Let SCBWI Work for You

Ron Hirschi has written 72 books for children, which
are listed on
Goodreads. Hirschi visits kids in schools
around the country to build awareness about nature.
Seya's Song is one of Hirschi's most popular children's books.
Hirschi also writes books for adults.

By Linda Wilson   @LinWilsonauthor

    One of the best things that ever happened to me in my journey as a children’s writer was to become a member of the worldwide, professional organization, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, SCBWI. I learned about SCBWI from the award-winning nature author, Ron Hirschi.

    I met Hirschi while working as a correspondent for the Dayton Daily News during a break from teaching elementary school. I had written an article about him during one of his nature visits at an elementary school in Dayton, Ohio. Before I let him go, I asked his advice on how to become a children’s writer. He said the best recommendation he could give me was to join SCBWI. That was back in March, 1992. I’ve been a member ever since. 

The cost for membership in SCBWI is reasonable, and there are countless benefits for both new and experienced children’s writers. 

Your Local Chapter

    SCBWI New Mexico—my chapter—consists of the state of New Mexico and western Texas. And thanks to the dawning age of Zoom, our chapter has expanded. Now our members also come from North Carolina, Oregon, New Zealand, India, and more. All are welcome.

    The SCBWI-New Mexico E-lerts newsletter, written and compiled by member Jennifer Bohnhoff, published every Friday, is the go-to place to learn about our members, activities, and events. Here is a sample of ways members can participate:

  • Enchantment Show, typically an annual event: Authors and illustrators have an opportunity to join together to write and illustrate an impromptu story. The coordinator begins by matching an artists’ illustration to individual authors who have signed up. The authors create a story to match their interpretation of the illustration sent to them. All work is turned in by a deadline, and authors and illustrators meet for the first time. This year the theme was “The Journey.” The stories and illustrations are mounted in frames. This year's project is currently being displayed at the Albuquerque Main Library.
  • Virtual Coffee House: Regularly scheduled Zoom meetings on Wednesdays, at 4:00 PM, take place for anyone wanting to have a casual conversation about topics on craft, publishing in general, and other topics of interest. Participants are given the chance to set accountability goals to help motivate and stay on task.
  • Third Saturday Critique Zoom Meetings: On the third Saturday of each month a group of writers gather together on Zoom to critique each other’s work. Five pages, double-spaced or entire picture books are sent by Wednesday of that week. The stories are critiqued on Saturday, from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM. 
  • Announcement of Events: All types of events that members are involved in are announced, including events from other SCBWI chapters, Highlights webinars, and much more.
  • Writing Workshops: Workshops in person and online are announced, such as the current workshop "Advanced Plotting: Keep Those Pages Turning," offered by Chris Eboch, editor and author of over 100 books for children, which include nonfiction and fiction, early reader through teen. 

Your National Organization: The Global Community for Children’s Book Creators

Visit the global SCBWI website and discover all that the organization has to offer. If you have the interest and have taken the time to read this post, dear reader, then you possess the heart and soul of what writing for children is all about. Children need and love our stories and artwork. SCBWI is there to help.

The quote that appears on the global SCBWI welcoming page explains SCBWI’s role best: 

“The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators provides the resources, professional networking, and community-building opportunities that support writers, illustrators, and translators throughout their careers.”

What SCBWI has Done for Me

    While working as a substitute K-12 teacher, like many authors, I wrote articles on the side. To begin, I taught myself how to write by studying how-to books that I borrowed from the library and purchased. On the night my first article, “Stories Put Worlds in Touch,” Albuquerque Journal, June 5, 1989, about the stories a blind storyteller shared with her audiences, was accepted I couldn’t sleep. I wondered if I had captured the storyteller’s truest profile and gave her the credit she was due. Fortunately, the article turned out to be a success in the storyteller's eyes. Her dream was to purchase a Xerox/Kurzweil Personal Reader, which I mentioned in the article, a purchase she couldn't afford at the time. She called to thank me. A relative had read the article and purchased the reader for her. That was the beginning of the many, many rewards I’ve received from being a writer.

