Tag Archives: Children’s Book

WV Writers Contest F.A.Q. #46

Continuing the series of Frequently Asked Questions about the West Virginia Writers, Inc., Annual Writing CompetitionsTo see all of the questions, please click HERE.

QUESTION:  Your rules ask for a synopsis of a children's book. If my book is entire in its entry form, does it require a synopsis?

ANSWER:   If your work is complete, you won't need a synopsis.  The synopsis requirement is mostly aimed at middle grade children's novels that might have to be excerpted.

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WV Writers Contest F.A.Q. #41

Continuing the series of Frequently Asked Questions about the West Virginia Writers, Inc., Annual Writing CompetitionsTo see all of the questions, please click HERE.

QUESTION:  Is photography considered “artwork”. I want to make sure that if I submit photos within my stories, it won’t be disqualified.

ANSWER:  Photography would be considered artwork and would qualify if included.

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WV Writers Contest F.A.Q. #22

Continuing the series of Frequently Asked Questions about the West Virginia Writers, Inc., Annual Writing Competitions.  To see all of the questions, please click HERE.

QUESTION:  I am planning to enter the Children's Book category and would like expanded definitions of the Picture book/First Reader/ Middle Grade categories. What is a Picture Book exactly? Or a First Reader? Or A Middle Grade book?

ANSWER:  Great question.   

Picture books are children's books that rely heavily on illustrations to help tell the story. They can have few words or many, but illustrations are a heavy component.  Examples of this would be The Cat in the Hat, Where the Wild Things Are, and Walter the Farting Dog.

First Reader books are, according to KidLit.com, "the earliest “chapter” stories that a kid can get. They’re very short in terms of manuscript length (1,500 words max) but are broken up into either chapters or vignettes that will give the reader the feeling of reading a book with real chapters in it. Your target audience for these is kids ages 4 to 8. Early readers feature a smaller trim size, some the size of or slightly bigger than a paperback novel, and can go from about 32 to 60 pages. The font size is smaller and they feature spot illustrations in either color or black and white instead of full color throughout, like a picture book. Some examples of early readers: LING AND TING: NOT EXACTLY THE SAME by Grace Lin (Little, Brown, 2010), the HarperCollins I Can Read! books, and the Random House Step Into Reading books."

Middle Grade books are, according to FromtheMixedUpFiles.com, "intended for readers ages 8-12, with the protagonist at the higher end of the age range.  The reason for this:  while an 8-year-old would have no problem reading about a 12-year-old protagonist, a 12-year-old may be reluctant to read a book about an 8-year-old.  Subject Matter: MG readers are learning about who they are, what they think, and where they fit in. They do well with books they can relate to. They are still focused inward and the conflicts in MG books usually reflect this. The themes can range from school situations, friendships, relationships with peers and siblings, and daily difficulties that may seem ordinary to the rest of us. The parents are usually seen and have some sort of an influence. Kids at this age are also easily distracted,  so you want a faster pace and short chapters.  Word Count:  Middle Grade used to be 20,000-40,000 words, some say around 50,000 words."

And while we're in the teen-lit topic area...

Young Adult books, according to FromtheMixedUpFiles.com "deal with underlying themes and more complicated plots. It allows teens to examine deeper issues, what their role in life is, the differences a person can make, the importance of relationships, coping with tragedy, etc.  Protagonists are usually searching for their identity, figuring out who they are as an individual and where they fit in. These books generally are more gritty and realistic and the teens choices and actions drive the story. You see less parental influence.  Young Adult word count is generally more around 55,000 to 80,000 words."  

Young Adult books may be submitted to our Book Length Prose category.

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WV Writers Contest F.A.Q. #3

Continuing the series of Frequently Asked Questions about the West Virginia Writers, Inc., Annual Writing Competitions.  To see all of the questions, please click HERE.

QUESTION:  I would like to submit a children's book manuscript for the WV Writers contest.  How are such manuscripts formatted?  I don't have an illustrator, so do I need to describe the illustrations I would like?  How many pages should it be?  Help!

ANSWER:  Great question.  You may have a great idea for a children's picture book, but unless you do some research, you may not know how to format it.  To answer this question, I've turned to award-winning children's book writer Anna Egan Smucker.

Anna writes:

    To answer your question, children's picture books are submitted as just the words (unless someone is also an extremely talented illustrator like Chris Van Allsburg). The major publishers are the ones who find the illustrators for their books. With a good picture book manuscript, the editor will be able to "see" the pictures in the author's words.

An excellent and quite comprehensive site for information on writing for children is www.haroldunderdown.org . In the following link Underdown explains the following genres Picture Books and Easy Readers Other links on the site deal with the middle grade and young adult genres.

Hope this helps!
         
    All the best,

Anna Smucker

Again, if you have an illustrator, you're welcome to send photocopies of the art for your book along with your entry.  But traditionally with major publishers, as Anna points out, art is not accepted and is therefore completely optional.

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