So, I’m Doing a Newsletter

Sharing news and updates with my readers is an important part of what I do. Now that I have several picture books out and I am working on more projects ( I have two novels in progress), I think it’s time to add a newsletter.

I have some basics included so far. I decided to share links to my latest blog posts and I have a suggested reading section. In my quest to do a newsletter, I have one goal: I want it to be useful to the reader. So, I need your help. What do you find beneficial in a newsletter?

I’ve been tossing around some ideas, such as resources for readers, writers, teachers and parents as well as a few other ideas.

As a fellow reader, writer, teacher or parent, what would you like to see? Let me know in the comments.

How Do I Get Published?

“How do I get published?”

If you have had experience in writing, you have probably heard this question before. As you may guess, there are several complicated factors that determine the answer. If you, like so many of us, are dealing with a recent “no,” you might be wondering what happened.

It was a great article.

You were careful to avoid spelling and grammar errors.

You have a social platform, sorta.

So what could be the problem? Other than the big trap of not fitting in with the market, there are other obvious problems. Yes, I said obvious. So why blog about them? Because I’ve seen them happen over and over again. Many pieces do not get published because the submission guidelines were not followed. It is simple to avoid that problem, yet many of us run into it.

Why are guidelines important?

The guidelines give you every possible tip to get published in that market. Publishers have space requirements, deadlines, content matter, concerns about rights, and several other necessitates to put together that publication. If a publisher makes one exception, they need to do that for other authors to be fair. And that will just turn into a slippery mess.

Will ignoring the guidelines (or worse – not reading them at all) effect my submission?

Absolutely! An editor can tell who has read the guidelines  and who has not just by the cover letter and the format of the submission itself. Did the author use the correct font and size? Did they attach the submission in the e-mail or did they paste it in the e-mail? Was the author supposed to send a bio? What about a bibliography? Did the subject line in the e-mail match the instructions from the guidelines so it would not get lost? These are just the beginning steps of opening a submission. However, if an editor sees the guidelines weren’t followed this far, they already may have a “no” on their mind. You could be the most experienced author, but if the guidelines are not followed, the odds are against you.

A Clear Example
For example, I recently accepted a submission for My Light Magazine from a new author. I already knew just by opening the e-mail that the author read the guidelines and did the research necessary to acquire publication.That spoke more to me than any cause the author could have made for their work. They showed respect for their work and my work by thoroughly following the correct avenues.

The guidelines are just that: guides. They are your guide to publication.

Writer’s Cafe – a Cool Writer’s Hangout

How did I not know about this before? Was I living under a rock? I recently discovered a great site from a teacher friend (gotta love those teachers) called Writer’s Cafe. It is a free writing community where writers can post their work, get reviews, make connections, etc.

I am just getting familiar with it as it is a recent discovery for me. It has the option of connecting with Facebook (another way to promote your books, etc with out the BUY MY BOOK post we occasionally come up with). At times, it is difficult to get reliable critique partners, so this can be a nice alternative. 
However, as a published children’s author, I want to remind my readers to be careful what you put up there. If you’re looking for critiques on work you will send to a publisher, do not put it online as it could be viewed as “already published” or seen in its entirety publicly, which greatly reduces the ability to sell your work. If you are honing your craft or are writing a piece just to write, this is a great place to start. Other experienced authors will give you positive and constructive feedback. 
When the time comes you want to write something to submit to a publisher, pick a few of your most trusted critiquers either from your Writer’s Cafe friends or your own private critique group and privately send your work to be critiqued. 
For authors of books, you can use this as another way to promote your books. Just go in to the Add Writing section and from the drop down menu select “book”. This is meant for people to write a book there, but you can do what I did and just add your book’s blurb. If you connected your account to Facebook, it will show on your  Facebook newsfeed. 
My blurb on A Star in the Night at Writer’s Cafe

There’s plenty to do there at Writer’s Cafe. If you’re there, look me up at

See ya there!