When I decided I wanted to learn how to write for children, I lived in a small town and had only the library and internet to help me. I began by writing a few children’s novels. Well, we all know where our first attempts sometimes land—in the drawer. (Those attempts are still there. Maybe one day, with the knowledge I have now, I’ll find a way to resurrect them.)

    It wasn’t until I moved to Albuquerque and was able to attend SCBWI-New Mexico meetings that the real learning began. I took a few creative writing courses while attending SCBWI meetings; and best of all, I joined a critique group. The rest is history. The combination of the SCBWI programs and critique groups I've taken part in has given me the tools I needed to create my books.

    I wish you all the best in your own writing journey. Be assured that SCBWI is there to guide you along the way.   

My next picture book, my fifth,
will be a teddy bear story,
including the true story
of Norman D. Bear, a program
in Dayton, Ohio that I took part in.
The program provided teddy bears
for children caught in
difficult circumstances.

Linda Wilson is the author of the Abi Wunder Mystery series and other books for children. Her two newest releases are Waddles the Duck: Hey, Wait for Me! (2022) and Cradle in the Wild: A Book for Nature Lovers Everywhere (2023). You’ll find Linda on her Amazon author page, on her website at LindaWilsonAuthor.com, and on Facebook.

Click the links for free coloring pages and a puppet show starring Thistletoe Q. Packrat. While you’re there, get all the latest news by signing up for Linda’s newsletter.  Connect with  Linda: FacebookTwitterPinterestInstagram

An Interview with Author Susie Kinslow Adams

by Suzanne Lieurance

                                                               Susie Kinslow Adams                                                       

Susie Kinslow Adams is a Missouri writer. 


She writes nonfiction, most of it based on her own life. 


I first met Susie years ago at a writer’s conference where I was presenting, and she became a coaching client soon after. 


Susie describes her path to publication in this recent interview.


Suzanne Lieurance: Tell us about yourself as a writer and the author of several books and coloring books. How did you get started as a writer? 


Susie Kinslow Adams: I cannot recall a time in my life when I didn't feel compelled to write. 


In my rural high school, I was on the annual and school newspaper staffs and wrote articles for the local newspaper. 


I married soon after graduation and made life choices that offered little opportunity to write.


SL: Your first book was about your life taking care of your mother in her later years. What was the process of writing that book like? 


SKA: After the death of my first husband, I married a widowed preacher who encouraged me to write. 


On a visit in our home, my mother became ill and was rushed to the hospital. 


For the next eight years of ups and downs, we became her caregivers. 


I felt God's call again to write, and write I did. 


It seemed I could not write fast enough as her needs changed from day-to-day. 


In 2014 My Mother My Child was published; 54 years after I had graduated high school and walked away from my calling. 

God is patient.


SL: Tell us about Patches, the turtle, and how he came to be part of your “brand” as a writer and author. 


SKA: After my first book was published, I felt inspired to do a Biblical coloring/activity book for children. 


I wanted a critter, a voice for the stories, but not some silly drawing. 


It had to be something real the kids (and adults) could connect with. 


Patches the turtle is a real turtle with a history that soon will be revealed. 


He is working on his third book, Patches Friendships


Patches best friend is Pockets. 


I love it when asked what “Patches Approved” on my logo means. 


It's simple: if Jesus approves it, Patches approves it.


SL: Do you have a regular writing schedule? If so, what’s it like? If not, how do you work to get your books written and published? 


SKA: I have tried to keep a writing schedule, but at 80 years young, I have accepted the fact that that's not me! 


Yes, I can improve, but only to a point. 


Like Popeye, “I am what I am.” 


I take care to meet deadlines, I schedule deadlines for myself. 


I have pencil and paper in every room of the house, the car, and my purse. 


I stay ready to write when a thought worth keeping wanders through my head. 


I set a personal deadline for the books I write and do my best to keep it.


