Writing Text or Rhyming Verse for Children's Picture Books

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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

Suggested Story-line

Alice – a girl who can turn anything into a musical instrument.

Page 1:

When Alice was born, she was like any other little girl in the world.

Page 2:

She grows up in a happy family where her parents love her so much.

Page 3:

When she turns five, she realises she can turn anything into a musical instrument.

Page 4:

She touches her clothes, it makes sounds.

Page 5:

Then she touches her mother's clothes, it makes sounds.

Page 6:

She touches her father's tools in the garden, they make even louder sounds.

Page 7:

She runs away and cries, she thinks she is a monster.

Page 8:

She has trouble making friends, they think she is strange.

Page 9:

Then her parents hug her, “Darling, it's a gift. No one else has that gift. Just use it wisely.”

Page 10:

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.

This is a sample of work by the artist who will probably illustrate the book.
This is a sample of work by the artist who will probably illustrate the book. | Source
Source

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.

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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.

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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.

Promote Yourself

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.

Another Book

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.

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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.

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61 comments

DealForALiving profile image

DealForALiving 2 years ago from Earth

You have really good rhyming abilities. It's something I tried to get a hang of in high school when I wrote poetry, but it turns out I'd rather just write prose without rhyming.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hi DealForALiving, rhyming's not for everyone but I generally find it easier than writing prose. Growing up with Dr Seuss books may have helped. Thanks for reading and commenting.


Sam Tumblin profile image

Sam Tumblin 2 years ago from Eunice, La.

Good article, glad it's working out for you.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Sam, at the moment things seem to be...touch wood.


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

Excellent helpful hub. I need to give it more of a try. I make them up for my kids but it has been an oral tradition.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hi Eric, yes write down those bedtime stories and maybe you can make a book out of them. Thanks for the kind comment, glad this was helpful.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

Great advice. Promoting is what most writers are horrible at, but we really do need to take advantage of the many opportunities available. Oh, and of course, I loved the poem. Have a great weekend, John.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Promoting has always been my weak point Bill. Even when I used to go for job interviews I found it hard to talk about my abilities and why I should be hired in preference to others. It's been the same with promoting my writing, but I'm finally starting to get better at that. Thanks for reading as always and glad you liked the poem too. I hope to have a good weekend and you make sure you do as well. p.s. your hub about how to attract comments is gong viral with comments...haha


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England

Well done, John! You're onto a winner here so I hope it's the start of a huge range for you. Love the poem. It's funny how chance encounters come up with such good things. It's when you seek out possibilities that those chances arise though so not all luck.

This is a good message to all writers. If we keep at it and explore all avenues we'll be rewarded. I'm impressed!

Ann


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks so much Ann. It was a huge surprise to me as I only joined fiverr expecting to get the odd gig paying $5...but you never know what might happen. You just have to be in the right place at the right time with all the planets aligned...haha. Glad you liked the poe too


RachaelOhalloran profile image

RachaelOhalloran 2 years ago from United States

This is quite an opportunity! Kudos to you!

I tried out fiverr, but alas my talents lie elsewhere. I'm glad it is working out for you - and a byline too! Hoot!

It was a great poem, but I wonder if the potential new owner wants it in print yet since it will be part of his book? It was just something that came to mind. I love picture books for children and your poem will be a great asset to the book. Love the rhyming!


Eric Flynn profile image

Eric Flynn 2 years ago from Providence, Rhode Island

Love the idea of an artistic gift looked at as a curse and then finding freedom in creation and expression. Great piece.

EWF


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean

Congratulations, Jodah. So there are opportunities out there. I'm sure you'll get some other gigs. What an inspiration!


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

How fantasic for you! How could he not love your delightful poem. I do hope this opens up a world of opportunities for you. You are one wtiter who one can tell who truly loves writing. It is in your blood to write and it is apparent this is the case. Thank you for sharing this new opportunity with us here so that we may all check it out too. You are a wonderful encourager. Up++++ and will share everywhere once I arrive home this evening. God bless you.


word55 profile image

word55 2 years ago from Chicago

That's huge Jodah. I'm glad that you landed such a writing gig. You should make a few millions $$$ :-)


always exploring profile image

always exploring 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

I loved your poem about Alice, such a clever idea! I still think your series, ' Between the floors ' would make a really good children's book. I am happy for you, you're bound to go places with your writing skill and gift of poetry.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida

Congratulations, John! You have a knack for writing children's stories and poetry. Mixing the two is perfect for you!


DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Great stuff here and with such lovely photos. You always have fantastic ideas.


mothersofnations profile image

mothersofnations 2 years ago

Great article, very helpful and encouraging!

Voted up!

God bless you...


