September 2014 Archives

Writing is rewriting... If

Writing is rewriting... If you fall in love with the vision you want of your work and not your words, the rewriting will become easier.
Nora DeLoach

Writing is a struggle

Writing is a struggle against silence.
Carlos Fuentes

Writing is a marathon

Writing is a marathon, and the race is not always to the swift.
Alan Russell

When Educational Publishers Ask for Your Résumé

Guest post by Jan Fields

Photo courtesy of wintersixfour on
detective.jpgA résumé that you send on first contact with a publisher (especially an educational publisher) is not the same kind of résumé you would use to find a job as a teacher or other position. The writer's résumé is basically a map of writing experience and any useful knowledge/experience/expertise in your brain because that's where the gems that interest the publisher lie. Approach your résumé by asking yourself, why does the publisher want to see my résumé? What's in it for him/her? The publisher approaches your résumé like a detective: "what do I see here that I could make use of?"


So what kinds of things will you need to include? One very "normal" résumé item is education. Much of the time, the scope of your education doesn't matter, but occasionally an editor will look specifically for someone with a certain level of education (this is especially true with assessment writing or when a publisher is looking for a specific kind of expert.) Or a publisher may look for someone who'll look good in their catalogue because of education level. Education is almost always a bonus, but (most of the time) it's not a deal breaker.

Another "normal" résumé item is job experience, but most of the time, the jobs you've held won't be of interest to a publisher. However, if you have educational or classroom experience, or experience working with children in another setting, this will be of interest. It will suggest that any school scenes or similar moments in the book will be based on much more recent experience than your memories of your own childhood. For example, if you're pitching a fiction series that takes place in the classroom to an educational publisher, you BETTER have classroom experience as a teacher, room mom or other volunteer or the publisher will pass because they will worry that your books won't mirror modern classroom settings.

Even experience with children's Sunday School or Girl Scout leader suggests you are familiar with children TODAY and won't be writing with only your memories of what childhood was like when you were a kid. And if your experience is unusual, you never know what a publisher will cherry pick THAT part of the résumé and ask for a proposal on it. For example, I once volunteered to help with a creative problem solving competition. I mentioned that in passing to an educational publisher and was asked if I'd consider sending a proposal connected to that experience.

Focus on skills & experience

Any area where you are already an expert will shave time off the learning curve, so if you're a licensed diver, or you've taken a flying course, or you can rock climb, or whatever - put it in. BUT be careful NOT to include things that you don't want to write about. If you're a licensed pilot but don't ever want to write books related to flying, you might not want to mention being a pilot because editors will ask. So add in any unusual expertise, experience or interest. You honestly never know what will spur interest and result in an assignment offer.

Make the Résumé look LIGHT

The easier your résumé is to consume, the more likely an editor is to examine every item on it. Keep in mind, this is a different document than the one you would send when seeking a job. You don't need to give addresses and dates and extensive information about each place where you've worked. The removal of all that extraneous detail will help you to make your résumé look like something a publisher could easily look over on even the most stressful day. So don't overburden the document. Don't try to look too academic. The look you're going for is clean, light, and easily consumed. If you don't have a website, but you're regularly submitting to publishers who ask for résumés -- consider getting a website. It's a great place to put the more extensive details you didn't put on the submitted résumé. And it's a great place to load more writing samples. The kinds of editors who ask for résumés are also the kind who check out websites -- so having a clean, professional website to back up your résumé is always a bonus.


Since my first magazine publication in the 1980s, I have been steadily writing for money in some form. Today I have over twenty books in print and still more in the pipeline - books for children and adults. I've also written for magazines, educational publishers and even a toy company! Writing is the only thing I've ever done really well that didn't eventually become more like work than fun.

Read more here. And see her own résumé here.

Writers approximate real-life talking

Writers approximate real-life talking styles to keep their fiction accessible even as they create voice.
Deborah Halverson

Girl in Trouble - The Rules for Disappearing

TheRulesforDisappearing.jpgThe Rules for Disappearing (Hyperion, 2013 ) by Ashley Elston grabbed me and held on till the very end. Look at the opening lines to see how quickly I was hooked: "What do you want your name to be this time? We have about thirty minutes."

Meg's family is in Witness Protection and she's determined to find out what her father did to put them there. After 6 moves, her little sister is not doing well and neither is their mom; Meg feels like she can't do it again either. She sets up rules for herself, but finds it incredibly hard to stick to them. Especially with Ethan.

I zipped through this book in 2 evenings and just found out there is a sequel! It's called The Rules for Breaking. Must get this book!RULESforBreaking.jpg

Don't you love these covers?

Read more about author Ashley Elston here--especially take note of her other jobs and where she lives. It'll give you some insight to at least one character in the first book.

Shaping Her Own Fate - Passion Blue

PassionBlueCoverFinal.jpgPassion Blue (Amazon Children's Publishing, 2012) by Victoria Strauss is historical fiction set in Renaissance Italy that has it's own artistic flare of words.

Giulia, the illegitimate daughter of the late Count, is 17 and being sent against her will to a convent. Giulia is as devout as anyone, but wants to marry for the protection a husband would provide and for true love. How could any of that happen in a convent? Especially when her horoscope predicts no success in marriage?

To control her own fate, she goes to a sorcerer for a magical talisman. He warns her, "Be sure you know your true heart's desire or you may find yourself surprised by what you receive." But Giulia is sure she does know it and has him go ahead with making the talisman. However, there are many surprised in store for this young artistic girl.

I loved learning so much about how paints and paintings were made during this time period as I "lived" with Giulia through her words. I read the book very quickly as it was difficult to put down.

The sequel, Color Song, comes out this month!Color-Song-Cover.jpg

Author Victoria Strauss writes for adults and young adults and is also the co-founder of Writer Beware. Read more about her here.

Write what disturbs you,

Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open.
Natalie Goldberg