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“You enter the extraordinary by way of the ordinary.” ~Frederick Buechner

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Overview Markets: Part Two: Query

Workshop: An Introduction to Writing for Children and Young Adults

FIRST: Read the guidelines for each publisher/agent before you send. This week agent Karen Ball described what happens to your manuscript otherwise. And she is not only being very honest, but kind as well. I have heard many other editors and agents give the same advice but with a great deal more frustration due to time waste and misconnections for themselves and the writers. See her article at:

Query Letters/Proposals/One Sheets will all contain some common material but the focus and presentation will be slightly different in each. Three purposes are common ground for both you and the potential publisher. Remember you are looking for a business match.

1. This is my product. 2. Are you interested? 3. May I send you the full manuscript?

Query Letters.

Query letters are a quick way to find out whether your particular article, theme, story, genre, will or will not connect with this particular publisher. And for query letters you can send out several at a time as long as you have researched the intended market.

Suppose you have written an excellent article on the very first bicycle and your audience target is ages 10 to 14. You are thinking of a spring launch that might interest new riders for summer fun.

            However, even though you have followed all the directions accurately, you may not know that the publisher has already purchased two or three articles already and are full up. A quick rejection comes through and you both move on. Or joy, they say send it.

            Query letters need to be short and succinct. Opening: if you met the editor or attended a presentation where they were say so. I enjoyed meeting you at…Thank you for your invitation to query… . Or let them know you’ve done your homework. I see in your guidelines you are interested in… I have been reading your magazines over the past year and have not seen this aspect of your requested subject… mentioned.

            Next, the body: My article is for ages….. My subject is…. My focus point is…My qualifications are….(only if it needs some authority) Give a brief bio that connects you in some way to your topic if possible. Example I have been working at a camp for teens and run the bicycle trips… Or I have written/published…Otherwise just say who you are.

            Close with a thank you. Your contact information should be in the header but if there is anything else pertinent to contact put it here. Don’t include your telephone number unless you have a concrete reason. But be sure to have email, blog, website contacts if available.

            Set up a simple tracking method for all your correspondence: title, sent to, date, return, sent to next market, purchased, published, paid. Make it as easy as possible to maintain. One-sheets and proposals next week. 

Action Steps:

1.     Choose five possible markets for your article in process.

2.     Re-read their guidelines.

3.     Write up a query letter for each of them.

Share: What main difference or similarity did you see in the guidelines you checked?

Read deep, marcy

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Overview Markets: Part One: Study the Market

Workshop: An Introduction to Writing for Children and Young Adults

There are two ways to approach studying the market as an overview. One is to look through relevant publishing news and see what the publishers are looking for. Another is to know your genre well and then search the markets that match.

Remember though that a particular hot topic can become easily saturated, or a quick phase. By the time you prepare to write and submit the interest has moved on to another.  I suggest going deep in your particular genre or age category or heart story. Follow industry blogs. Attend conferences, especially one-day ones that organizations offer such as Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, American Christian Writers, Romance Writers of America, and many others. Most welcome guests so you can check out what is available in your area without an immediate commitment.  Most of them have resources to connect you to critique groups as well.

Search the web for publishing houses and follow their blogs and newsletters. Publisher’s Weekly offers free weekly news updates in different categories. Check it out at PW Children's Bookshelf <>

Even if you are just starting out choose one or two venues to begin to follow so that when you are ready to market you already have an idea where to go. Keep lists of interesting possibilities.

When you are ready to send out queries and proposals you will already have some general publishers to consider. Now get down to the details. Check their websites. Look at their guidelines. LISTEN to what they don’t want.

For example one publisher listed, “We publish pre-school storybooks, concept book and middle grade and YA chapter books. No romance novels.” Another non-fiction market listed, “No memoirs or personal stories.” Yet agents and editors are continually sent projects that are directed towards the wrong publishers and immediately returned. The publishers know their audience and their market. It’s important to take the time to find the right fit.

For the next few weeks we’ll walk through the process for a non-fiction article as an example. If you are writing fiction you are still doing research and you might find some magazines or guest blogs that can help give you readers when your book releases.

Here’s a sample of some magazine non-fiction categories listed in Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market: Animal, Arts/Crafts, Biography, Careers, Concept, Cooking, Fashion, Geography, Health, History, Hobbies, How-To, Interview/Profile, Multicultural, Nature/Environment, Religious, Science, Social Issues, Sports, and Travel

Action Steps:

1.     Sign up for the free PW weekly email.

2.     Choose a publisher you think you might be interested in and read their guidelines.

3.     Check if the publisher offers sample articles to read online.

4.     Look through the list above and see how many topics might apply to your fictional character, or are of interest to you as a non-fiction writer.

Share: Which subject category listed above looks the most enticing to you? Which topic did you most want to read growing up and/or still do?

Read deep, marcy

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Overview Chapter Books and Early Readers: Part Four: Contemporary Literature

Workshop: An Introduction to Writing for Children and Young Adults

Now that you’ve researched and studied this category, where to go next? This recent article in PW by Shannon Maughan, which I just discovered, shows there is a growing demand across a broad range of publishers and interests.

Action Steps:

1.     Read the linked article and make a list of the publishers named who are actively seeking content, or publishing new early readers.

2.     Go to their websites and check their submission requirements.

3.     Prepare two or three cover letters presenting your book or series idea that you think would fit their list. Or if you don’t feel ready to do that prepare a draft one-sheet for yourself.

4.     Write down that outline for yourself. :)

Next month’s overview will discuss markets and submissions in more detail.

Share: What in this PW article do you find most hopeful for your own writing goals?

Read deep, marcy

"The Seeker" Rachel Marks | Content Copyright Marcy Weydemuller | Site by Eagle Designs
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