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Writing Children's Books For Dummies

ISBN: 978-1-118-05321-8
384 pages
March 2011
Writing Children


Everyone loves a children's book. And many dream about writing one. But is it actually possible for an unpublished writer—armed with a good story idea and a love of kids—to write, sell, publish, and promote a book? Yes, it is! Veteran children's book publishing executive and author Lisa Rojany Buccieri and author Peter Economy show you how, in their incredibly useful 2005 first edition of Writing Children's Books For Dummies®.

Buccieri and Economy begin by explaining the basics of the children's book business, from the nuts and bolts of the various formats and genres—with helpful illustrations to aid you—to the intricacies of the book publishing market, a list of recent award-winning books, and a first peek into the particular mind set that writing children's books requires. (Hint: Throw out the adult rules, and think like a kid!)

Then the authors dive into the actual writing process itself, with tips on setting up a workspace, brainstorming great book ideas, researching the subject you decide on, even speaking with the sorts of kids you hope will eventually read the book. They show you how to create compelling characters and develop them in the manuscript; how to outline and write a plot "arc" of conflict, change, and resolution; how to master the difficult art of writing dialogue; and how to use active (rather than passive) language to keep your story moving along and interesting to young minds.

Or, if you're planning to write a creative nonfiction children's book—on a topic such as science, nature, or a historical figure, for example—the authors include a chapter on this, too. Ready, set, go… it's time to sit down and write!

Once you've finished your book, however, the process has only begun. Now you will refine, submit, and hopefully sell your manuscript. Here again, the authors of Writing Children's Books For Dummies come through for you. They deliver solid advice on hiring an illustrator—or not; participating in workshops and conferences to learn the business and hone a story; finding an agent; and, finally, submitting the manuscript to publishers and—if you are successful—signing a contract.

Along the way, the authors also include tips on handling rejection; a quick primer on the various editors in publishing houses (and how they work to make your book its best); and making a plan to publicize the book, including hiring a publicist if necessary.

Like all For Dummies® books, Writing Children's Books For Dummies highlights "The Part of Tens," which includes the Ten Best Ways to Promote Your Story and More Than Ten Great Sources for Storylines. And the ever-helpful Cheat Sheet includes Tips for Editing your Children's Book Manuscript, Children's Book No-No's, Twelve Commandments for Writing Younger Children's Books, and Tips on Promotion.

From setting down that first word on paper to doing a successful publicity tour, Writing Children's Books For Dummies gives you the confidence and the insiders' know-how to write and sell the story you've always wanted to write.

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Table of Contents


Part I: The ABCs of Writing for Children.

Chapter 1: The Basics of Writing Children’s Books.

Chapter 2: Children’s Book Formats and Genres.

Chapter 3: Understanding the Children’s Book Market.

Part II: Immersing Yourself in the Writing Process.

Chapter 4: Setting Up Your Workspace.

Chapter 5: Starting with a Great Idea.

Chapter 6: Researching Your Audience and Subject.

Part III: Creating a Spellbinding Story.

Chapter 7: Creating Compelling Characters.

Chapter 8: The Plot Thickens: Conflict, Climax, and Resolution.

Chapter 9: Can We Talk? Writing Dialogue.

Chapter 10: Setting the Scene.

Chapter 11: Finding Your Voice: Point of View and Tone.

Chapter 12: Writing Creative Nonfiction and How-To Books.

Part IV: Making Your Story Shine.

Chapter 13: Editing and Formatting Your Way to a Happy Ending.

Chapter 14: To Illustrate or Not to Illustrate.

Chapter 15: Finding Feedback and Encouragement.

Part V: Getting Published and Promoting Your Book.

Chapter 16: Getting an Agent to Represent You.

Chapter 17: Finding the Perfect Publisher and Signing a Contract.

Chapter 18: Following the Publishing Process.

Chapter 19: Donning Your Publicity Cap.

Part VI: The Part of Tens.

Chapter 20: More than Ten Great Sources for Storylines.

Chapter 21: Ten Best Ways to Promote Your Story.


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Author Information

Lisa Rojany Buccieri is a publishing executive with over 15 years’ experience in the industry. Lisa has also written nearly 40 children’s books and co-written a New York Times-bestselling adult nonfiction hardcover, Fund Your Future (Berkley, 2002), with Julie Stav. Her books have received various accolades, such as reaching Number 1 on the Publishers Weekly bestseller list two years in a row (Make Your Own Valentines, PSS/Penguin) and winning the American Bookseller’s Pick of the List (Giant Animal Fold-Outs: Kangaroo & Company, PSS/Penguin). King Arthur’s Camelot (Dutton) was selected to be a Book of the Month Club selection; Child Magazine chose her Exploring the Human Body (Barron’s) as one of its Best New Parenting Books; and The Magic Feather (Troll) won a Parent’s Choice Silver Honor Award. Lisa is currently spearheading a new children’s book packaging and publishing division at Americhip Books, focusing on integrating light, sound, animation, paper engineering, and other cuttingedge technologies with stories and art. She has been Editorial/Publishing Director for Golden Books, Price Stern Sloan/Penguin Group USA, Intervisual Books, Gateway Learning Corp (Hooked on Phonics), and others. She speaks about children’s publishing, writing, and editing at U.C.L.A. Writer’s Program Extension courses and other venues and is currently working on a book of fiction for grown-ups. Lisa also runs her own company, Editorial Services of Los Angeles, in which she helps other writers make their work the best it can be. You can contact her at www.editorialservicesofla.com.

Peter Economy is a veteran author with nine For Dummies titles under his belt, including two second editions. Peter is coauthor of Home-Based Business For Dummies, Building Your Own Home For Dummies, Consulting For Dummies, The Management Bible, Why Aren’t You Your Own Boss?, Enterprising Nonprofits: A Toolkit for Social Entrepreneurs, and many more books. Peter is also Associate Editor of Leader to Leader, the award-winning journal of the Leader to Leader Institute. Check out Peter’s Web site at www.petereconomy.com.

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