|The Junior Ranger Activity Book |
is available here and here.
Who better to co-write a book about the great outdoors than an author who is so at home there?
Congratulations on the JUNIOR RANGER ACTIVITY BOOK, Christy!
Thanks, Patty. I was so pleased to see this book in print after months of working on various electronic and pdf versions of the manuscript. It's available online at the National Geographic website, as well as local booksellers and online sellers.
How did you come to write it? Do you have an agent who arranged it? Did you write a proposal to National Geographic Kids?
I wrote the book under contract with a book packager. There's no author credit given, but I felt fortunate to be part of the team.
How did it happen? I attended a Highlights Foundation nonfiction writing workshop in 2013, and there I learned about the option of working with a book packager. Basically, publishers contract with packagers to produce books they want -- mostly specific nonfiction titles. The packagers find the writers. Lionel Bender, founder of Bender Richardson White (a book packager), presented at the workshop. I was really impressed with his description of the work he does, and it sounded like an excellent option for getting my work published. I sent my resume to him (in England!), and nearly two years after the workshop, he asked if I would be interested in this project.
National Geographic Kids originated the concept for the book, and they asked Bender Richardson White to hire the writers.
So, NGK + BRW = a sweet writing job for CM!
Can you give our readers an insight into work-for-hire?
With work-for-hire, a writer is hired to perform a specific task for a set fee. With a book, the publisher sets the subject, length, word count, etc. Writers can work directly for the publisher or a packager, and contracts vary. My contract specified my hourly rate, deadlines, and deliverables for writing outlines, reports and text. In most arrangements, a writer is paid a fee upfront, rather than receiving royalties.
How did you go about researching the book?
Well, sad to say, I didn't get a travel budget! My research was through books and online sources. National Geographic also has a vast amount of information about national parks, and I utilized that.
What was your favorite part of working on the book?
I loved learning about the history of the parks, and so many odd animal facts! It was a great deal of fun seeing the book come to life as the photographs were collected and the text was incorporated into the books design. I also really enjoyed coming up with quiz questions, and the wrong answers for the multiple choice questions.
|Christy's dog, Cheddar, is very supportive!|
I like all kinds of writing, but I particularly enjoy turning factual material into fun, interesting stories that appeal to kids. If even one child reads something I wrote and learns from it, how cool is that??
What advice do you have for aspiring authors of kids' nonfiction?
• If you're interested in doing work-for-hire, check out the educational market. Laura Purdie Salas offers a very helpful book about this market, along with other resources. You can find all of her books for writers here.
• Regardless of what you want to write, I'll share the same advice I've heard more than once:
Know your market -- read, read, READ!
Hone your craft -- write, write, WRITE!
Find a critique group, preferably one with
other writers in your genre -- revise, revise, REVISE!
Go to conferences -- network, network, NETWORK!
• Enhance your credentials as a subject matter expert through further education in your field, volunteer work, and publishing short pieces in your specialized area.
• Attend conferences that focus on nonfiction, like the 21st Century Children's Nonfiction Conference. For insights into the conference, see this GROG post.
• Check out other GROG posts about nonfiction and educational markets by Tina Cho, Sherri Jones River's interview of Miranda Paul, and an interview with Nancy I. Sanders.
|Christy with Marc and Abby|
Thank you for all of the terrific information, Christy. I can't wait for your Spring, 2017 rhyming picture book! And good luck with your middle grade nonfiction proposal that is making the rounds.
For more about Christy Mihaly, check out her website here,
*especially the section for Educational Publishers, where Christy presents her credentials for writing nonfiction.*