With more than 200 books in print and others in development all the time, Chicken Soup for the Soul books are a huge market. If you’re not writing for them, you’re missing out!
Best of all, whether you’re a stay at home mom, baseball fan, or dog lover, you’ll find a book covering nearly every interest — including these for movers and shakers like you: Chicken Soup for the Entrepreneur’s Soul, Chicken Soup for the Working Woman’s Soul, and Chicken Soup for the Soul: Unlocking the Secrets to Living Your Dreams.
Find the right recipe
So, you’re an interesting person with a lot to say. However, don’t just dive right in and write a story before checking whether there’s a Chicken Soup topic that fits. Instead, go to the Chicken Soup for the Soul website, click on “Submit Your Story” in the left-hand column, then click on “Possible Book Topics.” You’ll find a listing of all the titles in development.
Now, think about a true situation you’ve experienced that might fit into one of those titles. I’ve been able to place stories about my love for M&Ms, walking my dog, and multitasking all in the same volume just by wrapping the focus around the specific needs of the topic. When you write for the title, you have a ready-made market for your work. (Like this idea? Click to tweet it.)
For example, one of the titles in development now is Chicken Soup for the Soul; Reboot Your Life. Do you have a story about inspiring changes you’ve made in your life? The deadline for submissions is November 30, 2013.
Select quality ingredients
To create a great Chicken Soup for the Soul story, you need the right ingredients. First, your story must be true and told in the first person. Chicken Soup for the Soul no longer accepts “as told to” submissions.
Second, it must be appropriate for the category you’ve selected. Under the title, you’ll find a more detailed description of the potential book’s contents. Tell your story in the most concise way possible: Chicken Soup stories should come in at less than 1200 words.
Finally, your story must be told with good literary techniques. Do you have a clear beginning, middle and end? Are you showing in action and vivid scenes, instead of just telling what happened? Have you invited the reader into the story using all five senses and connected emotionally? Be sure you have a strong point or moral, rather than just ramblings about the time Uncle Earl took you fishing and you fell over the side of the boat.
Let it simmer
Any good soup needs time for the elements to blend. Resist the urge to dash your story off the minute you strike the last key. I like to let my writing sit for a day or two, then review it with fresh eyes. I always find something I can tweak and improve.
If you have trusted readers, ask them to give it a look — not just your mom, who’s going to tell you she loves every syllable. A writers’ group is a great way to exchange critiques with others who might be a bit more critical, but also more helpful.
When your story is ready, go back to the website, click on “Submit Your Story,” and send it off. The process couldn’t be easier.
Taste the rewards
Now for the hard part: sit back and wait, and resist the urge to check your email twenty-six times a day. I like to get busy with another project: it might take several months for a reply. And, frustratingly, they don’t send rejections, so if your story doesn’t get selected, you won’t hear anything. Generally, if you haven’t heard in 4-6 months, you can assume it wasn’t selected.
If the editors like your story, you’ll receive an email that you’ve made it through the first round. You’ll be asked to fill out a few forms and approve the edited copy. Most edits are minor, if there are any at all. Often the title will be changed. Several weeks after that, if you get a reply, it’s good news: you’ve made the final cut. Celebrate!
The rewards aren’t earthshaking, but they’re not bad. If your story is published, you’ll receive $200 and 10 free copies of the book. You’re also given information on marketing and book signings, and you’re allowed to sell the book from your own website.
With 101 stories selected for each volume, your chances are great. Pick your title, write a compelling story, and you may be on your way to publication in one of the best-selling book series of all time!