Nancy's Books

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Landing a Contract/Calls for Submissions

Stuck in the middle of my emails one day last week was a whopper of a smile maker: a picture book contract. The contract was with a publisher I’d been courting for five years. My first four manuscripts had each been rejected, but the editor had nice words about each. In the end though, they didn’t make the final cut, until this one!
Perseverance and patience rule. A writer must keep writing, submitting, and studying the market. Getting published is a slow process, as is building a relationship with an editor BEFORE publication. 
So how do you attract an editor to the point of getting a contract? With picture books, it begins with writing the manuscript as you would poetry. Since many of these books are designed to be read aloud, focus on rhythm, alliteration, and other literary devices that allow the text to jump and jive with a lively cadence.
After the manuscript is honed with stylistic flourishes, aim submissions toward publishers that produce the type of manuscript you wrote. Arm yourself with information to better target the editor that wants your type of writing. I do this by checking out the publisher’s website and getting a good idea of the types of books published. I check out the editor and read interviews and blogs looking for information stating the types of manuscripts s/he accepts. This task is time consuming, sometimes taking much longer than time spent on the manuscript. But the payoff is hitting the bull’s eye when targeting the manuscript…and landing that coveted contract.
Call for submissions for adult writers:

FamilyFun Magazine:  Pays on publication.  Seeks nonfiction, columns/departments, photos/artwork.  Subjects: Crafts, ideas for children & family fun.  Submission guidelines at 

Call for submissions for young writers:

JUNIOR AUTHORS SHORT STORY WRITING CONTEST. Open to young writers ages 9 to 21 from any country. Amazon Gift Cards for the top 6 writers in each age category will be awarded as follows:
1st place – $100
2nd place – $25
3rd place – $25
4th place – $25
5th place – $25
6th place – $25
Age categories:
Category I – ages 18-21
Category II – ages 15-17
Category III – ages 12-14
Category IV – ages 9-11
Your story can be about anything you like. Be creative and have fun.
Your story must be in English. Maximum length is 1,000 words.

Deadline 6/30/2013
Submission guidelines at

Check out more contests on my blog:


  1. Congratulations on your contract! Thanks for the advice on how to write a picture book manuscript, and thank you for the links.

    1. Thanks, Donna.

      Next week, I'm beginning a series of blogs on writing picture books. Stay tuned.

  2. Congratulations. That is great news and gives us all hope!

    1. Thanks, Rosi. Hope is the operative word. That positive attitude will lead you down the path to publication.

  3. Congratulations! Calls for a happy dance!

    1. Thanks, Mona. I'm breaking out the chocolate now. Celebration time.

  4. Congratulations on the contract! I love the idea that you've "courted" the editor. Nice job.