SL: Writing a book and getting it published is only part of the journey. Marketing is often the most difficult part for authors, so what have you done to market your books? 


SKA: Most of my books have been sold through book signings and speaking engagements, and through my website. 


I need to learn more about how to market my books online. 


Right now, I do Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.


SL: What is the most enjoyable part of writing for you?  


SKA: Seeing my work published continues to amaze me. 


Knowing that my words can be used to inspire and encourage others is overwhelming. 


To be able to follow my passion for writing is a wonderful gift.


SL: What is the most challenging or difficult part of writing for you? 


SKA: Sometimes, it is simply learning to stay focused on the current project. 


Right now, I have three books trying to vie for my attention. 


In addition to that, there is my blog and short articles to write for periodicals.


SL: What is your best tip for other writers? 


SKA: Do it! Just do it! 


Chase that character out of your head who wants you to quit or says you aren't good enough. 


Just write your thoughts as they come to you. 


And never, ever believe you are too old or too young. 


Chase those dreams now.


SL: What are you working on right now? 


SKA: Three years before my husband passed away, we began working on our story. 


I am determined to finish it soon. 


The Rebel and Preacher Man is the true story of our lives. 


It is a love story; our love and God's love for us. 


It begins with me in jail in 1960 at age 17. 


At the same time a fellow in his thirties accepted Jesus as his savior and was called to preach. 


There is a lot of drama in it; much that is difficult for me to write but must be shared.


SL: Where can readers go to learn more about your books and to sign up for your mailing list? 


SKA: I have an author page on Amazon.com with some exciting reviews. 


You can sign up on my mailing list at http://www.susiekinslowadams.com/and receive a free cookbook. 


Patches and I send out encouraging newsletters twice a month.

Suzanne Lieurance is a freelance writer, the author of over 40 published books and a writing coach at writebythesea.com.

Subscribe to her free newsletter, The Morning Nudge, for writing tips and resources delivered to your e-mailbox every weekday morning. 

You'll also get immediate access to a private Resource Library for Writers.

Every Writer Needs A Safety Net

By Terry Whalin 

Every summer, Peru, Indiana has a local circus to celebrate the history of the town. Students train all year for these performances. That summer one student walked the high wire on stilts. Each time the crowd gasped because he performed without a safety net. As an intern at the Peru Daily Tribune, I wrote most of the material in the annual circus edition.

As writers, I know the importance of having a safety net and in this article, I want to give you several reasons for this added protection. Because of my role as an editor, I’ve met numerous writers at conferences. I recall one writer boldly telling me that she had quit her day job and was writing her novel full-time. Yes, she was all-in for the publishing world—and I only listened but recognized her potential danger and folly.

Publishing Is Unpredictable

This week a New York Times bestselling novelist was telling me about how several of her publishers have gone out of business. No one could have predicted the challenges to the supply chain or a worldwide pandemic or many other factors inside publishing. There are many decision points where despite your best intentions, the projections for book sales do not happen.

Life Is Unpredictable

While it happened decades ago, I clearly recall the details. I had been out to lunch with a major Christian magazine editor and was telling her that my publishing company was “part of a revolution.” A few hours later, I sat at a conference table with my editorial director, and he began, “I’ve got to let you go.”  I’ve faced unexpected job changes, divorce, illness, death of a family member and even a costly lawsuit. No one has a crystal ball to forecast the events in our future. As a Christian, I understand God has numbered our days and knows the shortness of our lives.

How to Keep Moving Forward

While publishing and life can be unpredictable, I want to give you several action steps to take to help your writing life to continue to move ahead.

1.  Don’t quit your day job. Many well-known authors have written in their off times and kept their day jobs. Several years ago, the New York Public Library published an article about 10 Famous Writers who kept their day jobs. I encourage you to read this article and learn about authors like Kurt Vonnegut and Margaret Atwood. These authors show us the value of their day jobs and how they continued publishing and writing.  

