Anastasia Suen

Developmental Editor

Month: May 2017 (Page 1 of 8)

Write a Children’s Book

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Q. I want to write my own children’s book. Where do I start?
A.
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?
A.
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?
A.
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?
A.
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%?
A.
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?
A.
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.

Flowers for Sarajevo

Flowers for Sarajevo
by John McCutcheon (Author) and Kristy Caldwell (Illustrator)

Booktalk: Drasko helps his father sell flowers in Sarajevo, but when war threatens and his father is called to the battlefront, Drasko must take over the flower stall. One morning the boy’s familiar routine is shattered when a mortar shell hits the bakery, killing twenty-two people. The next day, a cellist from the Sarajevo Opera Orchestra goes to the crater and plays the most beautiful music that Drasko can imagine. Inspired, he looks for ways to ease the sorrow of those around him.

Based on real events of the Bosnian War, award-winning songwriter and storyteller John McCutcheon tells the uplifting story of the power of beauty in the face of violence and suffering. The story comes to life with the included CD in which cellist Vedrun Smailovic accompanies McCutcheon and performs the melody that he played in 1992 to honor those who died in the Sarajevo mortar blast.

Snippet: The next day the square is strangely silent.

Twenty-two people were killed. They were just waiting to buy bread.

The church bells ring ten o’clock again. I cringe remembering that terrible moment.

Then the door to the rehearsal hall opens. But this time only one man steps out.

I’ve seen him before, this man with the extraordinary mustache. Today he is dressed in a tuxedo, as if he is going to a concert. In one hand he carries a chair and in the other a cello.

Copyright © 2017 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

Bulldozer Helps Out

Bulldozer Helps Out
by Candace Fleming (Author) and Rohmann Eric (Illustrator)

Booktalk: Little Bulldozer wants to help, but all the bigger trucks say he is too small. So when Crane Truck says he can clear a bit of debris out of the way, Little Bulldozer is eager for the job. He can do it, yes he can. What he doesn’t expect is to find a family of newborn kittens living in the pile of debris! Can he take care of babies? Now that’s a tough job.

Snippet:

Copyright © 2017 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

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