Maybe you made up a story for your children, and you’d like to share it with others. Or your grandchild did something really cute/amazing/ridiculous and you can envision a children’s story coming from it. Or you’re fed up with what’s out there for kids to read and think you can do better. Children’s books are short—it should be easy to write one and get it published, right?
Take it from someone who’s been trying to break into the business for about twelve years: It’s not as easy as you think. Children’s publishing is highly selective, mercurial, and competitive. Of course there’s always the exception, but generally, unless you’ve created the next Harry Potter or Twilight series, getting your book published is largely a matter of being in the right place at the right time, providing, of course, you have a story worthy to tell. That’s the bad news. The good news is that, if you’re well informed about the craft and educate yourself on what’s been published by whom, you’ll be ahead of the game. Editors and agents are impressed by writers who know the business.
So, how to get started? Here are some resources to get you on your way:
How to Write a Children’s Book and Get it Published by Barbara Seuling
Complete Idiot’s Guide to Publishing Children’s Books by Harold Underdown
Children’s Writers and Illustrators Market by Alice Pope
Book Markets for Children’s Writers put out by the Institute of Children’s Literature
Writer’s Digest (www.writersdigest.com
) – information on technique, business info, tips, markets and resources for all writers
Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (www.scbwi.org
) -- membership includes discounts to children’s writer and illustrator conferences around the country, bi-monthly newsletter, awards and grants, informational publications, and information on critique groups in your region
– Children’s Book Insider provides a newsletter, tips, advice, and resources for children’s writers of all levels
– The Purple Crayon is compiled by Harold Underdown, children’s book editor, and provides info on the business of children’s writing, articles, and links to other resources
Chautauqua Children’s Writers Workshop (www.highlightsfoundation.org
) – one week in July at a historic artist retreat in New York, led by a staff of respected children’s authors and editors
Children’s Writers’ Workshop (www.barbaraseuling.com
) – five days in July or August at the Landgrove Inn in Landgrove, VT, led by Barbara Seuling, author and former editor with an appearance by a well-known children’s author
Pacific Coast Children’s Writers Workshop (www.childrenswritersworkshop.com
) – three days in August on the California Coast with award-winning authors, editors and agents
Institute of Children’s Literature (www.institutechildrenslit.com
) – located in West Redding, CT, offers a correspondence/online course, the Children’s Writer newsletter, and the book Book Markets for Children’s Writers
and Magazine Markets for Children’s Writers
Local adult education classes and NCC periodically include courses for writing for children.
With the right resources and information, getting your children’s story published can happen—maybe you’ll be the lucky one!