Nancy's Books

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Writing a Middle Grade Novel, part 2/Calls for Submissions

My inspiration to write about a spunky female character came when a good friend displayed such a spunky attitude when diagnosed with a serious illness. I created a spirited, courageous protagonist, threw her into a tension-filled plot, and enjoyed seeing the character rebound in the end, all this in the form of a picture book. The manuscript shipped out into the world to seek a contract. I wasn’t surprised with the rejections, but I was thrilled with the offer for publication. A few weeks later, the publisher withdrew the offer due to changes within the publishing house.  

Another rejection suggested that the material would work better as a chapter book. I agreed with the editor and revised the manuscript into ten 1,000-word chapters. Once again, my “baby” shipped out in the big world to seek a contract. Rejections came with similar advice given by a different editor: The story would work better as a middle grade novel.

Back to the keyboard. I wrote and rewrote, enlarging my story to encompass subplots and shipped it out into the big world to seek a contract. Rejections came but so did an offer for publication. This time, the editor suggested I add two more chapters on specific information. Editors’ insights have always made improvements in my writing, so I take their suggestions to heart. Now, 15 looooooong years later, a tribute to a friend is finally coming to fruition in the form of my first middle grade novel.  

Moral #1: perseverance is the key to a writing career.

Moral #2: Don’t get in a hurry.

Call for submissions for young writers:

GREYstone is a subsidiary of BRICKrhetoric, which publishes works of
poetry, artwork, flash fiction, photography and scientific art from
students and teachers {K-12} quarterly online in the months of February,
May, August & November.

Call for submissions for adult writers: 

MAIN STREET RAG Publishing Company will be accepting submissions of poetry, short fiction, and nonfiction for 3 upcoming anthologies. Themes: (1) Cars, (2) Crossing Lines, (3) Home & Houses. Reading period: January 1 through February 28. No reading fee. Submissions by e-mail only.

Submission guidelines ats:

Check out more contests on my blog:


  1. Congrats, Nancy! I was excited to read your entry because I've been working on a middle grade novel based on my experience in Shriner's Hospital in the 1970s. It's my first attempt at middle grade, plus I've struggled with making the main character as excited about the "adventure" as I was. Reading about your journey encourages me.

  2. This gives us all hope. Thanks for telling me about your journey.

  3. Never get in a hurry in the publishing world. I really encourage writers to turn to middle grade fiction at this point in time because the genre is "hot." Picture books, not so much. MG is probably going to be easier to market with either an editor or agent.

  4. Wow. I'm impressed with how much work you put into redefining your character and manuscript. Good luck with your upcoming MG novel. I'm actually on the hunt for good, inspirational, non-fantasy MG manuscripts myself. Sounds like I stumbled across your blog just a bit too late. :) Keep writing. I'll follow your blog, just as soon as I figure out how. (I'm a Wordpress girl. LOL)