So You Want to Write a Children’s Book?

 

  1. If you want to write a picture book, read 1,000 of them.  Read the ones published today.  Read, read, read.  Get to know your independent bookstore and children’s librarian for specific suggestions.
  2. Join The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.   scbwi.org
  3. Send away for every free publication available from SCBWI.  Read these materials carefully. 
  4. Attend local writing for children workshops and conferences by SCBWI.  Take writing classes
  5. Join a writer’s group or find a writing partner to encourage your discipline.  It is most helpful if you can find members who are writing for children, too. 
  6. After you’ve written many drafts of your project, submit it for a professional critique at a conference.  If you are able to meet face-to-face with the professional, ask polite questions regarding your writing craft and your manuscript.
  7. Read and listen to advice from other authors.  One example is my book, The ABCs of Writing for Children: 114 Children’s Authors and Illustrators Talk About the Art, the Business, The Craft & the Life of Writing Children’s Literature.
  8. Look at your world through the eyes of a child.  How do they talk, think and feel?  If you work with children, are a parent or a grandparent, you have an advantage!  Volunteer at a local library, preschool or elementary school to read or play with children. 
  9.  Remember that publishing changes rapidly.  Kids aren’t reading books that were published in 1960 or 1970.  Your book must be competitive with today’s market and be read with the sophistication of today’s child.
  10.  Read all of your work out loud.  Read other published children’s books out loud.  You’ll need to incorporate the internal rhythm of literature into your writing style.

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