“June Cotner's book proposals are the gold standard.”
~ Denise Marcil
Marcil-O’Farrell Literary LLC
~ Guest blog by June Cotner
If you’re a nonfiction writer who would like to have your book traditionally published, you will need a book proposal. In this post, I will be sharing ideas I have used to secure contracts with large publishers such as HarperCollins, Random House, and Hachette, as well as medium-size publishers such as Chronicle Books, Henry Holt, and Andrews McMeel Publishing.
The most important principle is that your book proposal is a business plan prepared for the publisher to show them why your book will be successful.
Here is a sample Table of Contents:
2. Description of the Book
3. Comp Books
4. Delivery Date
5. The Market (or The Audience)
6. Special Sales
9. About the Author
10. Sample Content
A proposal may vary from 5-35 pages in length, plus sample content.
You will create:
More about this later.
2. Description of the Book
This includes number of pages and perhaps a suggestion about the book package—trim size, hardcover or paper, and number of photos.
3. Analysis of Comp Books
There are three types of comp titles: competitive, complimentary, and comparative. Also mention why your book will stand out from the competition.
4. Delivery Date
When will you deliver the complete manuscript?
5. The Market that exists for this book
Include statistics—if your book is about dogs, you can list the number of households in the U.S. who have dogs.
6. Special Sales
This section lists places that sell books outside of a traditional bookstore, such as Paper Source, or a catalog such as Bas Bleu. Be very specific and selective about your suggestions. You should be clear about your rationale why various special sales markets will have an interest in your book. Perhaps your children’s book is about art museums, so you should include a link of all art museums in the U.S. If you think it’s perfect for The Land of Nod and Pottery Barn for Kids, go online and see if they sell your type of book. If so, list the chain’s online books link in your proposal.
I often call this section “Author’s Promotional Contribution,” so it’s clear to the publisher what I will undertake to make the book successful. In this section, I list traditional media (print, TV, radio) and blogs in which I’ve been featured. I include all of my social media links and the number of friends or followers for each one.
If you have a sequel or series idea, list it.
9. About the Author
Write in third person. List why you’re an expert on this subject, along with any major book sales and awards.
10. Sample Content
List all of your chapter titles and give a succinct description of each—no more than 3-5 sentences. After that, insert your first chapter. For your second sample, use a chapter that demonstrates why your book is a unique contribution to the marketplace.
My favorite book about writing book proposals is How to Write a Book Proposal: The Insider’s Guide to Proposals that Get You Published, © 2017 by Jody Rein with Michael Larsen.
The rest of my post is devoted to something new I’ve developed. I use the first page after the Table of Contents to present one page that will serve a dual purpose: First, I want to give the publisher a succinct overview of the book, why the market is perfect for it now, and why my target audience will be eager to read the book. Secondly, I make the first paragraph bold and I write it like a book description that would appear on Amazon.
Here is the first page from the proposal for BLESS THE EARTH, coauthored with Nancy Tupper Ling. It resulted in a contract from Convergent/Penguin Random House.
BLESS THE EARTH
Overview and Description
Bless the Earth: A Children’s Book of Prayers and Poems for Honoring the Earth celebrates the miracle of our planet Earth and offers a spiritual dimension of caring for our world through universal prayers of gratitude and earth-related inspirational poems. Bless the Earth is the only children’s anthology for 4–8-year-olds that knits together humanity, the environment, and spirituality in an engaging way that is simple for young readers to understand.
Moreover, nine-in-ten Americans believe in a “higher power” (Pew Center).
Bless the Earth will be a welcome addition for 90% of families.
We live in an age in which 17-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg received TIME’s 2019 Person of the Year award. Climate change and environmental awareness are at the forefront of topics that parents and teachers discuss with children. While no one wants to alarm young readers, a book like Bless the Earth fosters an awakened appreciation for the world around them.
