Monday, July 28, 2008

A to the Q: Getting Hired as a Freelance Children's Writer

A to the Q is an ongoing series of posts in which I answer questions I've received from blog readers, workshop students, and others about writing and navigating the waters of children's publishing. My aim is to share what I know and spark your search for even more information.

Q: What does it take to be hired and hired consistently as a freelance children's book writer?

A: There is no magic formula for guaranteeing that you will get hired consistently as a children's book writer, or even that you'll get hired . . . Ever. But if you educate yourself on the market, hone your children's writing skills, pick a niche* to pursue, and then persist in applying for projects and completing/submitting your own projects, you'll give yourself a leg up.

I suggest applying what you already know from your other experiences in the workforce. That means using a similar work-generating process:
  • learn about the profession
  • polish your skills
  • research your market so you know what children's book publishers want and where to look for work
  • apply for work
  • do consistently excellent work once you start snagging gigs
  • foster and maintain great working relationships with your clients
  • network with writers, editors, and other publishing professionals
  • look ahead to future projects
  • stay abreast of industry trends
  • actively seek new opportunities

In sum, as with any other job, you have to make it happen!

*I believe narrowing your focus by picking a niche — whether it's for a limited time to get you started or forever — is key.

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