Writing for kids is easy, right? We were all kids once and we are surrounded by kids. We know tons of them. Even if you're a hermit hiding in your house writing your self-published books, there'll be kids hanging on your street corner so you can just observe them from a distance. Easy.
No! Children are complex creatures. If you've had one you'll certainly know this to be oh-so-true. Knowing the children's writing market is crucial to success as a children's author. Reading and devouring as many books by children's authors' is another must. Knowing which age group to write about and why you want to aim at that age range is another essential element.
We want an expert in this area to not tell us prospective children's writers what to do. We want someone to guide us through all the insightful information so we can write to captivate our children readers.
Enter Louise Jordan ... who seems to be an ideal expert on writing for children. Louise worked in children's publishing for over twenty five years and is one of the original founders of The Writers' Advice Centre for Children's Books. Before founding the Advice Centre, Louise worked as head reader for Puffin and still reads for a number of children's publishers, including Puffin, Dorling Kindersley, Ladybird and Warne.
Louise tells us that ...
Writing a children's book is not easier than writing an adult book, merely different. What is needed is a clarity of vision, and this is harder than you might think.
In this paperback Louise gives information from the point of view of both writer and editor, which results in a sympathetic, but pragmatic perspective on the world of children's publishing.
Not only does Louise explore different kinds of books for children of different ages and provides examples of each category, she gears her findings towards the UK market even though the basic information is universal. Here you'll learn more about the educational market, young fiction, series reads, reading schemes and general fiction for the different age groups. Along with a section on 'what to write about' Louise gives examples from successful children's fiction authors.
A great example of brainstorming is shown with a spider web of different keywords that could become plot points. Subject matter is covered with a section on all genres and themes of children's fiction. Ending this section Louise gives us taboo areas that us aspiring novelists should not touch.
The components of a good story include plotting, characterisation, point of view and style. The final section tells us writers of children's fiction how to submit work to publishers, and outlines the author's relationship with a publisher once a book is accepted.
You may also be interested in the 2015 Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market