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.

Stock Market Tips – Guidelines For Successful Investing

When many people prepare to make their first couple of purchases in the stock market, they are usually filled with excitement and very optimistic that they’ve chosen companies that will provide them with an opportunity for making a profit, or at least earning significant dividends over the long term. The only problem is that few new investors take the time to become truly educated about the complicated terminology and processes involved with the stock market before they plunk their money down. If you’re going to be successful as an investor, here are some important stock market tips to keep in the back of your mind.

One of the most important stock market tips to take to heart is advice from one of the world’s most successful investors, Warren Buffet. Mr. Buffet has been quotes many times as saying that you should only invest in what you know. This means that if you’ve worked in the banking industry, you should stick to currency and bank financing. If you’re passionate about the fashion industry, it’s probably a good idea for you to invest in clothing companies or something similar. This is good advice because you’ll be able to build on your existing knowledge about how the industry works, and won’t have to start your research from scratch.

Another one of the most important stock market tips is that there is no amount of research or strategizing that can substitute for your own common sense and patience. It’s important that investors never get so comfortable or confident in their own trading ability that they forget that there is always risk involved with the market. Although there are strategies for predicting market movement, they are never guaranteed, and it’s always possible that you can misinterpret market signals and lose money if you’re not careful.

Lastly, it’s important to make sure that you’re taking your stock market tips from someone that is worthy of your time and respect. Whether you enroll in an investing class, sign up for membership in an online community of experienced investors, or work with an online brokerage tool that provides resources for analyzing charts and trends, it’s important that you have a support system for questions and uncertainties as they arise. These resources can help you to notice market signals that you might have otherwise missed, or alert you to a promising stock that you hadn’t been tracking. There’s no reason to make common mistakes when others have already made them before you.

Top 10 Travel Fitness Tips – Part 1

I recently read two articles about travel fitness. One said that while you’re traveling, you should keep up with 50% of your normal training and the other said you should keep up with only one-third. Both were written by well known fitness professionals and both said that you should NOT expect to keep up your regular exercise program while you are traveling. That struck me as kind of “lame” and I said to myself, “Why the heck not? Why do people have such low standards and demand so little of themselves? Why do they let themselves off the hook and scale back?”

Sometimes, of course, traveling is purely for a vacation – including a vacation from training. Occasional time off from intense training is beneficial and necessary to let your body recover and rejuvenate completely from chronic training stress, just as time off from the office is needed to disengage your mind for a while. It’s also true that it really doesn’t take much to maintain fitness once it is developed, and an abbreviated, but still effective, workout routine could certainly be used, if you choose, when you’re on the road.

However, you still have healthy eating to think about and just because you’re traveling doesn’t mean you can’t follow your regular exercise regimen. Why settle? If you want to continue to improve your physique while on the road, you can! Here are 10 ways that I did it on my last extended business trip that you may find helpful as well. It begins with a simple decision.

1. Decide to improve while you’re traveling and to come home in better shape than when you left

Nearly every time I travel (the exception being if it’s a complete rest and relaxation vacation), I set a goal to come home in better shape than when I left. The only reason most people usually come home with lower fitness and a few extra pounds than when they left is because they didn’t make a decision to do otherwise. In fact, many people hold a belief that it’s “impossible” to stay on their eating and exercise program while they are traveling! Why not get in better shape no matter where you are? The truth is, all it takes is a decision and some planning. I find it a fun and exhilarating challenge to improve myself no matter where I am in the world.

2. Write out your workout schedule in advance

There’s nothing like writing your goals down on paper to keep your mind focused and keep yourself motivated. In addition to writing out goals regularly, preferably every day, you should also commit your training schedule to paper and especially when you are traveling. Write down the days, the time of the day and the exact workout you plan to do and you will be amazed at how easy you will find it is to get to the gym and have great workouts.

3. Get a hotel with a kitchen

The single most important part of my travel arrangements was to book a hotel with a kitchen. For me, not having a kitchen is not an option. If you don’t have kitchen, you will be much more likely to skip meals, it’s very difficult to eat 5 or 6 times a day (as required by any good fat burning or muscle building nutrition program), and you may end up at the mercy of restaurant, hotel or convenience store food. For my most recent trip, I stayed at Homestead Studio Suites, one of several national hotel chains in the USA which includes a full kitchen including a refrigerator, microwave, stove – the whole works. Exteneded Stay America and Marriot Residence Inn offer similar accommodations

On previous trips, if there wasn’t such a hotel with a kitchen in the vicinity, I searched the internet for apartments for short term rental. You may be surprised at the type of lodging you can find and often you will be pleased with price as compared to hotels. I once booked a luxury condo for 7 days and it ended up costing less than the hotel I was first considering, and the hotel didn’t even have a kitchen. Nothing beats a full kitchen, but you may also find that many hotels will provide you with a microwave and mini-refrigerator if you ask for them.

4. Go food shopping immediately after checking in

The FIRST thing I did after checking in was to make a beeline straight to the local grocery store. I took a shopping list with me because on past trips I found that I nearly always seemed to forget one or two small items if I didn’t have the written grocery list. Once you have a fully stocked refrigerator and kitchen, your meal planning and preparation is NO DIFFERENT than it is when you are home.

5. check the local restaurant locations and menus and commit in advance to making healthy choices when dining out

Since I had a kitchen at my disposal, the majority of my meals were just business as usual. I cooked them right in my hotel room and brought them along with me wherever I went. However, when traveling, it’s likely that you will probably be having quite a few restaurant meals.

I make it a habit to scope out the local restaurants in advance and even check their websites. Most have their menus online these days. I make a decision in advance whether it will be a regular meal or a “cheat meal.” If it’s a cheat meal, I enjoy whatever I want, but I always keep portion sizes in mind. For example, last time, I split a slice of cheesecake with a friend. Was I guilty? Heck no, it was my planned cheat day, I only ate half a slice and it was the first cheesecake I had in 12 months!

If you walk into a restaurant without having made a decision in advance whether you are staying on your regular meals or having a cheat meal, you are much more likely to have a “diet accident” and make a poor choice on impulse, especially if you’re influenced by non-healthy-eating companions (don’t under estimate the negative peer pressure factor). All it takes is one unplanned cheat meal and that can often lead to guilt. Then “all or none thinking” tends to set in and you may tell yourself, “Well, I blew it,” so the next meal and then the rest of the week tends to completely fall apart as well.