GUEST BLOG: Thoughts on Landing Contracts BEFORE You Write the Book with Tina Cho

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.

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26 thoughts on “GUEST BLOG: Thoughts on Landing Contracts BEFORE You Write the Book with Tina Cho

  1. Pingback: Guest Blogging at Laura Sassi Tales « Tina's Tidbits

  2. I thought PiBoIdMo was pressure. Writing for hire sounds like the ultimate pressure. I’d be afraid that if someone said, “Write a book about such and such…” my mind would be the clearest of blank, clean slates!! Yikes!

  3. Dear Tina, What an amazing journey God has brought you on!!!! Congratulations on the doors He has opened for you as a writer. I know He’ll use your books to bless many, many children (and families)! Hugs, Nancy

  4. So utterly COOL to find Tina Cho at your place.
    She’s a real Woman of Valor, homeschooling/teaching her kids in a faraway land, writing good stories and getting her educational books published. She can teach us all a whole lot.

  5. Hi Laura,
    It was wonderful that you had talented Tina over for a visit. I love your colorful header!
    Tina, you inspire me. And I know what it’s like to send work in, and then wait, and wait, and wait some more. Just when you think nothing is going to come of it, God performs another miracle.
    I do agree with Genevieve, I’d be scared to death to submit a proposal, and then have to perform. But then, isn’t that fear talking. LOL 🙂
    Great photo of you too, Tina!

  6. Tina, you are an inspiration and I agree with Mirka that you are an awesome, cool Woman of Valor! I can’t wait to read your Legacy books and purchase a copies of THE CHRISTIAN GIRLS’ GUIDE TO GRACE for my own daughter and her friends. Thanks so much for being my guest blogger! And thanks to all who took the time to stop by for a visit.

  7. Tina, I loved getting to read about your journey here and am always inspired by the many ways God is using your work as a writer to reach other people, both kids and adults. I’m excited about your upcoming books. Congratulations on them and may you have many, many more in the future. Laura, I agree with Tracy–your header is delightful. How blessed you are to have such a talented mom.

  8. Thanks, Laura, for having me on your blog. I wasn’t able to comment much yesterday because of our move. You, too, are an inspiration and encouragement, and I hope I can follow in your footsteps with a picture book some day!

    Thanks again to all the writers who’ve stopped by. I’ve learned so much from such a great writing community!

  9. You are VERY welcome, Tina! And I agree, the children’s writers community is great, supportive, and all-around-fun. Thanks, everyone, for stopping by and here’s to future writing success for all!

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