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How I ended up writing a children's book

(5 Posts)
Sheditious Tue 12-Nov-13 12:04:52

At the age of six, my daughter was a good reader for her age, but refused to start reading “proper books” with chapters and no pictures. She was bored with “Horrid Henry” and fairies saving a rainbow yet once more and insisted that she was old enough to read proper books, but every one she tried was “too difficult”. It wasn’t she couldn’t read them, it was the concepts and storylines; they were all designed for nine and ten year olds.
There was another problem too. She wanted to read about girls, yet all the books about girls we could find were twee and dull. My daughter is happy to read about a princess, along as she is a Ninja Princess; happy to save rainbows, as long as it involves a good sword fight or perhaps a well-planned heist.

After a few months of this, my lovely daughter stopped reading. We tried most of the “first chapter books” that people recommend; all met with disinterest. So I asked her exactly what she wanted in a “proper book”. After much though, she wrote down:

“Dragons, princess, zombies, vampires, ghosts, but not spiders and it should be funny and scary and have fighting in it.”

We couldn’t find such a book with concepts and vocabulary suitable for a six year old – so I wrote one. I had written novels before, but not a children’s book, so I had help from my daughter to find the right level. There were other issues too; my daughter was terrified of the idea of ghosts and very frightened of spiders. So I added in the concept of happy ghosts and theatrical spiders that love to perform.
I POD published a copy and gave it to her. It was a success. After critical review by my daughter and re-writes, my daughter considered it just right. To quote “I can’t believe you wrote this Daddy, it’s just like a real book”.
She started going upstairs on her own without fear of ghosts and asking politely if I would remove the spider from the bathroom, rather than run away screaming. She started reading again and now, two years later, is a firm fan of Holly Short (from the Artemis Fowl books) and Hermione Granger.
This is how I ended up writing and epublishing a children’s book. I was amazed by the joy of my daughter at having a book written for her and how much I enjoyed the whole process. I recommend parents who write do this for their children.

TL:DR I wrote a children’s book to help my daughter and it worked.

TunipTheUnconquerable Tue 12-Nov-13 12:36:54

Well done, Sheditious.

My dd's tastes are very similar to yours - she wants funny, scary exciting stuff and fighting. I wish publishers of books for younger girls would take note. Girls do like fairies and princesses but they like action and humour just as much as boys do.

Sheditious Tue 12-Nov-13 12:50:59

Thanks Tunip.

Your point about publishers is well made, which is a shame, especially as they are always wondering what turns kids off reading. Then again, we are now free of their restrictions. You can POD publish and epublish with relative ease. Shame we do not have computerised editors and a good way of sorting the wheat from the chaff - then self-publishing would really take off.

KinkyDorito Thu 14-Nov-13 10:14:02

This is what is making me think about trying my hand at writing something for children.

middleclassdystopia Tue 10-Dec-13 16:18:56

I have just finished a fantasy adventure for 9-11 years old.

It involves a feisty girl protagonist, tribal faeries and a battle against some evil humans!

Trying to get published but have no idea what the market is like. Might self publish.

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