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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Children's Books, 3rd Edition (Complete Idiot's Guides (Lifestyle Paperback)) Paperback – May 6, 2008
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--Laurie Halse Anderson, author of Speak, Fever 1793, and Twisted
Having worked as both editor and author, Harold Underdown is a knowledgeable and sympathetic guide to the often bewildering world of writing and publishing books for young people. The Complete Idiots Guide to Publishing Childrens Books is encouraging without pandering, realistic but not pessimistic, thorough and generous. I wish this book had been around when I first started out!
--Linda Sue Park, Newbery Medalist
What a thorough and useful book! A guided tour of childrens book and magazine publishing that never skips a step. For seasoned writers and illustrators it is valuable. For beginners, it is essential. I learned plenty!
--Gail Carson Levine, Newbery Honor winner
My life would have been much easier if The Complete Idiots Guide to Publishing Childrens Books had been available when I was getting started! It covers the whole territory--though I particularly like the sections on revision and the publishing maze. Consider it your cheat-sheet to the world of childrens publishing.
--Cynthia Leitich Smith, fiction author and owner of Cynsations
With each new edition, this amazing resource gets better and better. Just when you think Harold has said all that can be said to help writers understand the complex world of childrens publishing, he offers something new. An eye-opening tool for new writers, and a vital support to any writing career, this book always perches near the top of my reference pile so I can snatch it quickly to find the answers I need. If you truly want to understand this business, this books for you.
--Jan Fields, author and owner of Kid Magazine Writers
More About the Author
Harold enjoys teaching, and in that role wrote The Complete Idiot's Guide to Children's Book Publishing, now in its third edition. He founded and runs "The Purple Crayon," a respected web site with information for writers and illustrators about the children's publishing world at http://www.underdown.org/. He speaks and gives workshop through the Highlights Foundation, SCBWI's national and regional conferences, and Kid's Book Revisions (offering online and on-site tutorials and workshops in partnership with Eileen Robinson).
As an in-house editor, he worked at Macmillan, Orchard, and Charlesbridge, and has experience in trade and educational publishing. Among the books he has edited are Yumi Heo's One Afternoon, Larry Pringle's and Bob Marstall's An Extraordinary Life, Lisa Rowe Fraustino's Ash, Grace Lin's The Ugly Vegetables, and Sneed Collard's and Michael Rothman's The Forest in the Clouds. He is also the editor for the Young Patriots Series, published by Patria Press.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was a gift to a friend (a gag gift of sorts) She loved it so I'm happy!Published 6 days ago by Casceil123
Harold Underdown is one of the stars of children's book editors, and it shows in this volume.Published 3 months ago by Busy Teacher and Parent
It is ok. I think the information was fairly good, just not laid out or orgainized in a smooth, interesting and helpful manner. Sorry. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Holly Friesen
This book is so full of useful information that it might take me all summer to review it all. I am a children's storybook writer and can use a great deal of the information this... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Linda Mason
Total waste of money. Just get all your info off the internet for free.Published 9 months ago by Idaho Dave
Yes! This is SUCH a huge resource file! It literally covers every aspect of the publishing business, from start to finish. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Wayne Cash