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Ideas are crucial! I find that many beginning writers give up on their manuscripts and claim they Cann't write, but often the issue is not their writing—it was the idea! Keep playing and keep starting stories.
Here’s a short list to help you get started with collecting ideas:
Don't Give Up (but don't be fooled, either)!
We were all children. It can’t be too hard to write and publish a picture book, right? Sorry. Editors are swamped with manuscripts. If you’re a one-story person, it may not be worth the time and energy it takes to get published. If you’re persistent and this is your dream, follow it!
No one can walk you through everything you need to know about writing and publishing picture books, but these tips will shorten your learning curve:
1. Write! Many people prefer the idea of writing to the work of writing. I avoided writing for years by reading about it and by saying I didn’t have time. You need to put in your time. Learn your craft. Attend classes and conferences. Read books, magazines, and other publications. Sign up for online newsletters.
2. Know kids and kids’ books. Go to the library and check out a stack every week— the books, not the kids. Observe kids. Hang out with them. Volunteer at schools, libraries, scouting or 4-H groups, etc.
3. Join SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators). They’ll teach you everything you need to know through their website, handouts, newsletters, and conferences. Order “The Book” and get involved!
4. Join or start an online or in-person critique or writing support group. Find writing buddies. Libraries, colleges, and SCBWI may connect you with other writers.
5. Sign up for manuscript critiques at conferences, and have a thick skin about it.
6. Research publishers and editors. Follow all submission guidelines. Get a copy of the most current Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market.
7. For picture books, it can be as difficult to get a good children’s writer’s agent as it is to get a book published. Finding an agent might not be your best first step, but it's still worth a try.
8. Don’t send in a manuscript a friend illustrated for you. Editors or art directors select the illustrator. If you write and illustrate, tell the editor the text and artwork may be considered separately.
9. Expect rejection. Most stories are just practice, and everyone gets rejections. Celebrate those rejection letters!
10. Listen to your critics, inner and outer, talk back, and keep going! Success comes with persistence.
Fiction Magic Cards will help ensure your picture book, middle grade, YA, or adult fiction has enough tension, conflict, or suspense. The deck and guidebook also help with writing ideas and can even act as a coach when you're ready to give up.
PACT: Purposeful, Accountable, Creative Transformation!
Please get on my email list if you would like to experience the support of a caring group to help keep you focused on your Purpose (or determine your purpose), to hold you Accountable to the goals you make (and get support in making them), to inspire and help you harness your Creativity in making the life you want, and to be there with you celebrating every step of your Transformation.
You got this, and we got you!