In support of these developing environmental efforts, Bless the Earth shows the importance of caring for our world, treating our neighbors—humans, plants, and animals alike—with respect, and imagining a positive future. While many contemporary children’s books focus on “being green,” Bless the Earth introduces a spiritual dimension not featured in comparative books.
The book is compiled by bestselling anthologist June Cotner, whose books have sold more than one million copies, and multiple-award winning author Nancy Tupper Ling, whose children’s books have been published by major publishers. In Bless the Earth, writings from Karla Kuskin, Mary Oliver, Theodore Roethke, Emily Dickinson, Lao Tzu, Paramahansa Yogananda, and Kahlil Gibran intermingle with voices of celebrated poets such as Charles Ghigna, Patti Tana, Janine Canan, and Barbara Crooker.
Bless the Earth will contain approximately 60 selections divided into five chapters below.
There is no one right way to write a book proposal. Do make sure you have shown the publisher why they should invest their money in publishing your book.
June Cotner is the author of 38 books including the bestselling books, Graces, Bedside Prayers, Wedding Blessings, and House Blessings. Her books have been published by both major houses and mid-size publishers. Collectively, her books have sold more than one million copies and have been featured in many national publications. To find out more about June and for helpful publishing tips, visit her website at www.junecotner.com. You can also find her at https://www.facebook.com/June.Cotner.Books and on Instagram (@junecotner) where she posts sections from her book proposals.
~Guest Post by Amanda Davis
Hello fellow-24 Carrot Writers! My name is Amanda Davis. I’m an author-illustrator and high school art educator. My debut creative nonfiction picture book, 30,000 STITCHES: THE INSPIRING STORY OF THE NATIONAL 9/11 FLAG, will be hitting shelves May 4th. The story is illustrated by the amazing Sally Wern Comport and will be releasing with WorthyKids/Hachette Book Group. Thank you to the 24 Carrot Writing team for inviting me onto the blog today. I’m excited to kick off my MINI BLOG TOUR for my cover reveal (more about this at the end of the post) by chatting about all things nonfiction.
I learned a lot about writing nonfiction from crafting my debut and attempted to boil my process down to the Three ‘R’s of Writing Nonfiction for Children.
Let’s dive in!
1. The first ‘R’ of Writing Nonfiction for Children is RESEARCH:
The research for my debut picture book, 30,000 STITCHES began seven years before I ever started drafting a manuscript for it. Late summer of 2011, I was searching for a lesson I could facilitate with my high school art students to honor the tenth remembrance of 9/11. As I was researching, I came across the story of the National 9/11 Flag and knew I needed to share it with students. We learned all about the flag and then created our own patched together flag inspired by the story
The story of the flag continued to linger, and as I began more seriously diving into the world of kidlit, I was drawn back to it. I have a background in journalism so uncovering stories, facts, and resources, is right up my alley!
My boiled down nuggets from the research are:
2. The second ‘R’ is for REVISION:
After the bulk of my research was complete (or so I thought), I began to revise my story…and revise…and revise again. Looking back, I’m afraid to officially count the number of versions I have so I’ll just leave it at countless. We all know that revision is part of every writer’s process but I noticed I felt an added weight when it came to writing nonfiction because there was no room for error when it came to relaying the facts of the story and the subject matter.
My boiled down nuggets for revision are:
3. The third and final ‘R’ in writing for nonfiction is REPEAT:
Once you land a deal for your nonfiction story, your research and revision will most likely be on repeat. There will be questions to answer, details to check, and countless times you will dive back into your sources for information.
If you are taking on the challenge of writing nonfiction, hooray! I hope you found these nuggets of information helpful in your process. For me, there is an undeniable pleasure in knowing that I’m sharing an important, true story with the world and making it accessible and fun for children to read and learn about. What could possibly be cooler than that?
I’d like to leave you with one final BONUS ‘R’ for the road, which is ROCKS, because simply put, when you truly boil it all down, nonfiction ROCKS!
