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Authors of Children's Books: Why Do They Do It ?!

  • Broadcast in Culture
Rev Dr Catherine M Gross

Rev Dr Catherine M Gross

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There is more to being the author of childrens books than you know.

By Mary Rodd Furbee

1. Consider why you want to write children's books.
If you want to write books for children, it helps to be a little crazy. I developed a passion to write nonfiction biographies for middle-school children about four years ago. My daughter's experiences made me realize that there were hardly any children's books on America's founding mothers. It hit me, hard: This was what I had to write. There was a need. The subject was fascinating. I knew I could do it, and found the prospect exciting. If you have a similar passion, perfect. If not, perhaps you are meant to do something else. It's hard to write books, harder still to write books for children. It's difficult to get published, and you'll face a lot of rejection.

2. Don't expect to make big money or make it quickly.
Writing books for children is like starting a business. You must invest both time and money. I hoped to make money writing my first books, but I didn't. Four years and six published books later, I still haven't made as much money as I could have in most professional writing or editing positions. 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.

3. Read children's books.
When I decided to write biographies of women in American history, I read biographies, histories, books about writing biographies, and lots of middle-grade fiction and nonfiction. 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.

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