How to get rejected…in 8 easy steps!

As authors, we are used to rejection. Sometimes the best thing that can happen to us is to get feedback from an agent or publisher that we’ve queried, but most of the time we don’t receive a response if it’s a rejection. Often we’re left wondering what we’ve done wrong or even worse, we keep doing things incorrectly without knowing anything is amiss. Here are some tips on how to get rejected! Read this list carefully…it could be a game changer in your writing life.

  1. Offer the agent or publisher advice on how to market your book-Umm, no. Just…no. How would you like it if someone told you how to do YOUR job? You wouldn’t and you’d be insulted.
  2. Say that you’ve, “tested” your manuscript on young readers-No one cares what your kids or nephew or family members think. If your book is bad no one you know is going to tell you.
  3. Your story doesn’t meet basic requirements such as length-This is so important to know! Read my previous posts about Writing for Kids and find out what the requirements are for each type of book. Don’t send a 3,000 word manuscript to a publisher that publishes YA unless you want to get rejected.
  4. Your story is poorly written-Self explanatory!  Your grammar is poor, your spelling is bad etc.
  5. Your story LACKS ORIGINALITY!-THIS IS HUGE! If your story is the same as everything out there in the market, you’ll be rejected. Publishers are looking for NEW, FRESH,  and ORIGINAL ideas that are exciting!
  6. The hero of your story is passive-Make your hero awesome! No parents should swoop in and save the day.The hero must ALWAYS be the one who solves the problem in your book.
  7. Your story offers an adult perspective-Kids don’t want to read a book that is from an adults point of view, they want someone they can relate to.
  8. You’re condescending-Don’t talk down to kids. Period. They’re intelligent and they should be written that way.

Tomorrow I’ll be posting about how to potentially get published! Look for the list and follow the steps for insight into the minds of publishers and agents.

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All About Books for Kids…Part 2

Yesterday’s post ended with us chatting about chapter books. Here is the continued list and information about books for kids.

  • Middle Grade-For kids in grades 4, 5 and 6 (ages 9, 10 and 11) and these break into diverse age groups. The groups are Younger Middle Grade and Older Middle Grade. Younger middle grade books are usually 20,000-25,000 words, while older middle grade books are 35,000-40,000 words. They are usually large print and a fast read.
  • Middle graders are particularly interested in their Peers, their Family (be careful with this one this one though-everything revolves around the main character child and how they see the world eg. divorce through their eyes), Who Am I? is a big concept and How do I belong? Puberty issues, their Looks and Development as well as opposite/same sex Relationships are things that start to come to the surface as well as the future and that means, who does the future depend on when it comes to your middle grade novel? The future depends on the main character.
  • Young Adult-For kids 12-17 years old, again these are divided into sub categories of younger YA and older YA. The younger ones are 12, 13, and 14 years old  and the older ones are 15, 16 and 17 years old.The length of YA novels is usually from 40,000 to 75,000 words. Here’s where the subject matter gets sticky. In the older YA, there are books that include sex, drugs, and alcohol. These books are issue oriented, they perhaps deal with body image or cutting or eating disorders etc.  The priorities change for this group as well-it’s Puberty, Looks and Relationships, Peers, Family, Self-Concept as in who they are or who they are going to be as an adult, Romance is usually a big factor and finally the Future.
  • Some of the problems in children’s literature are pleasing the parents AND the reader…until you get to the YA market that is! Young adults usually have their own money to spend on whatever books they want and they don’t really care what their parents think. Of course there is YA cross over and a fantastic example is Twilight. It’s a YA novel but a lot of adults read it. If you can write a novel that falls into this category, you will be HUGELY successful.

So there you have it! I hope this list was helpful and that you can use it to your advantage, happy writing.

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All About Books for Kids…Part 1

So what makes kid’s books kid’s books? Well for one thing they’re not for adults;) Books for kids are shorter, they are relevant to their interests and the book is portrayed through the child’s eyes in the way that they see the world. Kids grow quickly but luckily there is always a market for them. Let’s start with the different types:

  • Board Books-“Chewables” is essentially what they’re called. They usually have one word per page and that are the lines of, “Dog,” “Cat,” etc. These books don’t have a lot for a writer to do and are really based on illustrations.
  • Picture Books- 32 pages, 4 of them blank, first page is for a single illustration, 13 double illustrations and then a single illustration on the last page. These books typically start with the writer and then the publisher picks the illustrator.
  • Easy Reader- Teaches the child to read with around 23 words that are very repetitious. These books have the 3 R’s-Rhyme, Rhythm and Repetition! Children will be reading these books, not adults so keep the words easy and the syntax simple!
  • Chapter Books-Ah! Finally we get into the big little kids;) Grades 1-3, these kids are usually learning to read or already know how, but are not experienced. This type of book needs to be fairly simple and short. It is around 6,000 words total and consists of 10 chapters at 600 words each. All of the chapters need to be ACTION PACKED, with cliff hangers and NO BACK STORY! Leave out excessive description, leave out complexity and leave out too many characters. You need a VERY strong narrator. Leave Mom and Dad out of this and let the character be the hero of the story. Kids at this age are searching for independence and make sure you write things that they care about!

Check back tomorrow for Part 2 of All About Books for Kids!

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Welcome…

I’d like to welcome you to my blog and say that I am so excited to embark on this adventure together. I look forward to blogging about my journey as an author as well as the whole process of rejection letters, self-publishing, marketing my book and more. I’ll share writing exercises, great advice that I’ve received, workshop tricks and tips and some of my own short stories.

Thanks for joining me and for listening to the ideas in my mind that eventually make it onto paper. Let’s get started!

The name of this website is called myguidedpen.com for a reason. A while back I went to a tarot card reader and she asked if I had ever done an exercise called…you guessed it, a guided pen. I had no idea what she was talking about! She explained the process and I’ve used it ever since with a few tweaks of my own. Here’s how to get started:

  • Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed
  • Get a beautiful notebook (this will serve as your idea book that you can refer back to from now on)
  • Get a pen

Close your eyes and take a deep breath in a comfortable sitting position. Feel the rhythm of your chest and slowly relax your body. Listen to the silence for one minute. Open your eyes and start writing down everything, and I mean absolutely everything, that enters your mind. DO NOT EDIT! This exercise is supposed to get your creative juices flowing and expand your mind. Write until all of the thoughts you’ve had are on paper. Refer back to the thoughts later in the day or the next day or whenever you have time and use them as story starters or topics to write about. Don’t worry if the ideas you have don’t make sense yet, some you’ll use and others you’ll discard but at the end of it all, you’ll have some great information that could be the subject of your next best seller! Do this as often as you’d like or whenever you have writer’s block. It works for me and I know that it will work for you!

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