Writing for Children
Ever been caught by a child who knows you just skipped over a line while reading them their favorite story? Then you already understand the power of a well-written children's book, and why it's important to get the words just right. You also already know the books children really treasure are tailored just for them, with age-appropriate language, believable story lines, and characters a lot like them who get in (and out of) all sorts of interesting trouble, just like they do. Since a children’s book contains fewer words than a novel, every word counts that much more.
What can a children's book editor do to help you get the words just right? A children's book editor never forgets that the best children's fiction always has a message, but to capture a child's interest and imagination, that message must come through a fun, creatively crafted, age-appropriate read. To achieve this, children's book editors are familiar with the way young people speak and learn. They can critique and examine illustrations with the fresh eye of a young reader. They also understand the specific trends and nuances of children's writing. To ensure that your work will appeal to your target audience, they can help you modify your manuscript to suit the reading abilities of children within your target age group. Editors skilled in this unique genre also understand the basic elements of good fiction—character, conflict, plot, theme, setting, and dialogue. A children’s book editor can make sure that you have strong verbs, vivid adjectives, and language that lends itself to reading aloud. So, whether you've written a picture book, a chapter book, or a young adult/middle grade novel, they can help you polish all these elements while ensuring a fun, engaging read.
Children's Book Editors, Illustrators, Cover and Interior Designers
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LISA BALTHAZAR is a publishing executive and book editor with over 20 years’ experience in the industry. She currently works with writers who intend to self-publish as well as writers who are preparing query letters and book proposals for literary agents and traditional publishers.
Lisa was Editorial/Publishing Director for Golden Books, Price Stern Sloan-Penguin Random House, Intervisual Books, Gateway Learning Corp (Hooked on Phonics), and other established publishing houses.
As an editor, Lisa has helped hundreds of published authors hone their skills as writers. She is always a writer’s toughest critic but biggest cheerleader.
Lisa's critique letter and developmental editing includes character development and character arc, storyline and plot points, drama and conflict, pacing, dialogue, writing style, effective transitions and chapter breaks, grammar, formatting, PLUS any issues with your novel you might not be aware of.
"Lisa is an excellent editor. She has edited several manuscripts for me that were sent to my agent who accepted them without change and sent them on to various publishing houses. They were published with a minimum of editing, thanks to Lisa's insightful and enlightened work. I highly recommend her." —Ellen Jones
Quick tips for children's book writers:
If your character hasn't changed at the end of your story, chances are he isn't yet fully fleshed out.
If your character talks to himself or does a lot of wondering aloud, he needs a friend to talk to.
- Don't create main characters who have a problem they don't solve themselves or who don't change throughout the course of the story.
- Don't talk down to children as if they're small, idiotic adults.
FREEBIE: Lisa's clients receive her Manuscript Formatting and Grammar Guide.
ROSANNE CORNBROOKS CATALANO specializes in children's and young adult books, fantasy novels, and Christian/inspirational manuscripts. Prompt and professional, Rosanne works well with any author's voice, providing clarity and punch while respecting the integrity of the work.
Rosanne's love of the written word began with her passion for books, but her knowledge of punctuation, grammar, diction and style comes from a lifetime of exceptional training. A poet herself, Rosanne understands the blood, sweat and tears that go into writing.
She gives each author's work the care it deserves, drawing on her diverse life experiences and knowledge in many fields like period clothing, genetics, all aspects of theater, Celtic legends, rustic camping, the martial arts, architecture and languages (Latin, French, Anglo-Saxon, Middle English, a little Welsh and Japanese).
Add that to the marketplace savvy she learned working in publishing houses, and you have an experienced editor who can polish a manuscript and get it past that crucial first reader!
- Copyediting, developmental editing
- Children's/young adult
- Science fiction and fantasy
- Christian, inspirational
As a freelance editor, Ted has edited novels, memoirs, marketing and advertising materials, textbooks, research papers, websites and whatever else has comes his way. He has a strong background in fiction, history, the sciences, and sports.
