I’ve been approached by many people who are interested in writing their own stories for children. Where to start? That depends, of course, on your story, your audience, and what you want to do with your story.
There’s writing and there’s the business of writing, and there’s nothing easy about either one. But if you have a story to tell, follow the advice Eleanor gave me when she was only four: “Just tell the story, Grandma.” Best writing advice ever. Start there. Start with the writing.
If you want your story to be published, your first decision is whether to try the traditional route or publish your book yourself. There are advantages and difficulties with either route. Given how few authors end up with book deals, a lot of people opt to self-publish because there’s no barrier to entry. Anyone can publish a book these days, and there’s a lot of slop on Amazon to prove it. There are also plenty of unscrupulous “publishers” and others who prey on people who dream of seeing their names on a book of their own creation. So do your homework. It’s a complex business, but there are plenty of people and organizations ready to help independent authors succeed.
Let’s assume you are committed to putting a top-quality book out there. Here are a few resources to get you started. Check back from time to time; I’ll be adding more. (P.S. I receive no compensation of any kind from anyone on this list. In fact, I have subscribed, joined, bought the books, or paid for the services of every organization or person on this list. How’s that for putting my money where my mouth is?):
Resources for Indie Authors
- Writer’s Digest: You’ll find great information on writing and getting published. Here’s an example: 6 Tips on Writing for Children
- Jane Friedman: Award-winning blogger and author Jane Friedman shares what she has learned from 20 years in the business through her industry newsletter, The Hot Sheet, her column in Publishers Weekly, and as a professor with The Great Courses. She offers webinars, coaching, and consulting. I have all of her books. For my money, she’s the best in the business.
- Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators: A nonprofit professional organization “specifically for individuals who write and illustrate for children and young adults.” If you’re committed to quality, invest in a membership.
- Reedsy.com: Start with the free short publishing courses and browse the marketplace for professional who can help you every step of the way. I found my brilliant web designer, Mindy Johnston, through Reedsy.
- Mary Kole: After I read Mary’s great book Writing Irresistible Kidlit, I hired Mary to review my first children’s story, The Climbing Tree. Even though I have written all my life, I had never written for children, and I knew I had a lot to learn. It was money well spent.
Do you have any resources you’d like to share? Leave a comment and let’s support one another!