Writing for Children – Step-By-Step Through Educational Publishing

If you enjoy writing nonfiction and love to research topics in all sorts of different subject areas then educational publishing just might be right for you. Many educational publishers need writers. Surprisingly, though, these publishers generally don’t advertise that fact to writer’s magazines or market guides. So here’s how to get started in this active market.DEVELOP A FOCUSThere are basically two different areas of focus you can take in educational publishing. The first is on writing nonfiction (and some fiction, too) that will be used directly by children (sometimes with the help of a parent or teacher). This type of material includes reference books, early-readers, remedial readers, textbooks, educational games, workbooks, and even CDs.The second focus available in the educational market is creating and developing materials that will be used with children by parents, librarians, and teachers. These materials include everything from books of language arts activities designed to help teachers in the classroom, to books of bulletin board ideas and finger puppet patterns.It doesn’t really matter which focus you choose. There are dozens of opportunities available for writers who want to develop educational materials directly for kids, as well as opportunities for those writers who wish to develop materials for teachers and parents to use with kids.ASSESS YOUR SKILLS AND BACKGROUNDTo develop a focus in educational publishing you will need to assess your skills and background. If you have experience as a preschool or elementary school teacher or librarian, for example, there are many educational publishers who might like to work with you.Do you speak fluent Spanish, in addition to English? Then you might be able to freelance for educational publishers that produce books for children who are learning English as a second language.Even if you don’t speak Spanish (or any other foreign language for that matter) and you’ve never been a librarian or a teacher, you can still break into children’s educational publishing. Many publishers don’t require authors to have a background in education. They simply want good writers who know how to thoroughly research a topic and write about it in a way that children will find interesting and easy to understand. An excellent way to test your researching skills will be to research different educational publishers. Find out which ones do hire writers without teaching experience, and which ones do hire writers to develop projects they create in house (more about this later).DEVELOP YOUR RESUME OR BIOOnce you develop a focus for the type of educational materials you want to create, you will need to let publishers know you’re available and what you have to offer. For this you will need a brief bio or a resume. A bio (short for biography) consists of a few sentences or paragraphs that describe your background and publishing experience. The back inside cover of most books (both fiction and nonfiction) usually includes a short bio of the author. Read the bios of a few of your favorite authors until you get the hang of how a bio should be written. You probably won’t have as much publishing experience as your favorite author, but you’ll still be able to come up with a sentence or two that describes your work as a writer and/or educator. It might be something as simple as, “Mary Roberts is a former third grade teacher with over 20 years of experience in the classroom. While she was teaching, Ms. Roberts developed a wide variety of activities to use with her students.”A resume is longer than a bio. It should include a list of your publishing credits, any writing related experience, and a list of your teaching experience (if applicable), as well as your education.In addition to a bio or resume, you’ll need to get good at writing cover letters. A cover letter simply introduces you to the publisher and explains that you are either looking for assignments with this publisher or you wish to submit your own ideas for publication. If you hope to submit your own ideas for publication, you’ll need to learn how to write a proposal or prospectus. Many publishers have guidelines for proposals at their website. In fact, some publishers even have a form you can complete online that will let you pitch your idea directly to an editor to see if there’s any interest in your idea before you go to all the work of developing a full proposal.Generally, a proposal should include an outline or a table of contents for the book you are proposing, an introduction or overview, and enough sample pages to give editors a clear idea of the book you are proposing, as well as your writing style. If you’re proposing a book with illustrations, yet you’re not an illustrator, don’t worry about the illustrations. Simple drawings that make your ideas clear will be sufficient. Usually the publisher has artists on staff, or will hire an outside artist, to illustrate your book if it is accepted for publication.STUDY THE MARKETSOnce you’ve developed a bio or resume, it’s time to start studying the markets. Skim through the pages of a current children’s book market guide to find listings for a wide array of educational book publishers that produce materials for children, parents, and educators. Many of these listings include the URL for each publisher’s website. Go to publishers’ websites that you are interested in writing for to see if manuscript submission guidelines, along with information about their current needs, are posted there. Search these websites carefully. Sometimes the manuscript submission guidelines are a bit difficult to find. Look under the “About Us” or “Contact Us” pages if you don’t see a link directly to submission guidelines. Once you get to the guidelines, study them carefully. Also, study the kinds of books and other materials this publisher publishes by looking through their online catalog or list of products.Also send off for publishers’ catalogs, then look through them to see how much space is allocated to each subject. If most of the space in a catalog is allocated to products about science, for example, then you will have a better chance of selling science related products to this publisher than you would materials for other subject areas.CONTACT PUBLISHERSOnce you’ve developed a bio and resume, and you’ve studied several educational publishers, you’ll need to contact the publishers that interest you. If you don’t have a manuscript you wish to submit, but would like to write for a particular educational publisher, send a cover letter asking if they hire writers to develop titles they create in house. Include your bio or resume, along with a few clips of articles you have published (if you have them) or some writing samples.As you gain writing experience and acquire more writing credits, chances are you will also develop more contact with other writers. Learn to network with these people to find out about additional opportunities with educational publishers.In the end, most educational publishers just want good writers and researchers. If that describes you, then educational publishing just might be what you’ve been looking for to get your writing career off the ground.

