Friday, May 11, 2007

The Business of Writing for Children

The Business of Writing for Children
Aaron Shepard
Shepard Publications
ISBN: 0-938497-11-1
Copyright 2000
Paperback, 110 pages, $10.00

If you’re thinking of writing, selling and promoting a children’s book, The Business of Writing for Children is a title you’ll definitely want to add to your permanent reference shelf. In it you’ll find tips, useful information and resources on how to write children’s fiction, learning what editors want to see in a manuscript, how to submit your queries and promote your book. The book’s short length and concise, right-to-the-point approach make it an ideal first guide for beginners in the field.

Shepard begins by listing some “Dangerous Myths and Terrible Truths” about the business. Then he offers general guidelines on how to write for children, dealing with topics such as Theme, Plot, Story Structure, Characters, Setting, Style and Tone.

The different kinds of children’s books categories can be confusing and hard to distinguish from one another; Shepard describes each in a clear manner.

Everything from formatting and submitting your manuscript, to negotiating a contract, to understanding the publishing process, to building your career, to scripting your story can be found between these pages, and more. A separate section is given to other topics such as Rhythm and Writing and Researching Folk Tales.

Most helpful are the author’s sample flyers and queries, especially his ingenious way for sending one query for multiple titles, saving time and postage fees. Shepard also offers clever alternatives to sending cover letters by using Post-its. At the end of the book there’s an Appendix filled with useful resources.

Be aware this book will not teach you how to self publish a children’s book, but only how to sell your work to traditional publishers. However, this is a reference work valuable for anybody who wishes to understand the business of writing for children.

Reviewed by Mayra Calvani

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