thought of other types of presentations I could come up with, such as a presentation about honey bees, which is a prominent subject in the story. However, I didn’t have much confidence that these ideas would be attractive enough for me to be invited into schools and libraries.

Enter the realization that the one project, the Abi Wunder mystery trilogy, needed more. More book projects. I looked through my files one day and found several stories suitable for possible picture books. Two of these stories have now turned into completed picture books, currently being illustrated, and planned to be published sometime this year.

Expanding into picture books turned out to be key. I have collected the puppet plays and materials I saved from those past puppet presentations, and am creating a plan to write puppet plays from my picture book stories, create the puppets and materials (without a stage, rather the plan is to keep the presentations simple), and make a short list of the first places I would present these puppet plays, with the hope that requests for more presentations would follow. Of course, the Abi Wunder series would become an integral part of these presentations, both in person and online.

Selling Books Face-to-Face, by RJ Mirabal

RJ Mirabal, an adult and children’s author, and member of our SCBWI chapter in New Mexico, gave a terrific presentation on the ins-and-outs of selling our books locally.

After publishing an adult fantasy trilogy, the Rio Grande Parallax Series, a finalist in the NM/AZ Book Awards, in the science fiction category, RJ burst onto the children’s literature scene with the award-winning first book in a series for children, Trixie Finds her People, a story based on his rescue dog. One of five finalists in The Next Generation Indie Book Awards, an international contest honoring independent and self-published books, Trixie Finds her People won first place in the Animal/Pets category; and the book was also a finalist in the New Mexico Press Women’s Writing awards, a regional contest. The next Trixie book will be coming out sometime this year.

RJ’s new children’s series, Dragon Train, is about a dragon who makes an unscheduled stop in a small village because this dragon towing a train is dying of exhaustion. A curious young farmer runs down to the tracks to help her, which sets the young man and dragon on an epic adventure to gain freedom and happiness.  

Open up for Business in your State 

To open for business in your state, there are certain things you need to do. Here are a few examples from RJ’s presentation:

    -Register your business with the state; you will have to pay gross receipts tax for your sales.
    -You may need to register in your town or city, which might require a business license. RJ registered in Albuquerque, NM. Cost: $35.
    -Register your business as a sole proprietorship; you don’t need to register as an LLC.
    -Report your income on personal tax forms.
    -Create a name for your business. RJ's is RJM Creative Arts.
    -Obtain a PO box, a good idea to use as your professional address.

Create your Display:

    -Purchase a portable table and tablecloth to match the mood of your books.
    -Decide how you want to display your books, author swag, a bowl of candy, etc.
    -Have a full-color poster (11 X 17 is an economical size that can be printed at Staples) made to use as a table display.
    -Have a banner made, a long sheet of plasticized paper, to match the banner on your website.
    -Have pictures from yours books, characters, book covers made to display.

RJ has graciously agreed to provide a PDF from his presentation for anyone interested. You can contact him at rjmcreativearts@gmail.com. Learn more about RJ’s children’s books: https://rjthestoryguy.com.

Linda Wilson writes stories for young children. Visit Linda at https://www.lindawilsonauthor.com. Sign up for Linda’s quarterly giveaways. Choose your prize! 
Find Linda’s books at https://www.amazon.com/author/lindawilsonchildrensauthor.
Need help with your story?
Whether you need help with ghostwriting, rewriting, or coaching, let me take a look at your children’s story. Just send me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box. Or, give me a call at 347---834---6700.

Let’s get your idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable and marketable story today!

Or, if you'd rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN'S FICTION BOOK.  
Like this post? Please share it!
Apr 10

Sensitivity Readers – Are They Now a Necessity?

I read an interesting article by Anne R. Allen about whether authors now need sensitivity readers. 

A sensitivity reader will go over your manuscript to find anything that might be considered offensive to someone. 

It could be a word, phrase, representation, or other.

You would usually hire someone who can knows the subject matter and can easily depict the nuances of the particular culture you’re writing about, or the character. The sensitivity reader should also know what’s appropriate and what’s not.

