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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent overview of the industry
Like all Idiot's Guides, this book is designed for beginners in the field. However, after hearing the author speak at a conference, I decided that I might have things to learn from the book. I was right. Even though I've been writing for a while and have a contract for my first book, I found that several sections clarified some industry basics for me. It helped me sort...
Published on January 7, 2009 by Reader

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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars SO OUT OF DATE!
Harold Underdown can do better than this mishmash of outdated publishing advice.

First, instead of concentrating on the writing process, this IDIOT'S GUIDE is more about the publishing process. All fine and good, but the publishing process has changed so much in the last decade and Underdown fails to cover the changes, which makes the rest of the book's...
Published on January 22, 2013 by Hopeful Writer


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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent overview of the industry, January 7, 2009
By 
Reader (Decatur, GA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Children's Books, 3rd Edition (Paperback)
Like all Idiot's Guides, this book is designed for beginners in the field. However, after hearing the author speak at a conference, I decided that I might have things to learn from the book. I was right. Even though I've been writing for a while and have a contract for my first book, I found that several sections clarified some industry basics for me. It helped me sort out the relationship between companies, divisions, and imprints and was good for making sense of my contract. I also appreciated the section on working with my editor. This is an excellent primer for anyone getting started in children's writing, and has useful information for those who have gotten a little into the field as well.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good resource, January 15, 2009
This review is from: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Children's Books, 3rd Edition (Paperback)
I've used this book and recommended this book to people interested in the children's publishing industry since it first came out. Its an excellent overview. I think the two star reviewer who said that the book was for "complete idiots," was being a little harsh. I've been working on writing and selling my own books for close to eleven years now and I still run into people who don't know the difference between the genres. Even as someone that might be called an "intermediate/advanced" writer, I still use it as a reference.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Our Most Popular Resource Book for Children's Book Writers!, January 15, 2009
This review is from: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Children's Books, 3rd Edition (Paperback)
Our SCBWI library has all three editions of this book and I always recommend it to anyone who contacts me for information about writing and publishing for children, at no matter what stage of the game they reside. I know of no other thorough, up-to-date publication on the children's book business. We always sell out of them at our conferences.

The author relied not only on his own knowledge, research and experience, he contacted writers in all phases of the business and got their input as well. Either the answers are there for both aspiring and experienced writers, or the resources for further research are revealed. He continues to update information via his website and welcomes suggestions and input. What more can you ask from one book? I highly recommend it.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Packed full of useful ideas, March 17, 2009
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This review is from: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Children's Books, 3rd Edition (Paperback)
Virtually Maria (Virtual Trilogy)

Written in the form of short notes, this book contains all the information, wisdom, reading lists and even contacts that you might expect to harvest at a three-day seminar on publishing children's books, as a mere fraction of the price.

It starts with the basic truth that children's books MUST appeal to adults (since adults buy them - not children) and then takes the reader through the 'world' of children's books and how to write, illustrate and publish them. I use the word 'world' because this book goes beyond the simple 'how to' manual in that it takes the reader inside the childrens' book industry and deals with agents, publishers and how to build a career as a successful childrens' book writer.

There are other books that deal with the writing, layout and illustration of childrens' books in far more detail, but this is the first book that I've encountered in my thirty-plus years of writing that gives me a feel for the greater universe of book production that I need to navigate in order to achieve success.

A highly recommended first manual for every children's book author.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars SO OUT OF DATE!, January 22, 2013
This review is from: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Children's Books, 3rd Edition (Paperback)
Harold Underdown can do better than this mishmash of outdated publishing advice.

First, instead of concentrating on the writing process, this IDIOT'S GUIDE is more about the publishing process. All fine and good, but the publishing process has changed so much in the last decade and Underdown fails to cover the changes, which makes the rest of the book's information suspect. It made me doubt that he was an insider. Has he even been published himself? Is this book just a promotional tool for his own business?

Second, there is so little attention given to self-publishing, ebook publishing, and all the other venues that are available to writers today that I felt cheated when I bought the book.

