Friday, August 29, 2008

Principles To Help Any Writer

Over the last couple of days, I've been writing about the children's book market. While this portion of the marketplace continues to be highly competitive, there is opportunity for writers. Let me draw several principles to help you in your efforts.

1. Get acquainted with the various nuances of the children's market. The books are targeted for specific age categories and you should become familiar with these ranges. You need to have a specific target market for your book manuscript. The vocabulary and topics will be different for each age group and your manuscript will have a better reception if you understand these rules.

2. Be flexible in your goals and dreams. Show your writing talent by writing for the children's magazine market. If you don't have opportunity with books, then try in a different area such as magazines. Also be flexible and be willing to take any opportunity. For example, many writers are only looking for a royalty book deal arrangement or where they earn a percentage of the sales from each book. Many children's publishers only offer the writer a work made for hire agreement or a flat fee for the writing. Are you willing to write under these conditions? I have written a number of books with a work made for hire agreement.

3. Join children's organizations. One of the best for children's writers is the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. You don't have to be published to become a member and they have an extensive array of resources and helps to teach you more about the children's marketplace.

4. Take training such as courses from the Institute of Children's Literature. The ICL has been training writers for many years. I love their course materials and their style of instruction. For over two years, I taught at the ICL and had many students which I mentored through the process of writing children's books. As an instructor, I critiqued their lessons and returned them to the students encouraging them to move ahead with their dreams and plans for children's writing.

5. Continue to build your relationships with editors and explore their needs. Can you write to one of their needs? Many writers are only focused on writing what they want to write. In general these writers ignore the marketplace and the needs of an editor. In the process, they are missing many opportunities for their children's writing to be published and to hone their craft.

6. Be persistent and keep working at it. You never know where you will find the open door for your next opportunity to write a children's book.

Are you open to new possibilities?

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2 Comment:

At 2:13 PM, Blogger Donna J. Shepherd Left a note...

Well, I'm plugging along on 5 out of 6 - haven't taken an ICL course yet. Thanks for the good words, Terry!

At 5:23 PM, Blogger Crystal Laine Left a note...

I think you could apply these principles to any writing market. I guess the key would be to focus. ICL is a great place to learn how to write for children. I took their course about 30 years ago! (I can't believe I just admitted that.)

I still use some of the principles from that course.


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