Nancy's Books

Sunday, November 29, 2015

At this year’s Kentucky Book Fair, I met a writer, James Ray Coffman, who is just beginning his journey in the publishing world. He illustrates and writes graphic short stories for middle grade and young adult readers. His three volume series, ARAURA, is a hero’s journey and challenges the reader’s view of right and wrong.

What I gleaned from the conversation with James:
A positive approach serves as motivation. He is extremely motivated to learn more about the industry and his upbeat attitude is contagious. I’m motivated to write every morning at 8:00 whether I feel like it or not, whether I know what I want to write or not. I just do it. It’s habit. It’s routine. It’s productive.
Writers need to believe in themselves. It’s so easy to get bogged down by rejection letters, but beginning writers haven’t dealt with years of “No, thank yous” so they believe publishers will want their work. It’s refreshing to meet these writers who WILL make their dreams come true for a number of reasons: talent, perseverance, hard work, and a strong commitment to follow a dream.
Enjoy what you do. James certainly enjoys his craft. He worked on an illustration during slow moments, which were few, at the book fair, but the attendees saw his work in various stages of production. People love demonstrations by illustrators, and they flocked to his table to talk with him. If writers are not enjoying the process, readers probably will not either.
Find ways to stay positive, believe that you will succeed, and most of all, enjoy the journey.
Call for Submissions for Young Writers:
Ember is a semiannual journal of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction for all age groups. Submissions for and by readers aged 10 to 18 are strongly encouraged.
Most forms are considered, both metered and unmetered, traditional and experimental. Poems from 3 to 100 lines have the best chance of acceptance. You may submit up to three poems at a time, but a separate submission form must be completed for each poem.
Short Stories up to 12,000 words will be considered. However, more important than word count is the quality of your work: we are looking for excellent, polished writing that pulls us into an engaging story.
Flash Fiction. The ideal length for Flash Fiction submissions is about 500 to 750 words, but pieces up to 1500 words may be submitted in this category. Remember that Flash Fiction is not the same as “vignette;” even very short works should still present an interesting and compelling story.
Creative Non-Fiction is the beautiful union of exposition and literature. Tell us a true story, and tell it well. Word count limits are the same as for Short Stories.
Call for Submissions for Adult Writers:
 Highlights for Children. Fiction should have an engaging plot, strong characterization, a specific setting and lively language. No series or continuing stories.

·         Stories for younger readers (ages 3 to 7) should have 500 words or fewer and should not seem babyish to older readers.
·         Stories for older readers (ages 8 to 12) should have 800 words or fewer and should be appealing to younger readers if read aloud.
·         Frequent needs include humor, mystery, sports, holiday and adventure stories; retellings of traditional tales; stories with urban settings; and stories that feature world cultures.
·         For stories that require research, such as historical fiction, please send photocopies of key pages in references and of any correspondence with experts.
·         We prefer characters that set a positive example.
·         We avoid stories that preach.
·         We avoid suggestions of crime and violence.
·         We seldom buy rhyming stories.
Submission guidelines at

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