The reason for this type of reader is to make sure characters, scenes, and situations are accurately represented. 
An article at Reedsy explains that “characters must be represented accurately without perpetuating stereotypes. This kind of reader helps by pointing out unintentionally insensitive or incorrect portrayals of race, sexuality, religion, and physical disabilities.”
Along with this, they should be able to check for language. From the article at Anne R. Allen, I learned the word “duh” is racial. 

You wouldn’t want to unintentionally write something that’s in anyway offensive, so a sensitivity reader may be a necessity in today’s sizzling sensitivity environment.

This in essence is a good thing; no one wants to unintentionally hurt any one or a group of people. 

But with today’s angry social media mobs (small in size but highly agitated, ready to attack, and apparently powerful), even the slightest perceived offense that may or may not actually be offensive, it’s also a dangerous thing.

And, what’s worse, as noted in Anne’s article and comments, most of the viral posts are soared into that viral momentum by people who blindly ‘share’ the posts. They don’t take the time to actually read the original ‘possibly’ offensive content that would allow them to make an educated and responsible decision as to whether to share the post or not. It seems Twitter is notorious for this.

But I’m getting sidetracked. The point of this article is that while sensitivity readers are important, they can take it too far and pick your story apart to the point where it’s no longer your story.

Walking Through Walls, based on an ancient Chinese tale, was published in 2012. I fear that if it were published now, it would be torn apart.

While I did tons of research and the original ancient tale was given to me by a Chinese author, I’m not Chinese. 

Right there, I would have a strike against me. 

Next, the main character is a Chinese boy who through most of the story is self-serving, scheming, and selfish. If I had a sensitivity reader go over it, would they have told me I’m somehow stereotyping, even though his culture is not known for this?
 

I’m sure someone, somewhere would have thought this.

Would they have picked at the lack of contractions in the dialogue?

Or, with my Planetman picture book series, might they (the social media bullies) slam the books because I don’t have any girls in it. Or might they find fault because the three superheroes are white? Or maybe a word or phrase might trigger someone’s anger? 

While deliberately offending or hurting someone is despicable, and obviously should not be tolerated, it now seems there are ‘invisible’ lurkers on social media who will find just about anything offensive. And their opinions and viral postings can ruin books, careers, and so on.

These invisible lurkers work hard to cause any trouble they can.

Where does it end?

You should read the article and comments at Anne R. Allen:
https://annerallen.com/2022/03/need-a-sensitivity-reader/ 
Writing Help
I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and coach. Let me help turn your story into a book you’ll be proud to be author of.

You can send me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com to discuss your project. Or, you can give me a call at 834---347---6700.

Let’s get your story in publishable and marketable shape today!
Writing for children tips
Where Does Your Story Really Start?

Deep Point of View

7 Steps to Writing Success Through Positive Thinking
Social media sharing
Apr 03

Two Ways to Format Your Manuscript

Contributed by Linda Wilson

Properly formatting my MG mystery book loomed in the background during editing. The reckoning day arrived. Thanks to children's author Margot Finke I knew who to call upon: the formatting service at Golden Box Books Publishing Services. Margot sang the praises of Golden Box author Erika M. Szabo, who did the formatting for her young teen fantasy, Daisy and Bartholomew Q. She said, "I couldn't be happier with the results. [Erika] also educated me in the ways of correct formatting." Among Erika's many talents: a multi-genre author, Publishing Coach and illustrator.

I fully intended to contact Erika to help me with my formatting needs but decided to Google the subject: "How to format a fiction book," to see what would happen. I clicked on a tutorial by Jill Williamson, an author for adults, teens, kids, and some for the whole family, which she uploaded onto YouTube. I decided to try it.

By splitting my screen with Jill's tutorial and my ms, I went through the steps she explained by pausing, executing, pausing. It took several views to fully understand how to do it all. The biggest glitch was doing the page numbering right, which Jill warned is tricky. 

At the end of the video, she invited viewers to visit her website for a more in-depth description. I found the information under, "for writers: jill's writing and publishing tutorials," and after some trial and error, solved the problem. I am proud of how my ms looks now and feel confident it is correct.

It's been an inspiration to discover both of these terrific authors and their websites, chock full of helpful information for writers.