Top 5 Reasons to Take Office Space in Austin, Texas

Deciding to move office space is a big move for any company. Executive suites, cubicle space, window offices, conference rooms; the choice of commercial real estate is endless, as is the choice of location.

If you’re considering moving to US office space and you want to move somewhere hot then Texas could be the ideal choice for you.

Hot, humid and vast; Texas is the perfect location for any business. But where’s the best place to take office space in Texas? Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Fort Worth are all great locations for commercial property in the Texas area but in my view, nothing can beat Austin.

Why’s Austin such a fantastic choice to take office space in Texas? You’d better read on!

1. Austin is the capital of Texas. This means it has a growing population, which currently stands at around 790,000 people, so you’ll never be short of employees or customers. The city of Austin was christened 2nd Best Big City in “Best Places to Live” by Money magazine in 2006 and according to Travel magazine ranks as number 1 on the list of cities with the best people.

2. Austin office space is rich and plentiful. Affordable pricing, stylish interiors and versatile floor space means it’s one of the top office space locations in Texas. As a result, the city’s office space is home to 3 of the Fortune 500 companies – Whole Foods Market, Forestar Group and Freescale Semiconductor. Dell also has an office in the city, while earlier this year Facebook announced plans to build a new downtown office in Austin, which could bring around 200 jobs to the area.

3. Austin is hot, hot, hot! The city has a sub-tropical climate which means that it experiences hot summers and mild winters. This makes it ideal for companies who hate the cold and enjoy warm winters.

4. The city of Austin is a fantastic choice for technology and defence companies thanks to a steady stream of graduates from The University of Texas at Austin. As a result, Austin is known as major centre for high-tech and boasts a large number of major technology companies such as Apple, Google and AMD.

5. Austin’s official slogan is “The Live Music Capital of the World”, which reflects the city’s vibrant music scene. The city is full of nightclubs, particularly on 6th Street and Austin’s annual film and music festival, South by Southwest, attracts thousands of tourists each year.

In conclusion, Austin might not be the most high profile city in the United States but it’s certainly a fantastic choice for commercial real estate for any business.

Branding: How Poly Bags Can Explode Your Brand Awareness

Now more than ever organizations need to think outside the box (pun intended) and move past traditional advertising mediums to market their brand. No longer does the largest marketing budget guarantee success in sales or brand recognition. Instead innovative and daring companies are leveraging their creativity to use new mediums such as poly bags to explode their brand awareness. Only companies capable of embracing change, with the ability to look beyond traditional marketing, will hold their own in an increasingly competitive economy.

As a business leader focus should be on grabbing a prospects attention in a meaningful and compelling way. Custom branded packaging with poly bags is a worthwhile solution to pursue. It is an easily customizable branding medium that has yet to be fully adopted by many organizations. Even those with multimillion dollar budgets have yet to make the move to custom branded poly bags..

Lets review what custom branded packaging is, how it can help strengthen your brand, and what you should look for in a partner to help you along the way to using this innovative type of packaging.

What Are Custom Branded Poly Bags?

Custom branded packaging comes in many forms but for online retailers or any business interested in making a statement about their brand, they should strongly consider the advantages of custom printed and branded plastic envelopes or poly bags.

Using poly bags provides a new avenue to reach out and grab your prospect’s attention. Since poly bags are fully customizable you can go all out with a full photo quality image or something a little more intimate like your logo and contact information. You’re limited only by your creativity with this versatile packaging option.

Poly bags can be produced using a custom color or a standard white or clear film. They can be a stock size or cut to fit your specific needs. They can have a perforation for ease of use or no perforation for added security. Adhesives are standard and can be provided as a single strip for single use mailers or double strips to provide returnable shipping options. As you can see poly bags are a versatile option to better brand your business and products.

How Poly Bags Help Build Brand Awareness.

Custom branded packaging provides a low-cost alternative to traditional marketing avenues. It is yet one more extremely effective way to market your business and products beyond the normal means. After all, packaging is the last impression a customer will see after making a purchase so it should make a statement to promote your organization and brand.

Not only is custom branded packaging a novel way to market your brand. It broadens you advertising reach without a huge initiative and it won’t draw from your standard advertising budget.

Another great attribute of custom branded packaging is it helps you stand out from your competitors. Especially since many of them have not made the move to update their packaging yet. They still focus on the cost of custom poly bags over the value gained by using professional looking, brand centric packaging.

Although compared to traditional packaging such as plain or stock poly bags, custom branded packaging has a premium cost attached to production. Though it is still vastly less expensive than other means of advertising and brand marketing such as TV, radio, and print ads. Custom branded packaging will pay for itself many times over.

How To Implement A Custom Branded Packaging Initiative.

When implementing an initiative like this you’ll want to find a reliable designer and manufacturer who specializes in custom packaging. They should have a solid record in their industry and the capabilities to accommodate your needs.

You should make sure the manufacturer you work with has in-house expertise to help you not only design the specifications for your bag (size, thickness, adhesives, etc) but also have the capabilities to meet your delivery schedule. Whether your usage is budgeted at a few thousand or a few million, you’ll want to work with a partner that will help you make the most of your custom packaging.

In the end custom branded poly bags are a surefire way to not only explode your brand awareness, but also deliver a value added benefit to your customers by providing professional looking packaging they can look forward to receiving. Inexpensive compared to other advertising means, custom packaging will help set you apart from your competition.