Writing Tips from Children’s Author Penelope Anne Cole

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Today the Working Writer’s Club is hosting Day 4 of a 5-day virtual tour for Penelope Anne Cole’s Magical series of books for kids.

This tour is sponsored by the National Writing for Children Center.

In today’s post, Penelope offers some writing tips.

writing tips from Penelope Anne Cole

Children’s author Penelope Anne Cole

Writing Tips from Penelope Anne Cole

It’s hard for me to give writing tips and guidance for new writers since my experience was unique.

As I’ve said in the first post for this tour, I wrote the first book in this series, then found an illustrator and paid for illustrations.

Then I looked for a publisher.

I had no idea there was a process of “Querying” publishers or agents with your manuscript before getting the illustrations.

I’d done it all wrong.

Fortunately for me, my artist Kevin Collier had a publisher, Lynda Burch of Guardian Angel Publishing, and he recommended me to her.

She accepted my book, with some changes, then I waited like all her other authors for my turn to be published.

I think it was about 12 months, with some waiting 18-24 months, if they hadn’t paid for artwork.

After that experience, I continued in the same way, writing the second and third books and having them illustrated.

But each book in the series required a new waiting period, 14-18 months.

I had some young readers who were “aging out” of the series with those long time frames.

writing tips

So when Magical Matthew, my first book, completed its three year contract, I decided to publish my own books under my own imprint.

Since then I’ve published all five books under my Magical Book Works imprint (www.magicalbookworks.com).

Although it is more expensive for me because I pay for artwork, formatting and editing, it is more personally satisfying and my books look like I want them to.

I’m in control of the full creative process from writing, to choosing artwork, to layout/formatting, and publishing.

So, I have two routes to suggest for aspiring children’s authors.

You can join the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) early on and they will give you lots of step by step tips about polishing your manuscript and then submitting and querying publishers and agents.

That is a much longer process and you will have to deal with rewrites and rejections.

SCBWI information is valuable, their conferences can be motivational, and the authors and artists you meet can help you.

But SCBWI can also give you information about being your own publisher, which may appeal to those of you who like control of the full creative process from beginning to end.

It’s up to you to decide which way to go.

It’s a hard business, writing for children, but quite rewarding to see your books in print, and to share them with children and teachers.


To learn more about Penelope Anne Cole and her books, visit her website at www.penelopeannecole.com.

Get the links to follow along on each day of this tour at www.writingforchildrencenter.com.

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