Check out Jill Williamson's video, "How to Format a Fiction Manuscript," on YouTube, and  Jill's website. You'll be glad you did.

I will call on both of these resources again. The information offered is far-reaching and relevant in today's market. You will find many areas of expertise. My challenge to you? Go for it!
Linda Wilson writes stories for young children. Visit Linda at https://www.lindawilsonauthor.com. Sign up for Linda’s quarterly giveaways. Choose your prize! 

Find Linda’s books at https://www.amazon.com/author/lindawilsonchildrensauthor.

This was originally published at: 
https://www.writersonthemove.com/2017/01/two-ways-to-format-your-manuscript_28.html
Need help with your story?
I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and coach, and can help turn your story into a book you’ll be proud to be author of.

You can send me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com to discuss your project. Or, you can give me a call at 834---347---6700

Let’s get your story in publishable and marketable shape today!
MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN
When Is It Time to Let Your Manuscript Fly?

The Hardest Part of Writing is Actually Starting

Revisions and Editing – Do a Verb and Word Check
LIKE THIS POST? PLEASE SHARE!
Mar 27

7 Steps to Creating a Successful Writing Career

No matter what business or career you’re entering, it starts with a plan.

That plan should include the steps you’ll need to take to get it started, give it momentum, and make it successful.

Now, you may think that you’re not a business owner, you’re simply an author. But if you are selling books, you have a business, even if just a simple sole proprietorship.

So, let’s go over some steps you should take.

1. You need to decide on a genre.

If you already have a genre in mind, you’re ahead of the game.

If you don’t, think about it. You must be drawn to one genre or another. Think about what you read, and what type of people (market) you’d like to write for.

Choose one.

Stick to this one genre… at least for now.

2. Do it right and learn the craft of writing.

While some people think they can write, if you haven’t made any effort to learn how to write, you don’t know how.

Just because self-publishing has allowed anyone to publish a book, that doesn’t mean that’s the way to go.

You should want to be proud of any work you produce. Your book should convey that you know what you’re doing.

Learning the writing ropes is especially true if you want to write for children.

Not only are there genres within genres, there’s an additional set of skills or knowledge needed to write for children.

3. Butt in seat and write.

At this point, you know what genre you want to write in, and you’ve put effort, time, and money (if necessary) into learning how to write.

Now, it’s time to write your book.

There’s a lot of information online about how to go about doing this. Simple get your thoughts into a document or on the paper.

Some authors create outlines of their story before starting into the draft. 

An outline can be helpful. It’s like a GPS from beginning to end. You know what direction you’re heading.

Other authors are pantsers.

These writers go with the flow. They let the story and characters unfold as they go along.

I lean toward being a pantser, especially with picture book, and even chapter books. But with longer stories, like middle grade, I slow the pace and create an outline. 

With longer stories, it’s more difficult to keep track of everything. Having an outline gives guidance. You have a map of where you’re going. While you can deviate from it somewhat, you know where and how to go back.

4. Butt in seat 2–the magazine arena.

If you’re going into the magazine arena, you’ll still need to begin by writing an article.

You’ll first need to do lots of research to see which magazines you’d be interested in writing for. And you’ll need to study their guidelines carefully. 

You’ll also need to research back issues to make sure you don’t query a topic they’ve already done. This research will also give you a feel for what type of stories the magazine wants and how they’re written.

Once you have your direction, start writing.

5. Submit, submit, submit.

If you’re writing books and decided to submit to traditional publishers and/or literary agents, you’ll need to have a polished manuscript. Then you’ll need to write a query letter.

Once that’s done, research publishers and agents who are in the genre you’re writing. Find as many matches as you can, then find out who to address the query to.

Then submit, submit, submit. 

Just be sure the publisher or agent accepts simultaneous submissions.

If you’re submitting articles, it’s a little different. You’ll be writing for a specific magazine, so you’ll be querying one magazine at a time. But this doesn’t mean you can’t query multiple articles.

6. If you’re self-publishing books.

In this case, instead of submitting to publishers or agents, you’ll be getting your books formatted and published.

It’s important to take the same steps as the traditional road. You want your books to be professional. Learning how to write first is critical.

