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The next Children's Writer's World post will be on June 15th.

June 15, 2016

Cheating

Most people know that thorough research is needed when writing nonfiction for children.  That means writers must use a variety of primary sources, reliable websites, and trustworthy books because research requires diligent and careful study to investigate a subject and to establish facts.  Those who use one source violate the rules of research.  One source wouldn’t provide enough information needed to research a topic adequately.   

However, there are a few writers who think that one source should do the trick.  These writers are either unaware of what is required for research, or they are just plain lazy.  Either way, a nonfiction submission with one resource will usually end up being rejected.

When I encounter nonfiction submissions for Kid’s Imagination Train that have only used one source, I am not impressed.  These submissions tell me two things:  our guidelines have not been read and the authors don’t understand how to research a topic. But...these writers are given another chance to improve their work and to submit again.  They are asked to use more sources and develop the article by adding more interesting facts. 

Most of the time writers will comply and resubmit a well-researched piece.  But in some cases, writers merely just add a couple more books to the bibliography without incorporating any new information.  Shocking, yes?  It happens.  To be blunt, these kinds of writers are cheaters.  They are cheating themselves of learning some pretty cool stuff when researching.  They are also cheating themselves of the satisfaction and pride that comes from digging deep.  More, they are cheating children of rich details and interesting information they so wholeheartedly deserve.


June 1, 2016

Submitting to Agents

Are you submitting your work to agents?  Bravo!  Hopefully, you will hear good news. But what if an agent is not too eager to take on your project.  How would you be notified? Here are three scenarios:

1.  No reply.  Agents will only respond when they are interested.  No word = no thank you.  

2.  The standard rejection form.  It might read:  Thank you for submitting but unfortunately it doesn't meet our needs at this time.  

3.  The rejection letter with a little note.  These emails are personalized and give advice or a word of support. 

It is disappointing, but fairly common not to hear back from an agent.  So if you haven't gotten a response in about three months, consider it a pass.

A good number of agents will usually send a rejection letter.  Even though they've passed on your work, you will know that they received your submission and it had been considered.   

Occasionally, a rejection letter may arrive personally addressed to you along with a little note.  A note takes the sting out of the rejection.  It could read:  shape this piece, or this work has potential, or this project sounded interesting.  You may even get advice, and if you do, consider revising your manuscript. 

Though it is a pass on your project, a personalized rejection is an awesome thing to receive.  An agent has made time to send you feedback.  A personal message will remind you that others think your work has potential.  It may offer hope and validation.  It will boost your faith as a writer.  And more, it will give you courage to keep on submitting.