I hope you will join me in celebrating my cover reveal by following along with the tour. I’ll be stopping by the places below, and using the #30000StitchesTour. There will be fun giveaways and prizes along the way!
Today’s giveaway is a chance to win one of 10 (ten) signed copies of 30,000 STITCHES!
Enter the giveaway below. Be sure to check out tomorrow’s stop on the tour over at author, Brian Gehrlein’s PB Spotlight blog. I’ll be in conversation with my agent for 30,000 STITCHES, Melissa Richeson, and she’ll be offering a generous giveaway. Stay tuned!
Enter for a chance to win one of 10 (ten) signed copies of 30,000 STITCHES here:
Amanda Davis is a teacher, artist, writer, and innovator who uses her words and pictures to light up the world with kindness. After losing her father at the age of twelve, Amanda turned to art and writing as an outlet. It became her voice. A way to cope. A way to escape. And a way to tell her story. She was thus inspired to teach art and pursue her passion for writing and illustrating children’s books. Through her work, Amanda empowers younger generations to tell their own stories and offers children and adults an entryway into a world of discovery. A world that can help them make sense of themselves, others, and the community around them. A world where they can navigate, imagine, and feel inspired—over and over again. When she’s not busy creating, you can find her sipping tea, petting dogs, and exploring the natural wonders of The Bay State with her partner and rescue pup, Cora.
Amanda is represented by Jennifer Unter of The Unter Agency.
Her debut picture book, 30,000 STITCHES, hits stores May 4, 2021 with WorthyKids/Hachette Book Group.
To connect with Amanda and learn more about her work:
Visit her online at amandadavisart.com (http://amandadavisart.com/)
Twitter @amandadavisart (https://twitter.com/amandadavisart)
Instagram @amandadavis_art (https://www.instagram.com/amandadavis_art/)
and Facebook. (http://facebook.com/amandadavisart)
~by Amanda Smith
I have been following Miranda Paul's career for many years and celebrate along with her as her fifteenth book will be released this year. Her picture books inspire young readers to take care of the earth and one another. She invests generously in the kidlit community as founder of RATE YOUR STORY and co-founder of WE NEED DIVERSE BOOKS. Her generosity also spills over in other walks of life in local and international communities, where she invites others to come alongside her and spark change. I am honored to welcome Miranda to 24 Carrot Writing to tell us about her newest book-baby.
NINE MONTHS: Before a Baby is Born (illustrated by Jason Chin) released on April 23, 2019. You have said of this book, “My heart is full to have this very special book received with love. It's been in development for ten years, and I may cry upon its ‘birth.’” Please share with our readers the journey of NINE MONTHS and why it is so close to your heart.
Nine Months is the book I wanted when I was pregnant with my second child. Sometimes that’s why you write a book—the one you want doesn’t exist yet. While every day I was getting access to weekly updates on the status of my baby, where was the scientifically-accurate yet age-appropriate book for my two-year-old daughter who was as curious as I was about each stage of her new sibling’s development? And while there were plenty of great picture books about where babies come from or emotional picture books about how much love a new baby gets, I struggled to find one that struck the right balance between the two. It only took ten years, but Nine Months is exactly the book I wanted. The science of human life is as miraculous as the love families have for each other. This book compromises neither one, and it’s also a reflection of the diversity of our world’s families.
Your books are diverse in theme, yet many deal with social/environmental issues. Why do you gravitate towards telling these kinds of stories?
Diversity and environmentalism are important aspects of my life, and my work is an extension of who I am and what I believe. As a white woman, I am keenly aware of my privilege and how representation in society can elevate or diminish someone’s opportunities. On a more personal level as a mom, raising biracial, multi-ethnic children who are also nature lovers is my everyday joy and task. Having traveled, lived, and made friends with people in more than a dozen countries has afforded me the discovery that human beings are more alike than we are different, and that our planet is a superbly beautiful place worth protecting. All children need to be reflected in and honored by the stories we tell, and our planet should be given a voice.
