Today I am delighted to have fellow children’s writer Tina Cho as my guest blogger. Like me, Tina is passionate about her faith and writing and she’s found a wonderful way to combine the two as a work-for-hire author. So grab a cup of coffee (or tea, as I prefer) and enjoy Tina’s thoughts on her experience landing contracts through work-through-hire publishers.
Learn to query publishers, and you can land a contract or two before you write the book! Here’s my story.
I perused the marketplace section of Children’s Book Insider in November 2009 (which is now CBI Clubhouse) and noticed that Legacy Press took proposals for Christian children’s books. My mentor, Nancy I. Sanders, had taught me how to research a publisher’s existing product line, find a “hole,” and think of 3-5 ideas that would fit their series of books. I was immediately drawn to Legacy’s Christian Girl Guides. These American Girl type books have fun stories, games, crafts, and activities around a theme. So I thought of another book idea (manners and etiquette guide) that would fit that series and sent them a query letter.
A year and three months later I received an email to send a proposal. I took the next three months to research and write the proposal. I waited. No email. So I figured my proposal had been rejected.
Nine months later I received an email that said they were still considering my proposal, but in the meantime would I like to write another book in which they had developed the concept in-house? He said my voice and tone would match perfectly. (I’m wondering at this point, exactly what my voice sounds like!) This was a craft and devotion book for girls. So I developed all the crafts and wrote the book in two months. Whew! During this time, Legacy sent me a contract for The Christian Girls Guide to Grace, February 2012, and I finished writing the 10 chapters May 2012.
I am truly thankful to God for allowing me to write these. My faith and numerous readings of the Bible, plus experience as a teacher, had given me a knowledge base to work from. One of the reasons I wanted to write for children is that I wanted to leave a legacy for my own children. With Christian Girls Guide to Grace, I received my opportunity for my daughter. In fact, I dedicated the book to her. (She doesn’t know yet.)
So be a patient writer, learn to query, and you, too, can land contracts!
Tina is an author of 23 guided reading books from Lakeshore Learning and Compass Media. My Mini Pet Shop and The Christian Girls Guide to Grace, both from Legacy Press Kids and a coloring book with Warner Press will be out in 2013. She is a former elementary teacher who currently homeschools her 5th grade daughter and 2nd grade son. Though she grew up in Iowa, she is now living outside of Seoul, South Korea. For more of Tina’s thoughts on faith and writing visit her at http://tinamcho.wordpress.com or http://tinasdevotionaltidbits.wordpress.com or http://tinaseducationaltidbits.wordpress.com.