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I am interested in finding for-hire writing assignments. How do I get started?

Q: I am a member of SCBWI and read your column regularly. I have completed a middle-grade novel, which is now being read by an editor at Dutton. Recently, I heard someone talk about doing for-hire writing assignments for a book series. I am interested in this kind of work. How do I get started? Who do I contact?

According to Kendra Marcus of Book Stop Literary Agency, “To find writing-for-hire work, you can contact book packagers.” Examples in the children’s field are Parachute Press, Mega-Books, and Byron Preiss Visual Publications. “These companies hire writers and illustrators for series they produce for publishing houses. They provide a good training ground for new authors.” 11:12/03