What Is New in Children’s Books?

NewBookStickersIf you follow our blog, you undoubtedly have a sense of calling to write for children and teens in the Christian market. Today, I want to encourage you to check out what is new in children’s books. Keeping on top of that may include some things that surprise you, but they will be relatively simple additions to your writing journey.

Check out what is new in Christian publishing for children.

  • Make a list of Christian publishers and check their new releases. You can do this easily by bookmarking their websites. Usually, new releases come out once a quarter, so add this to your calendar to do four times a year.
  • Check in with your local Christian bookstore owner. She will be able to tell you what titles are new on the shelves, what titles are selling well, and what kinds of books her customers request.
  • Keep track of the new releases that win awards.

What is new for children in the general market?

I don’t want to loose you at this point! You may be thinking that you solely want to write children’s Bible storybooks or devotionals. However, it is important to know the topics and formats of popular general market books. Understanding children’s books in general will help you write engaging books that will draw children to read more.

  • Make note of the books that are in the Scholastic Book Fairs in local schools. You can do this online, by reviewing the take-home order forms that elementary schools often send, or by visiting a school book fair with a child in your family. Talk to the parents who are working at the book fair. They will be able to tell you which titles are popular with kids and have been re-ordered to fill requests during the book fair.
  • Visit general market publisher websites, checking for new releases.
  • Talk to bookstore owners. Again, what is new? What are customers looking for?
  • Spend time in the children’s section of the bookstore. Study the sections of the store and the prominent displays. Listen to the requests of young shoppers. Keep in mind that grandparents are frequently those who purchase books for young readers.
  • Visit your local library. Look at the new book display. Talk to the children’s librarian, asking what is popular and what kinds of books she wishes were available.

How do you keep abreast of what is new in publishing? We hope that you will share some your ideas with the other readers here.

*****

Carol McAdams Moore writes for children and youth in the Christian and general markets. A parent and teacher, she writes books that engage young readers in the Word of God. Check out her preteen devotionals from Zonderkidz – Dare U 2 Open This Book (for guys) and Just Sayin’ (for girls). Visit Carol’s blog at carolmcadamsmoore.blogspot.com

Rainy Days

As I write this, it’s raining. At least my lawn and flowerbeds are happy. Is it raining where you are? I don’t mean the weather. Is it raining on your writing?


Are you familiar with Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem, “The Rainy Day”?

The day is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the moldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,
And the day is dark and dreary.

My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
My thoughts still cling to the moldering Past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast
And the days are dark and dreary.

“Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.”

Is your world bright with contracts and new releases? Enjoy the sun-filled hours, knowing the days will not always be this way.

Is your world dark and dreary? Did you just receive a one-star review? Are you experiencing a dearth of contracts? Maybe you’re engaged in hand-to-hand combat to just wrestle words onto your computer screen. Don’t be surprised. It happens. But don’t give up, either.

You’ve been called to write. The Lord who called you has not ceased His lordship over your life or your writing. The health issues, financial problems, and losses of loved ones are not bigger than El Elyon, The Most High God. The writer’s block, computer glitches, and distractions are not too small to be noticed by El Roi, The God Who Sees you. And all of it—large or small—is under the control of El Shaddai, the Almighty, All-Sufficient One.

Look again at the last stanza of Longfellow’s poem:

“Behind the clouds is the sun still shining.”

Rain is good for the soil, for the grass, for the flowers. Rain is good for us, too. If nothing else, it reminds us we can’t do this alone. We are not just called by God, we are dependent on Him. “Some days must be dark and dreary” to chase us to the Light of the world and motivate us to abide in the Son.

How do you respond to “rainy” writing days?

###

Ava Pennington is a writer, Bible teacher, and speaker. Her newest book, Daily Reflections on the Names of God: A Devotional, is endorsed by Precepts founder Kay Arthur. Additionally, Ava is co-author of Faith Basics for Kids. The first two books in the series are Do You Love Me More? and Will I See You Today? She has also written numerous articles for magazines such as Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse, Today’s Christian Woman, Power for Living, and Called.

In addition to her writing, Ava also teaches a weekly, Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) class. She is a passionate speaker and teacher, and delights in challenging audiences with the truth of God’s word in relevant, enjoyable presentations. For more information, visit her at www.AvaWrites.com.

 

Our sad news and regrets…

28623641_sOur Write2Ignite! 2016 conference has been cancelled after many prayers and tears and our many attempts to keep it together for this year. Please read the letter that has been sent out to the people who registered for a more complete explanation:

March 22, 2016

 

Dear Write2Ignite! Conference Registrant,

 

The Team has been looking forward to our April 1-2 conference keynotes and workshops. Despite all the planning for this event, we have received fewer than half of the registrations needed to fund the conference expenses this year. After much prayer and deliberation, as well as an extra publicity push last weekend, the number of new registrations, while encouraging, still falls far short of the minimum required. For this reason, we are regretfully cancelling the W2I! on-site workshop for 2016.

 

Given the current election season and today’s news from Belgium, perhaps our God is calling us to a season of renewed prayer and preparation for the challenges at hand.

