Ever have a manuscript that you just can’t sell? You’ve spent hours crafting just the right words, in just the right sequence. Your language is lyrical. Your voice is spot-on. The plot and character arcs are perfectly rainbow shaped.
You’ve sent your piece out over and over and gotten no response. You say all the typical things to yourself:
“It’s not ready.”
“I need to tweak it some more.”
“The timing isn’t right.”
So into a drawer it goes. To sit… and wait.
Well, what if you could take that piece and use it to earn money?
Think it’s impossible. It’s not.
What you can do with that manuscript is to use it as a sample writing piece and submit it to an educational publisher for a work-for-hire (WFH) job.
As most of you probably know a WFH job is one where a publisher sends you a contract to write a book to specific guidelines under a set timeline. They give you the topic, age range, readability level, and back matter requirements and you write the book to their specifications.
WFH is a great way to establish yourself as a writer and build credentials for your resume, all while putting money in your bank account. I am proud to say that I’m the author of over 20 WFH books for kids and I have successfully used my experience to translate that into trade contracts.
The biggest employers of WFH are educational publishers and book packagers, although pretty much every major publisher has a WFH division.
Educational publishers are companies that write specifically to sell to schools and libraries. Book packagers are companies that are hired by other publishers to create books for their list.
So where does that manuscript you have sitting a drawer fit in? You can use it in you’re the WFH submission package that you send to these companies.
A WFH package consists of 3 things:
The manuscript that you have sitting in the drawer would be a great example of your writing. So polish it up, and send it.
To get you started, here are a few educational publishers that are develop WFH nonfiction picture books:
Infobase Publishing http://www.infobasepublishing.com/ContactUS.aspx?Page=AuthorSubmission
And here are a few book packagers to check out:
Red Line Editorial http://reditorial.com/reach-us/work-for-us/
Bender Richardson White http://www.brw.co.uk/contact.html
Publishing Solutions Group http://publishingsolutionsgroup.com/about/careers_at_psg/
To find more educational publishing opportunities, check out the awesome Evelyn Christenson’s blog here: http://evelynchristensen.com/writers.html
Or the SCBWI “The Book”
Feeling motivated? Good! Now go get that manuscript out of your drawer and put it to work!
Tips from my 'Writing for Love and Money" class with Mira Reisberg. Look for that class to be offered by The Children's Book Academy in early 2016!!
A self-professed science geek, Jennifer is the author of over twenty nonfiction and fiction books. She has 3 books coming out with National Geographic Kids (2015 & 2016) and one with Charlesbridge (2016). Her book “How Hybrid Cars Work” (The Child’s World) received a starred review from Booklist and also a Top 10 Books for Youth 2012 Award from Booklist Online. Several of her other books have received “highly recommended” reviews from the National Science Teacher Association, as well as School Library Journal. “Body Bugs” (Capstone Press) was a 2012 Tri-state Book of Note and designated an award winner by the Pennsylvania School Librarians Association. You can find Jennifer at www.JenniferSwansonBooks.com
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