FAQs About Writing
For Kids and Adults
No, I write the story. I am good at drawing stick people and that's about it. If a publisher buys your story, they will match your manuscript with an illustrator whose style is right for it. Mike Lowery did an amazing job illustrating The Gingerbread Man: Loose in the School.
This varies for every author and book. The Gingerbread Man: Loose in the School is a 900 word picture book and it took me about 2 years to write. But I was only able to devote time to it once a week. I was also researching story structure and writing in rhyme, and then continually revising it based on my writing groups' suggestions to make it the best it could be.
If you are student, I'm sure your teachers ask you to write "drafts" of your papers or stories. That technique is used all the time as a writer. Each draft usually makes the paper/story better. That is called revising. This story went through more than 50 drafts.
In order to get your story published, you need to know what the publishers are looking for. Search your local library or bookstore for a book called Children's Writers and Illustrators Market by Alice Pope. This book lists contests, writing conferences, children's book publishers, literary agents, magazine publishers, writing conferences, etc. It tells you what kind of stories they are looking for and if they are open to new writer's submissions. Many big publishing houses do not take “unsolicited manuscripts” or stories from writers with whom they haven't worked before.
A picture book can take a long time because of the art work; sometimes over three years. Once the publisher buys a story, it goes to an illustrator next who will work on the artwork for another year or so, and then the book needs to be manufactured and bound. Novels take less time, usually about a year. So next time you go into a bookstore and look at the picture book display, consider that each of those books probably took between 2 and 3 years to make, not counting the writing time. To me, each picture book is like a mini art show in itself.
Absolutely. There are many things kids can do to get published as young authors that will also help them prepare to become adult authors one day.
Here are several links to find out more about writing for children.