Chicken Soup for the Soul

Well, hi there! It's Friday.
(Currently playing on Pandora: Something Good Can Work Out by Two Door Cinema Club.)
Because I like it. That's why!

Tonight I wanted to talk about my publishing experience with Chicken Soup for the Soul. Remember those dreaded "query" letters I constantly talk about on FB or on previous posts? (I know I certainly do!)
Remember, they are basically your resume for a literary agent, plus the synopsis of your book. Well, I really wanted my query letter to have some meat to it, you know? Like I wanted to have published something before trying to get an agent to take me on.

I tried to get various stories/essays of mine published in several teen magazines, but found no luck with that. Then, somehow (I honestly don't know how exactly), I came across the website for Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Here is the link to their homepage: http://www.chickensoup.com/

I don't know if you've ever heard of Jack Canfield, but he is one pretty amazing guy. Check him out.

On this home page you will find a sidebar. Click on "Submit Your Story."
After this, click "Possible Book Topics."
Here you will find (wait for it...) possible book topics that they will publish. They have Chicken Soup books for practically EVERYTHING. Like I'm not even kidding. They had one for NASCAR. Go check it out!
Here is the link: http://www.chickensoup.com/form.asp?cid=possible_books

Once you have found that book topic you have a story and want to write for, click "Click Here to Submit Your Story" at the bottom of this page (it is in red) or you can just go to the link that I will provide you: http://www.chickensoup.com/form.asp?cid=submit_story

Then you submit your story!
Hopefully you can figure this part out on your own because it's really quite easy.

Then a couple months will pass by (in which case you will spend writing some more) and hopefully you will get an email that says your story is being considered for publication and then a few weeks later you will (cross your fingers) get a second email that looks something like this:

October 21, 2011

Amanda   Yancey  
[My address]

Dear Amanda  

Your story “Winning Life Back  ” has made it to the final selection round for Chicken Soup for the Soul:The Tough Times for Teens. The stories are great and this book promises to be a classic. We are so appreciative of your participation and very excited about this book.Please find enclosed the final version of your story for approval. Please review your story for truth, accuracy of facts (names, dates, etc.) and grammar/typographical errors. If you find an error please mark any changes directly on the enclosed copy; then either return it to me by mail Attn: [the assistant publisher's information]

If you do not have any changes I still need to hear from you.  A simple email with the story title stating that we have your permission to print the story is fine.

Please do not retype your story as I need to see the changes, so just mark them by hand.  If everything is perfect, just send me an e-mail letting me know that we have your permission to print the story as presented. Please reply by October 28, 2011.

In some cases, we did virtually no editing -- in other cases, if your story was long you will see a bit more editing.  In addition, we are known for putting relevant quotations at the beginning of each story and we have done that on all the stories in this book. If you don't like the quote that we put on your story, please let us know and we will work with you to find another. You can suggest a replacement quote, but if we are already using it on another story, then wewill need to find yet another one.
A couple more things! For "typesetting" purposes, at this stage (in our Word version) we indicate all long dashes with two hyphens. These get changed to those nice long dashes in the final version, so don't be concerned when you see all those double hyphens. Also, we tend to avoid italics where possible, so in some cases if you used italics for internal thoughts or another purpose, you may find them changed to normal Roman style or you may find that we reworded a sentence to avoid the need for italics. If you object, let us know and we will try to accommodate you, but our style guide in general is averse to italicsexcept where necessary.


If you have any questions regarding your permission agreement or other concerns, please feel free to contact 
me at [phone number].

Congratulations on being in the final round!

With best regards from Chicken Soup for the Soul,

[Assistant Publisher's Name]
Assistant Publisher
Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC

PLEASE SIGN YOUR NAME  AND CIRCLE EITHER A OR B

A.  I acknowledge that I have read my edited story and that my nonfiction story is correctly portrayed as it is proposed to appear in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Tough Times for Teens

OR

B.    I acknowledge that I have read my edited story and I wish to make the attached changes in order to correct an inaccuracy.


Signature________________________________________________________________

TO CORRECT INACCURACIES ONLY, WRITE YOUR CHANGES DIRECTLY ON THE TYPESET VERSION ATTACHED and fax them to me at [phone #] no later thanOctober 28, 2011. If you do not have any changes, please circle A and fax or email me with your final approval.


Which I must say is an incredibly exciting email to receive! And once this happens...you must follow it with the Wolverine Dance of Happiness and possibly drink some ice tea too...

Then in a few months you will receive 10 copies of your book and $200! Not bad if you ask me. And if you would like you can add your email to your author's bio and get lovely emails like this one:

Hello Ms. Amanda,
 
I guess you are the one who wrote the wonderful article "Winning Life Back," from the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, right? My heart was so touched and deeply moved by the most beautiful heartwarming article I have ever read in my life. The story had a very positive impact on my life. It warmed my heart and touched my soul in a positive way. The author's writing style is very rich and the story is no doubt the heart of the book.
 
Best regards,
[Name]

And honestly, this is what I love best about Chicken Soup for the Soul--being able to help other's by sharing experiences, especially overcoming the horrible ones such as the dark days (back surgery years). Elie Wiesel once said: Whoever survives a test, whatever it may be, must tell the story. That is his duty. I really love this quote. It's also quite cathartic to write out how you've overcome and learned from your troubles in life. I highly recommend it, even if it's just journaling.

Chicken Soup's slogan is "Changing the world one story at a time" and I truly believe this!

Now my query letter has more meat to it because I have 2 Chicken Soup for the Soul books published. SO proud of myself! Now, I just need to get that darn novel of mine published!

Ok, now you know how it can be done... I wish you the best of luck in your publishing endeavors!

Till I blog next time.
Love,
Manders

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