Jobs for Writers #1: Children’s Book Author

So as you guys may have noticed (or not noticed), I’ve been really busy this week. Not only have I been slowly recovering from an illness, but I’ve been maddeningly busy and may or may not have missed my usual every-other-Wednesday photo blog post (No, I definitely missed it).

All of this has caused me to have some sort of mini existential meltdown in which I questioned my purpose on earth and how it all fits in with who and what I want to be when I get out of college. But don’t freak out, anybody. Like I said, it was mini.

I still want to be a writer, of that I am certain. But what exactly should I write about? Where do I want to write? Should I write for myself or should I write for the world? Do I want to make an impact or do I want to float by under the radar?

Here’s what I’ve decided. I’m going to introduce a new series of posts in which I highlight and discuss a number of different jobs available to writers. These posts will be both for me and for you guys to explore the realm of writing and to look at different types of jobs that many of us may never have considered or even knew existed.

For now, I’ll be researching different jobs and discussing them, but if you guys ever have any recommendations or requests, leave me a comment below and I’ll be sure to look into it. So here we go.

Children’s Book Author

English: Winner of The Macmillan Prize for Chi...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Though often considered the “easiest” type of book writing, becoming an author of children’s books, whether they be picture books or short novels, requires the same knowledge of creative writing as becoming an author of another genre. While it’s not necessary to have a degree to write children’s books, it is helpful to understand the ins and outs of the English language and be familiar with simple and complex literary concepts so as to use them properly in books.

Knowledge of marketing and how to market oneself to potential publishers is also a key trait of children’s authors. As an author, you’ll spend a lot of your time sending queries to publishers and pitching your ideas, so having an understanding of how The Business works would be beneficial.

Like a lot of authors, authors of children’s books are paid by the advance and royalty system. When a publishing company buys your book, they pay you an advance (depending on how well they think your books are going to sell on the market). Then, once your books have sold and they have accumulated the same amount of money as the advance (basically, once you’ve paid off your advance), you start getting paid in whatever percentage of royalties you negotiated in your contract with the publisher. Royalties are how much money you get out of the sale price (ex] If your book sells for $10 and you have a 10% contract, you’ll get $1 per book). Unfortunately, if your book doesn’t sell well, you might not be making any money off royalties.

Children’s book authors usually have to share their advance with the illustrator (and the illustrator usually gets paid more), so if you’re a writer who can draw and is concerned about making the most money possible (don’t become a writer), it would probably be wise to illustrate your own books. Sharing is no fun anyway.

Naturally, you’d have to be of a creative mindset in order to be an author. Also, it probably wouldn’t hurt for you to like kids. And books.
 

Degree
Not required

Salary
On average $55, 940 (US Bureau of Labor and Statistics)
(Tip: Salary varies. You can make twice that amount in larger cities and metropolitan areas)

Research/Helpful Links!
http://education-portal.com/articles/Become_a_Childrens_Author_Step-by-Step_Career_Guide.html

http://work.chron.com/much-childrens-book-writer-make-year-15393.html

http://www.scbwi.org/Pages.aspx/Top-10-FAQs

http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes273043.htm

Movie Review: Miss Potter

It’s tough being a woman in the literary world.

No one knows that better than famed early 20th century author Beatrix Potter.

And while she has come to be known as the creator of, among numerous other children’s books, the beloved Peter Rabbit tale, Beatrix Potter was not taken so seriously at first.

As an unmarried and slightly eccentric woman well into her thirties, Beatrix Potter’s abilities both as a writer and an artist were often mocked, not only by her soon-to-be publishers, but also by her mother.

But Beatrix soon found solace in the positive encouragement of one of her publishers, Norman Warne.

The 2006 film Miss Potter chronicles not only the budding love between Norman and Beatrix, but also her struggles to break into the publishing scene during a time when women were wished to be a little more domestic in nature.

The movie has a light and fun tone, with only one instance or so of a deeply sorrowful event. The film mixes a touch of animation (very little of it actually, not overly distracting) with real-life acting as it delves into Beatrix Potter’s very heart and soul.

Though the film does take its usual few liberties with her life story, it remains fairly true to the actual happenings of her life.

 (I did take the initiative to do a bit of research and the filmmakers got a lot of it right – even Norman Warne’s mustache)

Ewan McGregor as Norman Warne

Norman Warne

(But honestly, how could you mess up a great mustache like that?)

An excellent film for any aspiring author or period film enthusiast, Miss Potter sheds some light on a woman who, despite unhappiness in her own life, sought to bring happiness and joy to others through her heartwarming stories.