Monday, 16 January 2012

Starting a Career as a Children's Writer

Three sites and challenges this month are specifically geared to encourage new writers considering entering the world of children's fiction.

The Academy of Children's  Writers based in the U.K. is now promoting its twenty-sixth annual Write a Story for Children competition. It's the ideal event for as yet unpublished children's writers over 18. Even if you have had work published, you are free to enter provided you received no payment.

Tempting cash prizes of £2000 (U.S.$3400, or 2800 euros) for first place, £300 for second and £200 for third placed story certainly make it worth polishing up a 2000 word or less children's story to send by the closing date of March 31. Only one entry per person and the entry fees are reasonable too.

Sadly email submissions are not accepted so you must make sure to post your entry in time. All rules, conditions of entry and the official entry form are on the Academy of Children's Writers website.

The story can be  for children of any age including teenagers. But for younger readers, you may be considering writing a picture book.

So let's find out....

What is a picture book?

Yep, we all know what a picture book is. We all love them but how do you go about writing them? 

Some intriguing information about the basic construction of picture books can be found on the Editorial Anonymous site. I had no idea there was so much involved in the counting of words and pages until I read this. And make sure to read through the comments too to garner a wealth of information if you're new to the business of writing picture books.

Tara Lazar has also an informative account of picture book construction on her WordPress site and 52 comments to add to the info..

Joan Y Edwards has produced a wonderfully useful overview of picture books including 25 listed resources. This is the best place to start if you're new to the genre.

If you still think you'd like to write a picture book, there are two picture book challenges starting this month to give you further practice, mentoring and support.

Picture Book Challenges

The first picture book challenge publicised by Lee Wind of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators has already started and I'm afraid it's just too late for you to sign up officially and be eligible for the Agent Review at the end of the challenge.

But if you're new to the business of creating a picture book dummy, you can learn a lot and profit from the motivation afforded by working alongside experienced writers and illustrators And, of course, pick up some marvelous tips along the way.

The picture book dummy challenge has already started but you still have time to catch up, especially if you already have ideas and inspiration buzzing around in your head.
All you need to know to get started is here on the KidLitArt site.

There are no rules to follow when taking part. The idea is to enjoy yourself while accomplishing something you want to do. To get the most from taking part, involve yourself in the community posts and discussions and check in regularly. You'll meet people who'll really try to help you achieve your ambitions

12 x 12 Challenge

I picked this one up from Julie Hedlund's lovely blog. You have until January 29 to sign up. Twelve drafts in twelve months. Sounds easy, huh? Tell me how you got on next year at this time LOL

The wonderful thing about challenges is that no matter how much or how little you complete, you will always have pushed yourself that little bit further along your road as a recognised writer.

Challenges are easy to find

Challenge yourself. Whatever you want to learn or do, just use your search engine to find a suitable challenge community to join to keep you motivated on the long road to recognition.

Or set up your own challenge on your blog to find more readers and followers.

And a challenge for readers
 I'm now a judge for the Global eBook Awards and you can be too.
Applications and instructions are here

If you like reading, it seems to me a win-win situation. You get to read free e-books in the category of your choice though you can't judge a section where you have a book of your own entered LOL. And you and your website will garner extra publicity from mentions on the Global eBook Award site. You'll be invited to the grand Awards Ceremony later in the year.

And you get this lovely little logo for your website, blog or whatever. Don't tell me it doesn't look imposing. LOL

Are you up for the challenge? What challenges are you considering taking on for 2012?


  1. This will be helpful to new PB writers. Thought I might add that Rate Your Story ( is also open for submissions if people are participating in these writing challenges and want a free rating critique on their work with suggestions on how to improve their drafts!

  2. Super site Miranda and I've added it to my list for future reference. I see you are also looking for volunteers to help with the reviewing too. Another great opportunity. So many thanks.

  3. This is an excellent compendium of information, including the Academy of Children's Writers Conference. Thanks for sharing...

  4. Thank you for all that excellent information. The UK competition sounds great.

  5. Dear Annie,
    Thanks for posting a link to my What Are Picture Books blog post and for giving it a rave review. I appreciate it very much.
    Do something fun to celebrate your gift of writing and helping other writers.
    Joan Y. Edwards

    1. Dear Joan
      I find your blog so informative that it's a pleasure to link. And I'm doing it again next week LOL

  6. Thanks for dropping by Sylvia and Hilde. I agree about the UK competition. When checking out competitions, it is always good to see how long they've been running and decide if the entry fee is reasonable in the light of the prize money.


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