What I’ve learnt about publishing a children’s book #1

My middle-grade debut ‘The Extraordinary Adventures of Alice Tonks’ is out in May 2022 – just five months away now! It has been a rollercoaster journey with swooping highs and plummeting lows. Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

  • Pace yourself. Heard the one about how nothing happens in publishing then everything happens at once? It’s true. I’ve found asking for deadlines and schedules in advance and nudging people to make them as exact as possible has been enormously helpful. Plotting everything out in my diary helps me manage my time and work steadily through the time I have available and helps me avoid over-promising.
  • Surround yourself with supportive people. I can’t over-emphasise the importance of this one. Whether it is WriteMentor, SCBWI, twitter debut groups or real-life pals, it is vital to have people to off-load to and to share experiences with. Knowing you’re not alone and that you aren’t the only one confused or overwhelmed can be a total lifeline but…
  • Don’t compare yourself to other authors. DEFINITELY easier said than done but there will always be someone with a bigger advance or who is garnering more attention and acclaim. Everyone’s journey is different and social media isn’t a reliable or honest account of people’s true, behind-the-curtains experience.
  • It’s your book. It is important to take the time to mull over feedback when you receive it. It’s all too easy to feel you have to accept it off the bat but then regret it at leisure or worse yet sending your editor a raging email listing all the reasons they’re wrong and you’re right. I’m definitely more guilty of the former than the latter but both can leave you feeling out of your depth. Read those editorial emails and letters but then put them aside for a few days before returning to them when you feel a bit less emotional. Editors, agents and publishers know the market and how to sell your book but if there is something about your manuscript you love and aren’t prepared to change – say that. Fight your corner.
  • Try to let go. Writing is a solitary affair and when you’ve drudged each and every word out of your very soul and being it is natural for your manuscript to feel like a precious baby you want to hold tight and protect from the Big Bad World. But you have to relinquish control. The successful publication of your book is now a team effort and everyone involved will bring something vital to the table. It’s all about trust, mannn….
  • Keep the faith. When you’re sat at home it can sometimes feel like you are the only one who still cares about your book but behind the scenes, I guarantee that your publishers are beavering away at ensuring your book is as brilliant as it can possibly be. They want it to be a success as much as you do.
  • And finally – celebrate the wins. Finally, finally getting to the end of those structural edits? Putting those pesky line edits to bed? Proofread in the bag? Whatever you’ve accomplished that month, recognise it. Publishing a book is a long game and forging a writing career an even longer one, try to keep track of the progress you are making along the way.

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