Sell Your Children’s Book: How to Write Amazing Novels & Picture Books for Kids — Dec. 5 WD Boot Camp (with Critique)

The world of children’s books—young adult, middle grade and picture books—has seen more growth in the last ten years than any other category in the publishing industry. Countless articles and op-eds have analyzed the booming success of now-iconic series like Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and Fancy Nancy. But while critics are debating the triumph of a particular series, readers—both children and adults—are clamoring for more books and new titles that will enchant and entertain them.

But in such a competitive market, how do you make your book stand out as a quality submission? How do you walk the fine line between capturing the attention (and purchasing power) of both child and adult reader? How do you find the best agents and markets to submit your work to? How do you know what category your book falls under?

In this brand new Writer’s Digest Boot Camp starting Dec. 5, 2014 called “Sell Your Children’s Book,” the agents of The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency will answer all those questions and more. They’ll also critique your work and allow you to ask any questions you like. Registrants can choose to hear a tutorial on how to craft an amazing picture book, and then get their picture book critiqued—or they can choose to hear a different tutorial on writing MG and YA, and then get their first 10 manuscript pages critiqued.

This program will show writers of Young Adult and Middle Grade the following:

— What the difference is between middle grade and young adult, and why it matters to understand how the two categories differ
— What is commercial and what is literary in children’s books—and how that affects what agents and publishers you will target
— Why an agent will tell you, “I love this story, but I can’t sell it”
— How to start your work strong and create engaging characters for both editors and readers to love
— How to avoid the common mistakes of writing for MG and YA that sink submission chances—such as talking down to your reader, or having a story that begins too slow. (Sign up for the boot camp here.)

This program will show writers of Picture Books the following:

— How to come up with a great plot
— How to create page-turning points
— How to make a dummy book, and why you need one
— How to use language to reach a very young audience
— How to think visually
— How to avoid the taboos in writing for children
— How to handle illustration – what to do if you’re an illustrator, and what to do if you’re not
— How to learn from all of the great picture books throughout history that changed the way we write for children today.

Here’s how it works:

On Dec. 5, 2014, you will gain access to two special 60-minute online tutorials presented by literary agents from Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency. Jennifer De Chiara will present a tutorial on writing picture books, and Roseanne Wells will present a tutorial on writing and selling Middle Grade and Young Adult fiction. (Sign up for the boot camp here.)

After listening to your choice of presentations, attendees will spend the next two days revising materials as necessary. Also following the tutorial, writers will have two days in which to log onto the Writer’s Digest University boot camp message boards and ask your assigned agent critiquers questions related to revising your materials. The agents will be available on the message boards from 1-3 p.m. (ET) on both Saturday, Dec. 6 and Sunday, Dec. 7. No later than Monday, Dec. 8, attendees will submit either their completed picture book text (1,000 words or fewer) or the first 10 double-spaced pages of their middle grade / young adult manuscript. The submissions will receive feedback directly from the boot camp literary agents.

The agents will spend up to two weeks reviewing all assigned critiques and provide feedback to help attendees. (The agents reserve the right to request more materials if they feel a strong connection to the work and want to read more; note that multiple agents have signed writers before from WD boot camps.) No later than Dec. 22, agents will send their feedback to writer attendees.

Only registered students can access the Writer’s Digest University boot camp message boards. You’ll also be able to ask questions of your fellow students. Feel free to share your work and gain support from your peers

Please note that any one of the agents may ask for additional pages if the initial submission shows serious promise.

In addition to feedback from agents, attendees will also receive:

Download of “An Agent’s Tips on Story Structures that Sell,” an on-demand webinar by literary agent Andrea Hurst
1-year subscription to the Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market database

PLEASE NOTE: Only Jennifer De Chiara and Roseanne Wells will be on the discussion sessions. Jennifer will handle questions related to Picture Books, and Roseanne will handle questions related to Middle Grade or Young Adult books. However, all the agents will be assisting in critiquing submissions. Jennifer De Chiara and Stephen Fraser will be critiquing Picture Books. Marie Lamba, Linda Epstein, and Roseanne Wells will be critiquing Middle Grade and Young Adult.

Sign up for the boot camp here.

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One thought on “Sell Your Children’s Book: How to Write Amazing Novels & Picture Books for Kids — Dec. 5 WD Boot Camp (with Critique)

  1. rich olson

    Writer’s Digest always has great tips and articles. Story is always the key to a successful book. If a story does not contain some sort of conflict resolution then there is nothing to draw the reader in. As a children’s book illustrator, I sometimes suggest a plot twist to the writer or try to incorporate it into the illustration. Dummy books or storyboards are crucial to making a great book. Great film makers and story tellers have always relied on storyboards. These rough drawings allow you to strenthen story points and make changes early in the planning stages. Think of a children’s book as a very polished storyboard – that’s all it really is.

    Rich Olson
    SCBWI children’s book illustrator


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