How To Write Children’s Books And Get Them Published – Part 1
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How To Write Children’s Books And Get Them Published – Part 1
Get in touch with the child in you!
People are constantly asking me how to write children’s books and get them published. Well the first thing that I tell them is start at the beginning and to go directly to ground zero.
You may be asking, “Where is ground zero in how to write children’s books and get them published”? That is really easy; look first for the child in you.
Let’s face it; we have all been children at one time, even though for some of us it is hard to remember! In fact, if you are like a 62 year old man like me, you may feel like you never were actually a child!
On the other hand, even an old man like me from time to time still dreams about when I was a child and things that I did and that happened to me when I was very young.
So one of the most effective things that you can do when you are trying to figure out how to write children’s books and get them published is to recall special events, people, times, places and things from your childhood.
After all, how better to begin to learn how to write children’s books and get them published then to start thinking like a child again. Because let’s face it, unless you think like a child, it will be hard to write meaningful children’s books!
So how do you go about getting in touch with the child in you?
Sometime your best inspirations do come through dreams. Let me illustrate with a real story that happened to me just recently.
Just the other day, I dreamed of a special teddy bear that had been extremely precious to me when I was only four or five. His name was Bobo. The dream was extremely vivid and brought back many memories that I had long since been forgotten. In fact, after I had awakened, I was sharing the dream with my 15-year-old daughter, and I remembered an anecdote about Bobo the teddy bear.
I remembered that when I was four how incredibly I loved the teddy bear, and how that it had comforted me during the death of my grandmother. I had held it close to me and took the teddy bear everywhere that I went during the ordeal. I vowed that the teddy bear and I would NEVER part and that we would always be together as friends.
In the middle of sharing my dream with my daughter, as the promises I had made to the bear came flooding back to me, I remember my most solemn promise that I had made to my dear friend Bobo. I had promised Bobo that one day when I was very old I would, regardless where he was and what I was doing, remember him and think of him and remember my promise to never ever forget my love for him.
As the thoughts of my childhood lost raced through my mind, and the fact that Bobo had long since gone to the heaven in the sky for teddy bears long forgotten hit me it was impossible for the tears not to flow as a deep sadness wafted over me of the loss of childhood, special friends, precious things and lost innocence.
OK. Now wait a minute. You may be wondering how it the world this sad story will help you on your quest to learn how to write children’s books and get them published. I agree that this sad story is not one that you should send to a potential publisher; or is it?
Obviously, the basics of the actual story itself would be far to sad and over the heads of small children. Those of us who write children’s books certainly don’t want to disturb our young readers and if we write books that cause the loss of a child s innocence, we certainly will not get them published.
On the other hand, many children lose grandparents, uncles and aunts as well as beloved pets, and children’s books about how to deal with the grief of a loved one or the death of a pet are very excellent subjects if you are trying to learn how to write children’s books and get them published. Publisher love books like this.
Right about now you may be thinking, “I never dream about my childhood, so I cannot count on my dreams to help me to learn how to write children’s books and get them published…how can I trigger the thought process to get in touch with my inner child?”
There are countless ways to get in touch with your inner child.
One of the best ways is to sit and talk with your parents, brothers and sisters, aunt and uncles, cousins and other friends and relatives that have been in you life, and simply reminisce about your childhood. Recall good times that you had together, and events that are particularly vivid in their minds.
Have them recount stories that they remember about your childhood that will give you the fodder to sit and re-write some of the stories of your past. Be sure and take good notes. Do not rely on your memory, because I find that when someone is reminiscing, they have a tendency to get distracted and forget much of the real meat of the conversation.
So make copious notes and ask your friends and loved ones to elucidate on details about the stories that they are recounting of your childhood. If they are telling you about a bike that you had or that was very special to you, if you cannot remember the color or what it looked like, have them tell you what they remember about the bike. Ask them why they remember this particular story about your past and ask them to go into detail about their recollections of the story.
Remember, children’s senses are very heightened when they are being read a story and the more descriptive that your recollections are about your own past, the more powerful your story will be as you share it with a potential publisher. Remember, your first quest is to learn how to write children’s books and get them published and if the children’s books that you write do not resonate with your potential publisher, you will not get published. (Note: in future articles, I will be sharing several different ways to get published if you cannot find a traditional publishing firm to publish your children’s books)
If your parents, aunts and uncles have all past away and you can no longer sit with an older member of your family and reminisce about your childhood, family albums and pictures are an excellent way for you to remember your childhood.
Be sure and group the pictures into age brackets if at all possible and hope that your family and friends put dates on the back of the pictures to help in this process.
The reason for the grouping of the pictures into date categories is that one or two pictures that would have absolutely no meaning unto themselves, when given a time context, can conjure up memories that will greatly aid in your efforts to learn how to write children’s books and get them published.
A picture of a place or even a car your dad may have owned, in and of themselves may not trigger any childhood memories, but if you have them in a time sensitive order, the picture of a park or hotel coupled with the rememberance of the car could elicit a wealth of wonderful times in your life that would be excellent food for thought as your are writing your children’s books about things from your own childhood.
Don’t have any picture albums or other personal sources of materials to help you remember your childhood stories? Then simply read other author’s books about their childhood experiences and see if this helps jog your memories of days gone by. Their childhood experiences, albeit different from yours, may trigger thoughts of days long ago when you went fishing like the author did, or you enjoyed a particular type or flavor of popsicle, that brings forth a treasure chest of ideas for your own children’s books.
In Part 2 of this series on how to write children’s books and get them published, I will be discussing simple tips to make it easier when writing children’s books.