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Writing for Children – a bigger market than you think?

Writing for children is a difficult market to break into, right? Well, yes and no is the answer to that question. Whether it is difficult or not depends on how you choose to get your work published. There’s certainly no shortage of buyers for all the different types of children’s writing, so you just have to decide how you are going to grab your share of them.

Types of Publisher

It used to be that the only way to get a book published was via mainstream publishers – if they didn’t like your work you’d be stumped. Luckily things have changed a lot in recent years. Now you have the following options when you are ready to publish your children’s writing:

  • mainstream publishers – the best way to find mainstream traditional publishers of children’s literature is to get hold of a good market book, such as The Children’s Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook. This details all the publishers of children’s writing in the UK. However, it is worth bearing in mind that if you want to write for mainstream publishers there are often long lists of dos and don’ts to be adhered to. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule, as I’m sure you’ve seen in your local bookshop. But, most of these books are written by successful, well-established authors or by celebrities who have been given special ‘permission’ to go off the beaten track.

  • independent publishers – independents, on the other hand, are much more likely to take a chance on something a little more out of the ordinary and on authors who are less well known. A simple google search will give you a decent list to work with.

  • self-publishing – last but certainly not least, there’s the option of self-publishing your work. Publishing your work this way means you’ll have to spend plenty of time on self-promotion, but there are lots of book and literary festivals that provide great opportunities to network. Not to mention websites – your own and other peoples – social networking sites and the blog-o-sphere you can exploit to get your name out there. And, if you need help with marketing yourself, why not have a look at our How to Market Your Book Course.


Entering Competitions

Although this is rather an unusual way of getting work published, it’s certainly another route you should consider. There are, literally, hundreds of competitions out there covering every form of writing and genre you can think of. Some you have to pay a small fee to enter, others are free, but the prizes can be fantastic. Take for example, Chicken House who don’t currently accept unsolicited manuscripts. However, they do invite unpublished writers of fiction to enter their competition. Winning will not only give you a huge sense of satisfaction, you’ll also get your novel published by Chicken House and the backing of a leading literary agent. As you can see, this could get your career off to a flying start!

If you think you’d like to try writing stories for children request a copy of our Writing for Children prospectus today!


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Lou Carter"After completing the course I began writing as much as I could and in 2014 I was finally signed by my agent and within two months I had a contract with Bloomsbury.

To date I have nine picture book contracts all at various stages of publication. There Is No Dragon In This Story (Bloomsbury) and Pirate Stew (Orchard) both published last summer and Oscar The Hungry Unicorn (Orchard) is due to be released on Sept 20th 2018. "

Lou Carter


Institute of Training and Occupational Learning

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