Subject: [Children's Writing Update] Feeling Stuck? Here's The Solution!



The Children's Writing Update



edited by Jon Bard


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1.  Exclusive Podcast: Middle Grade Author Donna Gephart on Reaching Young Readers

Donna Gephart


 We recently sat down with with award-winning writer Donna Gephart, author of   How to Survive Middle School, about writing humorous fiction,  tapping into the concerns of middle-grade kids, and connecting with young readers.

It's on the CBI Clubhouse, but we're opening it up to everyone -- members and non-members alike.  Go and enjoy this illuminating podcast!



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2.  Another Cool Google Tool to Check Out


Google Fast Flip

 You have to give it to Google -- those folks never get complacent.  They regularly crank out new ways to find, slice and dice information, and one of their more recent endeavors looks very interesting.

From their description:


Google Fast Flip is a web application that lets users discover and share news articles. It combines qualities of print and the Web, with the ability to "flip" through pages online as quickly as flipping through a magazine. It also enables users to follow friends and topics, discover new content and create their own custom magazines around searches.


 It's easier to understand if you just see it and play around a bit than it is to explain, so go to run some searches and see for yourself.

I have a  feeling many of you will find this exceedingly useful for your research.



3. Do You Rock?


Rock and Roll Tribe


Well do ya?  If you love music, love to meet other cool people and want to live your life on an upward trajectory, I've got a site for you.  I'm the co-founder of the just-launched Rock and Roll Tribe - The Social Network for Veteran Rockers.   It's not just for musicians and hardcore music geeks -- it's a place for everyone to hang out and talk about tunes, movies, books, travel, style and, well, life.

We just kicked things off last week and already we have close to 500 folks from around the globe on board and having a blast.

It's completely free to join, and you get your own blog, can upload videos and music, can start your own user group about any subject (a great way to find other rocking writers!) and enjoy lots more goodies.


Rock and roll Tribe


Head over to and join us today!






4.  Come Hang With the Fightin' Bookworms!  



The CBI Clubhouse Fightin' Bookworms


The CBI Clubhouse is rocking!  We've got lots of new members who are meeting one another on the message boards, plenty of new videos and audios, our free children's writing course (The CBI Challenge), exclusive publishing opportunities just for our members and much more.  

And all of it is free for paid subscribers to Children's Book Insider, the Newsletter for Children's Writers!

Here's what Fightin' Bookworm Irene Roth has to say:

Before I joined the CBI Clubhouse, I was completely lost as a freelance writer. I knew that I wanted to write for kids, but I didn't have the first idea about what I should do to achieve this.

I sent out a few articles to magazines, and they all got rejected. This went on for two years. I was devastated and ready to give up! Then I was talking to a friend of mine who suggested that I check out the CBI Clubhouse.  I did. And I have never felt better in my whole life as a freelance writer.

There are weekly instructional videos by Jon Bard on different aspects of the writing process. These are invaluable. There are also videos by Laura Backes.  She has become my personal mentor. I listen to her videos every few days. Some videos I listen to over and over again.

Then there is the CBI Challenge. It is absolutely chock full of information on finding your passion in writing to the nuts and bolts of publishing. I am on Module #2 and I have learned more than I could have ever imagined.

Lastly, if you have any questions or concerns, you can email either Jon or Laura at any time. They are also willing to help and are encouraging. Finally, I don't feel so alone as a writer!

So what are you waiting for?  Join the CBI Clubhouse for a small, small fee every month. Skip one latte and you have your monthly membership which will give you a lot more value that your latte.

Join The CBI Clubhouse now (for less than the cost of a latte each month) and you'll get:

  • a fresh issue of Children's Book Insider, The Newsletter for Children's Writers
  • audio interviews with top authors
  • video tutorials about every aspect of writing and submitting children's books to publishers
  • a slew of exclusive articles
  • free ebooks
  • message boards and chatrooms 
  • The CBI Challenge -- our exclusive step-by-step children's writing course!

...and much, much more!

If you're at all serious about writing children's books and getting them published, you really need to hop on board with the Fightin' Bookworms of The CBI Clubhouse.  All the education and inspiration you need to make it is waiting for you for just pennies a day.  Plus, we have lots of fun while we're at it.

