1. ModestKittee
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    ModestKittee Member

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    Children's books...

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by ModestKittee, Sep 26, 2008.

    I hope this question is appropriate for this section of the forum.

    Children's books, are they a viable way to make a living and are they harder to get published?

    I have a couple ideas in my head floating around that I've been wanting to put down on paper and I'm not a half bad illustrator so my husband suggested to me that I might try my hand at putting together a children's book.


    I thought it might not be a bad idea since it's going to take forever for me to finish my novel. :D
     
  2. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    Certainly they are, but they have to be something really special. Otherwise parents will just buy reprints of books they know.
     
  3. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Writing is not a viable way to make a living. Seriously, there are very, very few individuals who make enough money writing to be able to live off it.


    As for the difficulty in publishing, I'd say it probably wouldn't be any harder than any other specific genre. Not to underestimate the difficulty in getting published... The odds are stacked against you, genre aside.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    not generally... few children's book writers make a living at it... but the ones who do, had to start sometime, right?...

    harder than what?... any first book for any age market, by an unknown new writer is hard to impossible to get published... few agents will want to bother with new writers' first children's books, because like any first book, it takes a lot of time/work to sell a publisher on it and children's books don't make the money novels do...

    so it makes more sense to submit directly to publishers... that doesn't necessarily make it any easier to get published, because so many think it's easier to write for kids [when it's really not] and the competition is just as fierce as in the adult market... plus, you have to consider the fact that more novels go on the market annually, than children's books...

    ...then go ahead and give it a go... but you need to know that the vast majority of publishers use their own illustrators and won't even allow artwork to be submitted...

    ...and before you do anything, you need to research the market to see if anything out there is too much like your idea... and learn how to write for little ones... i suggest you check out some children's writer sites for a look at the basics... here's just one: http://www.underdown.org/basics.htm
     
  5. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oh, and one of the masters to check out, Robert Munsch. Kids in Canada have been growing up with his book for years. Everyone in the country knows I Love You Forever, and The Paperbag Princess
     
  6. ModestKittee
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    ModestKittee Member

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    Thank you for all the kind responses.


    Ah...then how would I go about becoming an illustrator for one of these books? I thought I could write and illustrate my own book. Forgive my naivety.


    Currently I work for a computer game company, my formal background is in 3D art, so when it comes to "paper" media, I'm totally lost. Not that this means that I haven't done traditional art my whole life mind you, just not professionally.
     
  7. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    Lots of publishers will also have illustrators guidelines as well. You just send them samples of your artwork and then if they are interested, they let you know just like they would with manuscripts.
     
  8. ModestKittee
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    Ah wonderful. More reason and encouragement for me to get my portfolio in order. (You tend to get slack about these things when you work one job too long and get comfortable LOL!)
     
  9. ParanormalWriter
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    ParanormalWriter Contributing Member

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    I've written three picture books and, in my experience, they're very hard to sell. Only a fairly small number of agents will even represent them. That's not to say it isn't doable, only that I'm convinced the work has to be extra good and needs a unique approach. Of course, that's the same struggle we writers face in adult fiction too.

    As for illustration... what everybody else said. ;)
     
  10. Dcoin
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    As an elementary school teacher, I read my fair share of children's lit. Looking into the future, I know that many school systems across the US are moving to a literature only system as opposed to the cookie cutter reading text book. This being the case, there is a resurgence of children's literature.

    If that translates into making a living, I don't know. But I know that the need exists.
     

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