Nancy's Books

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Kentucky Arts Council Grant, Southern KY Book Fest, Writing with Pictures, Contests

I’m happy to announce that I won a 2010 Individual Artist Professional Development grant from the Kentucky Arts Council [KAC], the state government agency responsible for developing and promoting support for the arts in Kentucky. KAC creates opportunities for people to find value in the arts, participate in the arts and benefit from the arts through programs, grants and services.

Saturday, I was a guest author at the Southern Kentucky Book Fest, another Kentucky treasure. Some of the headliners were Ann Bryn, [Cake Mix Doctor cookbooks], Lisa Scottoline [mysteries/thrillers], Laura Numeroff [If You Give a Mouse a Cookie], Mark Teague [illustrator of Dear Mrs. Laure], Kristin O’Donnell Tubb [Autumn Winifred Oliver Does Things Different], Richard Paul Evans [The Chrismas Box], Alison Davis Lyon [illustrator of Halloween Alphabet],and numerous other authors and illustrators. I was no headliner, but I had fun signing copies of my latest book, Happy Birthday.

I talked with several authors about the state of the publishing industry. Here are some tidbits:

Be passionate about your work. Your passion will show in your writing and you will continue writing even when you feel like giving up.

Make a web presence even before you're published. Social media sites, such as web pages and blogs, are often checked by editors when making a decision on a publishing contract. A blog or web presence could tilt the vote in favor of offering a contract.

If you’re writing nonfiction, have your manuscript reviewed by a professional in the field in which you’re writing before you submit it to a publisher or agent.

Pass your manuscript to people outside your family and friends to have it critiqued before submitting it.

Middle grade and young adult fiction are popular with editors and agents at this time.

Picture books manuscripts are difficult to sell but great ones will find a home.

Spend as much energy and effort researching publishers as you do writing the book. Try to match the manuscript with the publisher.

Workshops are important in building a writing career. Not only do you learn the technical aspects of writing but you meet a network of professionals.

Develop the BIC [bottom in chair] habit and write daily.

For student writers:
Write a story with pictures. Have students cut out 6-10 pictures, more or less depending on class time and the age of students, from magazines, catalogs, and other sources. Explain that students will arrange pictures in a sequence and write a story with a beginning, middle, and ending to represent the pictures.

The Coffee Shop Chronicles
We’re putting together an anthology of one-hundred best stories, that all start or end with a cup of coffee. (Hey…you’re a writer…this should be easy.) It can be humorous and jittery, or about a life-changing event that is somehow linked to that magic brew. Did you propose over a cup of coffee, meet the love of your life or discover nuclear fission? Prime your boss for an overdue promotion and then seal the deal? Decide having one more kid was do-able? Plot the overthrow of the Chilean government? Finish the last chapter to that novel?
Whatever your story, we’d like to hear from you. Submit entries, from one paragraph to one page in length. Please include the name of your favorite coffee shop. All published entries will receive a twenty-five dollar gift certificate courtesy of your favorite coffee shop and A Word with You Press.

Closing date is May 1.

2010 Robert Traver Fly-Fishing Writing Award
"A distinguished original essay or work of short fiction that embodies an implicit love of fly-fishing, respect for the sport and the natural world in which it takes place, and high literary values."
Award carries a $2,000 First Prize, from the John D. Voelker Foundation, sponsor of the award; a Second Place award of $750 will be included this year; Third Place is $250.
Deadline May 15.
Find details at


  1. You have been busy as a Robin in springtime! Glad you received a PD grant! WTG!

  2. Congrats on your grant Nancy! The Book Fest sounded like lots of fun.