MICHELLE'S TEN TIPS
FOR PICTURE BOOK WRITERS
TOP 10 Ways to Get Published
- Take a class in children’s literature at a local college. Some classes are offered on-line. Learn about the elements of fiction: character, plot, setting, point of view. Learn about literary language. If you can’t take a class, read books on children’s literature – Nancy Lamb’s The Writer’s Guide to Crafting Stories for Children, and Ann Whitford Paul's Writing Picture Books, are two of my favorites.
- Read 100 books in the genre you write in (picture book, easy read, middle grade, young adult). Study how the authors used the elements of fiction you’ve learned about.
- If you write picture books, type the text and do a word count. This forces you to pay closer attention to every word of the text. If you write for older readers, type some of your favorite passages- then use the same parts of speech, same sentence structure, and write about a different topic.
- Keep a journal in which you record events/sights that caught your attention, even if you don’t know why. Write down the most vivid sense experience you had. Months later you can go back and mine the journal for story ideas.
- Choose a subject you’re passionate about, then write as often as you can. Allow yourself to have crummy days, but write!
- Wait at least a week (two is even better) after you’ve written your story, then read it again. Revise it as needed. Most revision is through elimination, though it can also involve changing the chronology of events, showing instead of telling, and other fine-tuning
- Join a critique group. Sometimes you can form one with students from your writing class. You can also find one on-line.
- Wait a month before sending out your manuscript. You may find some last-minute tweaking is needed.
- Learn about children’s publishing. Go to bookstores and see what’s being published. Read the spring and fall children’s book issues of Publishers Weekly. Go to conferences where editors are speaking. Visit authoritative children's book websites such as www.underdown.org.
- Join the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), which offers an informative website, a newsletter and many regional and state conferences.
I do a limited number of in person or Skype consultations throughout the year. Contact me if you want to learn more.