You are such a prolific writer, and you do school visits and many other public appearances as well. How do you structure your writing time? Do you write on specific days or do you write every day?
I get this question a lot. Many people don’t know that I’ve been writing most of my life, so when I began in children’s books I had a body of work and experience writing for other kinds of publications. My structure isn’t exactly the same day-to-day (what working mother can say this? What person, for that matter?). But just as any other self-employed person I set schedules and have honed my self-discipline. I do most of my school visits in spring and fall, and therefore a lot of new writing and researching naturally falls in the winter and summer months. There’s no magic equation. Everyone who is an aspiring writer—even if you’re working another job (like I was when I began) or taking care of children or elderly—must find the motivation and momentum to fit the work into the “cracks of life,” to use a phrase I heard from writer Susan Manzke. You may not have entire days to write, but you might have snippets here and there. Enough snippets put together make a book.
Here at 24 Carrot Writing we are big on setting goals as a way to stay motivated and on task. Do you use writing goals to keep focused? Would you mind sharing your goals or 2019?
Just before my debut book One Plastic Bag released, I had a moment in which I knew I was exactly where I needed to be. The feeling was exhilarating; it’s hard to describe. So for the past couple of years, my goals have leaned toward enjoying the process and keeping on the same path. Of course, I also have personal goals for growth and pushing myself to try new things. Not all of them have to do with writing, which is what I find most meaningful. The more I work on having the life I want, the better I seem to be doing professionally. I get to write—and live—what I believe. Keeping that realness is at the top of my list of goals, because I hope it’s an inspiration to my children that exploring who you are, staying active in areas that matter to you, and developing your passions are all measures of success, regardless of the outcome.
What would you like to say to writers who are reading this interview and wondering if they can keep creating, if they are good enough, if their voices and visions matter enough to share?
Remember that even though you may pour your heart into your work, ultimately you and your work are separated once it goes out into the world. A rejection or critique is about the words on the page—not you, personally. So yes, you can keep creating. Yes, you are good enough. And yes, your voices and visions matter enough to share. It’s really that simple.
Thank you for sharing your heart and wisdom with 24 Carrot Writing, Miranda.
New and Upcoming Books by Miranda Paul:
Miranda Paul is the award-winning author of One Plastic Bag, Water is Water, and I Am Farmer, all Junior Library Guild selections. Whose Hands Are These? was named a 2017 ILA Teacher's Choice and Are We Pears Yet? won the 2018 Award of Excellence in Children and Young Adults Literature from the Council on Botanical and Horticultural Libraries. Her most recent release, Nine Months: Before a Baby is Born, received three starred reviews from Kirkus, Booklist, and Publisher’s Weekly. Miranda Paul is an annual faculty member at the Highlights Foundation and a co-founding member of the nonprofit organization We Need Diverse Books, for which she currently serves as Mentorship Chair. Visit her at mirandapaul.com.
NINE MONTHS: Before a Baby is Born, as well as Miranda's other book are available at these retailers:
Barnes and Noble:https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/nine-months-miranda-paul/1129200776?ean=9780823441617#/
Interview by Annie Cronin Romano
Welcome Ann! We are happy to have you join us to be interviewed by 24 Carrot Writing! How did you come to be a children’s book author?
I have always loved to read and write. My father took me to the library every week as a child. He let each of his eight children check out three books a week. Imagine keeping track of that? I was late to learn to read--maybe the end of first grade. He read Madeline to me and I knew how important that book was. After all, my siblings and I walked in lines, just like Madeline.
When you write, do you plot out your stories or are you more of a pantser?
I suppose I’d describe myself as more of a pantser. I write one sentence telling what my book will be about. Then I dive into the research and build a word/phrase bank. I have had early drafts for picture book that run over 20,000 words. I peel away bit after bit until my story reveals itself to me. Not the most efficient practice, but it works for me.
