Find out what it takes to write for children
ONLINE COLUMN: Writing for Children
Published: December 8, 2009
|Q: Do I need special qualifications to be a successful children's writer?|
In the world of children's publishing, some publishers require no qualification other than the ability to write for kids. They are firm advocates of the view that research will provide all an author needs to know. These same publishers also realize that many highly trained specialists with multiple degrees attached to their names might have the knowledge about their subject, but probably lack the unique skills needed to write about it effectively for today's children's market. These publishers are eager to work with children's writers who rely on research to write about various topics, no other qualifications required. Nancy Sanders
There are, however, a number of children's publishers who prefer to work with authors with a specific background in the topic they want to write about. If you're a children's writer and also a scuba-diving instructor, for example, make sure a publisher is aware of your expertise when you pitch a query or submit a manuscript on a topic that relates to your background.
While you are building your career as a children's writer, you might discover you are passionate about a certain topic. You might have been able to get one or more books published on this topic, but you probably won't become a top success in that field unless you have the credentials to back up what you write. For instance, if you discover you love to write beginning readers for teachers but you lack a degree in education or aren't a reading specialist, it might be difficult to expand your horizons by launching your own beginning-readers line of books or leading workshops for teachers. Consider the pros and cons of continuing your education at this point in your writing career. A degree in your field of interest could give you a boost and open amazing doors in the children's publishing industry.
Even though some children's publishers REQUIRE credentials in the field you wish to write about, there are ways to get around this, especially if you are already a successful children's author. You can be the ghostwriter for a well-known personality and write the book without your name anywhere on the cover. You can interview a top expert or celebrity and write an article or book "as told to" or "with." You can co-author with a professional in that field and create a writing team that allows you to join the ranks of authors in that genre.
For example, I'm not a teacher, yet I have written a number of books for teachers. That's OK with some publishers. But some publishers in the education market only want to hire teachers as authors. That's where I have actually teamed up with my husband, who is a teacher, to co-author several books together. I'm the author and he's the expert, and together we've got the credentials it takes to land a contract with certain publishers. Team up with an expert in your field of interest, and you can do the same.
|Nancy I. Sanders|
Nancy I. Sanders is the author of the groundbreaking new book for children's writers, Yes! You Can Learn How to Write Children's Books, Get Them Published, and Build a Successful Writing Career. Web: www.nancyisanders.com.
--Posted Dec. 8, 2009