When Work Becomes Play

For many years, I have been fortunate enough to earn an income partially by reading stories to children.  Now this is probably the best part of my work . I will acknowledge that there are certainly some less tasteful aspects to being a preschool teacher but right now I want to focus on what really makes me love my job.  Reading stories to children is what turns my daily work into what feels like play.

I love to watch them as the story unfolds.  Not every story time is magical but when the mood is just right, the children lean forward waiting on every word.  Their facial expressions change to match the emotion in the story; they laugh and sometimes at the end, they even applaud!

After many years of reading to children, I feel a strong desire to write my own stories.  I enrol in a writing course but it is during the summer and the course gets cancelled.  Still, my calling for writing children’s stories is strong enough that I do a little research about how to write a good story and then I just dive in.

In the end, I am incredibly pleased with my first story and at this point, I have read it aloud (without any illustrations) to a couple of my classes.  I know that they enjoyed the story; I have no doubt.  But now I am faced with a challenge; how do I take this story and make it into a published form of literature?  If there is any one out there with a similar experience; I’d love to hear from you.  Do you have ideas or suggestions?  Where do I go from here?

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4 thoughts on “When Work Becomes Play

  1. Congratulations on taking the plunge and writing your first children’s story – I’ve edited many but still being slow to complete any of my own. Where are you based? I’ve worked for a couple of publishing houses in England and would be happy to give you some advice on the next step (but not sure how similar the process would be if you’re not in the UK).

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    1. Thanks, Julie. I live on Vancouver Island, on the West Coast of Canada. So far, I’m just starting to do some research to figure out the process for publishing and self-publishing. Any thoughts you have would be appreciated recognizing there are likely to be differences between the two countries.

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  2. Hi Cindy, sorry for the slow reply. I heard an interesting talk by Jesse Finkelstein of the Page Two agency (based in Vancouver http://www.pagetwostrategies.com/) at Calgary Public Library a couple of months ago. Her agency helps clients with the traditional publishing route and also advises on self-publishing if that seems a better option. I’m not sure they deal with children’s books, but they might be worth approaching.
    In any case I’d recommend approaching a couple of agencies if you’ve had good feedback and you feel your story is ready – even if they decline to represent you they might be able to provide useful feedback or advice on your next step.
    And whether you pitch to an agency or direct to a publisher I’d include some information in your cover letter about your experience in sharing stories with children (and any previously published writing, even if not in the same genre) and willingness to promote the published book/story through your preschool industry contacts, local libraries etc.
    It also sometimes helps to spell out the exactly where you see the story appearing in stores, eg. this is a charming picture book for preschoolers in a similar style to xxx, or this is a silly rhyming story for toddlers which would sit well with the wacky visuals of an artist such as xxx in a sturdy board book format.
    Or if you think it’s a great story, but not necessarily a stand-alone book, how about trying a children’s magazine (maybe something like Ladybug if it ties in with one of their upcoming themes)?
    Have you had a look at the ‘Writer’s Market’? It’s a US publication, but a lot of it looks like sensible advice that would apply here too. There is also a ‘Canadian Writer’s Market’ but I haven’t read that one so not sure if it’s as useful.
    I don’t know if this is all too general and obvious to be helpful, but I wish you luck!

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  3. Julia, thanks so much for taking the time to give me some ideas for how to proceed! You’ve given me lots to think about. Page Two Agency looks like a really good option for where I’m currently at in this process. I just can’t tell you enough how much I appreciate your thoughts. I have yet to look at the ‘Writer’s Market’ but will check that out next to see if that will be of some help as well. Thanks again!

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