Tag Archives: publishing

Rules Beginning Writers Should Never Break

We often talk about the “rules” of writing for kids citing proper page lengths and

story types for different age groups. A better term would probably be “guidelines”;

these rules exist only to tell you what, in general, editors like to see in the

manuscripts sent to them. And, of course, for every rule there are numerous

exceptions. But while we’d all like to think our book is strong enough to override the

guidelines, this is usually not the case. Here are some rules that shouldn’t be broken

until you a best-selling author:

 

Write Within Designated Word Lengths

No editor is going to turn down a terrific book just because the text length falls

outside the average guidelines. If your young adult novel is complete in 100 pages,

there’s no sense padding the manuscript simply because most YAs are longer. But

length guidelines are there for a reason — publishers have determined about how

much text kids of different ages can read, and so it behooves you to try to stay as

close to those guidelines as possible.

 

Don’t Provide Testimonials in Queries

It’s nice to have lots of neighborhood kids read your manuscript and give you

positive feedback, but your potential editor doesn’t want to hear about it. Frankly,

editors don’t give much credence to testimonials from readers who may be family or

friends of the author. Also, don’t clutter up the query letter with ideas for why

children need your book or what they’ll learn from it. This is up to the editor to

decide. (One exception: You’ve written a nonfiction book and can show that there

aren’t any other books in print that cover the same subject.)

 

Keep your query letter tight, brief, and to the point. Provide an intriguing plot

synopsis or nonfiction outline, relevant information about yourself, and enclose a

self-addressed, stamped envelope. Sell your book, not your reasons for writing it.

 

Don’t Write a Series Before Selling the First Book

I’ve critiqued many manuscripts from authors who say, “I’ve got six more books

written with these characters. Should I mention that to the editor when I submit my

manuscript?” My answer is always no. Unless an editor is specifically looking for new

series proposals, and the books were written from the start to form a series, this is a

bad idea. Realize that series are created as a group of books that are bound

together by some sort of hook; in fiction, it might be a club the main characters

form, a neighborhood they all live in, or a cause they champion. In nonfiction, it’s a

topic (natural sciences, biographies) and an age group. Rarely do you see picture

book fiction series. What does happen is a character may become very popular with

readers and the author is asked to write another book featuring the same cast.

These fiction “series” actually grow slowly one book at a time.

 

So, unless you’ve conceived your books as a traditional series and are able to

send a thought-out series proposal to the editor, stick to selling one book. When an

editor sees you have numerous manuscripts featuring the same characters and

similar plots, she may feel that you’ve spent too much writing new material and not

enough time revising what you’ve already got. And remember, each book — series or

not — must stand on its own. It needs a strong beginning, well-developed middle,

and satisfying end. No fair leaving the ending unfinished with the intention of

continuing the story in the next book.

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Meeting and Exhibition

Saguaro Books, LLC  and Aquitaine, LTD will have a table at the American Association of School Librarians • 18th National Conference and Exhibition, November 9-11, 2017 at the Convention Center in Phoenix, AZ.

Hope you will visit us.

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VOLUNTEER READERS NEEDED

Saguaro Books, LLC

Be the first to read and edit new middle grade and young adult fiction by emerging authors. Low pressure—read and react. Ideal for individuals still in college or at home with children or family, looking to add experience within the industry to their resume. Also perfect for new or emerging writers looking to learn about the industry.

Please indicate your strengths and background: Must be able to use MSWord with the ‘Track Changes” and “Comment” features. BA/BS in English or Creative Writing a BIG plus. If you have published books or magazine articles, that is also a plus. Visit www.saguarobooks.com

Contact: Ms. Mary Nickum, CEO, mjnickum@saguarobooks.com

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VOLUNTEER READERS NEEDED

Saguaro Books, LLC

Low pressure—read and react. Ideal for individuals still in college or at home with children or family, looking to add experience within the industry to their resume. Also perfect for new or emerging writers looking to learn about the industry. Please indicate your strengths and background: BA/BS in English or Creative Writing a BIG plus.

Visit www.saguarobooks.com

Contact: Ms. Mary Nickum, CEO, mjnickum@saguarobooks.com

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New Giveaway

 

Our giveaway is live on Amazon.

 Enter now for a chance to win a copy of 

 A GIRL NAMED MARY

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/5311e9821562f78b

A Girl Named Mary 3D Book Cover-1

A Girl Named Mary

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Giveaway ends in 8 days (September 30, 2016)

Book Giveaway For A Girl Named Mary

  • A Girl Named Mary by Mary Jo Nickum
    A Girl Named Mary
    by Mary Jo Nickum (Goodreads Author)

    Release date: Jun 27, 2016
    A Girl Named Mary tells the story of Mary, the Mother of Jesus as a young girl. Though she has a much older sister, she’s raised as an only child. Her …more
    Giveaway ends in: 8 days and 3:55:07
    Availability: 1 copy available, 674 people requesting
    Giveaway dates: Aug 13 – Sep 30, 2016
    Countries available: US, CA, and GB more
    Format: Print Book

    read on goodreads

Mary J. Nickum is a retired librarian, who is now an editor and freelance writer. Her primary focus is on science for the public. She has chosen to extend her science for the public outreach to children.

Mary earned a B.A. degree in English education at Northland College, Ashland, Wisconsin, a Masters in Librarianship at the University of Washington, Seattle, Washington and a Masters in Interdiscip …more

More about Mary Jo Nickum…


A Girl Named Mary by Mary Jo Nickum

A Girl Named Mary

by Mary Jo Nickum

Released June 27 2016
Giveaway ends in 8 days (September 30, 2016)
1 copy available, 674 people requesting

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Great Fall Reading

A Girl Named Mary

ISBN: 9781629894829

Paper  $10.99

A Girl Named Mary tells the story of Mary, the Mother of Jesus as a young girl. Though she has a much older sister, she’s raised as an only child. Her cousin, Rebekka, is her closet friend and confidant. Together they grow and learn how to maneuver in a culture that is steeped in tradition. One that looks backward instead of forward for solutions to problems. Mary cares about others, helps the sick and disadvantaged and is a voice, albeit a young voice, for women.

At twelve, Mary was betrothed to an older man who had sons her age. She resisted this arrangement strongly. She argued with her parents against the betrothal with every bit of logic and strength she had but found this tradition beyond her ability to fight. The marriage took place and she was rewarded by the birth of a beautiful baby boy, Jesus

Mary Jo Nickum, a Roman Catholic since birth, has always been fascinated by her namesake, Mary, the mother of Jesus. When she turned from technical writing to writing for children, researching and writing about the Blessed Virgin Mary became a reality. Her first book for children, Mom’s Story, a Child Learns about MS, is fictionalized nonfiction written for families from a child’s perspective. A Girl Named Mary is her first ‘tween historical novel. Mary Jo resides with her husband in Fountain Hills, Arizona. She has two grown sons.

A Girl Named Mary 3D Book Cover-Bookmark size

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