I’m just starting out with writing children’s books, what is your best advice?
LB: I don’t really have BEST advice, but I do have A LOT of advice!
1) Join SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators). This is the best organization for new and experienced writers and almost all children’s book authors are members. It’s $95 the first year and it will give you breaks on classes and conferences, as well as offer an incredible amount of resources through their site.
2) Go to conferences and classes! You have a lot to learn, and trust me, it will be fun and you will join an incredible like-minded community.
3) Seek out your local SCBWI chapter, and meet fellow artists as often as you can.
4) Form a critique group (SCBWI can help with this, too): Look for writers who want to share in the process and help with each other’s projects. It’s important to make your group only children’s writers. Writing is a solitary activity so a little social interaction is good. Plus, you can never see your project as clearly as someone from the outside can. You will improve immensely through this process.
5) Read. As much as you can. Pay attention to plot points, character dialogue, scene structure. Books are free master classes. (Don’t forget to read craft books, too.)
6) Be consistent with your schedule: Even if you can only afford an hour a day to write, do it. Eventually, it will lead to a finished manuscript, I promise you.
7) Don’t give up easily. All writers get shiny new ideas when they reach the hardest part of their books. Sometimes writing flows and sometimes it feels like trudging through mud for the entire project. This has nothing to do with the eventual quality. So stick with yours. Graduating from the start to the end is very essential to your growth as an author.
8) Subscribe to writing podcasts. Listen while you are on the elliptical. Subscribe to blogs on medium.com. A wealth of information is available to you for free on the Internet.
9) Do not compare yourself to the books you read. It takes a long time to get good. Most people do not sell their first book. Many successful authors won’t sell a book until they complete three or four of them. And as for those amazing novels you’ve read, they’ve been edited by a publishing team. Most don’t start out as stellar. It’s easy to feel like a hack if you start comparing, but don’t let the negative talk get in your way. You will improve with each word. Keep at it. Onward.
10) I don’t really have a number ten. But how many Top Nine Tip articles have you seen?