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hey Rachael, thanks for your comment. I agree fiverr's not for everyone but glad I gave it a try. I thought about whether I should out the poem here, but it should be ok. If and when the book is published I will remove the poem from here if he wants, or at least plug the book to promote sales. Glad you like the rhyme of the poem.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank Eric, for your support and kind comment. Yes I liked the simple but effective story line too.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you MsDora, I hope it encourages others to just keep promoting their work. Opportunities arise when you least expect it.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you dear Faith, you have been a great encourager for me. Yes please give 'fiverr' a look. It's not for everyone, but another concept to consider. I appreciate the vote up and share.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks word55....a few million $$$.... I wish. :)


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks Ruby. 'Between the Floors'...I combined those three hubs into one story and put it on a book publishing site for review and editing with the hope of future publishing. The reviews were very discouraging. I have changed a few things based on advice but still a lot of work to do. I think it needs pictures accompanying the text which it doesn't have there. Maybe I need to add some poetry to the story :) I do appreciate your encouragement.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks so much Shauna. Maybe you are right. Much appreciated.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Devika. I try to come up with new ideas all the time. Some work, some don't.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

There's your name again "motherofnations" :) I am so honoured when another hubber likes my writing enough to visit more than one of my hubs in a day. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, I am glad my writing appeals to you. Blessings.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

Jodah, this is fantastic ! What a great way to get your work published. Your advice on not giving up is great -- it reminds me of what Joeseph Campbell said, "Find your bliss and follow it." Very well done, Jodah. You know your bliss and are dedicated to it. I have been thinking about Fiver and now am going give it a try. Thank you so much.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hi Phyllis, I never expected to get anything like this out of fiverr, so quickly anyway. After being a member for 30 days and selling 10 gigs for $5 you can add extras and multiple gigs so you can make more than $5 from one, but I was lucky to find a customer who wanted more than just a simple poem and was willing to pay for it....and it was my first gig! I had just joined the previous day. You should give it a try.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

Jodah love the creativity of this hub including the poem and the functionality of it.. bravo my friend


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks Frank, yes just thought I'd share my experience. Glad you enjoyed the hub


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks Frank, yes just thought I'd share my experience. Glad you enjoyed the hub


Marie Flint profile image

Marie Flint 2 years ago from Jacksonville, FL

Congratulation on the hire, Jodah. The confirmation that a talent is appreciated by someone enough to be willing to reward you monetarily before the work is actually completed has to be a boost to your writing career. Bravo!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks Marie, yes I was surprised myself. I gave him a link to some of my Hub Page poetry and he said was amazed to have found such a good poet on fiverr. I told him that if he wasn't happy with the poem I produced I would alter it, but he was thrilled with the finished product and felt it was ready to publish without any changes. Said he already wanted me to do the text for his next book as well.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

Awesome, John! I love your persistence! Great job!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Flourish, I'm no quitter...haha. "If at first you don't succeed....."


Anna Haven profile image

Anna Haven 2 years ago from Scotland

Congratulations Jodah. I am glad your hard work is paying off and I do love a success story. :)


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Anna, I appreciate your congratulations and We just have to wait and see what transpires.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

A big congratulations to you, Jodah. Thanks for sharing the great news.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Alicia, much appreciated.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York

Oh I'm so proud! How nice to know an actual author of a book to be printed....I know, I know others here but you're a first timer and it is just wonderful. So nice ot see your talents acknowledged and encouraging for the rest of us. Love your "poem" and the illustrations.

Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hey thank you tillsontitan, it is quite exciting. I can't wait to see the finished product. Things can happen when you least expect it. Thanks for the vote up too.


midget38 profile image

midget38 2 years ago from Singapore

Children's lit is an area I have always been interested in. Thanks for the tips!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Glad this helped midget38. Good luck getting into children's literature.


Paula Atwell profile image

Paula Atwell 2 years ago from Cleveland, OH

I have so many good memories of Dr. Seuss rhymes to this day. I recite them to my teenage kids a lot, and then they give me the "Oh, mom!" look. :) Children cannot read enough.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

I am the same Paula. I love to read a book to the children if it has rhyming verse like Dr Seuss....other story books written in prose not so much. Whatever they can embrace though is important because they need to be introduced to the joys of reading. Thank you for reading this hub.


Paula Atwell profile image

Paula Atwell 2 years ago from Cleveland, OH

@Jodah Besides it is so much fun to embarrass my teenagers. ;)


Athlyn Green profile image

Athlyn Green 2 years ago from West Kootenays

Meter can be tricky when trying to work with poetic feet; rhyme is somewhat easier.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

I just did get the notice for this in my email and I can see it has been here awhile!

Well I am so thrilled for you; I know it would be wonderful getting all that if you didn't get a dime! You deserved it and may this just be your beginning which I am sure is true! ^+


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Haha Paula, so true.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Yes, rhyme is usually easier than metre Athlyn. Thanks for reading.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for reading Jackie and for your well wishes. I'll just have towait and see what happens. :) Not counting my chickens.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 2 years ago

Good writing and poetry. I love the Aliens and Underwear book -- how funny. WE all need every advantage as writers in promoting our work.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you teaches12345, for your kind comment,

yes the Aliens and Underpants book is funny. This was my first opportunity to get some of my work published so we'll see what happens.


PurvisBobbi44 profile image

PurvisBobbi44 24 months ago from Florida

Hi Jodah,

Another interesting hub and I love your poetry and the way your write, especially the Avon story. Keep going forward and soar to the stars.

Have a great Sunday.

Bobbi Purvis


Jodah profile image

Jodah 24 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for your kind words of support Bobbi. You have a great Sunday too.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 23 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Just finished the text for a second children's book....yeah! Things are looking up.


Athlyn Green profile image

Athlyn Green 22 months ago from West Kootenays

One of the reasons why most rhymed verse gets rejected is because while it may rhyme, the meter is off. One has to also consider the stressed and unstressed syllables in each poetical foot.

For example, Twinkle twinkle, little star ... is a perfect pattern of stress/unstressed/stress/unstressed/stress.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 22 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Ok thanks for that Athlyn.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 22 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Ok thanks for that Athlyn.

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