When starting your career as a children’s author it’s very difficult to know where to begin. there are so many books and courses – and the information online can be overwhelming. Here are 5 things I did when I first started out writing stories for children.
1. Look in bookshops - this seems obvious but a lot of people don’t do this. They think about the books that they read as a child and base their writing on these. Children’s stories have changed a lot over the years, as have today’s children. if you want to write for publication then you have to see what books are being published. looking in a bookshop will also give you an idea of which age groups books are split into.
2. Libraries - These don’t always have up to date books as there isn’t often the money available for restocking, but you can borrow many books for free and read them at your leisure. Again, this gives you an idea of the kind of books that are being published. Libraries sometimes arrange author visits or story time (to avoid funny looks you might be better taking a child with you to the latter).
3. Writing magazines - These vary a lot and it may take you a while to find one that you like. I have tried quite a few but there is one that I have now subscribed to for over 10 years. Magazines are great at keeping you up to date with what’s going on in the publication world. They also offer author interviews and you can learn a lot from these. They usually have writing competitions and you should consider entering these. I put this off for years but when I finally entered I won first place
4. Publishers - Have a look online at different publishers. You will see what books they class as their best sellers and you will also see what they are publishing in the coming months. Most publishers have a list of their authors’ websites so you can check on someone whose work you admire or someone who is writing in the same genre as you. Most authors now offer writing tips or advice on their sites. I’ve noticed that a lot of publishers also offer writing tips/advice to authors who want to submit stories to them.
5. ‘How to’ books - there are a lot of books on ‘How to Write Children’s Books’. I’ve bought a lot of them. some were really helpful and some were far too technical. if you can, read a few pages of any book you’re considering buying and see how you feel about the author’s ‘voice’. You’ll know if it’s the right book for you.
These are the actions I took to get started on my career. I eventually took a writing course too. Don’t spend too much time researching – I did Balance your time with writing too. Writing for children is great fun and finally holding your published book in your hands is extremely rewarding. there is a lot to learn but it’s well worth it. Good luck.