6 Tips for Writing Children’s Books

It’s common to think how easy it must be to write children’s books, dreaming of a shiny pile of colourful book covers, hoping that your children’s book is the one that parents roll their eyes at because their children ask for it again and again and again! Well, the bad news is that it is NOT that easy. Here are six tips I wrote for Ingram Spark’s blog, to help you navigate the world of writing children’s books:

https://www.ingramspark.com/blog/6-tips-for-writing-childrens-books

Library Lending Rights

The National Library of Australia in Canberra houses a collection of 10 million items.

GET PAID TO HAVE YOUR BOOK IN THE LIBRARY

Did you know that the Australian library system can pay you a small ‘royalty’ for books held in a library?

As libraries make each copy of your book available to many readers without charge, you miss out on selling those extra books.  So the Lending Rights scheme redresses that in a small way, by paying you approximately $2.11 for each book held in a library.

The details:

  • All Australian public libraries are included in the scheme, as well as school, TAFE and university libraries
  • You must have already registered for the National Library’s PDS (previously called CiP) database for your book to be eligible (which you should be doing anyway)
  • The payments are only made once you reach $100 owing to you, so yes, you do need lots of books to be available to qualify for payment
  • If there is more than one creator of your book, you’d have to share the payment with them
  • If you are self publishing, you are the creator AND the publisher, so you might get paid twice!
  • You need to apply within five years of publication
  • The applications for each year close on 31st March, so if you’ve missed that date, do it NOW so you are on the list for next year.

More in depth information can be found at:

https://www.arts.gov.au/funding-and-support/lending-rights.

It’s certainly worth having your book available in libraries, as it spreads the word about your work and can increase traffic to your website and create demand for extra sales. If the library has a demand for your book, they’ll order (and pay for) more copies.  And if a reader loves your book, they may well buy a copy for themselves or a friend. Many people donate their books to libraries for this very reason.

Libraries are one more small way to get your book out into the world, and this scheme allows you to be paid for it.  Why not, indeed.

Newsflash for Australian authors

NLA logo 300dpi square

Yes, this is an Ozpecific post. I’ve invented a word specifically for Aussies!

Did you know that the Cataloguing in Publication service (CiP) has been changed? It’s now called the Prepublication Data Service (PDS). As well as the exciting reduction in keystrokes to type the words, the big change for authors is that the application form is now much simpler and is processed immediately instead of the previous two-week turnaround. 

What’s it all about?

If you are wondering what I’m talking about, the now-PDS is a cataloguing service offered by the National Library of Australia (NLA). It lists forthcoming titles published in Australia, on library databases in Australia and overseas. Libraries, booksellers and the general public can search Trove (https://trove.nla.gov.au) for forthcoming titles. This can, and often does, mean extra book sales! So I encourage all authors to take advantage of this free service. I’m constantly surprised by the sales that come through this service.

What I find a little sad is that the wording that must be included on the Imprint Page of books has changed. Instead of useful information about the book, its various contributors and the subject categories it falls under, we now have a ‘cataloguing statement’, which simply declares that a catalogue entry exists. Slightly less personal, I must say.

Back to the good news

The application form now only requires contributor details, ISBN and publication info, format of publication (eg paperback and eBook) plus a very generic genre selection. No need to upload Contents Page, Introduction or Book Blurb. So the process is certainly less daunting than it used to be.

Oh, and it’s still free! How many services can we say that about?

Visit http://www.nla.gov.au/content/prepublication-data-service to have your book listed. Yes, now, while you are still writing it.

PS If you list your book with PDS, don’t forget to send a copy to the National Library and one to a deposit library in your home state

8 Tips For Writing a Cookbook

8 tips for writing a cookbook

A recipe book is deceptive. It looks so simple: you put together all the recipes you’ve created, add a cover with a delicious photo, and voila! Move over Nigela Lawson! Yes, it’s undeniable that recipe books take less to put together than some other genres, but they still need structure, consistency, and pace.

To achieve this, it’s important to look at what will tie your recipes together, and once you’ve created that framework, focus on the detail of how each recipe is written. Readers have subconscious expectations on how the material in each genre is put together; how it flows, and along which route.

Like a vital ingredient, putting your finger on exactly what is creating the right mix can be difficult, but you will know quickly if it is missing. It’s the same with recipes. They have an unspoken order that allows the reader to flow along, enjoying the creativity, rather than searching frantically through the cupboard for extra ingredients halfway through the flambé.

Knowing these eight little tricks can help you look at your recipes through your reader’s eyes, and fill in the hard-to-spot holes that might be lurking.

Read the full article I wrote for IngramSpark here.