Feb 20

Writing Conflict in Children’s Stories – Two Basic Types

Conflict in kid's stories
There are a number of elements to writing a good fiction story, but one of the most essential ones is conflict.

Conflict is what gives the main character (MC) a run for his money. It’s a road block stopping the MC from reaching his goal. And that goal can be anything from getting a new bike to starting a new relationship to staying safe from a tsunami. 

It’s the conflict that keeps the reader engaged. It keeps her involved, connected to the MC, and turning the pages. 

Conflict drives the plot forward.
So, what are the two basic types of conflict in children’s writing, and what are some secondary conflicts?

To start, think of conflict as having two camps: internal and external.
INTERNAL CONFLICT
According to an article at Bryn Donovan, “Internal conflict has to do with psychological barriers to a decision or a goal. If a struggle takes place in the character’s mind…or heart…then by definition, that’s an internal conflict.”
Internal conflict includes:

-Coping with a move to a new school 
-Coping with a divorce
-Coping with an illness 
-Wanting friends
-Battling fear and anxiety
-Fighting peer pressure
-Struggling with a moral dilemma
-Wanting something (a pet, a bike, joining a team)
EXTERNAL CONFLICT
An external conflict comes from an outside force or forces that are beyond the MC’s control. She struggles to overcome the conflict.

You might think of Superman and Lex Luther (his nemesis). I know I’m dating myself, but there’s also Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty. Or the movie “Cast Away,” where the MC is stranded on an island. You could also think of the movie “Jaws.”

There are three fundamental types of external conflict: nature, antagonist, and society.

These three types can include:
-Natural disasters (earthquake, hurricane, tidal wave, tornado, a pandemic)
-A bully or enemy (antagonist)
-A school or team that lacks inclusion (societal)
Is Your Main Character Limited to Only One Type of Conflict?
While most conflicts will start the story as an internal or external conflict, they often end up having both internal and external conflicts.

-Say Christian wants a new bike (internal). He figures out how to get it – the plan is to earn the money doing lawn work. The problem is another boy works the territory and makes it difficult for Christian to make money (external).

-Or, maybe Lucas just moved to a new neighborhood and new school. He copes with the move (internal), but a bully makes his life miserable (external). 

Along with this, the fundamental conflict can cross over to other conflicts.

Say there’s a hurricane and Anthony finds a safe place to wait it out only for it to be taken over by someone bigger and stronger. Now you have nature (external) and an antagonist (external) as conflicts.
According to Industrial Scripts, “External conflict feeds into and creates internal conflict within the characters who have to deal with it. Internal and external conflict need each other to survive and it’s in this relationship that drama thrives.”

Life is messy, with possible multiple internal and external conflicts in any given scenario. It’s the same with your story’s main character.
Writing Help
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.
  
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Feb 06

Tips on Using Your Amazon Toolbox

Book marketing
Contributed by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Excerpted in part from the third book in Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers, How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career.

You need only a few essentials in your Amazon toolbox to build the traffic crucial for your reviews to be seen—the reviews that will convince readers to buy your book. I believe reviews are the most important tool available—even more important than search engine-friendly keywords across the web. After all, you must have a “convincer” once readers are looking right at your beautiful book cover.

My book—the third in my multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers—How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career  helps you get the reviews that influence Amazon’s sales ranking, That ranking influences Amazon’s other logarithms that affect sales across their site!

Amazon sales rankings are dandy little aids for evaluating how your book is selling. Not that you should fixate on that, but having an indicator that your book might need a little sales boost is nice. And—when those ratings are nurtured—they prod Amazon’s algorithms to lead people who read books similar to yours to your Amazon buy page.

