Writing for Children Tips
By Donna McDine
A writer comes up with what he feels is the perfect storyline for an engaging short story or article and puts it down on paper. The manuscript is edited and revised several times and the writer is thrilled with the outcome. The next step is to submit the manuscript to their critique group. The feedback includes suggestions and ideas to tighten up the story further. One member asks: Where are you going to submit? Your fingers linger over your keyboard, your mind goes blank. Ugh! You’ve missed a critical step; research of appropriate markets. You respond: “I’ll get back to you on that.” Before a writer even develops a storyline into a short story or article, follow these five crucial steps in researching children’s stories market potential:
1. RESEARCH THE MARKET: Obtain the latest issue of Magazine Markets for Children’s Writers’, published by Writer’s Institute Publications, http://www.writersbookstore.com, 1-800-443-6078. This resource book is the most comprehensive directory of the children’s writers market. Beyond the scope of the synopsis of each market this valuable book contains information on how-to research the market; preparing manuscript packets; preparing query and cover letters; and outlines.
2. WRITER’S GUIDELINES: It is essential for a writer to take the time to attain the most recent writers’ guidelines for a particular publication. It is imperative that a writer reads and follows what the editor requests of submissions. You can obtain many writers’ guidelines through their website or write a letter to the publication requesting a copy of their writers’ guidelines. Be sure to include a self addressed stamped envelope (SASE). If a writer can’t follow the specific guidelines the chance of publication is zero.
3. SAMPLE ISSUES: Beyond reading and studying a particular publications outline in the Magazine Markets for Children’s Writers’, it is equally vital that a writer study past issues at the library or request a sample issue from the publisher. If writing to the publication for writers’ guidelines then would be a good time to request a sample issue. The cost is usually indicated within the outline in the “Magazine Markets for Children’s Writers’. Analysis of past issues will give the writer insight towards subject matter, readership levels, and particular slants of the articles and stories.
4. THEME LISTS: Make sure to find out if a magazine you are interested in submitting to works off a theme list. This is another important point to take into consideration. If you are going to send in an article on dogs for their June issue and the issue is themed around elephants, chances are your manuscript will be returned. Some times it may seem that theme lists would hinder the writer, but you’d be surprised how many ideas cram into a writers’ creative mind when provided with a theme list.
5. HOW MANY PUBLICATIONS TO RESEARCH: Research at least three possible markets for the manuscript. Keep all notes together. When a response is received from the first publication and if it is a rejection you can easily review the next publication on the list, rather than researching again. Prepare the submission according to their guidelines and mail out.
Once a manuscript is submitted begin a new one. It will keep the mind busy on the new and not focused on the submission out in the mail. Considering, most response times are usually three to four months. Remember with each submission a writer gets closer to acceptance and publication.
About the author ~
Donna McDine is an award-winning children's author, Honorable Mention in the 77th and two Honorable Mentions in the 78th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competitions. Donna’s stories and features have been published in many print and online publications, and her first book, The Golden Pathway, will be published through Guardian Angel Publishing as well as her second book, The Hockey Agony. McDine’s interest in American History resulted in writing and publishing The Golden Pathway. Ms. McDine is a member of the SCBWI, Musing Our Children, and The National Writing for Children Center.
Be transported through time to the Underground Railroad, where high-pitched screams echo each night. David’s cruel Pa always chooses the same victim. Despite the circumstances during slavery, David uncovers the courage to defy his Pa. Raised in a hostile environment where abuse occurs daily, David attempts to break the mold and befriends the slave, Jenkins, owned by his Pa. Fighting against extraordinary times and beliefs, David attempts to lead Jenkins to freedom with no regard for his own safety and possible consequences dealt out by his Pa.
Find Donna ~
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