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Preparing Your Children’s Book

November 1st, 2019

I finished a twenty-module Comprehensive Writing Course with the Writers Bureau in August 2019. I started the course in 2015 and at times was stumped by challenges along the way and let months pass without completing a module. But I always returned and the assignments worked; they made me think, they made me research, they made me practise. Help was always at hand from a tutor when I needed it. The course took me through a process and made me a better writer. That’s what it’s for. The learning through twenty assignments brought me the hard-won skills and confidence to be a writer.

There’s another reason I spent four years finishing my course. I have written two novels during these four years. One of them, Eoghan and The Talking Animals, was released on Amazon in April 2018, and the second book in this series, Eoghan and The Treasure of Termonfeckin, is being launched now, in November 2019. These books, set in Ireland, tell the story of an eight-year-old boy who discovers one summer on his grandfather’s farm that he has a gift: he can talk with animals. This brings Eoghan endless joy, but also endless problems, and he spends most of the first book solving dramatic problems on the farm.

The second book takes Eoghan and his gift away from granddad’s farm to a quaint beachside village in Termonfeckin, where Eoghan teams up with his cousins. With the help of a crab Eoghan talks to, they hunt for treasure off he beaches with some unexpected results and adventures. These books are for kids between five and thirteen years of age. They have a certain appeal to parents too, with the children in the books constantly monitored by hard-pressed parents looking after them while on holiday. I often think that parents will enjoy the stories more than the kids!

I’m proud of these books. They are the beginning of a writing career that will last the rest of my days. I’ve learned the value of the written word.

I did run into many problems during the preparation of these books. I originally thought that writing children’s books would be easier than writing for adults. It wasn’t!

So I’ve put together some tips that should help other writers avoid the pitfalls that held me back.

1)      Writing for children is hard. Competition is severe. When your book is finished, always get a professional editor to go through it. I have received hundreds of comments on both books. Sometimes errors are pointed out that are severe, things that could really take from your story, things only someone in the business would know. Professional editing is costly, but it will drastically improve your book.

2)      Get a proof-reader to help you. Preferably someone skilled in English, but if you don’t have access to trained personnel, get help from a friend. A writer can read through hundreds of pages of text multiple times and still miss small mistakes. A new pair of eyes will always see something that you don’t.

3)      Formatting: writers waste valuable hours on technicalities they are not good at — like learning Microsoft Word. Luckily, a lot of help is available searching in google or YouTube for specific tasks. Use them! Don’t try and figure everything out yourself when you can find a procedure to tell you exactly what to do.

4)      Illustration: this is also frustrating and time consuming unless you have the correct skills and tools; I recommend using a professional. I found affordable help online through fiverr.com and was very happy with the work done.

5)      Make sure you reach the end. Writing a book is a long process. No matter how many times you review your book, you’ll still want to make changes. Don’t get caught in this never-ending trap. Have a plan from the beginning how to design your story. Stick to your plan! Be happy when you are done! Never make more changes after that unless you must.

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About The Author: Diana Nadin

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