Writing books for children is both art and business. If you dream of becoming a children's author -- or even if you're well on your way -- this handbook can help you in writing sellable stories, getting them published, and promoting your books.
Topics include common myths about children's writing, children's book categories, elements of successful stories, manuscript format, submission strategies, contract negotiation, the publishing process, career building, and children's writer resources. Also included are specialized subjects such as querying for multiple manuscripts, promoting a first book, and self publishing.
Read "The Business of Writing for Children" to learn the secrets you might spend years discovering for yourself.
Aaron Shepard is the author of "The Legend of Lightning Larry," "The Baker's Dozen," and sixteen more picture books and early readers, along with several chapter books for middle grades, extensive resources for storytelling and reader's theater, and a graphic novel. His publishers have included Atheneum, Scribners, Clarion, Lothrop, Dial, and HarperCollins, as well as Cricket and Australia's School Magazine. Aaron's work has been honored by the American Library Association, the National Council for the Social Studies, the American Folklore Society, The New York Public Library, and the Bank Street College of Education. He has been a judge for the Golden Kite Awards of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.
"BRAVO! I thought it had pretty much all been said, but I was wrong. All the nuts and bolts are here as well as rules that bear repeating, PLUS insights not usually found in how-to books. Clearly and concisely written, this is an invaluable resource for both beginning and more accomplished writers." -- Susan Pearson, Editor-in-Chief, Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books
"Aaron Shepard has written one of the most comprehensive guides available to anyone wishing to enter the competitive field of children's books. It's all here, from initial idea to successful sale, and then beyond to the essentials of contracts, promotion, and the ABCs of building a successful career. If you're starting out, start out here." -- Stephen Mooser, children's author
"Here's clearly-written, no-nonsense help for children's writers by a craftsman. Every fledgling author should own this book." -- Stephen Fraser, Executive Editor, Aladdin Paperbacks
"Aaron Shepard's The Business of Writing for Children is a wonderful resource. His experience-based insights into the art and business of children's writing will save beginning writers years of wasted effort -- and help published writers achieve long-term success." -- Kathleen Duey, children's author
"The Business of Writing for Children is a one-stop shopping center, a complete how-to-do-it guide for the writer who wants a jump-start on looking professional even though he/she may be turning out a first book. Editors will love you if you do it Shepard's way." -- Audrey Baird, Editor, Once Upon A Time
"I carry around a file folder of materials which I share with unpublished writers and illustrators. This book is so comprehensive, I plan to replace my file folder with it. Whether you are a novice or a professional, The Business of Writing for Children needs to be in your library. DON'T write a book without it!" -- Leslie Tryon, children's author/illustrator
|Edition description:||New Edition|
|Product dimensions:||9.00(w) x 7.30(h) x 0.40(d)|
Read an Excerpt
ABOUT THIS BOOK
Let me begin with a word of caution. If you're thinking of taking up children's writing as a lark or as an easy way to make money, my advice is: Forget it.
True, there are always those beginning writers who will whip out a children's story, sell it to a publisher on the first try, and wind up with a successful book. But for most of us, entering the profession takes years of practice, self-education, and not a little frustration. And there's more of that after we're published.
But if you're serious about writing for children, this book should significantly speed and simplify your professional development. Though not at all meant to be comprehensive, it lays out the basics, points you toward additional resources, and most importantly, provides tips and strategies not commonly found elsewhere. Along with that, it offers detailed looks at some of my own specialties and gives notice of changes being brought by new technologies.
The material comes from several sources. Most of the Introduction, Part 1, and the Appendix is based on handouts created for my former classes and workshops on writing for children. Part 2 consists of articles first written for the SCBWI Bulletin and Once Upon A Time. All materials have been updated as needed. \
Reflecting my own expertise, the focus here is on writing picture book stories and selling them to major publishers. Much of the information, though, will apply to other areas of children's writing as well.
I hope this guide will help in your professional and/or personal growth. Good luck, and don't forget to have fun!
Table of Contents
|About This Book||7|
|Introduction: Dangerous Myths and Terrible Truths||11|
|Part 1||The Basics|
|Writing Your Story||17|
|Writer Speak #1||Book Categories||21|
|Submitting Your Manuscript||23|
|Writer Speak #2||Book Publishers||32|
|Negotiating Your Contract||35|
|The Publishing Process||40|
|Writer Speak #3||Booksellers||44|
|Building Your Career||47|
|Part 2||The Inside Story|
|Script Your Story!||53|
|Words That Make Pictures||58|
|Rhythm and the Readaloud||62|
|Researching the Folktale||67|
|In Praise of Post-its||73|
|The Picture Book Query||75|
|10 Ways to Promote a First Book||80|
|Promo Pieces for the Children's Author||84|
|Info For Author Days||91|
|Designing Your Web Page||95|
|Books and Periodicals||103|
What People are Saying About This
Kathleen Duey, children's author
Aaron Shepard's The Business of Writing for Children is a wonderful resource. His experience-based insights into the art and business of children's writing will save beginning writers years of wasted effort -- and help published writers achieve long-term success.
Margaret Read MacDonald, author and librarian
Writers attempting to break into the children's book market will thank Aaron Shepard for graciously sharing his own hard-earned knowledge. I am adding this to my list of must-reads for newcomers to the field.
Stephen Fraser, Executive Editor, Aladdin Paperbacks
Here's clearly-written, no-nonsense help for children's writers by a craftsman. Every fledgling author should own this book.
