Mary Rodd Furbee reports:
"Consider why you want to write children's books. If you want to write books for children, it helps to be a little crazy...Writing books for children is like starting a business. You must invest both time and money...It's the rare children's book that hits the bestseller list or wins a Newbery Award, and the rare full-time children's writer who makes a living...It's amazing what you can learn by reading the books you want to write - be they board books for infants and toddlers, picture books, early readers, middle-grade novels or young adult nonfiction. Read the best authors - over and over. If you can, take a class in children's literature or writing for children...Read articles, visit websites, join writers organizations, and buy a few all-important books...Belonging gives you an edge when you query a publisher, and they hold useful conferences and workshops. All this will cost some money, but it's an investment in future success...Find out which publishers are interested in the kind of books you want to write. Do some research...Once you've identified potential publishers, read their submission guidelines - carefully. Then obey them - religiously...Call editors only if the submission guidelines specify that you may. It's a good idea to call receptionists at the publishing houses to make sure the editors listed are still there. While you're at it, double-check the spelling of names...Submissions should be [error-free and] gimmick-free. Double-space. Use page numbers. Use paper clips and/or rubber bands, not staples. Don't use colored paper or fancy binders...A query letter is a pithy, enticing pitch about the book and about you, the author (in that order)...Be yourself - your best self. Write, revise, and proofread as many times as it takes to make your letter shine...Be prepared to wait...Writing is solitary, and everyone needs encouragement and feedback...Do yourself a favor: Join a group or start one."
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