I've become friendly with a tiny handful of authors since starting Fantasy Debut. One is Janet Lorimer, writer of children's novels and more recently, the adult fairy tale Master of Shadows. Here are my reviews. It's still in print, so if it sounds good to you, go buy it!
Anyway, Janet and I have stayed in touch ever since. She read a few short stories of mine, and I gave her my opinion on the opening of one of her novels and several synopses. She also went into detail about her freelance career, where she write a great deal of educational fiction and nonfiction.
I've done some freelance writing in the past ten years, mostly for the Uncle John's Bathroom Reader humor book series. I wrote one history article for them ("Port-a-Fortress") and twelve science articles.
Now thanks to a referral to from her, I have the opportunity to pitch a short YA novel to the educational publisher. It's a specific type of writing called high interest/low reading level, aimed toward "struggling readers". When Janet described it to me, it sounded a lot like what I did for the Bathroom Reader. I sent her contact at the publisher an email introducing myself, and she sent back an overview of the types of novels they're looking for. I already have an outline, which I thought of on the way home.
It will be work-for-hire, but I'll get a byline. It's for trade paperback style books. And if the editor likes my idea, I'll get a contract to actually write it. Therefore, I'll potentially be selling the novel on proposal.
I did an interview with Janet where she discusses this type of writing in detail.
Wish me luck! This will be great for my bio. And my pocketbook!