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I want to:
Write for Children and Teenagers
Writing for children is an exceptionally creative and worthwhile endeavour. Whether you aim
to pen tales for your own children, or inspire future generations with the next best-seller,
writing for children is all about the audience.
About the genre
Children’s literature is made up of stories for children, ranging from books for babies through
to books for children of up to the age of 12. These books are often illustrated and both the
pictures and the words are used to tell the story. Depending on the target age group the
length of the book may vary from a few pages up to 150 pages. Categories of children’s
literature include board books, picture books, beginner readers, lower and upper primary, or
middle grade fiction.
Young Adult (or YA) literature is aimed at young people, or teenagers, roughly aged 13 to 19.
Young Adult books may range from 30,000 words to 100,000+ words. In recent years, YA
novels have crept up in length, especially in the fantasy genre, and readers have shown an
appetite for longer works. Themes dealt with can include: search for identity, coming of age,
sexual awakening, tolerance, peer groups and belonging, first love, dealing with grief, family
issues and finding one’s independence.
Some books also fall into a cross-over category; books that appeal to both teenagers and
adults alike and generate a wide readership. Examples include Harry Potter, The Obernewtyn
Chronicles, The Twilight Saga, The Book Thief, Catcher in the Rye and To Kill a Mockingbird.
Illustrators
If you are pitching your manuscript to a traditional publishing house it is likely the publisher
will match your work to an illustrator of their choosing, you won’t need to find one yourself.
If you have authored a children’s book and are in search of an illustrator, try beginning your
search with the below resources.
The Style File showcases the work of some of Australia's most talented book illustrators
www.thestylefile.com
Illustrators Australia is a not-for-profit organisation which aims to strengthen the illustration
community while giving professional, practicing members the tools they need to develop fair
and fulfilling relationships with their clients www.illustratorsaustralia.com
If you intend to hire an illustrator, consider how much an illustrator is to be paid, and/or what
percentage of royalties should go to the illustrator. Recommended Rates of Pay for Illustrators
as outlined by the Australian Society of Authors can be found here: http://asauthors.org/bookillustration-rates
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Communities and Opportunities
The Children's Book Council of Australia (CBCA) is a not for profit, volunteer run, organisation
which aims to engage the community with literature for young Australians. The CBCA presents
annual awards to books of literary merit, for outstanding contribution to Australian children's
literature. The CBCA is made up of state branches, these branches work to promote literature
and literacy in their state. The branches each send a representative to the judging panel for the
Book of the Year awards. cbca.org.au
Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) acts as a network for the exchange
of knowledge between writers, illustrators, editors, publishers, agents, librarians, educators,
booksellers and others involved with literature for young people. www.scbwi.org
Centre for Youth Literature (CYL) promotes reading for pleasure for all young people and
champions youth literature across the broader cultural spectrum. It is a national resource and
network, with international connections in the field. www.slv.vic.gov.au/learn/centre-youthliterature
CYA Conference is an annual professional development event for new and established writers
and illustrators of Children’s and Young Adult literature. www.cyaconference.com
Book Links is a non-profit organisation with the goal “to establish a children’s literature centre
in Queensland where young people can interact with authors, illustrators and
storytellers.” www.booklinks.org.au
Still have questions? Contact Queensland Writers Centre on 07 3842 9922
or email [email protected]
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