Wednesday, May 6, 2009


This week I've been working on the 'Writing for Children' workshop I'm due to facilitate over the next two Saturdays. The first session looks at publishing opportunities.
Novice writers can easily miss an opportunity to get work published because:
(1) they are in too big a hurry to send off a manuscript that is simply not ready; and,
(2) they submit material that does not match the genre, age level or style of material the selected publisher usually publishes.

I recently heard a successful writer comment that her manuscript is not ready until she can read it without wanting to change one word. I am sure one can get to the point of change without improvement, but for beginning writers experimenting with change is very useful. Experience tells me that finding a publisher can be harder than writing a good story.
Some road blocks (and detours) to be navigated.
Roadblock One: THE RIGHT PUBLISHER. Who publishes the kind of material you write?
Roadblock Two: NO UNSOLICITED MANUSCRIPTS. I used to think that meant 'Don't go there' until I learned the distinction between cover letters and query letters
Now to some interesting detours:
1. Don't head straight for the BOOK path.
Try to get published in a newsletter, magazine, online. Try some non-fiction articles; write reviews of others work; talk on radio; join a writers group and/or an online critique group. These put your name in the public eye
2. Grow your personal platform.
Do a google search. Do you exist? You can build a platform to make your self visible. It might be a blog or a website. It might be Facebook or Twitter. Even if you don't wish to create your own site, you can use online media by being a guest on someone else's blog or participating in a podcast. I joined a writers group and read some of my work on a local radio station. Imagine my surprise when five days later I found 'me' on a google search with a mention of this event.
AND NOW, in case you are interested here is an outline of the workshop I will be facilitating for the first time over the next two weekends.


"Writing for children
is like writing War and Peace
in haiku."

An adaptation of a quote from Mem Fox

This workshop is for those interested in any aspect of writing for children irrespective of genre. It will touch on fiction and non-fiction and include discussion of such publishing opportunities as daily and periodic newspapers, magazines, newsletters, journals, anthologies, online sites - and more!

Session One: The World of Children’s Writing
Participant are asked to bring from their local library or home bookshelf (at least) THREE books/magazines/newspapers/websites covering the area of their writing interest and published between 2003 - 2009
Little Red enters the forest of Magazines, Newspapers, Picture Books, Emergent Readers, Early Chapter Books and First Novels. Armed with layout instructions, Google search tools, submission guidelines and much more, Clever Little Red bypasses the Big Bad Publisher and reaches Granny’s House of Literary Anticipation where she learns there’s more to writing success than she ever dreamed.

Session Two: The First Page
Participants are invited to bring the first page (or 200 words) only of up to three pieces of their own writing for children.
Little Red has done market research into her subject and theme. Now she has only the first page in which to convince the publisher her story is worthy of publication. In this session participants will have opportunity to critique one another’s first page(s) or two hundred words and look at ways to make a publisher or child want to read beyond the first two hundred words.

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