Here's the link to the Clubhouse!


See you 'round the Clubhouse, future Fightin' Bookworm!




5.  Exclusive Book Excerpt: How to Get "Unstuck"


We've all been there. Staring at the computer and thinking "What do I do now?"  What's the next plot turn, where should this character go, how do I make this all flow?

For those moments when you get stuck, we've got some terrific exercises to help you get unstuck.  They're from the brand new 3rd edition of Katherine Ploeger's Brainstorming Workshop, which we've just released.

Go to to enjoy this exclusive excerpt.  Then, visit  for all the details about the new editions of Katherine's ebooks Plot Workshop, Character Workshop and Brainstorming Workshop.  They're amazing books that have helped countless children's writers hone their craft.



6. What's in July's Children's Book Insider?


Children's Book Insider

If you're new to the Update, you may not know that we publish a monthly subscription-only newsletter for aspiring and working children's book writers that's jam-packed with market leads, advice, inside info and much more.

It's called Children's Book Insider, and we've been sharing it with subscribers across the globe since May, 1990! (And remember, every subscriber to Children's Book Insider gets total access to the incredible CBI Clubhouse website AND The CBI Challenge step-by-step children's writing course!)


Here's a look at what's in the current issue of Children's Book Insider, the Newsletter for Children's Writers:

Market Tips:

► New Story Competition for Animated Films
► Magazine for Young Children Accepting Submissions
► Agent Accepting Submissions for All Ages
► Small Publisher Seeks Chapter Books and Novels
► Nominations Accepted for Award for Outstanding Nonfiction

In-depth Articles:

► Quick Fixes for Common Manuscript Flaws
► Promoting Your Book Through Indie Bookstores
► A Step-by-Step Plan to Writing Easy Readers
► How to Breathe Life into Your Characters

If you enjoy the information offered in this e-mail update, wait 'til you see what we've got in store for you each month in the pages of CBI! 

A subscription to CBI and full access to the CBI Clubhouse and CBI Challenge costs about the same each month as a latte! 


For more information and to order, go to

"If you are "thinking" about subscribing, DON'T!!! Just do it. I waited for almost 2 years before I did, now I'm wondering why I waited so long"  Frederick Claus 

"I won a subscription to CBI at a conference few years ago. I've been renewing ever since -- 450 magazine and 4 book credits later! Thanks for the best information published. I rely on your newsletter!" Lorri Cardwell-Casey

"I knew if I was going to keep getting published I'd need some help so I did some research and discovered your newsletter. It seemed made to order so I ordered it! Five books and over thirty-five articles later, I'm still subscribing and finding Children's Book Insider as useful and inspiring as ever. " Lynne Stover

If you're not sure whether joining CBI is the right move, consider this: I got a book contract from a lead on the first page of my very first issue of CBI! How's that for results? Marci Mathers


7What Separates Writers From Wannabes   


Laura Backes

by Laura Backes, Publisher of Children's Book Insider


Every writer who sticks with a manuscript beyond that initial flash of inspiration knows it: writing is hard. To be more accurate, writing well is hard. Anyone can throw words on a page. But to make those words into something that burrows into the heart of a reader you'll never meet— that takes considerable effort.

This is the point that separates the writers from the wannabes. Here is where you'll learn if writing is something you're meant to do, or if you just thought it would be cool to see your name on a book. There's nothing wrong with the latter; we've all jumped into activities we thought would satisfy some creative need, only to find we were way off base. I have half-finished knitting projects and lopsided ceramics gathering dust in closets as evidence of my own tinkerings. However, if you genuinely believe in your heart you're a writer but feel like you're wading through quicksand, then you may be missing a vital ingredient in the creative process.

In a brilliant speech to Publishers Group Canada, Richard Nash, former publisher of Soft Skull Press, said that most writers suffer a sort of postpartum depression once their books finally hit the stores. That's because the actual event that marks publication isn't what ultimately makes them happy. It's the series of connections leading up to publication. It's coming up with the idea, identifying the audience, writing the text that connects with your writers' group/agent/editor/ illustrator. It's getting those first glowing reviews. Writers are fueled by forging a mental and emotional bond with their readers, and getting feedback from them. Everything else is just icing on the cake.