2. Diversify Your Writing. There are many ways to get published and when one aspect slows or folds, you can tackle another type of writing. In the first chapter of Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams. I have a fairly extensive list of various types of writing. Follow this link to download the chapter.

3. Keep working to expand your personal network and relationships and look for the open doors. Who you know is almost as important in publishing as what you know. I continue to expand my connections with editors, agents and others. As you help them, they will help you. You never know when a relationship from the past can become an important one. 

While publishing has challenges there are also many opportunities—if you are actively looking for the right one. Make your plans and get knocking on those doors to see which one will open for your writing. It’s the active role I’m taking for my own safety net.   


Do you have a writer’s safety net? This prolific writer and editor details the reasons every writer needs a safety net. (ClickToTweet)

W. Terry Whalin, a writer and acquisitions editor lives in Colorado. A former magazine editor and former literary agent, Terry is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. He has written more than 60 nonfiction books including Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams and Billy Graham. Get Terry’s recent book, 10 Publishing Myths for only $10, free shipping and bonuses worth over $200. To help writers catch the attention of editors and agents, Terry wrote his bestselling Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success. Check out his free Ebook, Platform Building Ideas for Every Author. His website is located at: www.terrywhalin.com. Connect with Terry on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

Getting Your Book on Newsletter Lists


Contributed by Margot Conor

Whichever way you publish, your sales will depend on your ability to market your book. Traditional publishers will do some promotions but how much they do will depend on who you are, and how much they believe in your product.

But let’s face it, no one else cares as much as you do about your book, so it will be largely up to you to market it. It's your marketing strategy that determines how much money you can expect to make from your book.

Statistically, 80 % of readers get their next read from written word media. It is the #1-way readers find their favorite books. If you don’t know what that specifically refers to… it’s newsletters.

These newsletters are directly from authors or newsletters from organizations that promote books. Most authors today know how important it is to grow their audience through a newsletter.

Getting your book titles seen by readers, outside of your personal contacts, will be a big boost for your sales.

Here are a few ways to take advantage of these phenomenal opportunities, gain exposure to thousands of subscribers who read company newsletters, and pick up new followers for your creative works:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/

Goodreads platform has over 125 million members, it is likely the biggest database of books on the planet. I did’nt find how many subscribers they have for their newsletter. But there are other ways to utilize their site to get more visibility by using their Lists.

Here are the methods for using Goodreads to promote your book:

-The “Similar To” algorithm: connects books on similar topics, and gives you a selection to choose from. Find user lists which have books similar to yours. Use genre, theme, and other specifics. Add your title to those lists. Spread this out over time. don’t do it all in one day. Also, join as a reader and compile your own lists, and of course, add your own books to them.

-The “Listopia” Feature: a more general genre search offers Featured Lists.
These include: Best books ever, Best books of the 21st century, Best books of the decade, Best books of a specific year, Best books of a specific month and year. Users choose and rank them.

-By Book Title: Chose a title that you use as a comp for your book, (something comparable by genre, mood, style, theme). Use this feature to “look for Lists with this book title.” It gives you access to how other readers listed the book you like (your comp), and what books they feel are similar.

Add your book to the lists of comparable book titles. If those readers liked your comp, they should like your book too. Books rise on the list to the top as readers vote for them.

Even if you are a fledgling author with no book published, I recommend joining GoodReads as a reader and starting your list of books you love. If you have a book or multiple books published, begin adding those titles to various featured lists, as outlined above, to gain more visibility.

The survey information below is gleaned from Written Word Media. I include it in this article because it corroborates my point that these companies have thousands of dedicated users that welcome the information shared in their newsletters. You can benefit from that as well.

Freebooksy: https://www.freebooksy.com/
You’ve probably been told if you can offer a free book, it will get you a lot of readers. Although it is a hard choice to make. After all the time and money you put into creating your book, offering it for free, seems counterproductive. Some authors use a Novella, while others who are perhaps more prolific, bite the bullet and use their first book, or the first in a series, for promotion.