7. Repeat to create a successful writing career.

A one-shot book or article isn’t a career. Whether you write books or articles, or both, keep on writing and submitting. 

8. Promote your book.

This is a bonus step.

Even if you’ve written a professional and engaging book, if you don’t promote it, you won’t sell it.

This also goes for traditionally published books, especially if you’re with a small publisher.

It’s essential to promote your book. Make it visible through blogging, social media, in-person events, and so on.

A subscriber to my email list contacted me that she was selling well at in-person events in her country but had no sales in the U.S.

The lack of U.S. sales is because she didn’t have a website, and she didn’t use social media to broaden her book marketing reach.

While in-person is an effective way to sell books, it has a very limited marketing reach. The internet, on the other hand, has a worldwide reach.

I hope these 8 tips help you to reach a successful writing career.
Need help with your story?
I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and coach. I can help turn your story into a book you’ll be proud to be author of.

Contact me at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Or, you can give me a call at 834---347---6700

Or, if you’d rather do-it-yourself, check out my book, How to Write a Children’s Fiction Book.
Mar 19

6 Writing Mistakes to Avoid

As a children's ghostwriter, I get a lot of drafts from new authors who want to be the author of their own children's book. Unfortunately, most of them are poorly written.

It's easy to see that they didn't put any effort into learning the basics of writing.

What's sadder is that many self-published authors don't even think of having a professional writer look at their work before publishing.

If you’re writing a book, I strongly recommend that you put effort, time, and even money (if necessary) into learning how to write.

To help you on your writing journey, here are six writing mistakes you should avoid.
1. You’ve never studied how to write, but think you can do it.

It’s true there is a lot of information online that can give you writing instruction and advice, and it may help you. But you’ve actually got to study it. 

I read an article equating building a chair to doing anything else correctly, like writing. The chair has four legs, a seat, and a back. How hard could it be to build one, right? But would you risk sitting on it if you don’t know what you’re doing? I wouldn’t.

You don’t know what you’re doing wrong until you know what you’re doing!

If you’re starting out, it’d be advisable to hire an editor or even a coach.

Don’t publish a poorly written book.
2. You’ll get to it when you get to it.

If you genuinely want to write a book, you will need to do the work.

This means you should write every day, or at least have a set number of hours per week to write. Or you might have a weekly word count quota.

If you don’t commit to writing, life will quickly take over and make it nonessential.

Stay focused and committed.

3. Your first draft is good to go.

It’s important to get your story down, but the first draft shouldn’t be published.

Think of your first draft as a starting point. You’ll never know how good the manuscript can be until you keep working on it. 

In the article “The First Draft”, copywriter Demian Farnworth notes, “You’ll make your copy adequate in the first rewrite. Good in the second. Great in the third and fourth. More likely in the fifth and sixth. And beyond.”

This pertains to the fiction and nonfiction writer also. Never assume your first draft is the end-all.
4. You can go from your first draft to your final draft and directly to publishing with no pauses in between.

This isn’t a good idea.

Your brain needs time away from the story before it can see it differently.

Mistakes you glanced over before will become visible when you take a couple of weeks away from the manuscript.

The reason it’s essential to take your tie is because when you’re working on a project, your brain knows what you intended to write, so it will see that instead of what you may have actually written.

I’ve caught many mistakes by giving my brain a breather from a manuscript.

If you absolutely don’t have the time to give your manuscript a couple of weeks, give it at least one week.

5. You don’t need a second pair of eyes before publishing.

You’ve done it right and finished your manuscript. You’re ready to publish.

But, hold on.

Even seasoned writers need another pair of eyes to go over their manuscript before submitting or self-publishing.

It goes back to your brain. It knows what it knows. It sees what it expects to see. 

Just as a safety net, it’s a good idea to hire an editor to go over your manuscript. At the very least, think about hiring a proofreader.

Any work you put out there reflects on you; make it shine. 

6. You don’t need to be on top of marketing your book.

If you wrote your book for you and your family, you’re safe. You don’t need to promote your book.

But, if you want to sell your book, marketing that book is a must.

According to Zippia.com, “Including self-published and commercially published, over 4 million new books were published in 2019.” 

