So many people tell me about their dream to become a children’s book author. I had that dream too (since 2nd grade!) and I made it a reality. There is no “secret formula.” The road to success is paved with hard work. But here are some resources to make the journey easier.
1. Know the major genres: picture books, chapter books, middle grade, and YA (Young Adult)
2. Hone your craft. Write daily and join critique groups.
3. Do your research. Don’t blindly send manuscripts out hoping for a bite. It never works.
4. Join a professional organization and network with successful members in the industry and in your writing genre (social media is great for this too).
5. Establish a website or blog (I like WordPress) and get business cards. It’s never too early to set the groundwork and build connections.
6. If you are considering self-publishing, explore all the options. Read Harold Underdown’s articles on self-publishing.
7. Commit and live your passion.
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” – Henry David Thoreau
Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators
If you are serious about being a children’s book author, you should be a member of SCBWI, an international organization of authors, illustrators, publishers, agents, media, and other industry professionals. There are two conferences a year: a winter conference in NYC and a summer conference in Los Angeles. There are regional chapters all over the U.S. and other parts of the world. This organization is well worth the membership fee.
The Purple Crayon Website
Harold Underdown is a former children’s book editor and the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Publishing Children’s Books. His website is chock full of great information including how to find an agent and so much more.
Cynthia Leitich Smith’s Children’s and Young Adult Literature Resources
Cynthia has some great resources for kidlit authors and has interviewed the best of the best on her site. Great insight! Also check out her blog, Cynsations, one of the most read blogs in the kidlitosphere.
Brain Burps About Books
This weekly podcast by Katie Davis is amazing. She interviews the movers and shakers of the kidlit industry and stays on top of breaking news. It also features a “Take 5 Marketing Tip” segment done by yours truly. It can also be downloaded for free through iTunes.
Picture Book Month
Picture Book Month is an international literacy initiative that celebrates the print picture book during the month of November. It has been featured on Oprah.com and Huffington Post. There are essays about the importance of picture books by movers and shakers in the picture book field. Very inspiring.