Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Wrting For Chicken Soup For The Soul

I've been very fortunate to have stories in nine Chicken Soup for the Soul books. The very first one "Love In A Box" has been published in other countries and on websites as well as in the Chicken Soup book about Fathers and Daughters. You can read the story at http://www.beliefnet.com/Inspiration/Chicken-Soup-For-The-Soul/2008/09/Love-in-a-Box.aspx

A lot of writers send stories to the Chicken Soup publishers and then are totally dismayed that they never hear a word from the editors. They may have had a good story, but if it doesn't follow the guidelines, it's not going to make it. The anthology website, at the link above, has a list of guidelines that are quite clear. Find them at http://www.chickensoup.com/cs.asp?cid=guidelines    It's  one of the biggest mistakes writers make--not reading the guidelines carefully. Use the checklist provided to determine if your story is meant for Chicken Soup or perhaps for a different market.

Have all the stories I've sent to Chicken Soup been accepted? Not by a longshot! Do I keep submitting to them? Absolutely! In fact, I sent two stories for the new Diet and Fitness book to them last night. And now begins the eternal wait. It can be months, even more than a year, before I will hear if either one is accepted. And if they are not, I will hear nothing. A writer is to assume that the story was not picked when more than a year has gone by with no word. Meanwhile, it's best to put it out of your mind, keep writing and submitting to other places. If a message arrives with a permission release form, it means you're in the running for the final selection, and it'a an exciting moment.

Chicken Soup editors say they receive a thousand or more stories for each book and can select fewer than one hundred. The ones that are published are from writers who followed the Guidelines.


  1. Hi Nancy,

    You know, I was lucky. The first story I ever sent them "A Refugee Camp Birthday" was accepted and published in 2000 in Chicken Soup for the Christian Family Soul. Altogether, I've been in 14 of them. They even reprinted a couple. "Discovering the Joy of Giving" was published in Chicken Soup for the Sisters Soul II, and reprinted (they asked to reprint it) in Chicken Soup for the Child's Soul. And The Refugee Camp Birthday was reprinted in the Grandma's Soul book. One of my cat stories was not used in the Cat book, but they asked to feature the story, The Wild Beast, on Chicken Soup for the Soul Kitten Food bags! And it is still being used there. The second cat story was published in the Cat Lover's Soul.

    I agree, you have to follow the guidelines to a T, and you have to read lots of Chicken Soup for the Soul books, to really get the formula just right. I haven't sent them anything since the TourghTimes, Tough People book, but will.

    By the way, I actually ran into a writing opportunity right on Face Book where an editor is on my friends list. That was a pleasant surprise.

    I enjoyed your post. I always read them, but have a hard time commenting because of the way your comment section is, so I just give up. Hope this one goes through.

    Take care!


  2. Thanks Renie, I did get the comment. I changed some of the settings yesterday in hopes of making it easier. I had the same problem leaving a comment when you first started your blog. Had to create an acct, passwords etc, and it seems like a lot of trouble. Hopefully, it's easier now. I'm in good company at Chicken Soup with people like you and my dear Kathe Campbell. She's got about as many stories in CS as you do, I think. Good for all of us!