You have two recent releases: PENCIL: A STORY WITH A POINT (Pajama Press, 2/15/19) and WHY SHOULD I WALK? I CAN FLY! (Dawn Publications, 3/1/19). What was your inspiration for these stories?
I was cleaning my kitchen junk drawer. I have several more throughout the house. Maybe more than “several”. As I came across each item, I began to wonder if it might have a personality. Like rubber teeth, for instance. What might they say? To whom?
For Why Should I Walk? I Can Fly, I had been sitting on my back porch with my husband. Each of us sipping cold coffee. We noticed a baby robin in a tree, on a limb, contemplating that first leap from the nest. Mother and father bird were nearby.
Two of your nonfiction picture books involve jazz music: THE LITTLE PIANO GIRL: THE STORY OF MARY LOU WILLIAMS, JAZZ LEGEND and J IS FOR JAZZ (such a fun read)! Can you share what sparked these stories? Are you a musician yourself?
I can play the sticks if pressed into it. I do love music and still love to dance even though I’m a bit arthritic these days. I got the idea for both books on a day I subbed for my music teacher friend who had an ongoing unit on jazz. I wondered if a jazz alphabet book had ever been written. As I pondered who or what to use for the letter W, my jazz historian friend reminded me of Mary Lou Williams, the First Lady of Jazz. As I began to read about her, I was totally hooked. My sister, Maryann Macdonald, paired with me in the writing of that book. It sold first and about 3 years later, J is for Jazz sold.
FAIRY FLOSS: THE SWEET STORY OF COTTON CANDY is another of your nonfiction picture books. What lead you to write this delicious story?
Sonal Fry at Little Bee asked me to write this book. She gave me lots of freedom in deciding what to write. When I learned that the Electric Candy Making Machine was first introduced at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, I was hooked. I did quite a bit of the research at the UMKC Dental School Library since one of the inventors was a dentist. He also wrote books for children. How cool is that?
You have written several early reader books, including the forthcoming TIP AND TUCKER: ROAD TRIP (Sleeping Bear Press, 3/15/19), co-written with Sue Lowell Gallion. What was the process of co-writing like?
Co-authoring with Sue is a dream come true! We really think alike and arrive at an ending in the same way. We are willing to defer to one another as we trust where the story will go. I’ve had equally good experience with my sister, Maryann, and with Barbara Stuber. She and I co-authored a book that is still slowly making the rounds.
What do you love most about being an author?
When I see a child smile, laugh, wonder, and learn from one of my books, I think I have done my job. That really is what keeps me writing. I plan to do this until my last breath.
What is the most challenging part of being an author?
For me that would be keeping all my files in order. I have many, many versions of each manuscript before it becomes a book. I study and compare them and see if there is any bit of magic in one before I discard it.
What is your editing process like? Do you belong to a critique group?
I do belong to a critique group. Jody Jensen Shaffer and Sue Lowell Gallion and I try to meet up every couple of weeks or so. We read exemplars (recently published) and then share our own work. We may read each piece 2 or 3 times slowly and carefully. Then we play with possibilities and word choices, story arc, tension, etc. It is the most satisfying experience. We also talk about the publishing world, share our disappointments and successes. All very, very good.
You have published over 25 books. Are there any particular favorites which hold a special place in your heart?
I'm really proud of J IS FOR JAZZ. It was vetted by three important jazz historians and is accurate. I really loved studying jazz history and making it come alive with a bit of jazz slang. I hope my readers feel the same way.
As you have many book launches under your belt, do you have any words of wisdom for debut authors regarding marketing/publicizing their new book babies?
I’m not especially good at promotion. Thank heavens my publishers are. I do lots of school and library visits and sell books there. I have been to several conferences for librarians. These are very good. SCBWI conferences and literary festivals other good way to connect with parents, teachers, and students. I’d love to do another conference or festival this year. Maybe someone reading this will ask me to present. Here’s hoping. :)
What advice would you give to writers out there in the query/submission trenches?
