Posts tagged ‘get published’

October 12, 2009

Meet Children’s Book Author, Nancy I. Sanders!

nancysanders_yesNancy grew up on a dairy farm in Pennsylvania. When she wasn’t milking the cows, weeding the garden, driving the tractor, or baling hay, she had her nose buried in a book. She read All Creatures Great and Small lying upside-down on the couch with her feet in the air. She read Little Women perched high in the branches of an apple tree. And the summer after she graduated from high school, her friend (and future sister-in-law) read Pride and Prejudice aloud to each other while floating on a raft in the middle of the pond.

Now that she lives in southern California, Nancy still loves books–and loves to write them for others to read! Her picture book, D is for Drinking Gourd: An African American Alphabet, (illustrated by E.B. Lewis, Sleeping Bear Press, 2007) is the winner of the 2007 NAPPA Honors Award and was selected for the 2008 IRA Teachers’ Choices Award.

Nancy’s most recent book, Yes! You Can Learn How To Write Children’s Books, Get Them Published, and Build a Successful Writing Career, offers new and experienced writers a strategy to establish the foundation for a successful career as a children’s writer.

Q: It sounds like you really enjoyed reading as a child. Did this influence your decision to become an author? What were some of the influences that led you to becoming a writer? Did you write stories as you were growing up? When did you start writing?

A: Reading was such a big part of my life…but it was a natural part. Everyone in my family was an avid reader and books filled our old 100-year-old farmhouse to overflowing. I truly think that all those years of reading has helped make me a stronger writer. And no, I never wrote stories while I was growing up that I can remember. I didn’t start writing until after my youngest son was born. It was just something I tried my hand at. One day, however, about the time my oldest son was in kindergarten, I met a gal in line at the video store. She asked me what I did. I said I was a writer. She said she was a writer, too. We squealed and hugged each other and jumped up and down. It was the first time either of us had actually declared we were writers aloud. Even though neither of us had published anything, it was s defining moment for both of us. Yes, we were writers! We went on to become friends and co-wrote a children’s curriculum that a local church published.

Q: You have been an author, now, for twenty-four years. How were your first years as a writer? How long had you been writing before having your first piece published?

A: I wrote for five long years and received hundreds of rejections before I ever got published. I still have some of my original manuscripts and I cringe when I read them! For instance, one story was about a jellybean monster who ate all the children’s jellybeans. I made every mistake in the book, I think, when I started writing. That is one of the reasons I see potential in every writer, no matter how poorly her manuscript may be written. It just takes practice, and learning, and more practice to improve our writing skills. If I can build a successful career as a writer, starting out with such poorly written manuscripts, anyone can!

Q: You have authored over 75 books. Do you have a favorite, or one that you take great pride in writing, or one that has given you a memorable experience?

A: Each book has its own unique journey from the beginning spark of an idea on up through being published and in the hands of our readers. I have so many wonderful experiences surrounding each and every book that I’m currently starting to keep a little journal where I write about each of them so that I can cherish some of the memories even more. However, I’ve heard it said by authors that their favorite book is their current book and that’s true with me. Right now I’m so excited about my new book, Yes! You Can. I’m getting amazing feedback from other writers about how this book is helping them build their writing career in ways they never imagined. I’m so jazzed!

Q: You have had such a successful writing career, and from my experience, know that you are generous with advice and tips. Why do you want to share your strategy with others?

A: I’m the youngest of seven children—six girls and one boy. I don’t ever remember being alone until I was a senior in high school. There was such a wonderful sense of family and support always around me. After I grew up, married, had two sons, and became a writer, I suddenly realized how lonely it is to be a writer. It has to be—you just have to spend hours alone by yourself typing at the computer or you’ll never get any writing done. Over the years, however, I have learned the importance of viewing my fellow writers as “family.” As such, I am eager to encourage other writers and share tips that have helped me build a successful writing career. I rely on my “family” of writers to encourage me and help me grow as a writer, too. And just like my oldest sister helped comb my hair and get me dressed, we can help the beginner writers in our family learn the basic building blocks about this amazingly difficult yet rewarding career. And guess what? With my writing “family” all around me, I’m never lonely anymore—even when I spend the longest hours alone at the computer. We’re here for each other and with each other each step of the way!

Q: There are many points about your book that can be adapted for illustrators. And, you have tremendous experience working with illustrators, editors, publishers and writers’ organizations. Do you have any specific advice that a beginning illustrator should consider?

A: I come across many illustrators who also like to write. They can’t imagine illustrating someone else’s work other than their own. I want to encourage beginning illustrators to keep following their dreams with those manuscripts they cherish like this. However, I also want to encourage them to work on three projects at a time. One for personal fulfillment, a different project for the no-pay/low-pay market to start seeing their art published, and a third project where they are illustrating a project under contract so that they can start earning income while they work. In my book, I explain how to incorporate three different strategies to meet these three different goals. I think doing this will really help someone establish a career as an illustrator or a writer.

Thanks, Nancy for visiting my blog. You’re a great teacher and a wonderful writer. I hope the best for your latest book, and all those who put your advice into action.

Visit Nancy’s Virtual Book Tour today to celebrate the release of her new book for writers, at her blog:

Her website is