J.K. Rowling has put children’s writing on the map. There’s no denying it. According to the Guinness Book of World Records 2012, she is the first billionaire author.
Ever. In any writing genre.
This made the world sit up and take note of children’s writing. Maybe it was J.K. Rowling for you, or maybe it was something else. For me, it was a way of introducing children to yoga, as well as utilizing my writing skills, drawing skills and years of teaching. So, if you’re interested in becoming a children’s writer, here are 4 tips just for you.
Be around children… but not in a creepy way
It may sound obvious, but many new children’s writers feel that if they just write about butterflies or teddy bears, their book is going to be an instant hit. A successful author needs to learn about what is exciting to a child today. What makes them tick? What problems are they experiencing? How are these children using technology? What effect does parenting today have on kids? You will never know if you don’t interact with them.
Keep a small notebook with you everywhere you go
Again, it may be obvious to some writers. You never know when or where inspiration will strike. And if you’re ideas are like mine, they often strike in the shower and disappear when I turn off the water. So keep a notebook to jot down phrases, ideas or character notes. And if you’re like me and get visited in the shower by ideas, you may want to get a dry erase marker for the mirror.
Craft emotionally compelling stories
You don’t always have to go for “cute”. Go with what strikes an emotional chord with both children and adults. Why adults? Because they’re the ones buying the books. If you notice, many children’s movies have jokes and scenes that only adults “get”. This is because they are the ones buying the movie tickets. You are creating a satisfying entertainment experience.
Get a mentor
This should be at the top of the list. I would never have made it this far without my mentor. She’s a published writer who took the time and effort to look at my work and make suggestions. Joining writing groups, attending conferences and workshops all put you in a good place to grow and learn.
So go out there, but these tips into practice and write amazing children’s books.
Lakshmi Gosyne is an author, illustrator, web designer and teacher. She worked as a preschool and primary school teacher for 16 years before writing two yoga story books: Jungle Walk: A Yoga Story for Kids and Waiting for Dad: A Yoga Story for Kids. You can find out more at www.lakshmigosyne.com