Ever wonder what it takes to write a children’s book? Today you’re going to find out! I am happy to have Madhvi Ramani guest star on the blog today, sharing her insight as a children’s writer.
How Do You Make A Book?
I get asked this question a lot, mostly by 7-year-olds. And like most questions asked by children, it’s a good one. I had never considered the many steps it takes to make a book until my first story Nina and the Travelling Spice Shed was accepted for publication. Yay! I thought. Soon it would be a book! My work was done! Turned out, I was wrong…
Step 1: The Edit
Before submitting my story, I had written and re-written it countless times. I had work-shopped it with my writers group, refined the plot and cut out every extra word until it was so tight it hummed. So imagine my surprise when my editor sent my manuscript back looking like this:
An editor will have always have thoughts on how a story can be improved – after all, that’s their job. It’s worth taking these notes seriously, even if you don’t execute all of them. You know your story better than anyone, so only you can decide which suggestions to take and which to leave. I tend to take most of them, and have found this step really does benefit the story.
Step 2: The Copy Edit
More red lines! Here’s some copy-edited text from my second book Nina and the Kung Fu Adventure.
As you can see, a copy-editor deals with formatting, typos, and spelling and grammar issues. Copy-editors are meticulous, clever people – I’ve learnt a lot from working with them.
When the text is finally ready, a designer sets the manuscript and provides artwork suggestions. For the Nina series – chapter books for children, with black and white illustrations – this is an important step. Again, suggestions and changes are made. For example, we decided to have little birds, instead of chopsticks with a bowl of rice, for the chapter headings.
Step 4: Illustrations and Cover
Now, it’s over to the talented Erica-Jane Waters to work her magic. Like all good things, her illustrations as well as the cover art go through multiple drafts until they become the best they can be. Compare the draft cover of my forthcoming book Nina and the Magical Carnival with the final version.
Lovely, isn’t it?
Step 5: Proof
Once everything is in place, an electronic proof version of the book is created and sent to the editor, a proof-reader, various other people at the publishing house, and myself, so that we can all check it one last time. If everyone is happy, it’s time for…
The Final Steps
There is still a bunch of stuff to do! Over the next weeks, the editor writes a blurb and description of the book for sites such as Amazon, where the book is then listed. An e-book is created. Advanced copies are printed and sent to reviewers, the sales team take orders from buyers working for physical and online outlets and the author gets involved in marketing the book. Finally, the book is printed and hits the stores – phew!
And then it’s time to get cracking on the next book and start the process all over again…
*****About the Books*****
Did you know that Nina’s aunt’s spice shed is a travel machine?
Well neither did Nina – and now she’s head first into a great adventure involving a lost envelope, a charming street thief, a glamorous Bollywood star and a fierce tiger . . .
Nina’s schoolfriend Lee is in trouble, so she must borrow her aunt’s travelling spice shed and head to Beijing. Now they are both on a great adventure involving a kung fu master, a yellow snake and a mysterious riddle . . .
Nina has discovered an amazing secret—her aunt’s spice shed is a travel machine! She can go on wonderful adventures all around the world. Where will she go next?
Nina has to take part in the school talent show in a few days, and she still doesn’t know what to do! When her teacher mentions a magical fantasia that could help, Nina sets off to Brazil in the traveling spice shed to find it. There, she has a great adventure involving a mysterious costume, a samba parade, and a top-secret mission!
*****About the Author*****
Madhvi grew up in London where she studied English Literature and Creative Writing. She likes dark chocolate, blueberries and second-hand bookshops. She lives in Berlin, where she spends her time drinking coffee, making stuff up and speaking terrible German. Her Nina series, for readers aged 7+ are about a feisty little girl who goes on adventures in different countries. Madhvi also writes short stories, screenplays and is currently working on her first novel for teenagers.