I really enjoyed reading this book. It was crammed with clear practical advice, yet was very enjoyable and easy to read. So much so that, having devoured the chapters which were specifically relevant to me, I ploughed happily through the ones which weren't. This sparked a flood of ideas for younger readers as I sat in a riverside cafe. The author regularly referred to other books as examples, which I found very helpful as a graphic way of emphasising a point. With about 50 published books to her name, I felt that the author's points would be valid. Information on word counts and page layouts for different age readers was particularly useful. A very valuable tool for any author about to enter this genre.
This book's range really is its strength. Most books on writing for children (and writing more broadly) assume that the reader is only interested in fiction - and probably only novels in the 9-12 or teen ranges. It can be difficult to find advice on breaking into non-fiction writing, picture books or the educational market. All of these (and more) are covered here, and all from the author's own experience, lending the book an air of reliability. Linda Strachan has published in many different age ranges, genres and markets and her experience is generously shared here, although she is careful to avoid presenting the way she works as some sort of set of rules.
It is true that the book deals with so many different areas that it cannot be a full and complete guide to any of them, but her basic advice to read examples of the type(s) of book you want to write, coupled with her practical comments on submission, contracts, tax matters etc, provides enough to get you going in a wide range of fields. I think sometimes we seek out writing handbooks assuming they will hold The Key to Publication, which of course doesn't exist. To my mind, a writer is likely to be able to judge what any given type of book 'should' be like by studying published examples. The 'insider info' that I was seeking was exactly what I found in these pages. You rarely find such additional advice as dealing with tax, school visits, author websites etc, so this was great to see (and will hopefully all be directly relevant one day!).
Overall, a very good buy for anyone looking for a broad career in writing for children, or for someone seeking publication in any of the fields less covered in other similar guides.
This is a very friendly, practical guide to writing for children from an experienced writer. It covers the different genres for different age ranges and hints on style and plots. The part I really appreciated is the last chapter on 'after publication' which is often not covered in other writing guides. I would have liked it to go into more depth but its small size does make it easy to pick up and dip into.
This book arrived just as I was about to go to Linda Strachan's workshop of the same title, and it is full of helpful advice. Having the book as follow up to the workshop has maintained the levels of faith in my ability to start (and, more importantly, finish) a book for children. She's inspirational in her writing and in a workshop situation.
This is one of the few books on the subject of writing for children that covers the subject of writing for "reluctant readers", poetry, plays and educational literature. While my main draw was for it's information on picture books, there seems to be a good balance of information for all sorts of writers. It certainly goes into more detail on writing beyond the typical 5-12 year age categories which books like Pamela Cleaver's admittedly excellent 'Writing for Children, 4th Edition' covers.
It's only drawback is it's lack of focus in submitting work over the internet. But considering both its age and the fact most of this info is readily available online anyway, it's still really good. If you're looking to start writing, and your bookshelf's cluttered up with all of your other "research", then this could be the only informative title you need.