Make it good? But my writing is brilliant. It’s absolutely genius. I’ve read it to my five-year-old, my twelve-year-old, my grandma, my dog Rufus…THEY LOVE IT! Yes, of course they do, but you might also feed or bathe any one of these dear souls. Let’s be honest. Who buys children’s books from authors? Does Rufus make those decisions? I don’t think so. Your goal is to write a manuscript that will appeal to at least one adult who specializes in this field. So that means…
- You need to be a good judge of your writing before you send your stuff out there.
- If you aren’t, you need to write and read more until you are.
- If you are absolutely “tone-deaf” when it comes to your work, read the last bullet again. If you’re still not getting it and you’re a novelist, try supplementing your education with books that dissect writing and storytelling in general.
Here are the titles I’ve heard many children’s writers recommend over and over again. I’ve starred the one I’ve found to be extremely useful.
- Stein on Writing: A Master Editor of Some of the Most Successful Writers of Our Century Shares His Craft Techniques and Strategies *(the man is a genius- a bit stuffy to read, but focus on the concepts)
- Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
- On Writing by Stephen King
You’ll notice these books aren’t necessarily ones devoted to children’s writing. When it comes to writing novels, the needs of children and adults are similar. Kids and grown-ups both want characters that interest, plots that intrigue, resolutions that satisfy, etc.
If you’re interested in picture books, emergent readers, or easy readers, then study RECENTLY published books out there. Those are your best models for comparison.
If you still aren’t sure whether or not your work is any good, then get help from a real-live person. How? Read about how you can get a second opinion from critique partners, book doctors, editors, and more. Then move on to Step Five – Find an Agent.