I’m starting a new children’s ghostwriting project and the client recommended I read a book she wanted her book based on. The client raved about the picture book. So, I bought the Kindle version and read it. I’ll start with the positives: 1. The illustrations were colorful and fun. Now onto the negatives: 1. While the book was written to help children overcome emotional issues, it was misleading. The main character was miraculously healed in one day. I’ve written for enough child psychologists and therapists to know that overcoming emotional issues takes time and work. And it’s essential that the child and parents know this. How it should basically work: There’s a struggle. The child moves forward then there are setbacks. The child moves further along with more setbacks, then there is forward movement, possibly with smaller setbacks, until he is finally able to handle his symptoms. It’s not wise or professional to give children and parents false expectations. 2. There were grammatical errors, including missing periods at the end of sentences and missing quotation marks. And there were some poor word choices used. 3. The book is described as ‘lightly rhyming’. I’ve never heard that phrase before and I’m not sure what it’s supposed to mean. The book was mostly rhyme, although some of it was forced. And, notice I said “mostly rhyme.” A couple of paragraphs weren’t rhymed. I’m guessing the author couldn’t come up with rhyme for those paragraphs so simply left them. Important tip: Either you rhyme right or you shouldn’t rhyme. 4. There was a lot of telling. 5. The formatting was off. In one or two spots I had to read the page over a couple of times to make sense of it and realize who was speaking. And page-wise, it was much shorter than a standard picture book. There are industry standards for a reason - children’s writers should adhere to them. 6. The back cover copy wasn’t professionally written, and the sales page author info wasn’t professionally written. Summing it up. This isn’t about slamming an author’s book, it’s just that it was too easy to quickly know that this was self-published. That’s never a good thing. It’s these types of books that keep the stigma of self-publishing alive. While it’s easy to send a book out into the world, the quality of the book should never be sacrificed for speed of publishing or the money to have the book professionally edited and formatted. What I find especially disappointing is that this author is a professional in her field and has a series of children’s books. Yes, there is a lot of slacking off on quality in a number of areas, but we shouldn’t let that happen when writing for children. As children’s authors we should set the standard high… and keep it there. The takeaway of this article is if you’re going to self-publish a book, please take the time to do it right. Take the time and spend the money to, at the very least, have it edited and properly formatted.
I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and coach. I can help turn your story into a book you’ll be proud to be author of, one that’s publishable and marketable. You can contact me at: email@example.com. Or, you can give me a call at 834---347---6700 Or, if you’d rather do-it-yourself, check out my book, How to Write a Children’s Fiction Book.
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