The problem is that most authors and publishers know little if anything about how those rankings come about. That isn’t their fault because I doubt if Jeff Bezos, the brains behind the entire Amazon model, knows exactly what his algorithms measure. If they’re anything like the rest of the Amazon site, they change from day to day anyway. You don’t need to know the magic behind them; you do need to know what they are and how to prod them a little:
1. Find your sales ranking (or rankings) on your book’s buy page under “product details.” Often called “metadata,” these details are the specifics for your book like ISBN, publisher, number of pages, etc. Scroll down a bit to find this section on your page.

2. If you have a ranking of 24,800, that means that 24,799 books listed in your category are selling better than your book and that up to millions of books in your book’s category are selling less well.

3. The lower your sales ranking number for your book the better. Sales rankings for your Kindle (your ebook) page will not be the same as the one on your paperback page.

Note: When the pages for your paper book and ebook are digitally connected properly, your reviews and the other sales tools Amazon offers may be the same on both pages. (There should be a link on each page pointing to the other—you may have three, paperback, hardcover, and ebook. But don’t count on it, check!)

4. If you market and promote, your efforts may lower those rankings (lower is good!). If so, celebrate because this doesn’t always happen. Sometimes the marketing you are doing does not improve your rating much or at all, though it should contribute to your overall branding effort.

5. Don’t try to translate a better ratings to the number of books sold. Algorithms are a lot more complicated than that.

6. Sales rankings fluctuate (sometimes wildly) during the day, so don’t hurry to celebrate or panic unnecessarily.

Warning: Do not spend a lot of time checking your ratings. They should be used as indicators. It’s best not to obsess, but if you can’t avoid it, Bookbuzzr.com and others provide services available for pinging ratings to you in your email box.
So, now you know the basics about sales rankings and have an inkling about how important book reviews are, here’s your nudge! Learn as much as you can about getting reviews ethically (and free!) using my Great Book Reviews book. It’s fat, but MSNBC has a saying, “the more you know.” When considering the health of your book, that would be rewritten “the more you know about reviews, the better your sales, the better your career-building efforts.” 

To get started today, go to your Author Central feature and start poking around. 
-Install your author page or author profile if you haven’t already.

Use the build-your list-feature. If you have only one book, that’s OK. Add it.

-If you have first and second editions of a book, contact the Amazon Elves with the contact feature (email or phone) and have them install a widget that points readers from the first edition to the second so they get your best, up-to-date work.

-Now go to your KDP account and find the place that lets you add reviews yourself. Yes, yourself. Choose your best, most prestigious one of under 4,000 words and post it.

-While you are there, note that this feature lets you post more than one review yourself.

-You’ll also see there are other self-post features. You can even add a note from you directly to your prospective reader. You can add a synopsis or pitch from the back cover or flyleaf. You can add endorsements or blurbs (your copy of , How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career will help you do a professional job of getting these by excerpting from everything from your fan email to your reviews.)

And, How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically will also help you keep getting reviews for as long as you want to keep your book alive. That goes for all online reviews including the ones your readers post on your Amazon page, use for their blogs and Goodreads and on and on. I call them “forever reviews.” Forever reviews can be your frugal path to making your book a classic.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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. The series includes The Frugal Book Promoter, now published in its third edition by Modern History Press, and her The Frugal Editor.
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. Find her Amazon Author Page at http://bit.ly/CarolynsAmznProfile.
This article was published first at:
https://www.writersonthemove.com/2020/01/heres-forever-review-getting-nudge-your.html
NEED HELP WITH YOUR AUTHOR PLATFORM?
Build Your Author/Writer Platform is a 4-week in-depth and interactive e-class through WOW! Women on Writing and covers all the tools you’ll need to build visibility and traffic, and boost sales. I'm the instructor!
 
CLICK THE LINK BELOW to find out all it includes!
http://wow-womenonwriting.com/classroom/KarenCioffi_WebsiteTrafficInboundMarketing.php 
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Jan 23

How to Keep Your Writing Moving Forward

Writing Tips
Contributed by Regina Montana
Ever get stuck thinking of what to write next? Ever afraid the next idea just won’t come?

