Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Take it from Me

Someone once told me that a lonely student at one of the international schools read my book Blow A Kiss everyday in the library. Now, that really touched my heart. If one of my books can entertain a child and make him or her laugh then it's done its job.

I've been doing this for 18 years and it's not easy, creatively speaking. And it's even harder to make it a sustainable career. Unless you're an internationally recognised author like Wendy Orr or Jacqueline Harvey, you're not going to make a decent living from it. Thankfully I have an incredibly loving and encouraging family as my support system.

Everyone thinks they can write. Well, duh, that's a stupid thing to say, of course they can. But not everyone can write a children's picture book. I'm not saying that to sound like a snob, but it is a very very difficult process. A lot of thought has to go into what you write about. You have to think about what you are going to say, how you're going to say it effectively in 600-800 words max. 

Most new writers want a quick fix to getting publicity and book sales. It does not work like that. It really doesn't. There is no formula to writing and there is no formula to success I've taken 18 years to hone the skill and I'm still learning. Not so easy, is it.

If you want to write a picture book, you've got to read a lot of picture books and you've got to think like a child and use their language.  I've told aspiring authors it's not about you, it's about your reader.

I've seen a lot of picture books that have been written without the proper thought process that is aimed towards children. Mem Fox takes months selecting each word for her picture books.

Getting your book published is just the very first step in a very long and undeniably painful journey. You've got to ask yourself if this is what you really want to do and commit to it if your answer is yes. There are no short cuts.

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