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Children's W & A | Reviews

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Children’s Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook 2005

A & C BlackClick for A & C Black Publishers Publishers References listing

 

 

 To buy the Children's Writers' and  Artists' Yearbook

 

'A & C Black have done the most sensible thing in the world and brought out the first edition of the Children's Writers' and Artists' Yearbook.'

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

'But as I noted earlier, the children's publishing world is a very varied world, with many different specialities lurking under the innocuous heading 'children's', and the Yearbook does a great job in helping you explore them.'

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

'a fantastically valuable resource for anyone who wants to venture into this highly specialised area of publishing'

Almost everyone who has had even the vaguest idea at some point of becoming a writer has a copy of the Writers' and Artists' Yearbook lurking somewhere on the bookshelves. It might be the most recent edition, it might be years old, but it sits there, be it a statement of intent or a well-thumbed reference work. It's difficult to imagine how the writing and publishing worlds got along without it. But while it's true that the Yearbook manages to be most things to all people, the nature of publishing shifts year by year, and there are some parts of the jungle that need their own rough guides. Given the soaring interest, post-Pullman, post-Rowling, in writing for children, A & C Black have done the most sensible thing in the world and brought out the first edition of the Children's Writers' and Artists' Yearbook.

At a glance, it looks like a slimline version of its stablemate, with reassuringly familiar typography on the cover. Inside, however, there's a whole new world of lists and guides and advice to explore. Some elements of the world are reasonably familiar to anyone who has written or published work for adults, with maybe a slight twist. But children's publishing can take on so many different aspects – there are more opportunities, for example, for publishing heavily illustrated books, or educational texts, and the variety of potential formats can be quite bewildering: board books, pop-up books, early readers. It really is a jungle out there.

Which is not to say that the Children's Writers' and Artists' Yearbook is going to take the prospective author gently by the hand and steer him or her round the pitfall, mind that large, scary animal lurking behind the tree, turn left at the ants' nest over there, throw a six, and lo, there is your book, all neatly published. It's not what the Yearbook is about. In common with its older sibling, the Yearbook deals primarily in information. It's then up to you the reader to use that information as constructively as possible. And there's an awful lot of it to work with. I for one didn't realise there were so many publishers handling children's books, but the Yearbook has a list of them, with comments on what they're looking for, and what they're not looking for. (Always pay attention to that bit.)

But as I noted earlier, the children's publishing world is a very varied world, with many different specialities lurking under the innocuous heading 'children's', and the Yearbook does a great job in helping you explore them. There's an extensive section on illustrating books for children, another on writing for film, television and radio, and for the theatre. And poetry. For that matter, there are listings of courses focusing on how to write for children, right next to the highly encouraging section on prizes.

And because, although this is not a how-to book, the editors are nevertheless good and decent people who want to help writers get along, there are words of wisdom and encouragement from a number of people involved in children's publishing, including, perhaps inevitably, J.K. Rowling. The majority of the articles are summaries of what different parts of the industry tend to be looking for in terms of, say, 'humour for children' or 'teenage fiction', alongside the almost mandatory 'how I got my book into print' stories. If I have one slight cavil with this Yearbook, it is that the encouraging words from authors can be faintly irritating because, of course, they've succeeded in getting published. They may have sent the manuscript out numerous times, but the fact remains that in a bookshop, not so far away, their book is on the shelf, and yours is not. And curiously, this is not always as encouraging as it might seem.

Nonetheless, this book is going to be a fantastically valuable resource for anyone who wants to venture into this highly specialised area of publishing, and I congratulate A & C Black for having had the wit to recognise the need for a specialist publication to sit alongside the ubiquitous Writers' and Artists' Yearbook on the shelf.

Reviewed by Maureen Kincaid SpellerMaureen Kincaid Speller a reviewer, writer, editor and former librarian, is our book reviewer and also works for WritersServices as a freelance editor.

 

© Maureen Kincaid Speller 2004

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List price: £12.99
Publisher: A & C Black Publishers Ltd
2004-08-15
Paperback
Sales rank: 3,508,933