The Author in Me

The second question asked on my May 2012 school visit was this:

2.  Did you know you were going to be an author when you were a kid or did it just happen?

Another great question! I always loved writing. As a kid I wrote in my journals every day. I had copy books and note books and anything else I could write in. I often wrote my own stories when I had time to myself. All through school and high school my favorite subject was English, Reading and Creative Writing. My high school English teacher commented on a paper I wrote, “Great job, you little author!” In college, my English professor urged me to major in English. But it wasn’t until I was older and had my own family that I decided to become a professional author.Finally, all those years of writing pulled together and I began to write on a professional basis.

Joy of Writing – Part 2 – Awards!

Another thing I love about writing and blogging – is the support from other writers. For example, I received a comment and an award from author/illustrator Diedre  Eden Coppel stating she awarded my blog the Inspiring Blog Award. Thank you for the honor Diedre. Please stop by and check out her blog at: 

The April 2011 VBT Writers on the Move Tour

Writers on the Move’s April 2011 Tour Schedule

It’s that time already. Another month flew by. We are now preparing for the April 2011 tour.  Please stop by and visit all the authors to see what they have to say. In following the tour I’ve learned about fascinating books, health tips, book activites, writing and promoting tips and so much more. So dive on in April first and see what everyone has to say.

                                               APRIL 2011

1st Karen Cioffi is featuring Elysabeth Eldering

2nd Kathy Stemke is featuring Robert Medak

3rd Stephen Tremp is featuring Karen Cioffi 4th Margaret Fieland is featuring Jennifer Turner

5th Carolyn Howard-Johnson is featuring Martha Swirzinski

6th Nancy Famolari is featuring Jennifer Gladen

7th Debra Eckerling is featuring Virginia Grenier 8th Martha Swirzinski is featuring Mari Taylor

9th Heidi Thomas is featuring Kevin McNamee 10th Dallas Woodburn is featuring Carolyn Howard-Johnson

11th Maggie Ball is featuring Kathy Stemke 12th Virginia Grenier is featuring Stephen Tremp

13th Kevin McNamee is featuring Nancy Famolari

14th Elysabeth Eldering is featuring Donna McDine

15th Marietta Taylor is featuring Shelby Patrick

16th Robert Medak is featuring Margaret Fieland

17th Donna McDine is featuring Heidi Thomas

18th Shelby Patrick is featuring Dallas Woodburn

19th Jennifer Gladen is featuring Jennifer Wylie

20th Jenny Turner is featuring Maggie Ball

21st Jennifer Wylie is featuring Deb Eckerling


The Bounding for Books Blog Tour is over. Thanks to all the authors and illustrators who stopped by the blog. And thanks to all who left comments. This has been a fun tour and I hope you all learned something about these talented guests I’ve had here. Some have added nice writing tips which will get you far in the writing world. The most important thing to remember is be persistent. Read, revise….revise again (and again) and then find that MS a home.

Jen’s Writing Tip #3: What’s in a Guideline?

Answer: Your best shot at publication with that company. Remember that Writers’ Guidelines are not just a preference. Editors are looking for something specific and to be considered for their publication, it is in your best interest to follow the guidelines to the letter.

When I submitted my work, I created checklists based on the Writers’ Guidelines. After my manuscript had been through the critique group a few times, I ran down the checklist and marked off each requirement.

Not every manuscript ended up as an acceptance, but it certainly made sure it was considered and not tossed on a technicality.

So remember, one key to publication is following those guidelines.

Submissions for My LIght Magazine


We are in need of stories and articles for January asap. The earlier the better so I can give our illustrators time to work on the project.

Also- illustrators – if you have time or are willing to work on a short deadline this month e-mail me asap and let me know what you prefer to do: story, article, poetry, designs to perk up stories, etc.

In addition – we are now accepting submissions in every category for our February, March APril and May issues. The categories include: stories, articles, poems, puzzles, arts and crafts, recipes, profiles on saints (which will be up year-round)

PLEASE BE SURE TO SEND ALL SUBS IN AN ATTACHMENT,with category and age group in the subject line ( this helps us with our organizing). Send subs to our assistant editor:

jaclyn morales

Any further questions contact Jaclyn or


Or feel free to post a question in the My Light Group if you think others will benefit.

As always, thanks for your help!

Jennifer Gladen
My Light Magazine