Nancy's Books

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Picture Book vs. Magazine article, part II/Calls for Submissions

Today’s blog is part II of a series.

Picture books and magazine stories have some attributes in common: they have a short text, can be written in rhyme or prose, and are geared toward the same audience. However, the differences are greater than the similarities. Consider the following elements to determine if your story works better as a picture book or magazine piece.

Is your story narrow or wide in scope? Picture books need to appeal to a wide audience. If the story has universal appeal, it will work as a picture book. Publishers invest about $50,000 into the first run of a picture book. With that type of investment, the story MUST work for a wide audience.

Is the story a quiet or mood piece, such as a bedtime story? This type of book is a tough sell in today’s picture book market. Most picture books start in the middle of the action with a hook to pull readers in.

Does the main character have an important problem to solve? If not, the story might be too slight for a picture book. The character should experience setbacks in attempting to solve the problem.

Next week’s blog will offer more tips on how to determine if your manuscript is a better fit for a picture book or magazine story.

Call for submissions for adult writers:

Switchback is a publication of the MFA Program at the University of San Francisco and appears both online and in ebook format. We publish only the very best fiction, poetry, nonfiction and art. For issue 17, an Editor's Prize will be awarded in the amount of $200.00 to the submission best addressing the issue theme (Broken). Additional prizes in the amount of $75.00 and $50.00 respectively will be awarded to the first two runners up. There is no fee to enter. Submissions need not address the issue theme in order to be considered for publication. Please read the guidelines carefully before submitting.

Switchback 17: Broken will be published May 1, 2013.
Deadline: 2-28-2013
Submission guidelines at

Call for submissions for young writers:

Cyberkids. Would you like to have a story, poem, article, picture or other creative work published in Cyberkids? To submit your work, email it to: In the email, tell us your name, age
and country.

Submission guidelines at

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Picture Book vs. Magazine Article, part 1/Calls for Submissions

I was recently asked the question about how to determine if a poem or group of poems should be submitted to book publishers or the magazine market. [This blog is the first in a series is for you, Krista, and others who are wondering about the differences between a picture book and short story manuscript.]

As for poems, they can be geared toward the magazine or book market. Submit individual poems to magazines. If you submit to a book publisher, send poems that are centered on a particular theme. Check Jack Prelutsky, Shel Silverstein, and Judith Viorst’s poetry books—and others, of course, to get an idea of how they used a theme for their work.

You’ll need enough poems for an entire book. The number varies with publishers. Boyds Mills Press has a poetry imprint, Wordsong, that publishes poetry books. Many of the big publishers do also.

Keep the content concrete, something the child can see in his/her mind. If you’re submitting one poem and the poem is long enough and filled with action, it might work as a picture book. Try dividing the poem into 14 scenes (pieces of action). Illustrators need to draw action with each double-page spread.

Next week, I’ll continue the series with part II.

Call for submissions for adult writers:

The Nelson Algren Short Story Award competition is open for submissions until February 1. This competition is open to all legal resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia who are over 18 years of age, and there is no entry fee. Stories may run up to 8,000 words. Prizes: “One grand prize winner will receive $3,500. Four finalists will each receive $1,000. Five runners-up will each receive $500.” Note also: “All contest entries may be considered for eventual Tribune publication pending notification of the author.” (Thanks to the PayingWriterJobs list for reminding me of this imminent deadline.)

Call for submissions for young writers:

Creative Kids Magazine. We are looking for the very best material by students (ages 8–16). Material may include cartoons, songs, stories between 500 and 1200 words, puzzles, photographs, artwork, games, editorials, poetry, and plays, as well as any other creative work that can fit in the pages of the magazine.

All work must be original. Upon acceptance of a work, we will request that a legal guardian sign our standard contract granting copyright permission. The contract will be mailed with notification of acceptance.

Submission Guidelines at

Check out more contests on my blog:

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Publishing Trends/Calls for Submissions

Ever wonder what the next trend is in children’s books? What’s hot and what’s not? Here are some tidbits I’ve uncovered:

Bullying books are popular.

Informational/nonfiction books are on the rise.

Graphic novels continue to grow in demand.

Diversity in literature is requested by editors, parents, and teachers.

Strong female protagonists are standing strong in the marketplace.

No one knows what the go-to trend is going to be. Graphic novels, illustrations mixed with text, have been popular for the last few years and will probably continue the trend. Preteens and teens like novels-in-cartoons format.

Multicultural books have had time-honored acceptance. With 40% of the younger generation claiming a multi-cultural heritage, this trend will likely have a long shelf life.

The push for informational books in the education setting is having a positive impact on the publication of nonfiction books. This is true for picture books, as well.

I’m not suggesting that we write toward trends because many trends come and go as fast as the weather changes, but some stick around. Staying current with the publishing industry’s process can serve us well.

Happy writing.

Call for submissions for adult writers:

Hopscotch is looking for articles—fiction, nonfiction, and poetry—that
deal with timeless topics, such as pets, nature, hobbies, science, games, sports, careers, simple cooking, and anything else likely to interest a young girl.
Submission guidelines at

Call for submissions for young writers:

New Moon Magazine focuses on girls, women, or female issues. New Moon Girls was created by girls and women for girls who want their voices heard and their dreams taken seriously. It is edited by and for girls ages 8 and up. New Moon Girls takes girls very seriously; the publication is structured to give girls real power. The final product is a collaboration of girls and adults. An editorial board of girls aged 8-14 makes final decisions on content for the magazine and website.
Submission guidelines at

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Nonverbal Communication, part II/

This blog concludes the article on nonverbal communication in writing, posted two weeks ago.

When you’re with a group, notice how people stand in proximity to others. Those who know each other well usually stand closer. Strangers tend to stand farther apart.

Touching with an arm or a hand indicates that people probably know each other. A touch can be used to show affection, such as a hug from a mother to a child. Pats on the back offer encouragement from a teacher to a student. One character’s arm over another’s shoulder lends emotional support without saying a word.

People react to body language and nonverbal cues. A frown on an adult’s face can make a child run in the opposite direction. A grandma with arms spread wide encourages a child to run to her.

Develop your scenes with dialog, but don’t forget to use nonverbal signals to show emotions. Sometimes a look or a touch speaks volumes.

Call for submissions for adult writers:

Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award

"One Grand Prize winner will receive a publishing contract with an advance of $50,000, and four First Prize winners will each receive a publishing contract with an advance of $15,000. Visit the Prizes page for the full list of prizes and details. We've expanded the categories to include five popular genres: General Fiction, Romance, Mystery/Thriller, Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror and Young Adult Fiction. And we're accepting entries from more countries than ever before." Be sure to check the very detailed guidelines.

Deadline: "We must receive your Contest entry between January 14, 2013 at 12:00:01 a.m. (U.S. Eastern Standard Time) and January 27, 2013 at 11:59:59 p.m. (U.S. Eastern Standard Time). The contest is limited to 10,000 Entries, and we will stop accepting Entries after we have received 10,000 Entries."

Submissions guidelines at

Call for submissions for young writers:

Washington Post KidsPost Annual Poetry Contest occurs every April in honor of National Poetry Month. The contest is open to ages 5 to 14. Kids must submit an original (that means you must have written it yourself) poem of any length on any subject. Each child can submit only one poem. Poems can be illustrated, but that is not required.

Deadline: Deadline for entries is 5 p.m. Monday, March 26.

Submission guidelines at

Check out more contests on my blog: