May 19, 2019

Do I Need to Revise My Writing?

Revising and editing are a bit like home renovations.

Take a look at this house.
It's a basic house, right? Someone could certainly live there. Maybe you. Maybe me.  

But with some patience, time, and hard work, renovations make the house beautiful. Removing shutters, painting the siding and trim, and adding a porch make this look like a completely different house. A bit of landscaping adds a nice touch, too. 
Writing revisions are a lot like a home renovation. You can begin with a good draft or a nice house, but with effort, you can be proud of your project.

Maybe you wrote a draft and loved it. You even checked it over for any obvious errors (editing). You like it.

Is your writing project finished?

No.

Whether you are a fifth grader or a professional writer, revising our work makes it better.

As a student, I edited my writing but didn't revise it properly. What I mean is I checked for punctuation and verb usage. I looked for misspellings. Edits fix simple grammar mistakes.

But I didn't try to make it easier for the reader to understand because I understood it. Good writers add and remove words and sentences. Good writers substitute words to make their writing clearer. Revisions make the text easier for the reader to understand. 
When I visit schools to provide author visits or professional development for teachers, I like to compare house renovations to writing revisions. Many students have binge-watched HGTV just like I have, so we relate. Many thanks to Melissa Stewart who first introduced me to this idea. If you're a teacher or writer, I highly recommend you explore her blog Celebrate Science

So, are revisions important? That depends. Do you care about your work? Do you want it to be your best? 

I hope so!

If you're a teacher, check out this proofreading printable.  Want to know more? Check out my writing FAQ and my author visit FAQ.

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March 24, 2019

Author Visit Brochure

Many children's authors develop fun programs to bridge the world of books (both fiction and nonfiction) with the real world. Unfortunately not all schools, libraries, and private groups (like Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts) know authors are available to visit and inspire their groups.
There are lots of great authors out there who provide fabulous programs. Visit the website of your favorite children's authors to see what they offer. Maybe they'll be a great fit for your organization.

Of course you can just share a link to an author's website, but sometimes it's good to have something in print to hand a principal, PTO, or den leader. And that's why I just updated my brochure.
Want to spread the word about my author visit programs? You can download my brochure here or see the programs I offer here. I know budgets are often a concern. Many of the schools I've worked with use Title I or PTO funds. Did you know there are even grants available? If you need to raise funds for an author visit, check out these ideas. I can work within the budget of most schools. Talk to me if the budget is a concern.

Thank you for considering investing in a school visit! Children's authors don't earn much money so they really appreciate the opportunity to visit groups like yours.
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March 20, 2019

Writing Takes a Team

I sit at my desk writing with only the sounds of nature (and an occasional car or phone call) interrupting my thoughts. 
However, writing is a team effort. I certainly can't do it alone. And if you're a writer, you shouldn't try to do it alone either. 
Most published writing is a team effort. (Some self-published authors work with a team. Others don't. Usually it shows if they don't have a team.)

We need help! 
Students demonstrating a writer's team.
Students demonstrating a writing team during a Facts Are Fun author visit.

Professional writers get feedback from critique groups/partners and editors. The publisher hires a designer and/or illustrator to make all the words look great on the pages and art to go with the book. Then it's sent to a printer. Finally, book sellers get books to readers! 

Readers can even recommend their favorite books and/or authors to help their friends read more great books.

Student writers have a similar process. They get feedback from their classmates and teacher before publishing their stories.

Writing is work, but it's always worth it.

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January 13, 2019

Writing for the Educational Market

A lot of people want to write books. Few have the persistence it takes to study the industry and then draft, revise, (and revise again and again) a manuscript (all after years of learning the craft) that will hook a publisher into paying for the book. It sounds discouraging, but that's not the only way to write books for children.

Are you a children's writer? Would you like to break into the publishing market? Or earn additional income writing? Then consider the educational market. It's how my first (and second, third...) book was published.

What is the educational market?

Educational publishers like ABDO and Capstone create books, curriculum, assessment materials, and more to be used in educational settings like schools, libraries, and churches. They pay writers--like you--to write about their ideas for their audience. It's called work-for-hire (WFH) so the copyright typically belongs to the publisher. WFH assignments are also available in the trade market.