Freebboksy’s site notes 519K readers. But a more recent poll by Written Word Media says they have nearly 700K newsletter readers. Which means they are growing fast!

Seventy-five percent of subscribers use the Freebooksy newsletter to find their next read.

Here is a step-by-step process of how to get your book promoted on this site: https://www.writtenwordmedia.com/best-way-to-promote-on-freebooksy/

Bargain Booksy: https://www.bargainbooksy.com/featured-books/

If you can’t make yourself give your book away, this might work for you. It is a site that sells discounted books.

Bargain Booksy Review is a promotional book-deal site that will share your book to several mailing lists they maintain. You pay a fee to have your book reviewed and promoted to one of their niche-specific mailing lists. They have 400K newsletter readers.
More than 70% of their subscribers use the Bargain Booksy newsletter to find their next book.

To help bring even more attention to your Booksy Profile, you can use their Boost option to increase your exposure.

The basic options are very affordable, Bargain Booksy Features range in price from $25-$240. Prices vary depending on your book's genre and promotion type. For more detailed information go to this link:

Red Feather Romance: https://www.redfeatherromance.com/
This service has 176K newsletter readers and they read more than10 books per month. More than 80 % of their subscribers use the Red Feather newsletter to find their books.

It will cost you a little to promote your book on this site, but it’s pretty reasonable.

NewInBooks: https://www.newinbooks.com/
They have 130K readers and on average their readers spend $25 per month on books. Seventy-five percent say they love the NewInBooks newsletter.

There’s a fee to get mentioned in their newsletter, it’s part of their Book Launch promo stack. Cost to the author: $299 to $499. But they have a lot of engaged subscribers, so this is not a bad way to advertise.  

According to surveys, a little less than half of modern readers are Kindle Unlimited subscribers. This means having an e-book option is important.

Wishing you all success on your writing journey!

Please copy and paste URLs for the sites you'd like to check out that aren't hyperlinked.


Margot Conor has been writing for as long as she can remember, but it wasn't until the COVID lock-down that she had enough time to dedicate to the craft and bring something to completion. Having finished her first novel, she went through the grueling two-year process of editing. Now she has jumped into the author's world with both feet. She's preparing to debut her first novel, which means learning how to promote it. The last year has been spent attending many writing retreats, seminars, and writers' events. She also listened to presentations specifically on the topic of publishing and book marketing. She will be sharing what she learns with the reader.
 You can learn more about Margot and her writing at her Facebook page:

Self-Advocacy Goals

Whether you are building a business, a writing empire, or both, you need to be known. And to do that, you need to step out of your comfort zone and start advocating for yourself!

On a recent GoalChatLive, I discussed self-advocacy with Jackie Bailey, founder, The Speak Feed Lead Project; Jamie Martin, a life and leadership coach; and Bob Wheeler, host of the Money You Should Ask podcast. During our conversation, Jackie, Jamie, and Bob shared what self-advocacy is, the value of self-advocacy, how to get better at it, and more.

Self-advocacy is ... 

Having the ability/courage/desire to speak up for yourself (Jackie), Coming from a place of alignment, so you can voice your values (Jamie), and becoming your own champion (Bob).  

How to Self-Advocate  

  • Jackie: Stop worrying about how everyone will react to what you are doing. Ask yourself: 
    • What is the worst thing that can happen if I do this? 
    • What is the worst thing that can happen if I don’t do this? 
    • What’s the best thing that can happen if I do this? 
    • What’s the best thing that can happen if I don’t do this?
  • Bob: Get clarity. If you know your purpose, it helps you align with self-advocating, since it’s in service to others. 
    • What do I want?
    • Why do I want it?
    • Why don’t I have it?
    • What am I willing to do to get it?
  • Jamie: Practice. 
    • Take a video of yourself self-advocating!