Well, here are two ideas to release you, dear writer, from the stress of what to write next or how to get your protagonist from point A to point B.
1. Get out of yourself and learn a new skill
I’ve mentioned this numerous times to friends and family, I have always wanted to learn the organ.  I have very basic piano skills that I learned as a teenager.  I can play a simple piece as long as there are just a few sharps and flats.  So, the opportunity recently arose for me to learn the organ.  

How could I refuse? My pastor said I could practice on our chapel’s small electric organ.  In return, I would try out my skills before mass this summer while people are entering and exiting the church.  So I would just provide some uplifting music before the services began.  

I would have almost 6 months to get my skills up to par.  It is said that when we try different things, we often hone our skills in our target area, read “writing ability.”  As I write this blog post, I await my first organ lesson next week.  I will keep you posted as to how it progresses.  
2. Volunteer.  Do one small thing for someone else
In his book Life is Messy, author Matthew Kelly writes about what constitutes the good life.  People often think it is about achieving material success: a big house, a nice car, travel opportunities and the perfect job.  He does not discount these things unless these things are “all you’ve got.”  

The last two pages spell out the answer.  Fill your life with goodness.  So what does that consist of?  The author says that to live the good life, we must give of ourselves by being kind, generous, helpful and well, yes, good.  But good in a staggering way.  

We all have gifts waiting to be tapped.  When we use our gifts and give of ourselves, we are lifted up and get a real sense of the good life.

And, by implementing these two ideas, we can lighten up and declutter our minds by focusing on new projects and helping others.  Then, voila!  That empty space might just fill up with inspiration, and, with some luck, the perfect ending for your children’s book.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Regina is a children’s literature writer of poems and picture books. She has written for the ezine Kids Imagination Train, and is a member of Children’s Book Insider where she contributed two articles to, as well as a member of SCBWI.  Regina is also a teacher with a Master of Education Degree.  She has raised two children of her own and is now a grandmother of 5 who give her lots of ideas when she listens carefully.
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.
 
MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN
12 Tips on Polishing Your Novel


Don’t Worry About Writing Failures


What Does Fiction Writing and Film Editing Have in Common?

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Jan 16

You Are Never Too Old to be a Writer

You can start your writing career today.
I jumped into a writing career in my mid-40s. I was an assistant controller for a manufacturing company before that.

With my accounting background, writing about business and marketing was a natural fit… or so it seemed at the time.
My first gig as a freelance writer was for a company that offered human resources solutions. They had two related (sister) sites and I wrote articles for one site and rewrote them for the other.

Rewriting can be fun, but is also challenging as it’s important to have the new content pass a duplicate content checker.  

The reason for this is Google doesn’t like duplicate content on your website or your related sites.
Heath writing was soon added to the mix and it was more lucrative than the business and marketing writing. 

I supplied an allergy site with about 100 articles per month. I had to hire subcontractors to help with this project.
I also did academic rewriting and editing for health professionals.
Then I decided to add on writing for children.

It seemed like a natural addition as I had written a bedtime lullaby when my first daughter was a baby – to help her fall asleep. I turned it into a children’s bedtime picture book in 2008. 

Soon though, I was stretching myself too thin as you can imagine. That’s never a good thing for a number of reasons.

-You can’t devote the time and focus needed to a particular genre.
-You don’t have a strong platform or brand.
-And, you know the saying: Jack of all trades, master of none. This is definitely not a good thing. It should always be quality over quantity.

I had to decide what genre I would focus on. 

Focus is essential to success.

As the children’s writing really took off and grew each year, and I love to bring children on journeys, that’s the genre I chose.

And that’s how my children’s writing career got started.
Another example of never being too old to follow your dreams is a 92 client I worked with about a year ago.

I got a query from a woman who had a children’s picture book published in by Houghton Mifflin in 1988.

