Okay, this is going to be one of those top ten lists. Don't know why but lists of tips like this always seem to go from least to most so this one will too. Although, frankly, the order changes for me on a regular basis. This is today's version. SMILE!
TOP TEN TIPS,
I WISH I'D KNOWN YEARS AGO,
FOR GETTING A CHILDREN'S PICTURE BOOK
|Please read catalogs digitally. SMILE|
NUMBER 10: Study publishers' catalogs thoroughly and regularly. It's the best way to know you're not offering up a book similar to something they've recently published. And to think about the kinds of books they might be looking for.
NUMBER 9: Read interviews with editors and agents. Check out the kinds of books they've worked on or represented and think about whether yours might be a fit--or not. Check if they are also published and, if so, what they've written.
|Remember, 9 is only a fact finding step.|
NUMBER 8: Read PW Children's Bookshelf to see what editors are newly acquiring. But absolutely do NOT worry about trends.
NUMBER 7: Attend SCBWI conferences and listen. LISTEN. LISTEN!
NUMBER 6: Read award winning books. READ more. READ even more!!!
NUMBER 5: Read award winning books aloud. LISTEN!!!!
NUMBER 4: When you think you're ready to send something out, STOP! Let it brew for two weeks and not one day less. Then reread. Revise. POLISH!! Meanwhile, go back through Numbers 10, 9, and 8 to decide who/where to share (and have a Plan B in mind). THEN GET IT THE #%* OUT THERE. Nothing sells sitting on your computer.
NUMBER 3: Stop writing for yourself. Write to sell. So pick a target audience and get to know them: observe them in action, talk to them, and listen to them.
|I love letters and emails from kids with ideas about the books |
they want me to write.
NUMBER 2: Find a critique group. Share. Bond. Learn from them. Learn with them.
|My group (L-R): Janet McLaughlin, Teddie Aggeles, Susan Banghart, Me, Augusta Scattergood, and Melissa Buhler|
LOVE YOU GUYS!!!
NUMBER 1: Write. Write. Write. Breath. Sleep. Eat. Write. WRITE. WRITE!!!!!
And a final thought to those who've asked me, "How many words should there be in a children's picture book text?" Here's what I tell myself:
Think what you need to say. Then use the very best words you can think of to grab kids and keep them reading (or listening) all the way to the end. Better yet--make them want to read it or hear it again.