The world of writing has something for everyone, both from a reader’s perspective and a writer’s. The joy a writer gets at the completion of a manuscript and having it published for readers to enjoy is something that can’t be compared. That joy is made more special when the writer is writing for children, specifically little children.
This field of writing, like many others, has so many aspiring authors that it can be quite difficult to get published. But with technology ever evolving, there are now more ways to break into the field of children’s picture book writing so as to have a manuscript published. Technology has allowed us to create interactive stories for online use as well as download stories to view on the iPad and other PDF readers.
Also with the help of technology, there is a wealth of information at your fingertips. A writer can simply go online and type “Children’s Picture Book Writing” into a search engine like Google and get pages and pages of sites offering help and suggestions to getting a manuscript published. One of the best sites I have come across is right here in Australia. The site lists publishers who are in Australia, along with links to their sites where they list their submission guidelines for both writers and illustrators. The site also offers articles about what to do when submitting a manuscript as well as when it gets accepted by the publisher. There are many sites like this one across the world as well as sites that are created to help children’s book writers get published.
A third advantage to having technology for writers is the fact that now many publishers and agents now accept, and some even prefer, online submissions; either email or direct through their website. This has opened up a whole new world to aspiring authors who, up until now were disadvantaged because of the cost involved in posting their manuscripts. With this advantage, writers can now look further afield and approach publishers overseas.
There have been reports that electronic books will one day wipe out printed books. If that is the case, through the use of technology, as least the joy the writer gets and the joy the reader receives will still be felt when they sit down to write or read a children’s picture book.
When people ask me what my passions are, straight away I say “my kids, reading and writing; in that order.” Then they ask me what kind of writing I do. Well I am not ashamed to admit that it is children’s picture book writing.
“Picture book writing hey? Why?” they ask. The answer to that is quite simple. I became a parent almost six years ago and when my oldest boy was two, he developed a taste for picture books, quite literally. Whenever he got a new board book, he would go to town on it, munching away. Of course, only when no one was watching.
I decided around then that it would be nice to write stories that would one day be published, so that I could go to him and say, “Look Jesse, Mummy made this.” I want both my sons and other children to get the same enjoyment from reading I did when I was a child.
There is something about seeing the wonder and enjoyment on children’s faces as they take not only the story in, but also the pictures that go along with it. Every night I read a story to my boys and it doesn’t matter how many times it’s been read to them before, they always get a kick out of having it read to them again. And now that Jesse is learning to read at school, he is learning as well as enjoying.
To be honest, I get a kick out of reading the stories to them. I love making the different voices of each of the characters. Of course if I’ve read the book before and it’s been a while, it can be difficult to remember the exact voice I used the last time. And my kids, being ever vigilant, will pull me up on it if it’s not the same as last time.
The other reason I write picture books for children is that I like the challenge; the challenge of writing a story that has to gel with the illustrations, the challenge of choosing words little ones will understand and the challenge of trying to keep the story at around 500 words, which is probably the most difficult challenge of them all.
At the end of the day, if I get just one book published for my boys to enjoy while they are still young, then it will be worth it.