She had a 25,000-word middle grade story she had been submitting to agents but wasn’t getting any interest. She asked if I’d review it. After a few emails, I learned she was 92 years old! 

Ninety-two! And she was following her dream!

She inspired me.

Working and raising seven children on her own during most of their growing-up years didn’t leave room for writing, especially as she had to work. Once she was able, she got back to it, though. She wanted to publish more stories. 

After consulting with this client, she turned her middle grade into a chapter book, and I edited for her. She then self-published. I went on to review and edit several shorter stories for her. 
And there are lots of other late bloomers. 
The very successful authors listed below also started their writing careers later in life:

Toni Morrison - Age 40
Mark Twain - Age 41
J.R.R. Tolkien - Age 45
Raymond Chandler - Age 51
Annie Proulx - Age 57
Laura Ingalls Wilder - Age 65
Frank McCourt - Age 66 (1)
So, if you’re wondering if it’s too late to start writing, IT’S NOT.

If you have the desire and haven’t gotten started writing for children yet, GET STARTED TODAY!
Reference:
(1) https://bookstr.com/article/10-hugely-successful-authors-who-got-their-start-later-in-life/
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.
MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN
3 Fiction Writing Mistakes to Avoid

The Writing for Children Ropes - 8 Tips

Story, Plot, and Arcs
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Jan 09

The Domino Chain Reaction and Your Words

The Writing Chain Reaction
So many things inspire me; the most recent is a video I saw on LinkedIn.

It’s about chain reactions, and I immediately thought of writing.

I found the original video on YouTube and have it here. It’s only 2 ½ minutes and super-interesting.

As the demonstrator (Stephen Morris) mentioned, if he had 29 dominos, the last one would be as tall as the Empire State Building!

WOW!

It’s minding boggling thinking about the actual size of the initial domino that caused such a powerful chain reaction.

So how does this relate to writing?
As writers, what we write matters. 

Words matter.

You trigger the initial event by writing your story. Once it’s released into the world, it creates energy; and each time a reader reads it, more and more energy is released. The domino chain reaction is underway.

This is the superpower writers have.
As a children’s writer, you never know how your story will spark something in a child. 

It could be sparking an interest in the environment, maybe in history, or astronomy, or kindness, or even peace. 

It’s that initial event or trigger than can lead that reader on to greater things.

Or, it may be a nonfiction book on creating a better life, or a better world.

Again, your words can become the trigger that sparks better things.

That’s the power of a story. 

The possibilities are limitless, so use your superpower wisely!
Want to be that spark in a child’s imagination or life?
Become the author of your own children’s book.

Be the trigger in a writing-reading domino chain reaction.
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.

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN
3 Fiction Writing Mistakes to Avoid

The Writing for Children Ropes - 8 Tips

Are You Overthinking Your Story?

Please Share!
Dec 26

3 Absolute Must-Nots in Writing for Children

It seems there are still new children’s authors or wannabe authors who don’t take the time to learn about how to write for children… at least to learn the basics.

The absolute must-nots when writing for children:

The Picture Book Cliffhanger

A recent client of mine was for a picture book rewrite project with the ending missing, so there was a bit of ghosting involved. The intended age group was four to eight.

I rewrote the story and added a ‘satisfying’ ending with a takeaway only to learn the client wanted it to be a cliffhanger and didn’t want a takeaway.

Well, kind of a cliffhanger. The client wanted the ending missing.

No loose ends tied up. No satisfying ending. No full character arc. No full story arc.

This was a first for me.

Not wanting a takeaway is one thing, but not wanting a satisfying ending for a young children’s book doesn’t make sense.

The story was to leave the reader to guess what the author had in mind for the ending or create their own. 

The author’s intent was to create a series of cliffhangers motivating the reader to purchase the next picture book.

I’m not sure if the author intended to abruptly end the next book in the series, but I think so.

I tried my best to help the client understand that a young children’s book needs all the elements of a ‘good’ story, especially when seeking a traditional publishing contract.

