I’ve been in the children’s book world for over 30 years as a writer, editor and reviewer, so I do know a thing or two about what makes a good children’s book.
I’ve edited something like 30 anthologies of short stories over the years (as well as quite a few poetry collections), and I’ve consulted on and edited novels for several publishers. I’ve also taught creative writing. I suppose my biggest claim to fame is that I ‘discovered’ Siobhan Dowd and sent her to my agent, although I’ve helped a lot of other writers who have gone on to win prizes and have good careers. So I’m happy to help writers, agents and publishers at any stage of a project. I’m especially interested in helping writers at the beginning of their careers.
There is, of course, a price to be paid. My fee for reading and assessing a MS is £300 plus VAT (ie a total of £360) for a novel of up to 80,000 words. There would be a negotiable extra charge for longer books and a smaller charge for assessing short fiction or picture book texts. For your money you would receive an objective, informed and honest report of up to ten pages (for a novel) analysing your work’s strengths and flaws, with the emphasis on practical solutions to any problems I might identify in your creation of character, plot, language level etc.
My particular strength is structure. I’m a firm believer that for young readers a well structured story is vital. Many new writers have talent – they might write well or be able to create interesting characters and dramatic situations. Where they often fail is in the structure of their stories – but that’s something you can learn. If you then want to take my advice and work on your story, I’d be happy to re-read the revised version for two-thirds of the original fee, ie £200 plus VAT (£240). Further work on the story would be negotiable. I do have good links with a number of agents and editors in the children’s and YA field, and if I think your book is publishable I would certainly recommend it – I’ve done that many times. As far as timing is concerned, I always aim to give writers a reasonably quick response – but that of course depends on the length and nature of your book!
If you’re interested, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Earlier this year I ran a course on Fiction for Children with top agent Stephanie Thwaites of Curtis Brown. I’m delighted to say that we’ll be running another course over six weeks this autumn and there are still some places available. Here’s the link: http://www.curtisbrowncreative.co.uk/courses/writing-for-children-course/. I hope to see you there!
This is a book about writing stories, and it’s aimed at kids. But bright adults should get something out of it too!
“A very practical and clear guide full of advice and tips… Full of useful suggestions, actual examples and work by both children and by established adult writers… Useful both in the classroom or the school library, and also for the individual enthusiastic pupil.”
Book Trusted News
“Fiction is clearly and encouragingly shown to be a matter of beginnings, middles and endings but also as much more than that. Aristotle and Eastenders are effectively cited…”
“A fun and informative book… all kids keen to write better will find something useful in this cheerful new book.”
Kelly Milner Halls, Freelance Writer