I was recently interviewed by Chicken Soup for the Soul Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, Amy Newmark for the Chicken Soup for the Soul Podcast (check out all of their episodes for daily short and sweet doses of inspiration!), and she was kind enough to pop over to Beyond Your Blog to give us the latest on writing for her amazing series of books. Read on for the full interview.
Q: Chicken Soup for the Soul is a household name, but for those who may not have had the pleasure of reading one of your many books, tell us about the types of stories you publish.
A: We publish roughly one book per month, on a variety of topics. Each book contains 101 true, personal stories — usually between 800 and 1200 words — written by everyone from NY Times bestselling authors to brand new writers. We look for stories that make us feel something, whether it’s laughter, tears, or the desire to share the story with someone else. Our story guidelines provide more detail on what makes a great Chicken Soup for the Soul story.@ChickenSoupSoul loves to publish brand new writers! Find out more here: Click To Tweet
Q: You and I spoke at length in one of my early podcasts in 2014. One of the things we talked about was new vs. experienced writers. Many of my readers have started their writing journeys as bloggers. Are you seeing many new writers or writers without a lot of published work submitting and/or being published in your books?
A: We love finding new talent, and we read every single submission, so everyone has a chance to be discovered. We definitely see lots of new writers submitting stories and we love being writers’ “first.”
Q: What is the best advice you can give to someone who may be planning to submit a story to you soon?
A: First of all, read a couple of our books to get a sense of what works for us. Second, read the story guidelines on our website. And third, don’t wait until the last minute. You have a much better chance if you submit early because we may receive ten stories that are similar and the earlier ones have a better shot of piquing our interest and getting into a book.Get Published In a Chicken Soup for the Soul book! Tip: be sure to submit early - here's why: Click To Tweet
Q: People who have submitted stories to Chicken Soup often ask questions in my Facebook Group like “Has anyone heard back on their submission for xyz book yet?”, because they are so excited to hear if they made it. What is the timeline like after submitting a story both for acceptances and non-acceptances?
A: The best way to figure out when you might hear from us is to work backwards from the on-sale date. Figure that we will send the book to the printer a minimum of two months before the on-sale date, and that means we should have selected stories at least a month prior to that. If you haven’t heard from us by two months prior to the on-sale date, your story probably didn’t make that particular book, but sometimes we’ll surprise you and contact you later and ask if we can use your story in a different book.
Q: With only about 100 of every 5000 submissions making into one of your books, I’m sure you get lots of repeat submitters. Do you have any good ‘try try again’ stories from contributors you have worked with?
A: We hear about this all the time, sometimes by reading a newspaper article about one of our contributors. And yes, we do hear about people who tried for years and then finally got in. On the other hand, we also hear about plenty of people who get in on their very first try.
Yep, some affiliate links are coming up – here is the official disclaimer for your reading pleasure: Beyond Your Blog is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
Q: You personally wrote a book called Simply Happy, that is a compilation of advice on how to be happy from both Chicken Soup books and your own life experience. I just added it to my reading list! Can you give us a little peek into what we’ll find in your book?
A: This is a different kind of self-help book. It’s based on the opinions of thousands of people, not one person, and it represents everything I’ve learned from reading tens of thousands of Chicken Soup for the Soul stories. I’ve blended all that wisdom and all those life experiences into straightforward, simple pieces of advice that work. Most of these tips literally take one second to implement, because they involve a mere change in outlook.
A: We are continuing to come up with new titles all the time. I always think I’ll run out of ideas and then I don’t. It amazes me that we are still covering new topics that we’ve never done before in our 24-year history. For example, we have a book coming out in the fall called Chicken Soup for the Soul: Step Outside Your Comfort Zone, which is one of my absolute favorite topics because it’s the way I run my life.