Here are some tips for new writers:
Read craft books like Ann Whitford Paul’s Writing Picture Books and/or check out KidLit411 for a list of online writing courses. The children’s book industry is a difficult business to get started in and knowing the fundamentals is essential.
Join Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and check out your local chapter’s offerings as well as the national conferences. Becoming a member gives you access to all of the resources on their website as well as discounts for SCBWI events. It also allows you to signal agents, editors, and your fellow writers that you are serious about being a professional writer.
Join a critique group. You can find online groups on Facebook or face-to-face groups through your local SCBWI chapter. Critiquing your peers’ writing and having your own writing critiqued is a wonderful way to develop as an author. Listen to feedback, but don’t feel like you need to change everything people tell you to. However, if you keep getting the same feedback then take a step back from your writing and listen to the feedback. Remember that it’s your writing that’s being critiqued, not you. Finding a group you mesh with is also crucial. Some groups are very low-key and informal while others have consistent meeting dates and agreed upon policies. You’ll know the right group for you when you find it.
Hone your writing voice and discover what you’re passionate about writing. Don’t write towards current trends unless they feel important to you.
Participate in Reading for Research Month (ReFoReMo) every March. From their website: “The goal of ReFoReMo is to build reading background while learning how to use mentor texts. After reading the daily online posts, participants will read picture books and apply the things they learn to their own writing.”
Most likely, you’ll be rejected. A lot. But keep writing and submitting and don’t forget that a lot of it is totally subjective. You need to find the agent/editor who *gets* what you’re writing. Perseverance is key.
When you finally sign a book contract, a new world awaits. Now it’s time to think about marketing your book. If that sounds as overwhelming to you as it did to me, here a couple of wonderful resources that I found useful. Author Posse is a marketing support group, while Wild Ink Marketing offers workshops and courses. Also, in the year before your book comes out, join a debut group (authors who band together to help promote each other’s books). You can search for one on social media sites or found your own.