Anastasia Suen

Developmental Editor

Write a Children’s Book


Q. I want to write my own children’s book. Where do I start?
Start by reading, reading, reading! The children’s books on the shelves will help you write your book, revise your book, and sell your book!

Q. How can reading children’s books help me write my own book?
Reading recently published books like the ones that you want to write can help you see how other authors handled your topic or theme. These books can help you learn your craft.

Reading new books will also help you see what editors are buying. Editors look at other books on your topic or theme to help them decide if they will buy your book or not. If that’s what the agents and editors do, then you need to do it too!

This is why I post a new booktalk Monday through Saturday!

Q. How long should my children’s book manuscript be?
The length of the book depends on the age of the child who will be reading it. The older the child is, the longer the book will be. Check the word count guides at:

Q. Do I need an agent to sell my book? Or do I send it to editors?
If you send your book to editors first (and don’t sell it) most agents will NOT want to handle that book later because the book has already been shopped. If you think you might want to work with an agent, start that search first.

Q. What do agents charge?
A. Reputable agents do NOT charge a fee
to read your work or to send it out. The agent is paid on commission, so no money changes hands until the book sells–and it is the publisher who pays the agent, not the writer. Most agents take a 15% commission, so they earn 15% of all funds paid for the sales they make.

Q. Why should I pay an agent 15%?
An agent can send your book to publishers that are “closed” to submissions.

FYI: When you send your book to an editor that you have never met at a “closed” publishing house, your work will not be read. Some send it back to you while others toss it in the trash. Delete!

Q. How can I find an agent?
Follow the directions on my How to Find a Literary Agent page.

Of course, none of this will happen if you don’t write the book first! So begin at the beginning. Start reading, reading, reading–and then start writing!

Are you ready to work with a writing mentor?

The author of 275 books for children, teens, and adults, I have been working as a developmental editor with writers from all levels of the continuum (beginner to already published) since 1999. Some of my writers sold the books they wrote or revised in the critiques while others continued to master their craft and sold their first book later.

  1. If you want guidance as you write your first draft, sign up for the Intensive Picture Book Workshop or the Children’s Novel Workshop.
  2. If you want guidance to take your completed children’s book manuscript to the next level, sign up for a Picture Book WIP Critique or a Children’s Novel WIP Critique via email or phone.

Let’s start working together!

Copyright © 2017 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

Guardians of the Gryphon’s Claw

Guardians of the Gryphon’s Claw
by Todd Calgi Gallicano (Author)

Booktalk: Haunted by a dream of a mythical gryphon, Sam London uncovers an ancient secret that will change the way he sees the world forever. Recruited by Dr. Vance Vantana, an eccentric zoologist and park ranger sent by the government, Sam is whisked away on an adventure that takes him to the farthest reaches of the globe. Along this journey, Sam learns an incredible truth: mythical creatures are real and living among us in our national parks. A special department in the U.S. government ensures that their existence remains hidden.

But Sam’s dream is an omen that the secret may now be in danger. Someone seeks the power to expose these creatures and overthrow humankind–and that power can only be found in a magical talisman known as the gryphon’s claw.

Snippet: Each night for the last two weeks, Sam was transported to a desolate two-lane road surrounded by a seemingly endless desert. The only hint of civilization was a gas station that sat about a half mile up the highway. The night before last, Sam was able to reach the station and have a look around. Much to his dismay, the structure proved as stark as the landscape. The shelves in the mini-mart were bare, and worst of all, the ICEE machine refused to function. But Sam was not the type to give up easily. He held on to the hope that this dream would reveal a surprise or two. Though he did entertain the thought, if just for a moment, that this environment was on some level a metaphor for his life.

In addition to inspecting the gas station, Sam had used his time to explore several rocky outcroppings that peppered the terrain. Though he had yet to find anything of interest, there was one remaining possibility. The largest of the outcroppings was positioned about three hundred yards from the station. Sam had been avoiding this formation, as it was the tallest and consequently the most intimidating of the bunch. But tonight was the night to leave no stones unturned, no matter how high they were stacked.

Time was not on Sam’s side. His alarm clock was ticking down to seven a.m. At any moment he could be yanked from his slumber–and his search. With that squarely in mind, Sam sprinted to his target–a mountain of granite boulders piled high atop granitic bedrock. The formation stood at least thirty feet and culminated in a plateau, which could very well be hiding the answers Sam so desperately sought. He picked his first “step,” a large misshapen boulder that was easy to climb. His sneakers slid a bit against the gritty rock face–his hands could have used some of that chalk real climbers relied on. But soon enough he was within a few feet of his goal. Yet this part of the climb would prove especially difficult, as the rock had given way to loose bedrock and leverage was a precious commodity.

Sam reached out for a crook in the surface. Grabbing hold, he attempted to pull himself to victory, but the rock crumbled beneath his grip, and he suddenly found himself sliding back toward the ground.

Copyright © 2017 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

100 Things to Be When You Grow Up

100 Things to Be When You Grow Up
by Lisa M. Gerry (Author)

Booktalk: From beekeeper to ice-cream taster, forensic psychologist to Hollywood animal trainer, conservation biologist to Chief Happiness Officer, this book features 100 of the coolest, wackiest and most amazing jobs out there (greeting card maker?? Yes, you can!). Hands-on projects, advice from National Geographic explorers, interviews with experts, weird-but-true facts and tips for aligning your interests and personality to your job and more!

26 Astronomer
Shooting stars, black holes, dwarf planets, orbiting asteroids, meteor showers–these are all in a day’s (or night’s) for an astronomer. These scientists use math and physics to make discoveries, test theories, and conduct research about space and its celestial bodies.

Nonfiction Monday

It’s Nonfiction Monday!

Copyright © 2017 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

Moana – The Beat of Your Heart

Moana – The Beat of Your Heart: A Musical Exploration Activity Book
by Hal Leonard (Author)

Booktalk: Discover beat, rhythm, and the sounds of Motunui’s drums through activities and creative play with characters from the Disney movie Moana. Includes online activities such as: video read-along, audio sing-along, and activities to explore sounds and sound makers.


Copyright © 2017 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

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