Study the marketplace. Before I did this seriously, I had very few sales. Since that time, I’ve had nearly 40 more sales. I take about 15 minutes a day and search for editors’ wish lists, publishers’ lists, and names of new publishers. This really helps me direct my submissions. Be prepared for rejections. Take the bad with the good.
What were some of you favorite books as a child?
I loved the Cherry Ames, Student Nurse books and read them over and over hoping one day to actually be a nurse. As an early childhood and special education teacher, I did bandage plenty of knees and elbows from playground mishaps. My grandmother read A. A. Milne to me. I completely love his work, most especially the poem that goes, "When I was one, I had just begun…"
What are a few of your favorite books as an adult?
Louise Penny and Gary D. Schmidt are my all time favorite authors. They are in categories of their own making. I will admit to reading each of their books at least twice. Three time for OKAY FOR NOW.
We’d love to know what you’re working on now. Any projects coming up?
I am working with Jane True on a bio about Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Hoping to wrap that up this weekend and send it out. We have an editor with interest. Please cross your pinkies! I am also going to be writing two more Tip and Tucker books with Sue Lowell Gallion for Sleeping Bear and I have another silly book in the works that may go to Pajama Press. And a book idea, not yet fleshed out for Dawn Publications.
Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with 24 Carrot Writing, Ann!
Ann Ingalls writes for both children and adults and is the author of over twenty-five books. She loves chocolate, swimming, playing Bridge, and traveling. To learn more about Ann and her work, visit her website, www.anningalls.com. She is also on Twitter @AnnIngallsBooks.
By Anna Crowley Redding
My fourth-grade science classroom is burned into my memory. If I close my eyes, I can still see the glass aquariums in the back of the room that held soon-to-be-hatched snake eggs, turtles, and mice. Adorning the perimeter of the room? The steps to the scientific method. On the board? A parade of brainy topics from the Sputnik to Dr. Jarvik and the artificial heart. The highlight of the year? Walking into the classroom to find the desks have been pushed together, are covered with trash bags and newsprint to accommodate what our teacher picked up from the butcher: a set of bonafide cow lungs. We will all take turns blowing into them to investigate how this organ works in humans. (Tip: If you blow into the wind pipe to inflate the lungs, close your mouth quickly ‘cus what goes in the lung, comes out––only with a new lung-y taste and smell.) It was a time of wonder and first touch with meaningful scientific inquiry. It was an amazing experience.
What I don’t remember from that time? Our textbooks or any science-based picture books. And for good reason. All of the joy of hands-on learning, the pull of a magnetic intellectual journey died in our books. And this was no fault of my marvelous teacher. By and large most nonfiction texts of that day were boring, caught in the trap of regurgitating facts.
Luckily, that is no longer the case and thank goodness! Today’s nonfiction books are at turns poignant, jubilant, and fascinating––written with a hook that leaves the reader wanting to go deeper into any topic, whether science, history, social studies, math, art, etc. Not only is this an obvious win for students and young readers but this is a win for writers, too, freed from outdated misconceptions of what nonfiction must look like. Yay!
So, as a nonfiction writer where do you begin? Here’s some advice that people have given me along the way that’s made all the difference.
When I was a TV news intern in Boston, a more seasoned reporter said to me, "When you are going around in life or learning about something, and you have that thought: ‘OH! I never knew that!’––train yourself to listen to that thought, because you are not alone."
That’s tip #1 – If you hear these thoughts-- “Oh, that’s cool!” or “Gee, I never knew that.” STOP what you are doing, write it down. Write down that cool thing. NOW, look at your paper. You have a story idea! Woohoo.
Well, I learned how to answer ‘Now what?’ from one of my college professors. I took his class as an elective, because I wanted to understand how public policy was made, so that as a reporter, I would recognize flaws. That professor was none other than Governor Michael Dukakis. To this day, he is one of the smartest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of talking to (and one of the most committed to helping young people learn and become public servants).
