“What do you do for a living?”
For me, this is an awkward question to answer. Why? It shouldn’t be. I am very proud that I am a professional photographer of 10 years and counting. I’m even more ecstatic to share that I am an award-winning published author and illustrator of children’s books. That’s just it, I feel awkward about this last part because I feel like I’m bragging, tooting my own horn saying: “look at me I write books!”
That is so NOT how I want to come across as. So, I usually lead with how I went to school for photography and I’ve been professionally shooting since 2008. Then I follow it up with and I’ve been a published author of children’s books since 2013.
It has absolutely nothing to do with feeling embarrassed. I am very proud that I can write, illustrate, and produce quality literature for children that both they, their parents, and schools enjoy. It pays the bills, and most importantly, I am doing something for a living that I truly love!
Whenever it is discovered that I write children’s books, I then wait for one of two questions to follow.
“You write children’s books? I have a children’s book! Can I send it to you?”
“Why do you write kids books? Do you think you’ll try writing something else?”
The first question listed I will address in next week’s blog. I will also share some points that I keep in mind when I write. Perhaps they will be of benefit to any aspiring authors out there reading this blog. For this week, I will answer the second question:
“Why do you write kids books? Do you plan to try writing something else?”
I absolutely love writing books for children! It is a passion of mine. Honestly, does anyone ever ask a pediatrician if they plan to start treating adults? Not to say an author can’t cross genres, or that a pediatrician couldn’t start taking on “big people” as their clients. But simply put, no. I do not plan to try writing something else.
I’m a giant kid at heart, writing books for kids allows me to embrace my inner silliness. It allows me to remember what it was like to grow up.
It’s harder than it looks—but also more fun. Writing for children isn’t easy. Kids will abandon a story that doesn’t interest, enchant, delight, thrill, or terrify them. But when you can find a way into a young reader’s imagination through something as simple as words on paper, well, there’s nothing more satisfying.
Did you know, that kids read more books than adults. A librarian recently told me that reading for pleasure in this country peaks in fifth grade. I believe it. Among my books, the ones that sell best are for readers between the ages of 8 and 12. According to a study by the Association of American Publishers, the largest area of industry growth in 2016 was in the children and young adult category.
I often think of this question: “Why do you write kids books?” Have you ever gardened? I love to garden. There is nothing like eating a home grown tomato fresh off the vine. Seeing the results of your hard word are truly rewarding, wouldn’t you agree? Likewise, being privileged enough to work with countless schools and have a share in inspiring kids with my stories brings a level of bliss I cannot describe.
Knowing that all of the hard work I am putting into my books is being met with eager anticipation causes me to bubble forth with joy. I must say, speaking from personal experience, children’s book authors get the best fan mail. I received a letter three week’s ago from a reader in Sacramento CA, who said my Lorenzo the Bear books were the perfect gift for her niece and nephew. “I just loved how it could teach them to be kind to one another without preaching it at them. But helped them see the importance of looking for the good in one another.” I’m getting misty-eyed. You will, too, when you receive mail like this. But these priceless letters make me feel like what I do matters. And isn’t that what we all want from our work?
What else makes me feel this way? When I get to personally meet up with a fan and their parent to talk about writing and what books they would like to see next in my series’s. I had this privilege last week. I was able to spend part of the afternoon with little P. and her father. We talked about writing and the illustrating process. How she can have a share in helping me draft future stories. Oh man, the way her eyes lit up when I said that. The only thing that topped that was when I presented her with a copy of my newest Little Katie Book. Little Katie Explores the Coral Reefs.
Not only did she hug the book, but she also told several people how she helped write this book. She and her father were BETA readers for me when I was working on this story. So for her, she did help write this book. I listened to her feedback, and made adjustments based on suggestions.
I listed here just a few reasons why I enjoy being a children’s author. Why do you enjoy reading children’s books? Are you an author? Why do you enjoy the genere you write? Leave a comment below sharing your rights why.
Next week, as promised, I will share a few tips I have found beneficial to writing picture books. Until next week, happy writing!