I get that in self-publishing a lot of new authors do whatever they want (even though they should produce a quality book), but it’s a different ball game when going the traditional route.

The Perfect Story World

I don’t get too many of this type of author, but it came up in another recent project.

This scenario is when the author doesn’t want any significant conflict in the story. No real stakes involved.

-No swarm of bees to block a path the protagonist must get through.
-No ferocious fire breathing dragon blocking the entrance to a cave the protagonist must get into.
-No dangling from a cliff before being rescued.

The author also doesn’t want the characters, even the villain, to have any bad traits.

-No evil Professor Moriarty (Sherlock Holmes nemesis).
-No evil Joker or the Penguin (Batman’s nemesis).
-No evil Lex Luthor (Superman’s nemesis).

This type of story is sugar-coated.

Instead of a roller coaster that goes up and down, where the rider has to hold on tight, this type of story is the stationary horse on the carousel, no holding on needed, no real movement involved.

You always want your story to be the one that the reader is motivated to hold onto, motivated to turn the pages. You want your story to go up and down.

Hitting the Reader Over the Head

Most of my clients have a specific goal for their story. They want to send a message to a child. They know exactly what they want the takeaway to be. 

A number of stories have the bullying theme, but interestingly that’s eased off. Now I get more requests for the inclusion theme, the standing up for yourself theme, and the being kind theme.

Some new authors think they have to hit the reader over the head with their message. They blatantly want to tell the reader how the main character grew because he was kind, or stood up for himself, or included someone different into her group.

Hitting the reader over the head with the story’s message is frowned upon. The story should convey the message subtly. The reader will pick up on it.

I hope these three absolute must-nots in kid’s writing help you on your children’s writing journey.
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
Dec 19

Writer’s Block – What Can You Do?

Got Writer's Block?
Contributed by Regina Montana

Just about every writer faces the inevitable: writer’s block.

You stare at the page and nothing comes. It can be debilitating and depressing for the beginning writer, but not just for them. The blank page stares back and dares writers at all stages of their career to fill it up, but with what? 

I would like to make the following suggestions that others have tried and found to be quite helpful.

1.	Take a walk. It’s amazing how a solitary hike or walk in nature can help the imagination run wild. When there’s no pressure, writers are free to let their thoughts roam where they will. You can take in all the sights and sounds around you and invite the Muse. I have even asked my main character for advice as I’m walking. What will you do next? How will you solve the problem you’re facing? 

2.	Change genres.  If you’re writing a picture book, try writing a poem or non-fiction article for a children’s magazine. It helps to lessen the pressure on your brain to let your thoughts change gears for a while. What stirs your imagination? What kind of animals do you find interesting? Do you have a green thumb? Try writing a free verse poem about the geraniums you planted that look beautiful.

3.	Try your hand at painting. I actually found myself transformed as I took out some acrylics and water colors and decided I would sketch illustrations for two poems I wrote. It didn’t matter that they were not great. I enjoyed seeing the bird I wrote about take shape and even got a few compliments when I shared my drawings.  I read an interesting quotation about how trying other forms of art can help inspire creativity, get the juices flowing and flex one’s creative muscle.  

4.	Pick up that guitar you used to play. I learned to play the piano as a teenager and, despite my very basic knowledge, I love to sit down and play a few tunes when the moment arises. I now have the opportunity to learn the organ which has been a lifelong dream. I met a music teacher and she has inspired me to pursue this path. I will be able to practice on our church organ with the permission of my pastor. Maybe I’ll be better able to hear my characters talking to me and telling me the path they want to take.   

