Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Children's stories and learning to write

Time spent today: 2 hours, 45 minutes

One of my goals for this AST is to submit two children's books to publishing companies. In light of that, today I googled "children's books publishers" and got a whole list of things to research. And of course one link leads to another, so you're never out of things to look for when it comes to research.

The first place I looked was The Children's Book Council, which was very informative. It provides a list of member companies (publishing houses) that may or may not be taking unsolicited manuscripts. The only rant I have about this site is this: why would you include companies that aren't accepting unsolicited manuscripts? That just seems kind of silly to me, but hey, not my call. Something I didn't know - or maybe I did and I forgot - what I write is copyrighted the moment I write it; getting an actual copyright for that work just saves time and money in case someone happens to steal the idea. The chances of that, I'm sure, are nill. Because my name's NOT JK Rowling (yet - I'm considering it. Can you blame me?). Another point of interest for me - submitting a manuscript without illustrations increases the chance of finding a publisher. While I understand why this is, it's somewhat of a disappointment. I've already asked my brother, an incredible artist, to illustrate two of the stories I already have written. I think it's still do-able, but maybe it will be one of those things where I wait until I have something published and have a bit more clout to say, "Hey, I want HIM to illustrate."

The second place I browsed (briefly) was The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. I didn't look too long though; the good stuff was only for members, and membership costs $75. Maybe when student loan money comes in...

The third place, by way of another website, was Another extremely helpful website that pretty much laid it all out for aspiring authors. What's nice about Bloomsbury is that, unlike other publishing house sites , Bloomsbury takes the time to encourage fledgling authors - and while they might not be accepting unsolicited manuscripts for children's stories (at least not Bloomsbury UK - it looks like Bloomsbury US is right now), they say it with much more finesse and grace than the previously mentioned companies and have a whole section on what it takes to get published. I will be visiting this site more often. Another plus - this is Rowlings UK publishing company.

I started reading HG Well's War of the World's yesterday (for another class I'm taking in the spring), and really noticed how punctuation is used differently today than it was when he published it in 1898. If you're reading this and thinking, "Ok, this woman's a huge geek and needs to get a life!" you might be right about that. But reading has become a major part of the writing process for me, as I'm sure it is for all authors, and I just notice these things now. You know how "they" say that you never stop learning? Well, it happens to be true, and sometimes it's hard to tell the student in my head to shut the heck up so I can enjoy the story.

That's all for tonight. If you are an aspiring writer, RUN to the Bloomsbury site. It's really fantastic. And if you're wondering about the "time spent" at the top, I have to have 160 clock hours for the AST, so that tell you how long I worked on it today.

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