Aug. 5, 2012
We all dream of being published. After all, that’s our goal as we write that great American novel, isn’t it?
The best way to catch a publisher is to study the guidelines, look at their published books and ask yourself: Does my book fit into this listing? If it doesn’t, keep looking.
Some of the resources I use include Writers Market, a huge book that lists most publishers, addresses and a short quip on what they’re looking for. If they say “No unsolicited manuscripts”, then don’t send any. They are looking for agent-sponsored books. I also read the back part of The Writer magazine, which lists markets each month. (Unfortunately it will stop publishing soon.) In this month’s issue (Aug. 2012) they listed writing programs.
I also look at Poets & Writers, because they have an extensive list in their classifieds of books, conferences, contests, and publishers of chapbooks, magazines, and even job listings.
Two newsletters that I would recommend are: Children’s Writer, which has great advice and previews in each issue one type of genre that publishers are seeking. The other is Children’s Book Insider, which also has great features and advice.
When seeking a publisher – whether book or magazine – check out the details they want. These include, but not limited to, target age, word length; do you have photos or illustrations to submit? Check the audience age and make sure it’s appropriate to your subject.
Here are a few suggestions on becoming a published author:
*If it’s a submission to a magazine, read several issues.
*Write simply but clearly; avoid long, winded sentences.
*Take the reader with you – write as if you’re describing the scene, be conversational.
*Make the subject relevant to present-day readers’ lives and interests.
*Lastly, don’t “dumb down” your writing. Children like the challenge of learning new words. Alice in Wonderland is filled with wordplay. Beatrix Potter used complex words in The Tale of Peter Rabbit. It’s a learning possibility.
It’s tough in the publishing world. The more previewing you do, the easier it is to receive an acceptance.