5.	So do not despair. Here are a few memorable quotations for Overcoming a Creative Block

Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. You cannot intellectualize creativity. You can think about something before or after – but not during.
—	Ray Bradbury

Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up too. If she doesn’t show up invited, eventually she just shows up.      
—	Isabel Allende

Hope these tips help you when the inevitable bout of writer's block hits.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Regina is a children’s literature writer of poems and picture books. She has written for the ezine Kids Imagination Train, and is a member of Children’s Book Insider where she contributed two articles to, as well as a member of SCBWI.  Regina is also a teacher with a Master of Education Degree.  She has raised two children of her own and is now a grandmother of 5 who give her lots of ideas when she listens carefully.

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.


Writing for children tips
Working with a Children’s Ghostwriter – The Process

The Author Website – Keep It Simple and to the Point

How to Write a Story

Social media sharing
Dec 12

What’s Your Takeaway?

The children's writing takeaway.
Most of my clients know what they want the takeaway of their book to be. 

It may be to demonstrate kindness, overcoming fear, being a good friend, learning responsibility, learning about conservation, becoming self-confident, learning coping strategies, realizing the importance of family…

Now and then, though, I still get clients who think a list of events constitutes a good story. And they have a tough time understanding the elements that need to go into making a story work, such as character arc, story arc, and plot. They also don’t understand that a children’s book should have a takeaway.

What is a book’s takeaway?

According to Merriam Webster, a takeaway is “a main point or key message to be learned or understood from something experienced or observed.”

With this in mind, the takeaway is what’s valuable in the book – the message it conveys. It’s what the reader will find memorable or worthy of remembering. 

This is important when writing for children because you want the reader to leave the book learning something, even if subconsciously. 

Examples.

Using my middle-grade fantasy, “Walking Through Walls,” the protagonist, Wang, begins as a selfish and lazy kid. His journey to become a Master Eternal, in order to become powerful and wealthy, changes him for the better.

Along with Wang becoming more than he was or better than he was, the reader can see how it came about and the value in those changes.

By the way, "Walking Through Walls" is a cross between a chapter book and a middle-grade and is a great book for the reluctant reader.

Another example is “Stephanie’s Ponytail” by Robert Munsch. 

The kids in Stephanie’s class copy every hairdo she creates. Finally, she outwits them and they never copy her hairdo again. 

As well as being a fun read, the takeaway in this book is teaching children about creativity, independence, self-confidence, imagination, and being daring. It could very well inspire them to the same actions.

So, as you’re writing your children’s story, think of the takeaway. What message do you want to instill in the reader?
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!
Dec 05

Want to Write For Anthologies?

Writing for an anthology.
Thinking of writing for an anthology? I have been for quite a while now, but just can’t seem to find the time to do the research and submit.

Well, if you have been thinking about it, I have a guest post by Sharon Blumberg, who’s been there and done that.

Here it goes:

If you are not familiar with writing for anthologies, we will discuss more about this topic. An anthology is a completed work of writings that are submitted and accepted into a book by the editor and publisher. It is always based around a given theme, so it is important to follow the guidelines when writing for them, including the writing genre. 

One of the advantages of writing for anthologies is that your story contribution is generally longer lasting than that of a magazine, and the anthology fills a hole within the writing market. I have contributed my writings to a number of anthologies. Please see them on my Publications page: https://sharonoblumbergauthor.com/publications/

When writing submissions are being offered and announced by the editor, they come in many forms. Among these forms are open, closed, mixed, or open/closed. It is important to make note when these are listed, because these conditions state who may apply. 

For example:

Open means a wider range of writers may submit.
Closed means that the prospective contributor is invited only by the editor. 
Mixed means that it may be open or closed at different points in time. 
Open/Closed means the editor will let writers know if submissions are open, when they are open, or closed when they are closed.

Some anthologies have already secured publishers, where in some cases, a publisher may not yet be secured. Self-publishing is also an option for the editor to consider after editing and compiling the story collections.

Anthologies and Writer Rights

There are a number of rights anthology writers receive such as First Rights, First Anthology Rights, Anthology Rights, and etc. You should make sure you understand what the rights mean upon signing your acceptance contract to the themed collection. In this way, you will know how to proceed in using your published contribution as a reprint to future publications.

