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March 28, 2006

I have a dear friend who has a heart for children with special needs. In fact, she’s hoping to start a blog soon to help connect parents who are raising exceptional children. She asked if I would share this website with you and see if there is ANYONE out there who might be able to offer some help.

There is a family with a precious 6-month-old daughter named Grace who was born last September. She has mysterious symptoms of turning a purplish color after she eats, and she has trouble breathing. She sleeps about 20 hours a day. Her parents have started a blog called Purple Baby with the hope that someone may recognize Grace’s symptoms and have suggestions for medical tests or point them in the direction of a diagnosis. When you see her sweet picture, you’ll be overwhelmed — please pray for them.

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Here’s something I discovered yesterday that might be helpful for parents of babies or toddlers who aren’t sleeping all night on a regular basis. Do you have bags under your eyes from lack of sleep? Are you tired and irritable throughout the day because every night it’s the same old thing: as soon as you get to sleep, your baby wakes you up wanting to be fed or held?

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how having a feeding schedule can bring order and peace to your day — but here’s a post written by a DAD who has been there, done that, and has some awesome advice for the weary.

His one secret tip will change your life if you’re still getting up several times a night to care for a fussy baby.

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I got an email recently from a woman who would like tips on how to publish her first children’s book. Since this is something I’ve never done before, all I could do was encourage her and pass along some great websites. I told her publishing is a journey that is different for every writer. The more you read other people’s success stories, the more you realize it’s an art, not a science.

Although there are people who write one book that gets published right away and sells millions of copies, most people find it a gradual process of taking small steps toward their publishing goals.

Here are a few places where you can find good information:

The Institute of Children’s Literature offers a free weekly e-newsletter, which is very helpful. The editor, Jan Fields, has a thorough inside knowledge of the children’s publishing industry. The newsletter contains articles from published children’s writers, question/answer topics with Jan, and interviews with writers and editors.

I love reading interviews with editors because you can glean details that will really help you stand out if you contact them in the future. In your query letter, you can say something like, “I recently read in your interview with Jan Fields that your publication is looking for stories about ___.” Don’t you think the editor will be impressed if you’ve done your homework and are sending exactly what has been requested?

Another site that is helpful for any writer is Terry Whalin’s Right Writing website and The Writing Life blog. He has dozens of articles that will point you in the right direction. If you read his blog regularly, you’ll see over and over again his advice that you start out writing articles or stories for magazines, then move into writing books.

For one thing, your publisher will want to know that you’re a professional. Also, he tells his blog readers a lot about marketing. These days, you can’t expect your publisher to do your marketing for you. When you send them your book proposal, you must also include a marketing plan — how will you help promote your book? Are you a speaker? Will you do school visits? Can you do radio interviews? I’ve been shocked to learn in the past year that most writers must also be speakers if they want to publish books. (Especially if you choose to self-publish!)

Another helpful resource is Mary Demuth’s website, as well as her blog. She recently posted about 14 ways you can improve your writing and line your pocketbook. She has a free newsletter that is packed with awesome tips, and she is a true Christ follower. I love reading her newsletters.




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