Today I am very happy to introduce you to Tracey Baptiste. Not only is she an author, but also an editor. Her first YA Novel, Angel Grace, which I read and loved, was picked as one of the 100 best books for reading and sharing by NYC librarians. She is also the author of several nonfiction titles for various school and library publishers.
This April she has a new book coming out, titled THE JUMBIES, a creepy middle grade novel published by Algonquin Young Readers. You can Pre-order on Amazon.
On top of all that she is also a YA and Britannica editor at Rosen Publishing. Click here for Rosen Publishing book topics.
Do you have a non-fiction book or topic that you think Rosen Publishing would find interesting? Until the end of February, Tracey can be contacted with writing samples at email@example.com. Please write “Query from Kathy’s Blog” in the subject line.
The School and Library Market
You’ve probably seen authors with dozens of books to their credit, and I bet you’re wondering how they could possibly accomplish such volume. Well, a lot of those writers are doing books for hire for the school and library market. These are the kinds of books I work on every day as an editor at Rosen Publishing.
What Is the School and Library Market?
In any library you will find slender, hardcover editions of nonfiction titles with topics like great scientists, how to handle bullies, and how to analyze argumentative writing. These titles are meant as independent reading for school-aged kids, from preschool through high school. Students use them for writing reports, and as pleasure reading. My son, who has a thing for vehicles, has been coming home with a new title in a series about military craft every week from his school library.
These school and library books are so called because they are sold almost exclusively to school and municipal libraries. That means kids find them readily available and can choose whatever titles they’re interested in. This can be especially helpful to readers who wish to pick up a self-help book such as one that deals with drug and alcohol abuse, sexually transmitted diseases, or mental health. Kids may find these topics hard to talk about, or may not have a trusted adult to help them through something they’re struggling with. Books like these are an excellent resource of fact-checked information in a format that is non-judgmental and private.
How Do Writers Get Jobs in this Market?
Unlike trade publishing, the ideas for the books come from the publisher themselves. Editors meet to discuss series that we’d like to see produced. In this market, there is no lone book. Every book will be part of a pack of similar titles (like the military vehicles titles my son has been coming home with). Once the series and titles are settled, editors receive their assigned books, and then writers are chosen to work on them. Most school and library publishers like Rosen have a stable of writers that they rely on season after season. Writers usually have some kind of preference of topic, age-range, or have a particular subject specialty. Editors use this information to choose writers for each title. Many writers are former teachers. All usually have some kind of writing credit under their belts, even if it’s only magazine articles.
To break into this market, reach out to the publishing house with a list of your writing credits, a resume (especially if it includes teaching) and a request to be considered for writing work. Writers with a good record may get more than one request per season, and it’s up to them to decide which books they want to work on. If that writer is also working with other school and library publishers, they could be writing several titles a year. (Now you see how the number of titles goes up.)
Important things to remember:
After writers are assigned a title, they have a set time to deliver an outline to the editor. The editor approves the outline, and then the writer has to meet the final manuscript deadline. The writer is also responsible for properly formatting the manuscript and including any additional elements as outlined in the author contract. This might include things like a glossary, end notes, and a bibliography. Several weeks later, the author is given page proofs which should be carefully read for errors. This is the last time the writer sees the book before it goes to the printer. Authors get a few free copies of their title.
Editors have several titles in a season, which means there is not a lot of time for hand-holding. Writers who don’t stick to the outline, the schedule, or deliver sub-par work will not be hired again. Sloppy work may ruin your chances with everyone.
Writers are usually paid in two installments, the first on delivery of the manuscript, and the second on delivery of page proof edits and captions. Pay is not high, which is why many writers choose to take on more than one book in a season, and work with several publishers. But be warned, volume decreases the quality of your work, which could work against you.
In my first year at Rosen, I have taken on four new writers, two of whom I will happily hire again. I’m now giving all the readers of this blog an opportunity to submit writing samples to me. Editors will be commissioning titles in the next few weeks, and if your samples are good enough, you could be a new writer for Rosen.
About Rosen Publishing:
Rosen Publishing, Inc. is an independent educational publishing house, established in 1950 to serve the needs of students in grades Pre-K -12 with high interest, curriculum-correlated materials. Rosen publishes more than seven hundred new books each year and has a backlist of more than seven thousand.
Thank you Tracey for sharing your expertise with us and offering to accept our writing samples this month. Can’t wait to read The Jumbies. Here is the link to visit Tracey: https://traceybaptiste.wordpress.com/