Listening to his process, I realized it applied not only to public policy, but also to reporting and storytelling. Let’s run through it. Tip #2 is Do as Dukakis Does!
Step 1 – Take out three sheets of paper. Label the first one “history and background.” So, you have your idea. Put on your investigative hat and start jotting down bullet points that go deeper. Is your story idea about Albert Einstein’s childhood? Find out the important dates. What else was happening in the world then? What were other kids of the day like?
Is your topic cannibalistic insects? List them. When were they discovered? What are the facts, as you dive in, that still have you saying “oh, I never knew that!” List them.
Fill your page with facts!
Step 2 – Grab your second sheet of paper. Label it “Key People/Sources.” Now you are going to list off all the people you and the Google search engine can think of, who might be an expert on your topic or be able to point you to an expert. I say ‘people’ but it can also be museums, websites, books. If your story is about crop-killing bugs, you’ll want to make sure you have farmers on the list. If your story is about the Titanic, you’ll want to read first-hand accounts from survivors. If you are writing about Mars, NASA’s website might be helpful. Brainstorm who you need to talk to, places you need to visit, websites to read, books to check out, etc. Fill the page!
Step 3 – Grab that last sheet of paper and write “Connect.” Working from your “Key People/Sources” page, list all the people or places you are going to call, visit, e-mail. This is a working list so you can check them off as you go along. And as they suggest other important contacts or sources, you can keep adding to the lists.
Wait, that’s a lot of work. What’s the point?
It helps you get your arms around your story idea and research quickly and comprehensively, adding structure to the process.
So, you have a ton of information. Now, what?!
Tip #3 – Find Your Hook
Now, you need to think about your hook! In that mountain of research, what really got your attention? What do you find yourself thinking back on over and over again? When I was in journalism school, this little sentence was offered as an exercise to find the hook. Here’s the cleaned-up version:
“HOLY MOLY! I just found out that . . . !”
When you complete that sentence, you know what your hook is.
Sometimes your first paragraph is centered around your hook. But sometimes you need to set it up. To understand which group your story idea fits in to, break your story down into moments. If your story is about a person, typically the moments of their life start with 1) potential 2) effort 3) setback 4) growth 5) another setback and repeats like this until 6) Eureka! Breakthrough. This is a similar story arc to fictional stories.
If your topic is about science or math, it may too have this arc, or you might be organizing ideas together in a way that tells a story.
Tip #4- Play story time leader!
But imagine this, you are sitting in a rocking chair at story time, and you begin to talk to the wide-eyed, riveted children seated at your feet. They want to hear all about your book. Using your very best story time voice, where do you naturally begin? Full disclosure: This particular author is not above grabbing stuffed animals and acting out this scenario. It helps.
Even when you are writing for middle schoolers and young adults, you still have to tell a story.
Wait! I just realized . . . you came up with a story idea, researched it, and figured out where to start and what your hook is! I guess we better end here so you can get busy writing, because we want to read your book!
In the meantime, I am hoping in my time machine to drop off some books to my fourth-grade classroom. I think I’ll take …
Terrific Tongues by Maria Gianferri, Volcano Dreams: A Story of Yellowstone by Janet Fox, Two Truths and a Lie by Ammi-Joan Paquette and Laurie Ann Thompson.
Before diving into the deep end of writing for children, Anna Crowley Redding was as an Emmy-award winning investigative reporter, TV anchor, and journalist. The recipient of multiple Edward R. Murrow awards and recognized by the Associated Press for her reporting, Anna now focuses her stealthy detective skills on digging up great stories for younger readers―which, as it turns out, is her true passion. Her book, Google It: A History of Google, is available now in a bookstore near you.
To learn more, visit Anna's website at https://annacrowleyredding.com/
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