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Writing a children's book

Discussion in 'Book club' started by snowflakesfalling, Mar 18, 2013.

  1. snowflakesfalling

    snowflakesfalling Occasional commenter

    Anyone have any experience of doing this?
    I have an idea for a book but I don't really know how to get started.
    Any advice welcome.
  2. snowflakesfalling

    snowflakesfalling Occasional commenter

    Anyone have any experience of doing this?
    I have an idea for a book but I don't really know how to get started.
    Any advice welcome.
  3. fishtoe

    fishtoe New commenter

    I once read a biography of J K Rowling. The amount of organisation and effort and planning she put into the Harry Potter books was amazing. I think you have to write it and get it read. I've always got loads of ideas but too much planning and marking to do!! Good Luck[​IMG]
  4. What age range are you writing for? (Children's book is quite broad :) )

    You need to plan it out carefully, then look to see if there is anything similar out there because if there is an agent/publisher won't touch it with a barge pole. Once you're sure you're original enough then you need to write it. If it needs illustrations but you won't be doing that, you need to be careful about which agents or publishers you will try to submit to in order to be published, as they will need to find an illustrator if they feel your work is good enough.

    Before you submit to an agent (which is the best scenario, an agent will sell your work to a publisher for you and this usually means a bigger name publisher) you need to find an editor to read your work. This will cost you money but will save your time and will really polish your work. It's not unusual for editors to be linked to agents, they refer things they think are really good.

    An annual subscription to a really good writers magazine is a good start, they have lots of useful advice and contacts. That's how I started and my first YA novel was published last month.

    Good luck, it's a soul destroying process at times but so incredibly worth it in the long run!
  5. Go to the Hay Book Festival next year. Packed full of children's authors sharing their experiences. Inspiring and very helpful - and they've already done it!
  6. Jeremyinspain

    Jeremyinspain Occasional commenter

    I spent about 10 years (while teaching) trying to write children's books. One got to a 'final Editorial meeting' at Transworld (not sure if they exist anymore) before being rejected, another got nearly as close with Chicken House, again, rejected.

    Lots of rejection letters etc, etc.

    But I really enjoyed the writing and it saved me a fortune in beer money. Seriously, write if you enjoy it. Show your work to all and sundry (but don't use clichés when you write).

    In fact, why not blog your work? Or self-publish? Social media has many ways to find like-minded people who can offer advice and keep the project interesting.

    And, always have a happy ending? Mine? I moved to Spain, wrote about the experience of teaching 6- and 7-year-old Spaniards in English, and bingo! EBook contract with an independent publisher. It was the easiest 'book' I'd written, almost a 'diary'. I also discovered that non-fiction was more interesting (for me).

    Keep at it and good luck. But don't make a paperback display in Smiths your only success criteria.

    Jeremy Dean
  7. Jeremyinspain

    Jeremyinspain Occasional commenter

    Oh, sorry, forgot to answer your question. How to get started.

    1. READ! I'm sure you've done this. But the best way (I think) to learn how to write is to read a lot of the genre that you want to write.

    2. WRITE. Sit down and write it. There is no 'correct' way. I used to read a lot of 'writing' advice and it really was horses for courses (although they all said avoid clichés). Whether you need to plan everything out in detail beforehand or just start at page one and see what happens- you'll find all types of writer out there.

    3. Back everything up.

    4. Keep your backup(s) separate from your main copy.

    5. Enjoy it.
  8. gafleecey

    gafleecey New commenter

    I am just working on a book for very young children. Rather ambitiously, I am doing my own illustrations, which take absolutely ages! My own advice is do it because you are enjoying it, and enjoy the process.

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