A great way to make a steady stream of income is to start writing for the School Library Publishing companies. Most freelance writers have not even heard about this untapped opportunity. But, those of us who already discovered them recognize the substantial opportunity they provide. I came across an ad online about 15 years ago. They were looking for multiple writers for multiple projects. That certainly got my attention and I responded right away with some brief information about myself as a writer, and links to some of my published works.
Within only a few hours, I received a reply from an editor at Mason Crest Publishing, which was about to launch a new American history series. They gave me a choice of three titles to choose from: “The Story of the Pony Express,” “Famous Forts,” or “Famous Indian Battles.” I felt as if I was playing a round of Jeopardy, and I replied, “I’ll take the Pony Express for two thousand dollars, please.” That is how much money they were offering to pay for the project on a “work-for-hire” basis. That meant I would never receive any royalties but I would get credit on the cover (and a brief bio inside), which helped to open doors at other School Library Publishing companies.
Within a few months, other work-for-hire book projects were being offered to me! Rates ranged from $750 to $3,500 per project. I could not believe how easy it was to write for those publishers. Why? Because not only did they give you the title of the book, they also gave you the chapter topics, including bullet points of what information to research and write. Some of the publishers even sent links to research that the author needed to use, You can’t ask for an easier project than that!
I remember one summer when I was able to brag that “I have 4 books coming out this month!” It felt good, plus my bank account felt even better.
Here are links to a few School Library Publishing companies:
Mason Crest – They have an extensive topical list, and are always adding new series. Last year, they added 25 new titles to their ever growing list of projects.
Rosen Publishing – They have been around since 1950, and also have an extensive list of titles and projects.
Mitchell Lane Publishing – Founded in 1992 by Barbara Mitchell, a former teacher and reading specialist. In January 2017, Mitchell Lane Publishers was purchased by Phil Comer and Associates.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. A visit to the children’s section of your local public library will reveal a few dozen more school library publishers. Make a list, then visit each website to see if they have a “writer’s needed” tab, or a “write for us” section. Some will while others won’t.
In either case, find the name and e-mail address of the editor, and send a short e-mail: “Dear Editor: Do you need any freelance writers for upcoming work-for-hire book projects?” Then, include a few sentences about your background, and where you have been published in the past. Pay close attention to their different series. For example, Mason Crest has an extensive sports series so, if you are a sports fan, you should try there. If you are in the health or medical field, there are always new projects for people in those topical areas.
Another place to search for possible work-for-hire projects is with the American Book Producers Association. Find them online at http://abpaonline.org and look at their member directory. It lists the website of each publisher, an e-mail address, and information on the types of projects they are currently working on. I found some high paying work-for-hire projects a few years ago by reaching out to some of their members.
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John Riddle is the author of 34 books and has worked as a ghostwriter on numerous projects. His byline has appeared in major publications all across the U.S., and he has written articles for over 200 Websites.
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