Self-Advocacy Goals 

  • Jamie: Become aware of what stops you from sticking up for yourself. When that happens, write it down, so you can objectively look at what is happening.
  • Jackie: Write long-hand where you are vulnerable and why, and why you hesitate about advocating for yourself. Then think about how you learned it and change the story to include “I can do this.”
  • Bob: Make a list of top 5 things you are not self-advocating. Pick the one that is least scary. Set a deadline to get it done.

Watch our conversation.

Final Thoughts 

  • Bob: Gratitude. Being grateful goes a long way.
  • Jamie: You have a voice and it needs to be heard, so others can learn from you.
  • Jackie: Your voice is your superpower. Advocate for others, as well as yourself.
When you advocate for yourself - when you build a platform and shout from the "rooftops" - you not only help yourself. You help others who need to learn from you, understand your message, or be entertained by your work.

* * * 

For more inspiration and motivation, follow @TheDEBMethod on Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin! 

* * *

How do you self-advocate? Please share in the comments. 

* * *
Debra Eckerling is the award-winning author of Your Goal Guide: A Roadmap for Setting, Planning and Achieving Your Goals and founder of the D*E*B METHOD, which is her system for goal-setting simplified. A goal-strategist, corporate consultant, and project catalyst, Debra offers personal and professional planning, event strategy, and team building for individuals, businesses, and teams. She is also the author of Write On Blogging and Purple Pencil Adventures; founder of Write On Online; host of  #GoalChatLive aka The DEB Show podcast and Taste Buds with Deb. She speaks on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.

Three Neglected Components for Publishing an E-Book

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson

A Website owner was asked what the “three most important components are for publishing a professionally produced e-book” and he referred the question to me. As long as I was mulling over this answer this all-important question, I figured I’d pass the answer along to you, but the question was too hard to answer in its original form. I took the liberty of qualifying it with an introductory clause and here it is: 


Because a self-publisher must be a jack of all publishing trades and because many readers are still not comfortable with e-books, I believe the three most important components of publishing an e-book are:


1. The cover. Visuals are powerful tools. A great book cover may be even more important for an e-book (even though it's virtual) than for a paper book. It will probably be the only visual a reader will have to connect the reader to the author's (and publisher's) credibility.


2. Great editing. Too many authors and e-book publishers think that great editing is merely the process of eradicating typos, but it's a lot more. It's grammar. It's the conventions of writing (like punctuating dialogue correctly). It's even formatting that anyone can hire done, but should know enough about to prepare their manuscript for its final edit. And it’s knowing about the things that your English teacher may have considered correct, but they’re things that tick publishing professionals like agents, publishers and the media people who get to choose a book for print or internet exposure off!


3. Formatting. I list this last because most e-book services like Amazon, Createspace, BookBaby etc.  make it clear that formatting is essential and provide guidelines for getting it right.  I included expanded step-by-step instructions for formatting your book for Kindle directly from my publisher, Modern History Press, in the Appendix of my multi award-winning book on editing. For the recently released third edition of The Frugal Editor, go to https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BTXQL27T) to get the Amazon special for the whole series of my HowToDoItFrugally series of e-books for writers with one click.


Note: You should know that when a reader buys your e-book on Kindle, they get to choose what reader format they prefer, and it costs you no extra time reformatting and tracking several for e-book exposure on different platforms.


PS: The fourth most important component of e-books is marketing. No e-book—no book!—is truly published if it hasn’t been marketed. It’s part of the publisher’s job no matter how it is published or who the publisher is. And if it is self-published, marketing is as much the author’s job as the writing of the book. Everything you need to know to market your book the way a professional would if you had the money to hire her is in the tried-and-true The Frugal Book Promoterhttps://bit.ly/FrugalBookPromoIII


More About Today's Contributor

 Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the multi award-winning third editions of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The multi award-winning second edition of The Frugal Editor; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Her blog  TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, lets authors recycle their favorite reviews absolutely free.  Find submission guidelines at https://thenewbookreview.blogspot.com/2023/05/send-us-your-fav-book-review.html.




