“I am a great writer. I am sure I can get my book published,” says unpublished writer.

October 28, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“I am a great writer and I have always loved reading children’s books. I am sure I can get my book published.” That is the feeling of many “wanna-be” authors. For those who have tried it they can tell you  it is not that easy.

It is like saying “I know history. I am sure I can write a great historical novel.” Then you think of the 15,000 words  you would have to produce, and then you realize that it is a daunting task. But young children’s books, which average 32 pages and maybe 25 to 50 words a page seems more manageable.

The problem is, if you are thinking that, then so are thousands of other “wanna-be” authors.

Hopewell Junction writer Karen Kaufman Orloff  was one of those “wanna-bes” . “I have been writing for over 20 years,” says Karen, “since my children were babies. I remember reading story books to the kids and thinking ‘I could write stories for kids.’ But once I got into it, I realized it’s a lot harder than it looks.”

It took Karen ten years before she published her first book I Wanna Iguana with the G. P. Putnam publishing group.

But Karen was different from many other writers. She decided to learn the book business. “I attended conferences, took classes, met other authors,” she said,  “and then I submitted my stories to publishers.”

She experienced rejections. Many of them. Karen, who now has four books published, says, “You really need a thick skin.” Even now that she is published she still gets those nasty rejection letters. She says one of the secrets to this book business is perseverance.

“When I first started I would think of cute rhymes… no stories, just a list of fun things. But I learned that I needed a really good, solid beginning, a climax and an ending,” says Karen.

As a teacher in junior high school, I remember teaching kids these same techniques. But after years of not drumming this into our head, we get sloppy. We need to refine our skills whether it is for the historical novel or a children’s book. The same rules apply.

Karen shares  this advice for writers who are working with picture books: You need to understand the visual image you’re creating. It is a 32 page book. Each page must be a different scene. You need to create different visual scenes with your words to sustain the reader.

She  also suggests using humor or some type of emotional connection that tugs at the heart.

 “How do you know if your story has merit?  It is like your baby whom you really love. Share it with others. (In this case it would be writer friends.) It is good to get other people’s opinions. People you trust. Other good writers.

Karen says to remember that sometimes your manuscript gets rejected not because it is not well written, but because it is not a topic of interest for that publisher at that time or they have already published something similar.  

I have published two books by Middletown author Gloria Zawaski. Learn about some of my experiences.


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