Breaking Into Writing For Children
Writing children's non-fiction is a faster way to publication. More than a hundred times more non-fiction is found in children's books and magazines.
Many writers in the children's literature genre submit fiction story after story just to be met with rejection. There is a way to break into children's writing successfully and with more sales than you can imagine.
Try non-fiction. Do you think you can't use the words non-fiction and children in the same sentence? If you think children won't read non-fiction, guess again. Children have a natural curiosity and put that fact together with a school curriculum category such as community helpers, transportation, dinosaurs, Native Americans, etc., and you've got quite an enormous market.
Pick up any children's magazine and you'll see at least ten times more non-fiction than fiction. Add to that a by-line with your name and you'll have a good list of credits going on a resume in no time.
The following categories are good bets for non-fiction writing subjects for children's book and magazine writing:
1 - How-to books: crafts, magic, cooking simple recipes.
2 - Action: sports, car racing, skatebaords, etc.
3 - History: look at specific events and eras. The Gold Rush, Louisiana Purchase, Middle East Summits (take your pick on this one), history of trains, history of anything.
4 - Holidays: stories, customs, crafts and games related to holidays. Holiday cooking, songs, riddles.
5 - Science: fossils, insects, natural resources, dinosaurs, the human body, weather, the ocean, electricity, animals, the solar system, modern machines.
6 - A behind the scenes look at: a dairy, a bakery, computer factory and so on.
7 - Biographies: These are good tie-ins to what children are studying in school. Be sure to include a large portion of the subject's childhood.
8 - Museum books: books detailing a particular subject.
Good thorough research is your key for writing non-fiction. Grab your reader's attention with the opening sentence and don't let go. Make sure the manuscript isn't stiffly worded and instead flows smoothly. The language should flow like you're speaking to them. Keep it lively and informative to make your readers want to know more and be sure to give it to them.
Here's a way to get some ideas. Sit down with several sheets of paper and start making lists. At the top of the sheet write your subject heading and then list ten things falling under that heading. For example:
1 - famous sports figures
2 - holidays
3 - favorite foods
4 - animals
When you think there's nothing to write about, pull out your lists and stretch your non-fiction muscles.
Photography works with non-fiction as well as illustration. Extra money is easily made by submitting well-taken photos with your non-fiction. Check the publisher's guidelines to confirm how they want the photos submitted as some may use only slides. To get a set of these guidelines, write to the publisher and ask for their current tip sheet. To find a list of publisher's addresses, read the current year's copy of Writer's Market from Writer's Digest.
You're on your way to making more sales. Be interesting and interested. Your writing will show it. Good luck!