Now, Richard Nash was talking about authors who write alternative, outspoken books for adults. These authors often don't hear much from their readers after the pub date flurry dies down. Children's authors can continue to nurture connections with their readers after their books are published via school visits, blogs and social media sites. But that initial rush of insight must happen during the writing process for their book to become a reality.

I remember the first time I felt a connection with an author. When I was five years old, my favorite book was Green Eggs and Ham. This was partly because it was the first book I could read completely on my own. But there's another reason: I vividly remember the day I was reading the book to myself for the umpteenth time, and I suddenly realized there was more to the story than what was printed on the page. This book was about something bigger. It was about trying new things, being open-minded, not judging people too quickly. Though my five-year-old brain couldn't completely articulate these ideas, my heart understood them. And at that moment I truly believed Dr. Seuss had shared a special secret just with me.

That kind of magic doesn't happen in an instant. It takes work. It should take work. But if the work for you has become a chore, maybe you haven't found your connection yet. Here are some ideas for igniting that spark that will keep you going:

Identify why you love your idea. What was it about your work-in-progress that initially excited you? Did it stir some deep emotion or relate to a strongly-held belief? Is the topic something you've always wanted to learn more about? Does it involve a subject you've spent years researching? If you have no passion for your core idea, you'll have trouble generating passion from your readers. Make sure your book is important to you on a personal level. Get away from the computer. Follow the advice in this month's Challenge module and attend a conference. Network with other writers; hear lectures from published authors and illustrators, editors and agents; talk shop over lunch. Tap into the collective creative energy in the room. Learn what inspires those who have been writing for years. Steal some of their tricks to inspire yourself.

Join a critique group and get feedback from readers who aren't family. Savor these first connections when they're successful.

Spend time with your audience. Volunteer to read to kids at your local library, or help out in the classroom. Offer to facilitate a young adult book club. See firsthand how young readers react to the written word. You'll be newly determined to make that connection with your own book.

True writers—published and unpublished—make the choice to push through the difficult times and keep going. They search for a way to connect to their readers because they know that once it's found, it will remain a constant throughout the entire process.

Being a writer is more than having your name on a book. It's about creating magic. If you thrive from that magical connection, then welcome to the writer's life.

Want more great information just like this? Check out Children's Book Insider, The Newsletter for Children's Writers. Visit now for more info and a special offer.




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Copyright 2010, Children's Book Insider, LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole, or in part, without the express written consent of the author. This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. This information is provided with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or any other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the service of a competent professional should be sought. Therefore, the Author and Publisher expressly disclaim any liability for the use of any information contained herein, and this publication is provided with this understanding and none other.

Additionally, Children's Book Insider, LLC is not responsible for the availability of external sites, offers or resources mentioned in advertising or in editorial content, and does not endorse and is not responsible or liable for any content, advertising, products, special offers or other materials on or available from such sites or resources. Children's Book Insider, LLC shall not be responsible or liable, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with use of or reliance on any such content, goods or services available on such external sites, offers or resources.

We make every effort to verify the legitimacy of the publishers and magazines we include in our market listings. However, we assume no responsibility for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with readers' associations with such publishers. For information about investigating publishers before conducting business with them, see our special report "How to Tell If A New or Small Press is Legitimate" at

July 22, 2010

Children's Writing

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We've Got Solutions to Aid Your Resolutions!

Need insider secrets and fresh markets for your manuscript? Check out Children's Book Insider, the Newsletter for Children's Writers + The CBI Clubhouse at

Just getting started and need a friendly, step-by-step guide to becoming a children's author? Check out Career Starter, The Beginner's Guide to Writing for Children at

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The Children's Writer's Big Book of How To has the solution to more than 100 of the trickiest issues faced by children's authors. From coming up with great ideas right through signing the contract, this amazing volume is packed with insight.

Have you written a story but don't know what to do next? I've Written a Story, What Do I Do Now? tells you what you need to know about submitting your manuscript to publishers efficiently and professionally.

Tired of getting rejection letters? Improving The Odds reveals the manuscript-revision secrets of top authors that help push them over the top.


And there's more. For a full listing, just go to