Today we’re hosting Day 4 of a 5-day virtual tour for Margot Finke’s new picture book, Kobi Borrows a Pouch.
This tour is sponsored by the National Writing for Children Center.
In today’s post, Margot offers some tips for writers.
Writing Tips from Author Margot Finke
Everyone thinks they can write a picture book, or some kind of book for kids – easy, right?
Not on your life, mate!
You must first learn the craft of writing for kids.
This means joining a critique group and learning from the published and advanced members.
Writing, re-writing, and then re-writing again – as many times as it takes.
Know the basics, and keep at it until you get it right.
If necessary, take an English refresher course.
Join online writing groups and network – Linkedin, Yahoo, Facebook and Google+.
Pick the brains of accomplished writers – about agents, publishers, and what makes a terrific story.
It will take time and effort.
Patience is what you need most at this point.
There is so much competition out there these days, what with self-publishing and traditional publishers.
The editor at a traditional publisher will make sure everything looks and reads perfectly – or she will send you another rewrite order.
These editors want practically perfect.
They nit-pick and demand the best.
But self-publishing is a whole other game.
I would advise self-publishing only after you have gained a readership for your traditionally published books.
That way you begin the self-publishing journey with a real advantage.
Make sure you have the funds to do it right.
A great book must be well edited, have an eye catching cover, and a promotion plan.
Budget for all three.
Self-publishing can be costly if you don’t go with somethng like CreateSpace or Kindle, so think carefully.
And if it’s a picture book, the illustrations can break the bank – YOUR bank!
Yet getting Aunt Fanny to do them for you will only make your book look like amateur night.
Doing wonderful picture book illustrations takes time and talent, and a good artist can make all the difference between success and big royalties, or a flop that sinks out of sight.
This is when the contacts you have made online over the years will pay off.
Ask for advice, prices, the best publisher, a reasnable illustrator, etc.
Look at the artwork in other PBs.
Writers who successfully self-publish do their homework first, set up a reasonable budget, and have great contacts they can call on for advice.
I have found that each book I self-publish becomes easier to do and better to read and look at.
It is a learning process.
You need to be a detail oriented control freak to do it well.
And you don’t have to format it yourself – you can pay someone to format it for you.
WARNING: Make sure this person comes well recommended, or you will regret it. I can tell you tales about formatters from Hell you do not want on your payroll. Of course, this is another cost you must add to your “funds for publishing,” list.
A traditional publisher is for the writer who is confident, well grounded in the craft of writing, and with an manuscript that her critique group thinks is AWESOME!
Self Publishing is for the writer with some published books under her belt, and a yearning to have more control over what she writes, as well as the illistrations and covers of her books. You must like research, have the funds to do it RIGHT, and be a professional with flair.
To get the links to all 5 days of this tour, visit the National Writing for Children Center.