Third, what about the difficult task of finding an agent--practically REQUIRED these days for certain publishing houses? If we cannot get in, how can we get traditionally published by a children's book imprint?

Finally, there are so many other books about writing out there that I would really recommend looking at others.

Waste of my money.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great Advice for the 1980s, August 2, 2012
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We can't say we weren't warned: this is the "idiot's guide" to children's publishing, after all. Much of the advice is so basic that only a simpleton would need it: "When a book is produced with a hard, stiff outer cover, it's a hardcover book. When the cover of a book is pliable, the book is softcover." Duh. "Break the manuscript into paragraphs. Start a new page only when you come to the end of another one. Don't try to type it out in book form." Double duh.

One gets the suspicion that this book has been rehashed and haphazardly updated for many years, beginning in the pre-Internet era. Indeed, this is the third edition, published in 2008, but Chapter 30 on "do-it-yourself publicity" makes no mention of web-based publicity outlets. No Facebook, Twitter, blogs, social media, podcasts, giveaways, no mention whatsoever of the way books have been publicized for the last 15 years. Just the dubious advice to hold signings (useless unless you're famous) and send out press releases.

Similarly, Chapter 17, "I Need an Agent!", after the usual simplistic discussion, directs us to books listing agents. These may still be valuable, but MOST agents these days insist on being queried only by email, and there are websites listing agents and writers' experiences with them. Harold warns us that agents don't like "being offered a manuscript that's dog-earned from making the rounds"; when, again, most agents today look only at digital submissions.

When it comes to the self-publishing chapter, Harold dips a toe into the ocean of the web and mentions xlibris.com and iuniverse.com, then immediately says he does NOT endorse what they do. Further on he recommends lulu.com, about which we hear nothing but negative reports. No mention whatsoever of Amazon's free-to-upload POD outfit, CreateSpace, or free-to-upload Kindle ebooks, or Sony, or Apple, or Smashwords, or Amanda Hocking, or...

For its simplistic, superficial overview of the publishing business, and its advice pertinent to a prior century, this one gets two stars.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a Must Read for Newbies, March 19, 2010
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This review is from: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Children's Books, 3rd Edition (Paperback)
This book has been a God send as I try to submit my first Children's book for publishing. It has kept me from making many mistakes that would've branded me as not knowing what I was doing! Now I feel more confident to make an educated submission! Thanks for the good information.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars required reading in my UCLA Extension classes, October 1, 2008
This review is from: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Children's Books, 3rd Edition (Paperback)
I have taught a class called Writing Picture Books for Children at UCLA Extension for over a decade, and I require every one of my students to read this book for my class.

It not only presents a broad overview of the field, but also gives specific examples. The book is packed with terrific boxed extras like "Vocabulary Lists", which explain terms from the children's publishing industry; "Class Rules", which detail warnings and cautions; "Can You Keep a Secret?", which include tips and resources to help a children's writer or illustrator present him or herself as a pro; and my favorite, "Playground Stories", which are anecdotes from and profiles of children's authors and publishers which give an eye-opening inside view of the children's publishing world.

This book should be on the shelf of everyone in the field of children's publishing. No, not on the shelf--on the desk, and open.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful resource, April 9, 2010
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This review is from: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Children's Books, 3rd Edition (Paperback)
I'm about halfway through this book and thrilled with the amount of information in it. I had already taken a writing course so I was already familiar with some of the information but this book goes into much more detail than my course did. It provides lots of information and resources. I would recommend it for anyone trying to write for children. There are also a few chapters for those who wish to illustrate for children. Great book.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great resource, December 16, 2008
By 
Sudakshina Piercy "lipikar" (Colorado Springs, Colorado) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Children's Books, 3rd Edition (Paperback)
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Children's Books, 3rd Edition (Complete Idiot's Guide to) is a great resource for beginning children's book authors. I found information verifiable from my own Internet searches from the very first chapter. The book is readable, concise, and informative without being condescending. A thumbs-up for this book!
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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Children's Books, 3rd Edition
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Children's Books, 3rd Edition by Harold D. Underdown (Paperback - May 6, 2008)
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