Monday, September 20, 2010

I Could Do That...

One thing that always annoys me as a writer of children's books is the seemingly endless parade of people who will say, "You know, I've always thought I should write a children's book." That in itself is condescending. I mean honestly, how many other careers would people do that for? There's this sense that it's easy and that it could be done on a whim, that's the implication that annoys me. Those horrible celebrity books don't help that misconception either.

Now, I'm not always so cranky and sometimes I'll show a genuine interest. "Oh really," I'll say. "What kind of children's books do like to read?" This is typically followed with blank stares that seem to ask me why they would ever read children's books. Not only does this show a lack of interest in the genre, but also a lack of knowledge when it comes to the writing craft.

You can't be a writer without being a reader. And you certainly can't be a writer of children's books without ever having studied the genre. This goes without saying. You wouldn't try to write a sonnet without ever having read one. And to be a professional writer, you have to at least partially follow the industry. I'm not suggesting you jump on every trend, but you have to know what's of interest readers and publishers. Even if you think whatever said popular title happens to be is total crap, you need to understand the appeal.

If you want to write a children's books, go for it...just do your research please.


  1. I would guess this is so true - certainly my partner gets that with her paintings. She uses the old, a day to paint 40 years to prepare quip. Good children's writing, like your books, are not easy and show a level of skill at least equal to adult books. Children are discerning readers.

  2. I HATE when YA authors say they haven't read any recent YA books.