How do I become a successful children’s author?

In this interactive article, Malorie Blackman takes us through the key things all successful children’s writers must overcome.

My story

I have written over 60 books during my career but I haven’t always been a writer. I worked as a computer programmer for nine years before my love of storytelling got the better of me and I began trying to get my stories published.

It was a long and determined battle, but two years and 82 rejection letters later I finally had my very first book accepted for publication. For me, passion and perseverance won the day. Now, looking back on the success I have been privileged to enjoy, I have learned a lot. Here are my top tips on successful children’s writing.

How to publish

Getting your work published is a long and sometimes frustrating process.

Click or tap below to see the different options open to today's would-be authors to see which one is best for you.

Putting pen to paper

Click or tap below to get advice from me as well as other top children's writers, Jacqueline Wilson and Anthony Horowitz who talk about their writing at BBC's Author's Live.

Judging a book by its cover

No matter how great your writing is, it is crucial to know who you are writing for and why they should be interested in your work.

Familiarise yourself with the different age ranges and requirements of children’s books before you approach any agent or potential publisher.

While many people think writing for younger children is easy, picture books will be read over and over again and creating one is a very particular skill. If you are writing for young adults, knowledge of current tastes is essential, as are original ideas and strong storytelling skills. For instance, the 2015 Costa Book of the Year, The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge, tapped into current fantasy trends. But what made this the first children’s book to win the top Costa award since 2001 was that her story captivated young and old readers alike.

So knowing what your target audience wants from a book is key to its success. So don't let the rejection letters put your off. With the right idea, dedication and a bit of luck, you too could be a successful children’s author.

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