Nancy's Books

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Choosing a Subject or Topic for a Book/Contests

Today I’m showcasing my latest books in the Little Math Series: My Math Toolbox, What's a Fraction? and Hopping on the Number Line.

At a recent book signing, a person asked me how I decide on a topic for my next book. Sometimes, as with these latest books, an editor I’ve worked with previously asks me to write the books. But most of the time, the choice is mine. When an idea bores into my brain and refuses to leave, I let it simmer and think about the possibilities of the story over a period of time. As the story materializes in my mind, I consider different avenues it can take. If the idea seems viable, I check out other books that might be similar. If I find something similar, I change paths with the story since I don’t want to write what’s already out there. Editors want stories that are new and fresh.

When I’m writing nonfiction, I spend considerable time checking for books on the same topic. If the market is flooded with books on a particular topic I either develop a totally new perspective for approaching the subject or abandon it entirely.

All manuscripts are a tough sell in today’s market so each book has to stand out as different in some way in order to get a contract. Try adding humor or tell the story from the perspective of an unexpected character to make your story different. Ben and Me by Robert Lawson is a biography about Ben Franklin told from the viewpoint of a mouse named Amos. That’s a different take on a story and a wonderful approach. Take a close look at your manuscript to see what changes you can make to create a story that is different from those already lining the shelves.

Contest for adult writers:
The Tapestry of Bronze is sponsoring a series of poetry contests to celebrate Greek and Roman mythology and the Olympian gods. The subject of the eighth contest is Artemis (also known as Diana), the Goddess of the Hunt.

All poems remain the property of the authors. The Tapestry of Bronze reserves the right to post winning poems and those receiving Honorable Mention on the Tapestry of Bronze website. E-mail your poem (no more than 30 lines) to the following address:
Deadline: November 30, 2011

Contest for young writers:
Amphibian populations worldwide are in the midst of a mass extinction crisis, yet most people are completely unaware! We need your help in getting the word out. This contest will raise awareness of the amphibian extinction problem by getting people involved and interested. The best frog poems will be used in a book of frog poetry that will be sold to raise money for amphibian conservation efforts. This book will feature artwork from our concurrent SAVE THE FROGS! Art Contest.

The Grand Prize Winner will:
Receive $100. Receive $50 worth of "Frog Cash" to be used for
any of the cool, environmentally-friendly merchandise in the
SAVE THE FROGS! Gift Center. Become an official judge of next
year's SAVE THE FROGS! Poetry Contest. Receive frog fame.

Category Winners will:
Win $50. Receive $30 worth of "Frog Cash" to be used for any
of the cool, environmentally-friendly merchandise in the SAVE
THE FROGS! Gift Center.

Category winners will be chosen from the following categories.
Note however that the Grand Prize Winner may be chosen from
any category.

(1) 18+ years of age
(2) 13-17 years old
(3) Under 13 age group

Details at

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