Audrey Baird, Editor, Once Upon A Time
The Business of Writing for Children is a one-stop shopping center, a complete how-to-do-it guide for the writer who wants a jump-start on looking professional even though he/she may be turning out a first book. Editors will love you if you do it Shepard's way.
Susan Pearson, Editor-in-Chief, Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books
BRAVO! I thought it had pretty much all been said, but I was wrong. All the nuts and bolts are here as well as rules that bear repeating, PLUS insights not usually found in how-to books. Clearly and concisely written, this is an invaluable resource for both beginning and more accomplished writers.
Kip Nead, co-owner, Seeds of Change Children's Bookstore
Finally, a thorough, concise overview of the business end of writing for the children's market. This book is a wonderful gift to the budding authors of the world. Aaron has combined great talents for writing and storytelling with smart and informed business practices to create a great career. Now he shares what he has learned, to help others do the same.
Carol Farley, children's author
The Business of Writing for Children is a tool every writer needs.
Stephen Mooser, children's author
Aaron Shepard has written one of the most comprehensive guides available to anyone wishing to enter the competitive field of children's books. It's all here, from initial idea to successful sale, and then beyond to the essentials of contracts, promotion, and the ABCs of building a successful career. If you're starting out, start out here.
Jonathan Shaw, Editor, School Magazine
I've been a fan of Aaron Shepard's writing for years. This is a generous book -- not so much a primer for the would-be writer as an attempt to pass on everything he has learned about writing for children. Full of useful information and tips, it's also a personal and personable account of the joys of scholarship, the fostering of genuine relationships with people like me (editors, publishers, publicists), the love of story.
Barbara Kouts, agent
There is a great deal of good information in these pages. A valuable resource!
Larry Dane Brimner, children's author
The Business of Writing for Children is a clear, concise guide to the often misunderstood field of children's books. No matter what your level of experience -- from beginner to veteran -- there is much to learn from Aaron Shepard's nuts-and-bolts approach to surviving the bunny-eat-bunny world of writing for children. Read it and learn!
Susan Salzman Raab, author, An Author's Guide to Children's Book
Promotion, and children's book publicist, Raab Associates
The Business of Writing for Children provides both helpful advice and welcome reassurance to authors trying to navigate the complexities of the children's book industry. It is the next best thing to having an experienced author friend in the business.
David K. Brown, librarian and Webmaster, Children's
Literature Web Guide
This is a book that I would like to gently place into the hands of every aspiring children's book writer. It answers the questions they most often ask, and the questions they really ought to ask. It is realistic without being discouraging, and practical without being cynical.
Harold Underdown, Senior Editor, Charlesbridge Publishing, and Webmaster, The Purple Crayon
For aspiring writers of picture book fiction and folktales, this is a great introduction to the complicated world of children's book publishing.
Robert D. San Souci, children's author
The Business of Writing for Children is a clear, concise, resourceful, often eye-opening guide that is filled with solid advice to help aspiring writers sell their manuscripts and to help published authors boost sales. I learned a good deal from this handy resource. I am sure anyone who is serious about the business of writing for children will profit from it.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
If you¿re thinking of writing, selling and promoting a children¿s book, The Business of Writing for Children is a title you¿ll definitely want to add to your permanent reference shelf. In it you¿ll find tips, useful information and resources on how to write children¿s fiction, learning what editors want to see in a manuscript, how to submit your queries and promote your book. The book¿s short length and concise, right-to-the-point approach make it an ideal first guide for beginners in the field. Shepard begins by listing some ¿Dangerous Myths and Terrible Truths¿ about the business. Then he offers general guidelines on how to write for children, dealing with topics such as Theme, Plot, Story Structure, Characters, Setting, Style and Tone. The different kinds of children¿s books categories can be confusing and hard to distinguish from one another Shepard describes each in a clear manner. Everything from formatting and submitting your manuscript, to negotiating a contract, to understanding the publishing process, to building your career, to scripting your story can be found between these pages, and more. A separate section is given to other topics such as Rhythm and Writing and Researching Folk Tales. Most helpful are the author¿s sample flyers and queries, especially his ingenious way for sending one query for multiple titles, saving time and postage fees. Shepard also offers clever alternatives to sending queries by using Post-its. At the end of the book there¿s an Appendix filled with useful resources. Be aware this book will not teach you how to self publish a children¿s book, but only how to sell your work to traditional publishers. However, this is a reference work valuable for anybody who wishes to understand the business of writing for children. Highly recommended.
This book has a lot of helpful details. I don't have much more to say than all of the other comments that are already here. I just wanted to recommend the book. I have another recommendation that is a basic guide with lots of internet and printed resources.
The Business of Writing for Children, An Award-Winning Author's Tips on Writing Children's Books and Publishing Them, or How to Write, Publish, and Promote a Book for Kids by Aaron Shepard is a reference book or children's fiction. I gave it two stars. I tried several times to read this book. I just couldn't finish it. It was documentary dry and I didn't like it. It did give some helpful information on what makes a successful story. "The strongest children's stories have well-developed themes, engaging plots, suitable structure, memorable characters, well-chosen settings, and attractive style. For best results, build strengths in all areas." I received a complimentary e-copy from Shepard Publications and NetGalley. That did not change my opinion for this review.
I enjoyed this book and use it as a reference. It offers great writing tips as well as some information on publishing.