Nancy's Books

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Trends in Children's Literature/Contest/Call for Submissions

The children's book publishing market is in a constant state of change and keeping up with the changes is a never-ending task. I’ve surfed the Internet looking for the latest trends and here are some recent discoveries.

1. A first-time author should query a stand-alone manuscript, rather than a series. If the book sells well, has a great hook, and grabs the interest of a wide network of readers, approach the publisher about a second or third book.

2. The picture book market continues to be soft but is gradually making a comeback. Selling picture books is difficult and the manuscripts have to be different from those currently in the market and stand out and above the competition of other submissions.

3. Nonfiction books need a hook to grab the reader’s attention and tell the story in a unique way. Focus on a narrow aspect of the subject rather than covering a broad, general topic. Find a subject, or a new perspective of the subject, that has not been covered in other books.

4. Multicultural literature is still popular with most publishers. Stories from other cultures are in demand. Depict ethnicity accurately, because all kids need to be represented in books and represented accurately. Avoid stereotypes and clichés.

5. Rhyming books are difficult to sell because the rhyme usually doesn’t hold up throughout the story.

6. Middle grade and young adult books are the best sellers; therefore, more contracts are going out for these manuscripts.

Since it’s impossible to predict trends, writers are encouraged to not focus on trends but to write the best story they can. Yet, it’s nice to know what types of manuscripts editors want and don’t want so we can better target our work to the most appropriate house. Next week, I’ll discuss more popular trends.

Have you noticed trends in children’s literature? If so, I’d love to hear from you. Just leave a comment.

Norman Mailer High School and College Awards for Creative Nonfiction
"Norman Mailer produced extraordinary works in many genres, including the
category of this year's award. The awards are for excellence in creative
nonfiction which is truth/fact-based writing with literary merit, work that
features authorial voice and, often, personal experience, and often has a
significant narrative quality. The competition is broadly inclusive of genres
and subgenres that fall under creative nonfiction: memoirs, personal essays,
literary journalism, artful writings about place, environment, travel, people,
etc. Whatever its type, the best work will be true material presented with
compelling literary merit." In addition to a category for high-school students,
categories include the Two-Year College Competition, which is "open to first-and
second-year full-time students enrolled in community colleges, junior colleges,
and technical colleges" and confers a cash award of $5,000 plus travel and
lodging to attend the National Award Ceremony in New York City, and a Four-Year
College Competition, which "is open to current full-time undergraduate
students", confers a cash award of $10,000, a scholarship to the Norman Mailer
Writers Colony during the summer of 2012, and travel and lodging to attend the
National Award Ceremony. NB: "Funding for travel is limited to the continental
United States, Alaska, and Hawaii. Canadian and other foreign students are
eligible to enter. Outside of the U.S. a $500.00 USD payment toward travel will
be allowed. Hotel will be paid as for students in the U.S."
Details at
Deadline: April 28, 2011 (submissions close at noon, CST)

Call for Submissions:"
The Chattahoochee Review is under new editorship but very much alive and well. Please bear with us as we make this transition. We will be unveiling an exciting new website in the months to come. Meanwhile, keep the submissions and
subscriptions coming." Guidelines and pay rates are published at

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