I wrote my children’s book! Now what do I do with it?

Today I’m again linking up with ‘What I’m Writing’, this week hosted over at The Muddled Manuscript.  I received helpful advice last week when I reached out about how to get started in real terms, and I’m pleased to say it has paid off.  I’ve drafted my first children’s picture book, which has been floating about in my head for some time.  But now it’s actually written here on my computer!

Thank you everyone who commented last week.  Beyond the advice given directly to me, I read some really insightful posts via the Linky.  I tried to comment on the majority of last week’s posts only to subsequently realise I’d fallen victim to Askimet and none of my comments had actually posted!  Grrrr….. That should be sorted now.

So how did I finally make progress?  I set aside a dedicated writing session at the weekend with no interruption, no phone(!), no children, nothing.  This was the easiest time for me as my Monday – Friday is spent either in London at work or at home with children dancing around my ankles.  I just wrote, and tried not to over edit as I went.  Once I was in the zone, the words flowed fairly easily but I suppose I’ve been thinking about them in various iterations for the last couple of months.

My children’s picture book is Christmas themed, written in verse and currently 18 pages with one line of verse per page in its raw unedited format.  I need an illustrator because that I definitely am not!  It’s called Santa Trap and I tried it out on my four year-old and she seemed to enjoy it, sans pictures and all.

What I’d really like advice on is now that I’ve got this draft, what do I do with it?  Would you share the draft on the blog to get other opinions on it?  I have some longer children’s books that I’m itching to write (think Charlotte’s Web length) and I guess I’d feel more comfortable sharing the first couple of chapters of them as opposed to the whole picture book text.  How careful do I need to be to protect my ideas/words and how do you copyright the writing that you put up on your blogs?

Beyond that, should I share the draft with my couple of friends who work in publishing?  Or write an introductory pitch and send it out to some select publishers (appreciating that I’m a very small fish in a very big pond)?  Would you try to independently find an illustrator first?

Your thoughts and advice would be really appreciated.

Muddled Manuscript
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10 Responses to I wrote my children’s book! Now what do I do with it?

  1. Firstly, congratulations on getting the book written! I’m so glad you found all the advice last week useful and I’m glad you’ve linked up with #WhatImwriting again.

    I’m currently writing three picture books (well, two of them are basically written but the third is proving a trickier beast) so have been doing a bit of research in this whole area. I would say don’t publish it on your blog as it then counts as ‘pre published’ which can put publishers off. Definitely show it to people you trust though and ask for critical feedback. Having people tell you it’s great is lovely but, in the long run, if you know people who will tell you ‘I like this bit, but this bit here doesn’t work and, THIS bit definitely lacks something’ that’s actually far more valuable! You need to make sure the manuscript is as good as it can be before you submit.

    You don’t need to find an illustrator yourself if you’re planning on going down the traditional publishing route (self-publishing is a whole different thing of course). Publishers will match your book up with someone suitable. There are publishers that accept unsolicited manuscripts from writers but if you can get an agent then it’s easier to find a publisher that way. They do all the legwork and negotiating. Of course, getting an agent isn’t easy either though!

    It’s worth researching about standard picture books. 32 pages is the norm (although how many verses you put on a page is flexible) and 500 – 600 words is supposed to be a good number. If you look through my #whatImWriting posts I’ve asked quite a lot of questions and had useful feedback on things like this! Hope this helps! Thanks for linking up. xx

    • Bump2Basics says:

      Thanks Maddy. Lots of helpful advice here and I have begun to have a look through your old What I’m Writing posts to gather ideas and perspective. One thing I have done this week is ask a handful of friends for some critical feedback, which I can tell already is going to pay dividends in pushing me to make this draft better. x

  2. Well done on getting your chidren’s picture book finished! I wish I had some advice for you but I don’t. I haven’t got to this point yet, but I’m sure if you check Maddy’s posts you’ll find some useful hints. 🙂 #WhatImWriting

  3. Aimee says:

    Congratulations! That’s amazing!

    Do you have any friends who could help you illustrate the book? I think if you could find somebody to support the book you could then show to publishers?

    Good luck I can’t wait to hear more!

    • Bump2Basics says:

      Thanks Aimee, I’m definitely going to be taking some of your tips if I begin to stall and need a kick up the bum! I’ve really enjoyed discovering and reading your blog of late.

  4. Nicola Young says:

    The Writer’s Advice Centre for Children is worth checking out. They offer editorial packages and they now also have their own publishing company for children’s fiction up to aged 12, I think. They are looking for submissions and initially you had to have had an editorial from them, but now they have opened it up to a wider audience.

  5. Well done on getting it out of your head! First step complete. That deserves a great big congrats. First drafts are tough and I’m so glad the advice you found via the linky helped.
    I’m actually the worst person to give advice on this bit since I’m perpetually pumping out first drafts. I would say don’t publish anything on your blog, since that counts as published to some publishers and could jeopardize the future of the book. From here, I would say gather together a few good friends who you know while be completely honest and ask them to read it. Take what they say about it on board and see how you feel about the writing. I always find this hit really disheartening and end up putting it away for a while until I can look at it with fresh eyes and start to pick it to pieces.
    Then… Well… Submit! Yay! X

  6. Bump2Basics says:

    Thanks Chrissie. I’m really pleased to be writing again more regularly. The commitment is well worth it, it’s something I really enjoy after all. I understand from your advice and reading other What I’m Writing posts that it’s best not to put my whole draft out in translation, but I have sought advice from friends and look forward to taking advice on board and pushing myself to make this better. It’s funny as I’ve normally been pretty private with my writing beyond what’s on this blog, but at this point I feel up for getting it out there, criticism and all. Let’s see if I’m still saying that as I struggle to re-work this!

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