Nancy's Books

Sunday, June 17, 2012

What Sea Creature Is This?/Call for Submissions

My latest picture book, What Sea Creature Is This?, is hot off the press. For this nonfiction title I focused on unusual or little-known ocean animals. In conferences, writers are often told that nonfiction is difficult to sell in today’s market, especially picture books. The key is to write with a different slant than other books or about a subject that has little written about it. I focused on the latter for this book. One of the animals has only recently been discovered; others are so unusual they’ll capture the attention of the reader and hold onto it. A parrotfish makes a sleeping bag out of slime—for protection, and another sea creature ties its three-feet-long body in a knot and moves the knot from head to tail. It’s no circus act, it’s a yellow-bellied sea snake.

Editors are interested in books that appeal to boys. Weird and wonderful creatures of the sea offer enough strangeness to capture boys’—and girls’—attention. If the creature’s behavior isn’t enough to offer reader appeal, the strange and curious appearance of the animal will do the trick. The flashlight fish does both: provides its own light with bacterial pouches in inky deep-sea travel.

When you’re considering your next manuscript, think about what will interest your target audience. Aim for a subject that has not been overly marketed or present the information in a new and appealing format. Have fun with the subject and turn your words into a book.

Call for Submissions for Adult Writers:

The Whistling Fire’s July Guest Editor is accepting submissions. Guest Editor Athena Lark wants to read your stories about the African-American experience. Stories where African-Americans love, grow, despair, desire, and endure. Although African-American literature is generally defined as literature by African-Americans – all races are welcome to submit. Accepting fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Please send your submissions to Include the words “July Editor” in your subject line. No more than two submissions per author, each under 3000 words.

Deadline: Submission Deadline: June 23rd, 2012
Details at

Check out more contests on my blog:


  1. Tell me, do you do the art work and writing?

  2. I do the writing only. I am published by several different publishers, and the aquiring editors select the illustrator for each book. I don't talk/communicate with the illustrator until the book is published.