09 Sep We Agree with E.B. White
An aspiring writer named Mike once wrote E.B. White and asked what he needed to do to get his book published. The famous author took some time before he wrote back, but when he did, this was his advice:
“The principal thing (an author) has to do is to write a good book. Then he has to send the manuscript to one publisher after another until he finds one who wants to publish it. I’m glad you liked ‘Stuart Little’ and ‘Charlotte’s Web’ and thanks for writing.”
It may seem as if E.B. White were lazy and didn’t offer Mike much help. But his letter actually reveals exactly what a writer must do to get published.
First, “write a good book.” How does one do that? By reading lots of books like the one you want to write. By educating yourself on the craft of writing and then honing your craft. But mostly, by writing regularly and writing a lot—by writing and writing until you get better and better.
Next, “…send the manuscript to one publisher…” How do you know which publisher to send to? By doing market research in books like Writer’s Market and Book Markets for Children’s Writers. These reference books list what publishers want and don’t want and how to submit to them. Make sure it’s as good a fit as you can determine, then send the story off.
And finally, “…one publisher after another until he finds one who wants to publish it.” If a book doesn’t sell to the first publisher you submit to, send it to a second and a third and maybe even three dozen. Persist in submitting.
Our workbook, Write a Marketable Children’s Book in 7 Weeks, will help you with all these steps–honing your craft, developing a writing plan, doing market research and creating a marketable book. Reviews call it an excellent guide that gives writers what they need without overwhelming them. We hope you’ll give it a try.