Writing Text or Rhyming Verse for Children's Picture Books
Dealing With Rejection
Most writers want to have their writing acknowledged and published in some form. It may be your desire to write a novel, or book of poetry, short story, recipe book, script for a play, or a variety if articles as a freelance or ghostwriter. Whatever form your writing takes the ultimate goal is to be successful and to preferably make money doing what you love.
For quite some time now I have been submitting poems and short stories for competitions and to be considered for inclusion into published collections. Each time I have met with rejection or received no reply at all. After awhile this can drain your inspiration and be somewhat ego deflating.
Well I have read numerous articles by experienced writers and their common advice is not to be discouraged by rejection letters and bad reviews, just follow you passion and keep writing. The more you write and read, the more your writing will improve. Your poem, article or story may not be what every publisher is looking for but there will be someone out there for who it is just perfect.
Persistence Pays Off
Recently I read an article by a friend of mine and fellow Hubber, Bill Russo (Billrrr) titled "500 Words About Nothing". In comments we were discussing Dan Hurley and his amazing 60 second novels (Read the hub to find out more) and I said I'd have to try something similar with poetry eg. busk on the street and offer to write a random poem on any subject in 60 seconds.
On Sunday, April 24, 1983, at about 2 p.m., I carried my 28 -pound 1953 Royal typewriter and a folding chair through the stiff wind of Chicago's Michigan Avenue
Alice – a girl who can turn anything into a musical instrument.
When Alice was born, she was like any other little girl in the world.
She grows up in a happy family where her parents love her so much.
When she turns five, she realises she can turn anything into a musical instrument.
She touches her clothes, it makes sounds.
Then she touches her mother's clothes, it makes sounds.
She touches her father's tools in the garden, they make even louder sounds.
She runs away and cries, she thinks she is a monster.
She has trouble making friends, they think she is strange.
Then her parents hug her, “Darling, it's a gift. No one else has that gift. Just use it wisely.”
Then Alice runs out into the very big garden, touching many flowers to play as many songs as possible.
Bill suggested I take a look at 'fiverr' a site where you advertise to provide 'gigs' or a service for $5. That may not sound like a lot of money, but compared to what you can make on Hub Pages for writing a poem, article etc it was worth taking a look at.
Anyway I had a look at the site and decided to join. I set up a gig offering to write a poem (up to 200 words) for any occasion for $5.00. I expected people to possibly want original one-off poems for birthdays or special occasions but my first customer said he wanted someone to write a poem to be the text for a children's picture book he was going to publish. He said that he couldn't write it himself because English isn't his first language and he isn't a poet.
I contacted him and said if it was for the main text of a book I would have to charge more than $5.00, and he agreed to pay $5.00 per page, and being a picture book only required four lines of verse per page. He gave me a link to the style of book he had in mind and an outline of the story he wanted to turn into verse. In return, I gave him a link to some of my poetry on Hub Pages and luckily he was impressed.
The book will have ten pages containing verse, so at four lines per page, that comes to $50 for a 40 line poem. He actually paid $5.00 for the fiverr gig and paid me another $50 for the entire poem through PayPal. After I sent him the first verse he was so pleased he couldn't wait to see the entire poem and quickly paid the balance. As well as this he has agreed to give me acknowledgement as a co-author (converting the story to verse) and to pay a percentage on each book sold.
A Book Similar to This..
An artist (digital art studio) has been commissioned to do the illustrations to my verse. I checked out their website and am very impressed by their work.
I told the book's creator that as the story is his idea he should choose the title, but he asked me to do that as well. I think it will be "Alice, the Girl Who Could Turn Everything into Music." It sounds a little long, but it's basically what he wanted.
He advised me that he already has an idea for his next book as soon as the publishing of this one is under way, and wants me to write the verse for it as well.
Below is the poem I wrote to meet his story guidelines. Originally I had only included a few selected verses but as I was never given a contract to sign and still haven't been contacted further regarding the books publishing date I have again included the entire poem. If and when I find out it is published I will remove it from here if required and link the book here. I hope you enjoy it.
Alice, the Girl Who Could Turn Everything into Music
by John Hansen © 2014
When Alice was born
There was nothing amiss,
Just a normal baby girl
To hug and to kiss.
Her parents were happy
With their only child.
They showed Alice love
And she constantly smiled.
Then on her 5th birthday
It was quite a surprise,
All she touched turned to music
In front of her eyes.
Alice looked pretty
In her polka-dot dress,
Each spot played a tune
Wherever she pressed.
In her excitement
Alice ran to her mum.
But when she touched Mummy’s dress
It beat like a drum.
Daddy’s tools in the garden shed
Made such a loud noise,
It scared little Alice
And she ran back inside.
Alice hid in the corner
Escaping her fears.
She thinks she’s a monster,
Crying little girl tears.
Alice tries to make friends
But they all think her strange.
Everything that she touches
Has a musical range.
“Darling you’re special!”
Mum and Dad say with love,
“Just use your powers wisely,“
It’s a gift from above.”
Alice skipped to the garden,
Pretty flowers all in bloom.
She played piano on petals,
And made beautiful tunes.
It just goes to show that there are other ways of getting your writing discovered and published other than the traditional methods. My advice is to promote your writing in as many different places as you can, like Hub Pages, Facebook and Google+ etc. Join and advertise your skills on sites like 'fiverr.com' and you never know what might happen. Just be patient and persistent.
Great news! I was just contacted by the same author with an idea for a second book. This time an interactive book for iPads and iPhones etc with a built in game. It will probably be called "Monty the Monkey". I have already written the text (been paid) and he loves it. Can't wait to get copies of these books when they are published and for sale.
The first book has had the artwork done and is almost ready to be published.
Recent Updates: More Books
Over a year has passed since I wrote this article and I am now writing children's books on an almost weekly basis. One book I am working on for a client has a truck theme and involves me writing 50-word poems about each of 40 different trucks and tractors.
The client supplies the name and info about four trucks at a time which I turn into poetry and submit before she sends me the next four trucks. This pays $20 for each 200 words, and that is fine by me.
I have probably ghost written over 20 children's picture books by now.
You do get requests by people wanting you to do almost unbelievable amounts of work for virtually nothing. For instance, I recently had a request asking me to write an 8000-word children's eBook, choose the subject and title, and produce and publish the eBook.
Then came the shocker. "Will you do all that for $5.00?" I politely declined, saying that at $5.00 per 100 words (which is now my going rate) it would cost $400.00. I haven't heard any more from that client. If I was going to do all that I would publish the book under my own name as author.
More by this Author
An overview of the 1968 novel "The Left Hand of Darkness" by Ursula Le Guin, as well as a poem I wrote inspired by the title but which I called "The Right Hand of Darkness"
A guide for those of you who, like me, are addicted to the written word in hold in your hand, page turning 'book' form. Old school paperback or hard-cover in preference to new e-book technology.
A simple guide to teaching yourself to draw, or at least improving your drawing ability by utilising/training the right (artistic) side of your brain.