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Write Links

Collective Wisdom: Insider Tips for Emerging Children’s Authors and Illustrators

Sophia Evans on tech and Rebecca Sheraton as facilitator at our Write Links May 2024 meeting

As an aspiring children’s author, I’ve often found myself lost and overwhelmed by a maze of advice and feedback for people looking to get into the industry. Advice can be contradictory, vague, and often downright irrelevant to my preferred genre, age group and even location. So, to have the opportunity at our most recent Write Links meeting to hear from and engage with those who’ve gone before, who’ve published and are publishing the books my kids are currently reading, was hugely valuable.





Attendees were asked to list their five top tips for emerging children’s authors and illustrators. Here are some of the key insights shared:


  1. Join Writing Groups and Attend Meetings

The consensus among the group was clear: joining a writing group and actively participating in meetings is invaluable. Networking opportunities, peer support, and constructive feedback can accelerate your growth as a writer or illustrator.


  1. Do Your Research

Before submitting your work, ensure it’s a good fit for the publisher or competition you’re targeting. Research submission guidelines meticulously to increase your chances of success.


  1. Seek Mentorship and Fellowship

Look for mentorship programs and fellowships to gain guidance and support from seasoned professionals in the industry.


  1. Embrace Feedback

Take critique and advice with an open mind, but remember to discern which feedback aligns with your vision and goals. One member wrote: “Take all critique and advice with a grain of salt.”


  1. Engage Sensitivity Readers

When writing about groups you’re not part of, engage sensitivity readers to ensure authentic representation and accuracy. Ask yourself if you’re the right person to be telling this story.


  1. Persistence Pays Off

Don’t quit your day job just yet. Building a career in children’s literature requires dedication, perseverance, and patience.


  1. Read, Revise and Refine

Read widely. Immerse yourself in children’s literature. Reading extensively within your genre provides invaluable insights into storytelling techniques and audience preferences. Don’t submit your first draft. Take the time to revise and polish your work before sending it out into the world.


  1. Variety in Publishing Pathways

Explore traditional, indie, commission, and grant avenues for publishing. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, so find the path that aligns with your goals and values.


  1. Network Strategically

Attend events, workshops, and join online communities to expand your network and stay updated on industry trends.


  1. Write Authentically

Write from the heart and draw inspiration from your own experiences and passions.


  1. Prepare Multiple Manuscripts

Build a collection of submission-ready manuscripts to demonstrate your versatility and commitment to your craft.


  1. Learn the Business

Understanding the business side of being a writer is essential for long-term success. Educate yourself on contracts, royalties, and industry standards.


  1. Be Courageous

Writing requires bravery. Embrace vulnerability and take risks in your storytelling.


  1. Stay Informed and Invest

Join Facebook/Social Media Groups and follow podcasts, social media influencers, and reviewers specialising in children’s literature to stay informed and connected with the community. Attend professional development and writing workshops and seek structural edits to elevate the quality of your manuscripts.


  1. Don’t do it for the Money

A passion for storytelling over financial gain will go a long way to help you stay motivated and fulfilled.


by Louise Dark

Follow Louise on Instagram at @lous_little_creatures

Photo credits: Yvonne Mes

1942 Amsterdam Ave NY (212) 862-3680

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