Writing a children's book
Writing a book can often be a lonely experience but there is plenty of support out there to spur you on. Joining a writer's group is often a good place to start.
Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators
The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) is a great place to gain help and advice. There is an annual membership fee and if you join you'll be able to access a variety of writing courses and other resources to help you to hone your craft.
Crucially, being a member of SCBWI will give you the opportunity to join e-critique groups where you can connect with writers in your local area for valuable constructive criticism of your work.
Candy Gourlay talks about the benefits of joining the SCBWI.
Candy Gourlay grew up in the Philippines wondering why there were no Filipinos in the books she loved. Now an author in London, she writes books with Filipino characters. Her first novel Tall Story won the Crystal Kite Award for Europe and was shortlisted for the Waterstones, Branford Boase and Blue Peter children's book prizes. Her novel Bone Talk was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal and the Costa Book Awards in 2019. It is set at the moment when headhunting tribes in the Philippines come face to face with American invaders. Her picture book Is It a Mermaid?, illustrated by Francesca Chessa, was nominated for the Kate Greenaway Medal. Her latest book, with illustrator Tom Knight, is a comics biography about Ferdinand Magellan, who is credited with “discovering” the Philippines. She lives in lockdown London and yearns to see her mother in Manila.
Black Writers' Guild
You can also read here about the Black Writers' Guild (BWG), set up in 2020 to represent the rights of Black writers in the UK. You might want to consider joining them too. Membership is currently free.
Still not sure how to start?
Writing is writing! Regardless of what type of book you intend to write, the videos below, from experienced children's authors and editors, will give you a general idea of what to consider at each stage of the writing process, from your initial idea (concept) to pitching your manuscript to agents and publishers.
You can download additional information on the writing process from our Resources section and check out this brilliant, informative blog by Natascha Biebow at Blue Elephant Storyshaping, about the craft of writing picture books. We'd also highly recommend you buy or borrow a copy of Writing Picture Books by Anne Whitford.
For specific guidance on how to write picture books for younger children, book a place on our upcoming workshops.