Last Friday I had the opportunity to speak on a panel at the Minnesota State, Mankato, More Than Writing Conference. Fellow Capstone editor Jill Kalz and I, along with Kate Riggs, a managing editor for Creative Company in Mankato, had the pleasure of presenting on the topic of what editors look for when they are hiring freelance authors.
(L to R: Jill Kalz, Kate Riggs, Mandy Robbins)
All three of us have not only edited children's books, we've written them as well. And without even coordinating the effort, all three of us proudly brought with us the first books we'd ever published. In case you're curious as to what some of our pearls of wisdome were, I'll list a few:
- When applying to be a freelance writer, edit your cover letter and writing samples meticulously. Failure to do so will probably get your submission thrown right in the trash.
- If you have an original idea to submit, ONLY send the manuscript. Do not include artwork, as the publisher has specific interests to satisfy when it comes to imagery.
- When applying to be a freelance writer, follow the procedure laid out by the publisher. For example, Capstone has a link on their website detailing how to submit yourself as a prospective author.
- Include writing samples that are relevant to the work you’re hoping to get, i.e. similar reading level, style, etc. Remember that nonfiction for kids has many different faces, including series like Capstone's The Other Side of the Myth or Poet in You.
- Finally, editors are really, really, REALLY busy. If you submit something and it takes us a while to get back to you, please cut us some slack. We'll get back to you as soon as we can. Promise!
-Mandy Robbins, Senior Editor