You Only Get One Chance to Make a First Impression

I’ve used the comment, “You only get one chance to make a first impression,” to try to make self published right writers realize they shouldn’t expect their books to be edited by readers. I’ve tried to be supportive of other self published writers but unfortunately, and I don’t mean to sound like I’m the great expert, the majority of the writing was quite poor. When I offered to give suggestions on how to improve their writing, they weren’t interested. They are all too busy trying to promote mediocre or poor writing. It’s frustrating because it floods the market with junk and readers get turned off self published books. I myself got on board with the free downloads at Amazon only to erase 90% of them by page 5.

I was a grade school teacher for 33 years and have worked with children in various volunteer capacities throughout my life. I’m a mother and grandmother and have degrees in English and Primary-Junior-Intermediate education. During those 33 years, I was a teacher librarian for 10. Children’s books have been my life.

I respect how difficult it is to write quality picture book. I draw a parallel to poetry; it may be short but every word has to pack a punch. I offered to critique children’s writing for free on my blog, an offer that I personally would jump at, and had no takers.

Why do people assume that writing is easy? Why do writers assume they need no special training or feedback (other than from family and friends) in order to produce a quality children’s book? I would love to be part of a support group for children’s self published writers, but without a gatekeeper it can be very detrimental to your career to link yourself with people who don’t put in the necessary work. I even read a post by someone who did NaNoWriMo [wrote the first draft of a novel in the month of November] and then published it in the middle of December!

I’ve had numerous short pieces published the traditional way and several books published by a small press that went out of business. This may have given me an advantage in that I’ve had to meet certain standards with my writing, learn to accept criticism, and learn to work with an editor. It has motivated me to take courses, listen to podcasts, watch videos, attend workshops, participate in online classes, and read every decent book on writing I could find. This should be the norm for anyone wanting excellence in their work but, sadly, it seems not to be, especially in the area of writing for children.

Bonnie Ferrante: Books For All Ages


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