I been reviewing books for a quite a while now. In that time I have done it for companies, authors and just for myself.
Reviewing the various genres can be challenging. In fact some reviewers will only review a book in certain genres. Some, like myself, will review anything.
My biggest challenge has always been children’s book. The reason being is one of the companies I review for requires at least 300 words per review. Doing a children’s picture book that you can read in under a minute is challenging.
You have to pull all that you know as an author and reader to find the word count needed. But reviewing children’s book is fun. You are reading a different genre and age group which will help you with your reviewing skills.
Each genre has requirements that makes it fit in the genre it is in. That is what the readers are looking for when they check out the reviews for a book. So it make sense that writers who review will stick to certain genres. It is what they know.
But to me any genre still should have the same requirements. This includes plot, development of characters, time line, loop holes, research that makes sense and more. If you are reading a book that does not have the essentials to what a book should have it does not matter what genre you read it. The results will be the same.
It will be a book that fails regardless what genre it is in and what a reader reviews it.
When I mentioned to someone how much research I was doing for my children’s series what I received in return was a blank stare.
“What do you mean why?” I asked.
What unfolded was frustration on my part that someone thought that children’s book should not be researched on their topics. This blew my mind. It was sadly not the only time I’ve heard this.
My series is based on our rescued and adopted parrot, Jasper, who’s history is from the rainforest. While I know about birds and my birds in particular I certainly only knew the bare minimum about where he was from.
So, yes I researched it. One key example I toss out at people is this. I was looking for a new animal to introduce to the story line. A friend suggested an elephant and how cool that would be. I ran off with this. I ended up writing almost four pages for the scene to unfold.
It only hit me after. Are there elephants in the rainforest? Well, no. So that was wasted time and energy.
I want my readers to enjoy the book and to learn from it. But to do that work is needed to make it accurate. Our children deserve that in my opinion. An author should put as much care into this genre as any other genre. Why is it important for the adults and teens but not them? That is a disservice to children in this age group.
Anyone who writes in this genre are getting the children ready for future reads and genres. Giving them false information just to get the story done, being to lazy to make it worth the time by researching, not feeling they deserve a well rounded book like any other genre and don’t need the attention to detail like others is something I don’t subscribe to.
This is why I research all my genres, the adults and especially the children.
How are children’s authors looked upon? From my experience early on not very well. In fact at one writer’s meeting a fellow author scoffed and said he could write a children’s book in one night. There was nothing to it. I was so stun I did not have a come back remark. Of course after as I was driving home I came up with a lot. This was not the only time I was made to feel this genre was easy peasy.
That ticks me off. According to reports this genre is one of the hardest to write in. You have to write it in a language that is not above their hands or beneath them. The dialogue has to be just right.
Ask a kid to read your book. If they don’t like it by page two they drop it and look for another book. Most adults will at least carry on to the end of the chapter.
My very first children’s book I had kids from a daycare look it over and the reviews were hard to hear but I welcomed them for they gave me what I needed to fix it. Have an adult write a children’s book yeah you can critique it but not through the eyes of a child.
A children’s book is like any other book. You have to have plots, characters and a time line that works together and not fall apart. You still need to revise, edit and revise again. You still need to come up with a cover that shines on your work. You still need to sent it through your beta and critique groups.
But aft all this it finally hit me on how to reply the next time I hear this.
If you think writing a children’s book is so easy go for it. I mean it. Go for it. After we will talk. But only after.