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I've written a childrens book, I'd like to know what you think.

(23 Posts)
mummyloveslucy Thu 17-Sep-09 12:05:38

Hi, I have written a childrens book and I am hoping to get it published.
It is the first time I've done this, although I've always loved writing and poetry.
I would love to show you all and get your honest oppinions, (I know how honest you all are).
I'm just not sure wether or not I could do this. It is protected by Copyright.
I'm not sure wether it would be alowed on MN?

mummyloveslucy Thu 17-Sep-09 12:40:09

Bump smile

LoveBeingAMummy Thu 17-Sep-09 12:41:22

I think there is a writing section on here you may ahve more response. My understanding is that it is very hard to break inot this area, you will need fantastic graphics, have you done those also?

ZZZenAgain Thu 17-Sep-09 12:45:59

why not mail the powers that be at MN towers and check?

Good luck getting your book published. Do yu want to divulge anything? Reading age, basic genre etc?

KIttyWalker Thu 17-Sep-09 12:46:06

I don't know the answer to your question but would be very happy to read your book and give my opinion smile

mummyloveslucy Thu 17-Sep-09 12:46:36

My friend is a graphic designer and she will be doing the illustrations.
I've looked in to it and it does seem extremely hard. Nothing ventured nothing gained though. smile

mummyloveslucy Thu 17-Sep-09 12:50:11

Thanks, I will check. It's a childrens picture book aimed at about 3-5 year old. My daughter is 4.5 and she loves it.
It is called "Princesses don't wear wellies".

ZZZenAgain Thu 17-Sep-09 12:53:40

For that age group I personally found the illustrations quite important. I was often put off books because I did not like the pictures for one reason or another. Good luck, hope you are successful.

UnquietDad Thu 17-Sep-09 12:59:18

Picture books are not my area (although I am published). I understand it's very unusual to approach a publisher with both text and illustrations as they normally like to appoint an illustrator. But if they are professional maybe that'll be OK.

Have you read Tessa Krailing's book on being published? There is a chapter on picture books in that. Also this book is very good.

It's an extraordinarily hard thing to do and I'd recommend getting an agent first rather than approaching publishers directly. I don't know if you know, but publishers are absolutely swamped with wannabe writers' submissions - and 99% of them are utterly, utterly dire. So many people think it is easy, and it is not.

lowrib Thu 17-Sep-09 13:03:24

If you set yourself up for CAT we can send you our email addresses, and you can send it to us to look at.

I'd be very happy to look at it for you.

mummyloveslucy Thu 17-Sep-09 13:06:13

Thanks UnquietDad, I will get that book. I have read my manuscript to several childeren of that age group (not letting them know I'd written it) and even without pictures, they seem to love it. They always ask for it again, which is a good sign.
It is very lively, with a fair bit of humour. It's also in rhyming text which is fun.
I know it won't be easy, but many of the books I've read to my daughter I think if this has been published then mine stands a good chance. wink

mummyloveslucy Thu 17-Sep-09 13:08:01

Thanks lowrbit, but what is a CAT ? blush

UnquietDad Thu 17-Sep-09 13:10:22

You're right that there are some awful books out there - dire picture-books especially! But don't compare with the worst, compare with the best. Expect that yours will have to be as good as Blue Rabbit, Tatty Ratty, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, We're Going On A Bear Hunt, Octopus Under The bed, I Love You Blue Kangaroo, etc. etc.

mummyloveslucy Thu 17-Sep-09 13:13:41

That's true, I think of Julia Donaldson and think to myself "maybe it needs a bit more work." grin

mummyloveslucy Thu 17-Sep-09 13:16:51

I wish I was an artist, I have very definite ideas about how I want the pictures to look.

lowrib Thu 17-Sep-09 15:08:35

CAT is mnet's 'contact another poster' facility. If you sign up for it, other people can send you private messages by clicking on 'Contact poster' on the right of the blue bar above your post. So if I can send you a private message I can send you my email address without publishing it for the world to see!

I think it costs a fiver.

lowrib Thu 17-Sep-09 15:09:42

Hang on that would be 'CAP' wouldn't it?!

I wonder what the T stands for.

UnquietDad Thu 17-Sep-09 16:02:14


lowrib Thu 17-Sep-09 20:37:11

Cheers grin

MissM Thu 17-Sep-09 20:40:51

I've written and published two children's books aimed at the age group you describe. Contrary to Unquietdad's advice I have never had an agent. I just worked bloody bloody hard, bugged every publisher I could until one bit. I also did a lot of writing over many years.

My advice to you would be:
- use the Children's Writers' and Artists' Handbook. It's my bible and lets you know which publishers accept unsolicited manuscripts and which don't, which saves a lot of time and energy.
- tailor your covering letter to your publisher (i.e. do some homework first to see what kind of books they publish - this will save you wasting time sending your story to certain publishers as well) and hook them in quickly. Tell them a bit about yourself as well.
- try it on kids and see what their reaction is (you've already done that and I'd say the reaction you have had is very positive and should spur you on).
- don't worry too much about the illustrations if you aren't an illustrator. I'm not, and I also had very clear pictures in my head. This obviously came out in my writing as the illustrators appointed by the publisher did a fantastic job.
- do any writing course you can (I did Arvon which was brilliant, plus an ongoing one in London over five years which I credit with me getting published).
- have other books up your sleeve.
- don't give up! It is bloody hard to get published, and it takes forever, but encourage yourself by looking at all the utter crap that is out there and comparing it with yours.

Contrary again to Unquietdad (sorry dad), my books aren't anywhere close to The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Gruffallo, Bear Hunt et al, but my first has sold 5,000 copies so I must have got something right.

MissM Thu 17-Sep-09 20:41:27

Oh, and very very good luck!

UnquietDad Thu 17-Sep-09 20:53:50

I accept that you may not need an agent. You do for my genre. As I say, I'm not an expert in the genre.

MissM, you missed my point a little. My purpose in mentioning those well-known picture books is to remind the OP that you should, whatever your genre, never look at the worst of it, say "that crap can get published and therefore so can I." You should look at the best of it and say "I'd like to publish a book as good as that."

MissM Fri 18-Sep-09 07:39:10

And I accept that an agent is a good idea, just demonstrating that it isn't an absolute essential (having said that I intend to get one now).

Should have also said that if you're really serious about this, don't assume that writing children's books is easy (and smile indulgently at all the people who comment patronisingly as if it is). In many ways it's harder than publishing a book for adults for all kinds of reasons, not least because it's very expensive to produce a picture book, so a publisher will be very focussed on whether a book will sell or not (although I do wonder how so much of the crap out there does get through, lots of it with big publishers as well).

Now if I could produce a Hungry Caterpillar I would have found the secret of eternal happiness!

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