 

If you have already sent payment via PayPal or check, your registration fee will be fully refunded. If you have paid for a professional critique, those critiques will still be delivered as promised. Write2Ignite!’s critique service will continue to be offered.

 

We will continue to offer blog posts, helpful links to sources for writers and artists, inspirational materials, and other resources to help build all of us, not only in the craft of writing and illustrating for children and young adults, but in our personal spiritual walk.

 

Our hope is to present one or more webinar workshops this calendar year, with a view to long-range planning for an on-site conference in 2017, and perhaps every other year thereafter. Please check the W2I! website for future announcements and programs.

 

We ask your prayers that we will follow God’s leading as we continue this group, plan, and conduct events to help writers and illustrators grow professionally and publish high-interest and high-quality Christian-themed books and articles for the younger generation.

 

Sincerely,

 

Debbie DeCiantis, Acting Director, for the Write2Ignite! Team

 

Photo copyright: majivecka / 123RF Stock Photo

Five Benefits of Attending a Christian Writer’s Conference

Bloom at a Writer's ConferenceHave you ever considered attending a writer’s conference? Whether you are a first-time attendee, a published author, a presenter, or even the conference director, you will leave blooming with these benefits.

Fellowship – There is nothing like sitting in a room full of like-minded writers. The first time you do so, it may be difficult to comprehend. All of the people around you share your love of putting words onto paper to inspire others. Friends who you meet at a Christian writer’s conferences often become life-long friends, encouragers, prayer partners, and confidantes.

Encouragement – As you hear speakers and chat with other attendees, you will no doubt be encouraged. Others have similar questions and struggles. You will be encouraged to know that you are not alone in your writing pursuit (as it may feel when you are working alone at your computer).

Education – Learning new information about the writing craft, submitting proposals, completing a manuscript, and marketing your book are unique to writer’s conferences. You will no doubt come with questions and leave armed with information to take you to the next step in  your writing.

Affirmation – Writing in the Christian market is so much more than just cranking out words. It is a calling to serve others by putting down words to inspire. It is a calling to be transparent, so that God’s love and grace can shine through you. One of the loveliest parts of a conference, is the affirmation that God is calling you to be used for this purpose.

Challenge – A Christian writer’s conference sends you on your way with a challenge to use what you have learned to follow Christ, humbly and obediently as a writer.

Are you considering attending a writer’s conference this year? What benefits do you look forward to receiving?

Carol

In Search of Excellence

In my previous career as a human resources executive, one of my areas of responsibility was the management of our quality control programs. Phrases such as “Quality First,” “Do it right the first time,” and “Quality means doing it right when no one is looking” (Henry Ford), pervaded our corporate culture.

But corporate America did not invent the concept of working with excellence. God has always required excellence from His people. First Corinthians 10:31 tells us, “Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

How is this related to our writing?

For decades, Christian publishing had a poor reputation. Not because of inappropriate language or scenes, but because the writing was mediocre at best. Christian publishing was long dismissed as the home of writers who couldn’t cut it in the general market. Thankfully, this is no longer true.

Professionals within the Christian publishing industry have worked diligently for many years to raise the standard of excellence in CBA-associated books. The words of D. Elton Trueblood, noted author and former chaplain at both Harvard and Stanford University, resonate with us: “Holy shoddy is still shoddy.”Of course, marketing begins with writing an excellent book. We know God gave His best for us in the sacrifice of His Son. As we exercise our gifts and talents for Him, we also want to give our best as we represent the King of the Universe.

So, in the interests of excellence in writing, I share with you William Safire’s tongue-in-cheek “Rules for Writers,” from How Not to Write: The Essential Misrules of Grammar. Enjoy!

1) Remember to never split an infinitive.

2) The passive voice should never be used.

3) Do not put statements in the negative form.

4) A verb has to agree with their subjects.

5) Proofread carefully to see if you words out.

6) If you reread your work, you can find on rereading a great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.

7) A writer must not shift your point of view.

8) And don’t start a sentence with a conjunction.

9) Remember, too, a preposition is a terrible word to end a sentence with.

10) Don’t overuse exclamation marks !!!!!!!!!

11) Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of ten or more words, to their antecedents.

12) Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided.

13) If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.

14) Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixing metaphors.

15) Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.

16) Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with singular nouns in their writing.

17) Always pick on the correct idiom.

18) The adverb always follows the verb.

19) Eschew obfuscation.

20) Last, but not least, avoid clichés like the plague; seek viable alternatives.

What are your writing “pet peeves”?

 

###

Ava Pennington is a writer, Bible teacher, and speaker. Her latest book, Daily Reflections on the Names of God: A Devotional, is endorsed by Precepts founder Kay Arthur. Additionally, Ava is co-author of Faith Basics for Kids. The first two books in the series are Do You Love Me More? and Will I See You Today? She has also written numerous articles for magazines such as Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse, Today’s Christian Woman, Power for Living, and Called.

In addition to her writing, Ava also teaches a weekly, Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) class. She is a passionate speaker and teacher, and delights in challenging audiences with the truth of God’s word in relevant, enjoyable presentations. For more information, visit her at www.AvaWrites.com.