If you are interested in writing for anthologies, how do you find them? 

The easiest way to find them is by doing research. You may use various search engines to look up writing anthologies looking for writers, anthologies searching for contributors, etc.

Other great places to research writing markets looking for anthology writers would be social media platforms, writing organizations, Funds for Writers, who offer informative articles for writers, along with writing markets, including, anthologies. 

Another good one is Chicken Soup for the Soul book series. They always offer new upcoming books as they ask for contributors, so watch for the dates and themes. Poets & Writers Magazine’s classified sections, always list anthologies asking for writers.
 
Please find the websites below. 
https://www.pw.org
https://www.fundsforwriters.com
https://www.chickensoup.com 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sharon O. Blumberg is a recently retired school teacher, having taught seventh grade Spanish and Language Arts for over 20 years. In addition, she is a writer and voiceover artist. She is married with two grown children and young, twin grandchildren. She currently resides in the Austin area of Texas with her husband. When she is not reading or writing, she loves spending time with her family and friends, and going on long walks.

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 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.
 
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Nov 28

Top 3 Draws of Traditionally Publishing Children’s Books

Children's Books and Traditional Publishing - Why?

While most of my children’s ghostwriting clients go the self-publishing route, about a quarter of them (maybe a little less) take on traditional publishing.

Why go traditional? What’s the draw?

The first reason is budget.

When dealing with children’s books, many authors don’t have the budget to hire an illustrator.

For a standard picture book, there are usually 12-14 interior illustrations. That’s the bare minimum. If the author wants an illustration on every page, then it’s double the amount.

If the author has a chapter book, then she’s looking at illustration for each chapter, at the very least. Thinking on the low end, if the author has 5,000 words, that should be divided into around ten chapters of about 500 words each. So that’s ten interior illustrations.

Even middle-grade books can use interior illustrations here and there, possibly for each chapter.

Granted, you can have different types of interior illustrations, such as half-pages and sketches, but it’s still an expense.

Then there are the front and back covers.

Using the illustrators I work with, the pricing ranges from $80 to $180 per interior illustration and $200+ for the front cover. Pricing is usually less for the back cover. And these illustrators are very reasonable.

I’ve had clients who have paid $10,000 and more for illustrations.

So, it’s easy to see that having to pay for illustrations can get expensive.

On the flip side, the children’s author doesn’t need to pay for illustrations with traditional publishing. The publishing house uses its own illustrators and covers the expense.

This is a huge deal and is a major draw of traditional publishing.

The second draw is the prestige and validation associated with traditional publishing.

While I’m self-published and traditionally published, let’s face it, they don’t hold the same weight. That’s just the way it is.

The primary reason for this is that a lot of self-published books aren’t professional.

With the ease of self-publishing, anyone can slap a book together without knowing how to write and put it up for sale.

These authors make it bad for authors who take the time to learn the craft of writing and create a professional book.

Although, the old stigma associated with self-publishing is easing a bit.

The third draw is it’s all done for you.

Most authors, especially the newbies, don’t know how to go about self-publishing. Having a publishing company do everything for no cost is extremely alluring.

Just keep in mind the legwork and patience involved:

A. The author needs to create a query and synopsis of the book
B. The author needs research publishers and agents that deal with the particular genre
C. The author needs to submit the manuscript
D. The author needs to wait for a bite, which is not guaranteed
E. An accepted manuscript can take 18-24 months before it’s actually published.

But aside from the work and time involved, if the author gets a book contract, she has a professional group behind her. She can rest assured she’ll have a professional book.

So, these are the top three reasons why some children’s authors prefer going the traditional path.

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 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.

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

What’s Stopping You from Becoming a Children’s Author

Submitting to an Editor or Literary Agents? 6 Things to Watch For

Your Story Beginning

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