Summertime means not having to do school five days a week with my daughters, so I have had a little bit more time recently to work on some writing activities.
I had mentioned in a previous post that I read Making a Living Writing Books for Kids by Laura Purdie Salas which had a lot of useful information and ideas.
I am definitely not making much money on my writing adventure right now, but I have been slowly increasing my yearly profit since I first published Jobs of a Preschooler and Pickles, Pickles, I Like Pickles. Hopefully that will continue.
Of course the ideas that are in Making a Living Writing Books for Kids are only beneficial if they are actually put into practice. So, I got to work on some things after reading the book.
I created a 21 page Pickles, Pickles, I Like Pickles Teacher’s Guide.
I set up Google Alerts for some keywords including my name and the titles of my books. As a result, I may receive daily emails if there is anything written using the keywords I entered.
Interestingly, I haven’t received any alerts for my name or actual books even though my name was listed recently on Humble Mama Hustle because Pickles, Pickles, I Like Pickles was included in their 2019 Summer Reading List for Adults, Teens and Children.
With that being said, I have been receiving alerts for articles that include the word pickles, which has been rather entertaining. Who knew people liked pickles so much?
Chocolate covered pickles. Pickle cotton candy. A cat named Pickles. These are all things that have popped up with Google Alerts.
Laura Purdie Salas spends an entire section discussing mindset in Making a Living Writing Books for Kids. On page 27, she says, “It took several years and quite a few published books before I could answer, ‘I’m a writer,’ when people asked, ‘What do you do?’ Now, looking back, I wish I had owned it earlier.”
That is something I struggle with.
When I first started my writing adventure, I didn’t know if I wanted to write as a career or just write as a hobby. I am a homeschooling mom, and I don’t want my daughters’ education to be pushed to the side as a result of my writing journey. I want to make sure my priorities are in order, and I am still available when needed.
But I also knew I wanted to write. So, I started writing and learning about writing.
When it was time to file my taxes the first year of my writing adventure, I struggled with the question of “Is it a hobby or a business?”. In the end, I chose business because I do intend to continue writing, and I would like to gradually increase my income from writing (whether for magazines, books, courses, blog posts, etc.).
Now, I am a network chair for SCBWI. I have attended a few SCBWI writing conferences/webinars. My writings have been published in a few magazines and on other websites. I have published two children’s books (even if they are self-published). I have learned a lot about writing and publishing, and I can actually answer questions about writing and publishing when asked.
Yet, when someone asks me “what do you do”, I often state I am a homeschooling mom. I neglect to say I am an author or freelance writer, even though I continue to pursue writing.
So, what does Google say when I enter my name? It says I am an author!
It says it on the internet, so it must be true, right? Just kidding! But all joking aside, maybe it is time I start recognizing myself as an author (or writer).
With that in mind, I decided to update my email signature. Before, it simply stated my website address.
Now, it says:
Author| Freelance Writer| Lesson Designer| SCBWI Network Chair
Those are my writing journey titles. Of course, I have other titles as well- Christian, wife, homeschooling mom, Sunday school teacher, Sparks director, homeschool leader/field trip coordinator, daughter, granddaughter, etc.
I also updated some business cards (something Laura Purdie Salas mentions on pages 126-127). Not sure who I’ll give them to just yet, but they are printed and in my purse.
Some things mentioned in the book that I have heard over and over again yet I have not taken the leap to complete just yet include creating an email list, joining Twitter, and doing school visits.
All three of these are things I keep thinking about, but I keep telling myself I will do them if (hopefully when) I get a traditionally published book deal. In the meantime, I have my reasons (really just excuses) to not do each of them.
Baby steps. I will get there eventually.
Of course, all of those things don’t matter if I don’t keep writing, so I have also been writing. I am still working on an adventure writing prompt journal I hope to have published later this year, which has been a really fun activity to work on with my daughters.
I also created reading journals, which I hope to share more information about in the near future. I have them uploaded and ready to publish, but I am waiting on the proofs right now to make sure everything looks okay in person before I hit publish.
I have also submitted some queries to a magazine within the last couple of weeks and had three of them accepted, so I hope to work on those once I get the contracts for them. Magazines can schedule articles really far in advance, and these particular ones aren’t scheduled to be published until the fall of 2020 at the earliest and the winter of 2021 at the latest.
I submitted four children’s book manuscripts to various places seeking publication this year. So far, I have received a total of 16 rejections for them. Other places haven’t responded, and they may never respond if they aren’t interested.
Rejections (and no responses) are part of being a writer. Infact, Laura Purdie Salas stated she is “aiming for 200 rejections this year!” in her book. Of course, writers would like to have all of their writings accepted, but the simple fact is they won’t be. A large number of rejections means a large number of tries, and writings won’t go anywhere if the writer doesn’t at least try.
In the meantime, I continue working on other manuscripts.
Making a Living Writing Books for Children has a lot of other wonderful tidbits of information with stories from Laura Purdie Salas’s personal experience, which I loved. I have many sections throughout the book highlighted for future reference.
If you are interested in pursuing a career in writing books for children, I highly recommend Making a Living Writing Books for Children.
What books do you recommend?