Gains & Goals: Children's Book Writing

Jan 26, 2018 by Bethel Swift, in Writing & Publishing
This year I am taking a new approach to my gratitude posts and focusing on a series of quarterly "Gains & Goals" from my writing life. I used to believe that artists and writers who were "making it" must know some secret that I didn't. Of course there is no such secret but there are some great resources out there to help us in our craft. I am a big fan of information that helps me work smarter (because let's face it, as artists and/or writers, we already know we have to work hard) so I will also be sharing about the people, products, and strategies that help me accomplish my goals/gains.*
Photo credit: vborodinova (via Pixabay)

GAINS: I have always been a self-motivated writer but I also battle perfectionism; so this season's gain is that I finally hit submit on a children's book manuscript that I have been revising for two years! Yup, this is the same picture book I mentioned in last year's reflective post on the discussion of diverse representation in children's books. I won't name the publisher - as I have a hunch that would not be appreciated while my work is under consideration - but I chose to pitch them exclusively so I'll have plenty of time (up to six months) to work on my next goals before either hearing some good news or sending it out to the next publisher. It felt AMAZING to finally hit "send" - knowing it wasn't perfect (nothing ever is) but it was ready. I am incredibly grateful to all of my beta and sensitivity readers for their time and input, as well as:
  • Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) - An international organization with local chapters. (I benefit mostly from monthly meetings, critique groups, and special events.)
  • "From Inspiration to Publication" - Book from the Institute of Children's Literature
  • "How to Write a Children's Book and Get it Published" - Book by Barbara Seuling
  • "Jump, Froggies! Writing Children's Books" - Book by Edith Hope Fine
  • "The Magic Words: Writing Great Books for Children and Young Adults" - Book by Cheryl B. Klein (Editorial Director at Lee & Low Books)
  • "Children Writer's Market" - Book from Writer's Digest Books
  • "Children's Writer's Word Book" - Book by Alihandra Mogilner
  • Let's Make Kids' Books - Podcast by Beau Blackwell (Geared more toward writers interested in self-publishing but great info - and really wonderful guest interviews - regardless.)
  • Women Who Submit (WWS) - Monthly ladies-only literary submission parties!
  • "Picture This: Writing Picture Books for Children" - Newberry Library (in Chicago) Seminar with author and writing coach, Esther Hershenhorn
  • At least a thousand authors whose books I've bought or borrowed over my lifetime. :)

GOALS: I am carrying last year's focus on poetry into this year as well (including some for children) but for children's book writing/marketing specifically:
  • Prepare a happy dance in case the first publisher I pitched actually wants to buy my book.
  • Research other publishing houses so I know who else I can submit to in July if they don't.
  • Continue building my email list for this picture book & periodically update recipients.
  • Maintain adequate children's book representation on my social media channels.
  • Keep reading, listening, networking, and seeing the world through the eyes of a child! :)

*Note: These are not sponsored posts. I am not compensated nor do I receive any discounts on any of the resources I cite. If that ever changes I will be transparent about that.