Right on Target

I guess you could say that my first experience at targeting a publisher was done without ever hearing the phrase “targeting a publisher.” I was a novice.

Until that one memorable night when I was in my early 40’s, I had never given a thought to writing for children. I remember lying in bed and telling my husband out of the blue I had a strong, even overwhelming, desire to learn to write for children. I now know that this was the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

The next morning I couldn’t shake the feeling. I searched through my son’s bookshelf, hoping I had saved at least one magazine. There it was! A magazine for kids ages 4 to 8 that we subscribed to years ago. I sat on the floor and read the feature fiction story with delight. As I read, I felt a surge of excitement well up within me. This is the kind of writing I wanted to do! It felt so right. Already story ideas were filling my imagination. Within a short period of time I enrolled in two Saturday how-to-write-for children classes at our community college. I read book after book on writing for kids and I wrote like crazy!

I purchased a writers market guide, then sent for one particular magazine’s guidelines and a sample copy. I even ordered a subscription. The subscription form asked for the child’s name that would be receiving the magazine. With a smile I wrote, Sheryl Ann Crawford. I left the age line blank as well as my birth year (o;

I became familiar with the kinds of things they published. There were rebuses, puzzles, poems, crafts, feature fiction and retold Bible stories. This was the publisher I would send my first fiction story to! I had a good feeling about my style being a perfect fit for this magazine. I had no idea that there was a phrase for what I had been doing. I had been targeting a publisher.

My story was accepted! Then the editor asked if I would be willing to write a feature fiction Thanksgiving story. I’ll never forget what she said to me after accepting my second story. “Sheryl, your writing style is a perfect fit for our magazine. We would you like to be one of our assignment writers.” I almost fainted.

To this day I continue to write for my favorite children’s magazine. It has been one of God’s greatest blessings along my writing journey. While I wait for months for word from a book publisher about a manuscript, I write for my favorite magazine. When I receive yet another rejection letter, I write for my favorite magazine. Without ever hearing the term “targeting a publisher” that’s exactly what I had been doing.

I knew what I wanted to write.
I knew the age I wanted to write for.
I knew my style/my voice.
I found a magazine that seemed like a perfect fit.
I studied that magazine like I was studying for a college final!
I followed the submission guidelines.
My stories were accepted.
I became an assignment writer!

Wasn’t God good to keep me right on target?

Contributed by Sheryl Crawford

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4 responses to “Right on Target

  1. Gloria McQueen Stockstill

    Sherri, God’s impressing your heart that night has been a blessing to many children. So glad you followed his direction!

    Gloria

  2. What a testimony! God, Himself, taught you how to do it! Thanks for sharing. -Nancy

  3. Yes, Sherri, God was good indeed! What a wonderful story. He led you straignt along the publishing path because He knew what He wanted for you. Thanks for inspiring all of us.

    Marilyn

  4. Shirley Shibley

    A wonderful example to us all, Sherri! I see right now where I have often failed, when studying sample magazines–I tried to change my style and voice to fit the magazine. God developed my style of writing the way He wanted it, and woe to me if I try to force it into a different mold. It won’t work any more than if I’d try to change a magazine’s format to fit my style.

    Keep getting those bullseyes!
    Shirley

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