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.

Cinderella and the Furry Slippers

Cinderella and the Furry Slippers
by Davide Cali (Author) and‎ Raphaelle Barbanegre (Illustrator)

Booktalk: Cinderella is dying to go to the ball. She’s seen pictures of the fancy castle and the handsome prince, she’s heard the fairy tales about true love, she’s found the perfect dress in Princess magazine and she’s even found an ad for a Fairy Godmother. She’s all set.

Except the fairy godmother doesn’t look like the one in the ad. And the castle doesn’t look like the picture. And the prince . . . well, Cinderella decides her fairy-tale ending is going to look different–and be a whole lot more fun.


Copyright © 2018 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.


Astronaut-Aquanaut: How Space Science and Sea Science Interact
by Jennifer Swanson (Author)

Booktalk: Journey from the deepest trenches in the oceans to the farthest humans have ventured into space and learn what it takes to explore the extremes. You might just be surprised by how similar the domains of ASTRONAUTS and AQUANAUTS really are.


Sunday Guest Post by Jennifer Swanson

Science Rocks! And so do Jennifer Swanson’s books. She is the award winning author of over 30 nonfiction books for children. A self-professed science geek, Jennifer started a science club in her garage at the age of 7. While no longer working from the garage, Jennifer’s passion for science resonates in in all her books but especially, BRAIN GAMES (NGKids) and SUPER GEAR: Nanotechnology and Sports Team Up (Charlesbridge) which was named an NSTA Best STEM book of 2017 and an NSTA Outstanding Trade Book 2017. Top reviews include a starred review in Booklist, and recommended reviews from School Librarians Workshop, Library Media Connection, and a Nerdy Book Club award. Her book, Geoengineering Earth’s Climate: Resetting the Thermostat , from 21st Century Books/ Lerner received a Junior Library Guild Selection.

Q. Describe your writing process.
A. I do TONS of research for each book I write. Usually, it’s a mix of books, scientific or medical papers, engineering design manuals, and also interviews with experts. When I come up with an idea, the first thing I do is head to the library. I check out every kids book I can find on the subject. (I need to know what’s out there so I don’t duplicate). Then I check out every adult reference book on the subject. The librarians say they can always tell what I’m writing about because I take all of the books on that subject!

Then I come home and hit the internet. I do searches on the topic and look for scientific and/or medical papers that might be great resources. I search the top agencies, such as NASA, and then send emails to several top scientists/engineers in the field. For this book, I set about contacting actual astronauts and aquanauts for quotes for the inside of the book. A few tips about contacting experts: Be polite and professional. Brief and specific with your questions. Be grateful for their help, but also be a bit tenacious. It took me many months to connect with several of the experts for this book, but I kept emailing politely until I got a response. It all worked out in the end!

Q. Tell us about your latest book.
A. Astronaut-Aquanaut: How Space Science and Sea Science Interact takes readers on a fun and exciting trip UP in space and DOWN in the ocean as they “train” to become either an astronaut or aquanaut. You might think that space and the ocean don’t go together. Well, think again! In this book you will learn how astronauts actually train underwater before they go into space. You will dive deep with several aquanauts as they explore the vast depth of the ocean and meet many new animals. Both places have many similarities–and a bunch of differences, too. It’s up to you to decide. What will you be–an Astronaut or an Aquanaut?

What a great question! Thanks for sharing your new book, Jennifer.

Copyright © 2018 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

Robotic Rumble

Axel & Beast: Robotic Rumble
by Adrian C. Bott (Author) and Andy Issac (Illustrator)

Booktalk: The rumors of a powerful reactor buried under Ghost Island are TRUE — and Grabbem Industries want it for themselves!

Axel and BEAST are racing to keep it out of Grabbem’s hands. But could the rumors of a ghost monster be true too?

BEAST is no ordinary robot, and Axel isn’t your usual gamer — together they’re an unstoppable team, working to fight Grabbem Industries, and anyone else who threatens the planet.


Copyright © 2018 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

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