Ted specializes in developmental editing, copyediting, line editing, and proofreading. A strong communicator, he works as a team with authors to help them bring out the best of the manuscripts.
"I've had the privilege of working with Ted, and he is a consummate professional. A talented editor with a keen eye for detail, Ted always offers fresh and creative ideas to help strengthen my prose without compromising my voice. If you are looking for a caring, prompt, thorough editor, he is definitely the person to contact." —Lisa Fox, author of Knightly Desire
“Ted has an amazing ability to boil it down to the best moments in the least amount of words! I really like all the sophistication he brings to the writing. Casual tone but with varying sentence structures that keep it interesting.” —Eileen Wacker, author of The Mom’s Code and OnceKids’ Fujimini Adventure Series
ANA HOWARD is the author of seven well-reviewed and award-winning children’s novels and has helped many others with their manuscripts, including picture books, chapter books, middle grade and young adult novels. After working in public schools for many years, she has now been a part of the publishing industry for fifteen years and provides a creative and supportive environment. She is passionate about children’s literature and offers the following services:
- Developmental, substantive and content editing
- Formatting and guidance on the submission process
- Query letters and synopses
- Advice for self-publishing authors
PUBLISHING CREDITS INCLUDE:
- Water at the Blue Earth, young adult historical fiction (Roberts Rinehart)
- A Ceiling of Stars, middle grade contemporary fiction (American Girl)
- Nowhere, Now Here, middle grade contemporary fiction (American Girl)
- The Magic of Ordinary Days, adult historical fiction (Viking Penguin)
- Under a Stand Still Moon, young adult historical fiction (Brown Barn Books)
- Call Me the Canyon, young adult historical fiction (Brown Barn Books)
- Nicki, contemporary middle grade fiction (American Girl)
- Thanks to Nicki, contemporary middle grade fiction (American Girl)
She has seen one of her novels made into film (for Hallmark Hall of Fame Productions on CBS) and has won numerous literary awards. She believes that even in today’s tough publishing climate, it is still possible for new writers to enter the business and succeed. Second to writing her own novels, she loves to mentor others to help them achieve their goals. She knows firsthand how writers benefit from the help and support of other writers and/or editors.
"My novel had lingered in the offices of editors at the Big Six for years. Ana’s editing was timely and skillful and showed an understanding of my work. I used 95% of her suggestions and cut 200 pages from a 600 page manuscript. End result is a book with a clean, compelling narrative that has been called 'a gripping read'. Reader reviews of my book at Amazon and Goodreads have been very gratifying and allowed me to enter the top 100 for science-fiction/fantasy. Kirkus Reviews selected Prophets of the Ghost Ants as one of their Best of 2011. I would recommend Ana Howard's services to any author whose work needs an edit. Cost of the service was more than fair and the end result was priceless." —Clark T. Carlton
KELLY LYNNE is a professional writer and editor with over 10 years’ experience in fiction manuscript critique and over 50 published titles edited. Her fortes in Young Adult and Middle Grade novels include adventure, fantasy, mystery, romance, sci-fi, and stories of psychic or supernatural phenomena.
Empathic about the “feel” of a story, Kelly encourages authors to learn craft techniques they may not yet have tried to bring forward goal, motivation and conflict in the characters and draw young readers into the emotions on the page, all while maintaining the author’s voice. Whether in a critique or a full edit, developmental fiction editing requires an emotional investment in the work—an investment of time and effort that Kelly is happy to make.
Kelly has published over 100 non-fiction articles, two short stories, and a novel. She knows the hoops authors are expected to jump through and helps authors polish their submission packets (query letters, synopses) for traditional publishing or will assist with sales copy and formatting for self-publishers.
Book Editing Specialties:
- Style-sheet to track continuity, character traits, and plot aspects
- Critique of story plot, character believability and setting
- Verifying readability with Flesch-Kincaid mapping to keep Middle Grade stories in the 8-12-yr-old expected reading range for vocabulary and sentence complexity