Six Great Tips about Writing from Children's Authors

When I interview an author on this blog, one question that I always ask is, "Do you have any advice for up-and-coming authors"? Over the past few months, I've gotten some great answers, and there seems to be a pattern with a lot of them. As a result, I've compiled a list of six things which the authors I've interviewed generally agree on. Here we go!

1. Keep calm and carry on writing!

"Don't get discouraged, ever. Write, write, write and finish your book." -- Karina Flores, author of Isabella in the Land of Fairies

"Write, write, and write some more. Try to make a discipline of it, even when you're not in the mood - especially then." -- Patricia Baloyra, award-winning author of Goodnight Miami and Goodnight Gators

"Just keep writing.  Work on something for a while and then leave it and come back to it later with a fresh view.  Have fun with your story!" -- Susan Srikant, author of The Remedy and others

"Keep writing. If you write rubbish it's better than not writing at all. You can't edit something that you haven't written." -- Graham Garrity, author of The Sound Catcher and Bullies, Ghosts, and Jars Full of Smoke

2. Blurbs are important.

"Think about how the public would view the blurb of your book. Step outside yourself and pretend you were a stranger reading the blurb. Do you think they would want to buy the book? If not you may need to make changes to the blurb or even the book itself." -- Lenita Sheridan, author of the Guardian of the Gauntlet series

3. Be under no illusions about how important promotion is

"Writing is the easy bit. The hard work comes in promoting your book." -- Segilola Salami, author of Yetunde: The Life and Times of a Yoruba Girl in London

"Promote your book, don't stop." -- Karina Flores

4. Get the dialogue right.

"I think realistic dialogue is important. Dialogue brings a story to life. There's nothing more boring than pages and pages of narrative. See if your dialogue works by scripting your stories. I did that with Mandrake's Plot and it brought new life to it. Don't give speech tags to everything. They're unwieldy and unnecessary. Let the conversation flow, and try breaking it up occasionally with action.
Don't say too much. By that, I mean always consider if what you're writing is relevant to the story. If not, cut it. Readers want pace. They want a page turner, and if they're bogged down by unnecessary details, they're likely to give up." -- Helen Laycock, author of Mandrake's Plot, Song of the Moon, and others

5. Don't skimp on editing.

"Edit edit edit. If you haven’t spent 20 x the amount of time you did creating on editing you will never get a publisher interested. Also, don’t sacrifice your dream to make it fit a certain publisher's standard; there are so many niche publishers out there, so keep looking. I spent 2 years sending synopsis after synopsis to publishers. (Though don't just ignore criticism; do consider any feedback you get, especially if you're being rejected for the same small reason over and over.)" -- Elspeth Grace Hall, author of The Adventures of Puss-Puss trilogy

"Never write your first draft and think 'Job done'. It needs honing, and honing... and honing. It's always a good idea to give it to an impartial reader for feedback. Editing is crucial." -- Helen Laycock

"Join a writers' group if you can. I have. It's a lot of fun and you'll get great editing done in it." -- Lenita Sheridan

6. And whatever you do, never, ever give up!

"Keep going no matter what. And never listen to anyone who says you won't or can't make it." -- Darrin Mason, author of Zac the Zombie

"Go for it. We all have something to give to this melting pot of literature. No matter what your ideas are, someone will want to read them." -- Teresa Clyne, author of Cypathia.

"Don't give up! There are so many stories yet to be told." -- Helen Laycock

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