And this just pertains to the US book industry. 

Keep in mind that each year that number increases.

Your one book will easily get lost in a sea of books published daily basis.

Book marketing is a must.
Need help with your story?
I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and coach. I can help turn your story into a book you’ll be proud to be author of.

Contact me at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Or, you can give me a call at 834---347---6700

Or, if you’d rather do-it-yourself, check out my book, How to Write a Children’s Fiction Book.
MORE ON WRITING
Picture Books – Story or Illustrations, Which Comes First? 

Showing vs. Telling
What exactly does it mean to show rather than tell in your writing?

Writing Procrastination: IF and WHEN Were Planted and Nothing Grew 
Tips to Overcome Writing Procrastination
Mar 06

Words Can Influence Your Writing Career

Contributed by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Did you know that habits increase our chance at success--or not?

Habits are influenced by thought patterns which are in turn influenced by the seeds of our subconscious. Those seeds are words. So reaching for success by changing how we think about words as they relate to our progress in life are often espoused by leaders like psychologists and business leaders like Elle Kaplan, CEO and founder of Lexion Capital, an investment management firm.
 
To use our talents more effectively we want habits that nurture our better selves. We want our best habits to dominate our world view, but we can also turn habits we consider destructive into positives. We can do that with the power of words; we substitute words that influence us negatively for those that move us forward. It occurs to me that the process may be easier for writers who already aware of and accept the power of words in our lives. We can make a few words (and habits!) that work against us into words (and habits) that work for us—both consciously and subconsciously.
 
Defensiveness can become curiosity. Curiosity nurtures new ideas, new successes. Curiosity helps in our endeavors to observe details more creatively. Generally speaking, writers have already honed that skill. But curious people also listen more acutely. The asking of questions and the listening to answers are important skills for authors who do public speaking or teaching. Asking questions can get you out of a whole lot of hot water. You may even discover that you have common ground with a heckler!
 
Envy or jealousy are similar to admiration. When we use the “a” word—admire—instead of letting the little green monster take control of our thought patterns, we begin to see how we easy it is to emulate what we admire. That simple change is a positive pattern for growth.
 
Turn procrastination into achievement. Tasks, jobs, assignments sometimes feel like burdens. When you focus on hating them, they are destructive. Instead, rearrange your thinking. Think of them as opportunities for learning. Maybe for learning another skill. Maybe that skill will be organizing our time better. You’ll think of others that might be particularly useful to you as you tackle each of your projects with a different attitude.
 
Turn gut or knee-jerk reactions into level-headed thinking. One way to do this is to avoid making decisions when you are upset, disgruntled, feeling jealous, angry, sad . . . or even overly excited or enthusiastic. This rule has been with most of us since our parents told us not to act until after we have counted to ten. When we substitute the new term for the old, it becomes easier to do. Besides, we now have maturity on our side.
 
Here’s the most important change. And perhaps the most difficult. How many celebrities have we seen get themselves into trouble because they haven’t turned their success into humility? Success follows as your life-skills improve. Why not tape the word “humility” to your bathroom mirror as a reminder of how to handle success. It will happen. Success fosters more success. And you have the power of words on your side.
This post was first published at: https://www.writersonthemove.com/2020/12/new-years-resolution-five-ways-to-let.html

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Author and Book Marketer
Carolyn Howard-Johnson brings her experience as a publicist, journalist, marketer, and retailer to the advice she gives in her HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers and the many classes she taught for nearly a decade as instructor for UCLA Extension’s world-renown Writers’ Program. 
 
Howard-Johnson is the recipient of the California Legislature’s Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award, and her community’s Character and Ethics award for her work promoting tolerance with her writing. She was also named to Pasadena Weekly’s list of “Fourteen San Gabriel Valley women who make life happen” and was given her community’s Diamond Award for Achievement in the Arts.
                           
Need help with your story?
Whether you need help with ghostwriting, rewriting, or coaching, let me take a look at your children’s story. Just send me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box. Or, give me a call at 347---834---6700.

Let’s get your idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable and marketable story today!

Or, if you'd rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN'S FICTION BOOK.
  
Please Share