The Top 6 Things Writers for Adults Assume About Writing Kidlit
1) “Oh, I did that too for a while. It’s great practice for real writing.”
Yes. Practice. That’s what I’m doing with my entire career. *Facepalm*.
2) “The market must be so easy for you! After all, genre differences don’t matter in kids’ books.”
Sure they don’t. That’s why a publisher like TOR Kids would happily take a book about a pre-teen’s struggle with adulthood… as long as it includes swords. Lots of swords.
3) “I bet you make so much more than me! Toy sales alone must be a fortune!”
Yuppo. The (nonexistant) toys for my current series are just FLYING off the shelves.
4) “I always wanted to write a kids’ book, but you know. People just don’t respect kids’ writers.”
Thanks. I see what you did there. Poop all over you, too.
5) “So, you write for kids, huh? You should really do something like ‘Twilight’. It was such a successful kid’s book.”
Yes. Because, 1 – “Twilight” was obviously written for ALL kids, not just teenagers, and 2 – I write with the express intent to make money. So I’m fine with writing whatever sells even if I, myself, hate it and therefore am probably not very good at it.
6) “Don’t you have to be an artist to write kidlit? Those picture books are always full of illustrations. I bet that’s the hardest part, really. The text certainly isn’t!”
Uh-huh. First of all, I don’t write Picture Books any more than I write Young Adult. I write Middle Grade. M. I. D. D. L. E. G. R. A. D. E. Yes, there’s a difference. It’s a big a difference as genres are in adult lit. Maybe even bigger. Second of all, authors of picture books are like word alchemists. They can tell a beautiful, relevant story to children that their readers will love, cherish and remember their whole lives… in the amount of words it takes me to describe one scene. Respect that. I certainly do. Third of all, no. They’re called illustrators, and they don’t have to be the author. Do you create your own covers?
I don’t know what’s worse: the assumptions many non-writers have about writing, or the assumptions writers for adults often have about kidlit writers. I think I’ll go with the latter, however. At least non-writers have no education or experience of the truth behind their assumptions. Writers, however, should really know better. Even if they write something totally different.
Disclaimer: No, not all writers for adults have said or thought these things. This is, as always, a general observation.