Nancy's Books

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Trends, Trends, Trends/Calls for Submissions

Writers can never keep up with all the trends. By the time we write, revise and polish a manuscript that fits a particular trend, the market is flooded with that genre and the trend has passed. So why bother looking at trends? It's to our advantage to study the market to see what publishers are buying and learn why those books garnered a contract. Also, if we know the market is over saturated with a certain type of book or subject matter, we can avoid it. The more we educate ourselves with what publishers are buying and why, the better we can devise our own writing and marketing strategies.

Here are the top genres for multi-book deals in 2010. Young adult and middle grade are still strong sellers. Picture books are a harder sell, but editors and agents predict that the tide is beginning to turn, and picture books will soon be on the up swing.

Top genres for multi-book deals with major publishers in 2010
Romance – 108 deals
Mystery & Crime – 73
Young Adult – 56
Middle Grade – 53
Science Fiction – 31
Thrillers – 29
Paranormal – 27

Call for submissions for young writers:
BRASS MAGAZINE. Our contributor team is made up of young adult writers from
around the country. We're looking for people with varied experiences to join this team: from financial gurus,
entrepreneurs and avid investors to those sharing experiences about managing debt, budgets, and their first foray in the real world.

Are you between 16 and 29 years old? Are you passionate about
writing, savvy with research, and up-to-date on current trends?
Are you able to meet deadlines?

Call for submissions for adult writers:·
The Brooklyner, to be published quarterly, is “currently reading for our inaugural issue, which will largely include fiction and nonfiction. We will also consider poetry, commentary on relevant pop culture, and reviews of the following: books, food, cruises, amusement parks, concerts, field trips, underwear, holidays. Also translations. We are not seeking novellas or novel excerpts.”

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Spirit of Kentucky:Bourbon Cookbook/Call for Submissions

My latest literary adventure has taken me on a new and exciting route, which led to me researching and writing Spirit of Kentucky: Bourbon Cookbook. Each of over 500 recipes has a note about the history of the recipe or information about an ingredient. If you prefer not to use bourbon in a recipe, you have that choice. Most recipes have a subsitute for bourbon or the option of omitting the ingredient. Bourbon balls are the exception. I know of no way to make bourbon balls without bourbon.

I love research because I’m always learning something new and interesting. One tidbit I learned is that we can make vanilla flavoring oh so easily—and cheaper. That’s an idea I had never considered.

I approached the research for the cookbook the same way I approach writing a nonfiction children’s book. I wanted to make the Notes section a fun read-aloud. As I researched I kept thinking about what a cook would enjoy learning about a recipe, food, or ingredient. In doing so, I accumulated more information than I would ever need. A surplus of facts gave me the luxury of picking and choosing the most interesting pieces to use in the book. Reseaching a subject is like digging a well. The more we dig, the more information we gain. As we dig we uncover interesting bits that surprise us.

For adult writers:·
From Robert Lee Brewer: “I will consider poetry submissions for the 2013 Poet’s Market. 20 previously unpublished poems will be selected for publication in the book, and the poets will receive a paycheck for their poems.” Deadline is August 15. Pays: “publication, $50 payment, and a contributor copy of the 2013 Poet’s Market.” For more information/detailed guidelines, see

Note: I’ll resume posting for young writers in September.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Writing Workshop for Children's Writers, Contest, Call for Submission

Anyone interested in participating in a children’s writing workshop? I’ll be conducting two different sessions July 12 in Berea, Kentucky, at the Festival of Learnshops. Sign up for these workshops and check out other classes at This summer from July 9-16, Berea is hosting the week-long event with a variety of classes, including writing, water color and pastel art, cornshuck art, blacksmithing, broom making and lots more. We’ll have fun and learn at the same time. That’s a promise. Here are the descriptions of my two sessions:

Writing for Children
Have you dreamed of writing a book for children? I will introduce you to the ins and outs of writing fiction and nonfiction children’s book manuscripts. Learn solutions to plot problems, where to start the story, and how to add zing with descriptive language as I present my own books as demonstrative models. How do you polish a manuscript to a spit-shine? Revision, of course. I will help your tackle revision, one layer at a time. Join the fun and learn the know-how to develop your ideas into picture books. My latest picture book, Trouble in Troublesome Creek, was selected to represent Kentucky at the 2010 National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. One book per state was chosen. Another book, On the Banks of the Amazon, won the 2005 Children’s Book of the Year by the Appalachian Writers Association. I’ve written 20 picture books and one chapter book. More are in various stages of publication.

Time: 9:30 am-12:30 pm
Location: Broadway Center, 204 North Broadway, Berea, KY
Price: $30
Age: 15 years and up

Pathway to Publication of Children’s Books
Polished writing trumps all, and that includes a bare resume. Do you have a written story or one in mind? Join me as I route you down the road to publication. I will introduce you to manuscript formats, information for cover and query letters, what to include in a synopsis, and the qualities of a good children’s book. Get the lowdown on trends in today’s literature for children and whether an agent is needed. You’ll leave the session steps closer to publication.

Time: 2 pm-5 pm
Location: Broadway Center, 204 North Broadway, Berea, KY
Price: $30
Age: 15 years and up

Contest for Adult Writers
Cheerios is searching for the next great children’s book author. It could be you! Just enter your original children’s book story.
Deadline:July 15, 2011.
Details at

For Young Writers
Cobblestone, 20 Grove St., Peterbough, NH 03458. Publishes a variety of material; however, you are asked to write first and ask for guidelines and upcoming themes.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Tribute to Paul Brett Johnson/Contest/Call for Submissions

This blog is dedicated to a wonderful friend, children’s book author, illustrator, and artist, Paul Brett Johnson. He and I are from Knott County, Kentucky. We both write children’s books and know many of the same people and places, so we had a lot in common. My friend and fellow writer passed away this week due to a sudden and unexpected illness. He’ll be missed.

In one of my earliest conversations with Paul Brett, he told me he had struggled for years trying to get a book contract. At the time of his struggles, he was frustrated with all the rejections, but he kept writing, illustrating, and submitting work. The work paid off as his writing improved and he learned more about the publishing process. By the time his first book, The Cow That Wouldn’t Come Down, was published, he was glad his earlier versions of the story had been rejected because those less-than-polished versions would not have garnered the acclaim the book received. His point was that writers should not get in a hurry with a manuscript. Revise, revise, revise until the story is the best it can be. With a more experienced eye, he looked back at his earlier writing attempts and saw that they were lacking in some way, but after years of practice and know-how, he developed the skills to polish the manuscripts. Another lesson learned: join a critique group so you, too, can have an experienced eye review your manuscripts.

Contest for Adult Writers
SPS Studios announces Its Eighteenth Biannual Poetry Card Contest
1st prize: $300 * 2nd prize: $150 * 3rd prize: $50
In addition, the winning poems will be displayed on our website Poems can be rhyming or non-rhyming, although we find that non-rhyming poetry reads better. We suggest that you write about real emotions and feelings and that you have some special person or occasion in mind as you write.
Poems are judged on the basis of originality and uniqueness. All entries must be the original creation of the submitting author.
Deadline: June 30, 2011
Details at

Call for Submissions for Young Writers
Jack And Jill, P.O. Box 567, Indianapolis, IN 46206. Publishes stories, poems, riddles, and jokes written by students in grades 2-6.