The Ghostwriter and Your Kidlit Manuscript


By Karen Cioffi, Children's Ghostwriter, Editor, Coach

To come up with a fiction story idea is pretty cool. Getting notes down or a basic outline takes it to the next level.

At this point, some authors realize they need professional help to bring their ideas, notes, or outlines to life. It’s time to hand it over.

With this scenario, the ghostwriter pretty much has free range.

This is true because the client, the author, can envision the type of story they’d like, but they don’t have any investment in how to get it there.

While there’s an idea or a basic outline, the story needs to be told. The writer can weave her magic and create it, with the authors’ feedback as they go along.

But what happens when there’s a complete manuscript?

What happens when the author has taken the time and effort to come up with an idea and has actually written the story? Whether it’s taken him a few months or a couple of years, it’s his baby. He’s brought it to life.

In this scenario, the author is fully invested in the story.

The problem, though, is the author may not know how to write. And, even more important, she may not know anything about writing for children. It really is a different type of writing – lots more rules.

Thinking of a couple of quick examples:

– The author may own a kennel of dogs and wants to show each dog’s personality in depth. Max is playful to the point of being hyper. Daisy loves being held and likes to cuddle. And watch out for Dutch. This will be problematic for a number of reasons, the most significant would be if it's a picture book.

– The author is a professional and is determined, maybe even obsessed, with driving home what’s good for the child. Each scene tells the child what to do.

– The author has gone on an amazing journey or has a passion and wants to share it with children. He wants it to be fiction, but it reads more like a nonfiction story.

While writing a book based on these examples will satisfy the author, it won’t meet standard children’s book guidelines.

It’s not to say these ideas aren’t good; each scenario can be kindling for an out-of-the-ballpark story … if it’s written right.

Hoping the author/client can let go.

In some cases, rewriting a story can be more difficult than ghostwriting from an idea or basic outline.

Some clients have blinders on. They want what they want, whether it’s reader-friendly or not. They just can’t let go of what they’ve written.

When this happens:

The writer often becomes a writing teacher.

The writer tries to explain why something in the story doesn’t work. Or, it may be even worse, and the entire story is a problem.

She tries to explain the children’s writing rules that all books for children should adhere to.

She hopes the client is reasonable and understands. She hopes the client allows her to do her job.

The writer becomes a negotiator of sorts.

It can become a back-and-forth. The writer resorts to the, “Well, what if we do it this way?”

Unfortunately, the client has blinders on and wants what she wants. So, it’s back to, “Well, what if we do it this way instead?”

The writer just jumps in.

Knowing the story needs to be improved, the writer may rewrite it into a publishable book.

This can be a gamble, though.

It can waste the writer’s time and effort if the client doesn’t like it. Then the writer has to go back to being a teacher and negotiator.

When the writer’s hands are tied.

It can become an ethical dilemma for the writer when the client doesn’t want to budge.

– Does the writer simply write the story the way the client wants even though she knows it’s not professional?

While the writer is being paid to write for the client, this isn’t always the best route to take. Although the writer’s name won’t be associated with the book, it’s a story being worked on and should be as professional as it can be.

But there are some instances when the client just wants the book for personal or family use. In these cases, it’s the writer’s decision. I will take on the project.

– Does she walk away from the project after it’s started?

This is obviously a very individual decision that a professional writer doesn’t take lightly.

While I haven’t accepted projects because I knew they wouldn’t be publishable worthy, I’ve never had to walk away from an ongoing project.

I’ll teach and negotiate until the story is the way it should be. It takes more time and effort, but that’s okay.

Every situation is unique, and the ghostwriter will need to decide what’s best.


 Karen Cioffi
is an award-winning children’s author, ghostwriter, editor, rewriter, and coach with clients worldwide.

She also offers:
DIY How to Write a Children’s Fiction Book
Fiction Writing for Children Self-Guided Course and Mentoring Program
Writers on the Move Press (self-publishing help for children’s authors)

You can check out Karen’s published books at: https://karencioffiwritingforchildren.com/karens-books/

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