Tuesday, May 17, 2011


I don't expect it's a common misconception, but someone on Twitter recently asked me why, in my recent post, I was telling others not to write kid's books. I wasn't doing any such thing, but to be clear: if you want to write kid's books, write kids books. If you're thinking you might try it only because you assume they're easy to write and easy to publish...don't.

That's all.


Sara O'Leary said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sara O'Leary said...

Trying again - loved this quotation from Mem Fox:
"Writing a picture book is like writing War and Peace in haiku."

Adam Rex said...

That is great, Sara. I hadn't heard that one before.

Hoonie Mamma said...


This blog post is about the tweet I sent you.... im @make4macmillan.

Its hard to put across what I meant on twitter so now that Ive seen that we seem to be missing each others points here is why I tweeted you.

I read your blog post, and ive just read it again. Yes unfortunately I am one of those people who would love some day to write a kids book, and dont worry I am totally realistic about the fact that it may well go unpublished. I dont think it is easy at all, in fact the idea of starting it sort of scares me... But I wanted to do it to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support - I have thyroid cancer - to cut a long story short I started handmaking characters to auction off - starting with sock monkeys... Anyhoo I had planned on writing a kids book around handcrafted characters and made a special secret monkey (i can mail you a pic) to be the protagonist. Then I saw your blog post via the lovely Neil Gaiman - and thought WOAH hang on a minute. This guy is obviously cool - he knows what he is talking about... Maybe my plans to write this book are silly, maybe I should take his advice.

And then I thought about it more and decided to tweet you - what if someone out there saw your blog post - someone who did have an AMAZING kids book in them - and decided not to write it. What if Neil Gaiman saw your blog bfor he started to write and thought yeah mate your right I actually havent got a kids book in me.

Your blog post may have been sarcastic in a way, and maybe I totally read it wrong twice, but its all in the interpretation of the reader?

Anyhow, I just shared your blog to my facebook wall bcos I started making BeeKnee Hoonies, and my friends are telling me I should write a kids book about them, im skeptical and I posted your blog post to explain why I was skeptical and then I found this.

Sorry if I am totally missing the point, but anyway thats why I tweeted you x

Love Clare :)

So all I as trying to say was that

Adam Rex said...

Hi Clare,

I assume you've read my clarification, so I'm not sure what else to tell you. My advice is NOT, as you say in your comment, that your plans to write a kids' book are silly. My advice was directed at those people who think they might write a kids' book just for a laugh, or because it seems easier than their current job. It was particularly directed at those who go on to assume that their dilettante book, about which they care very little, will get published. Because it's just kids' books, after all–why wouldn't someone publish theirs?

In fact, the whole original post was aimed more at those people who know little about kids' books, who haven't read very many, and who have no real interest in writing a kids' book nor in writing in general, but still assume they could do it. It was aimed at those people who assume all kids' books are tripe because they've seen one that is. People who would nonetheless never dream of judging all adult fiction by the worst pocketbook romance, or all the culinary arts by a microwavable TV dinner.

You're worried that my post may have dissuaded someone from writing an amazing book. I sincerely hope that's not the case. I'll admit that I'm not too worried that it is, because anyone who is so easily dissuaded from their dream by a stranger on the internet was probably never all that committed to the dream in the first place. I feel confident that I would not have deterred a young Neil Gaiman, because A) he apparently liked my post, and B) he's a writer, and writers write. They're compelled to, even if they don't think they'll ever be published.

But to everyone who really wants to write a book, let me be clear: I think you should write your book. I think you should write lots of books, if that's what your heart's telling you to do. Just prepare yourself for a challenging road to publication, if traditional publication is what you plan to pursue.

And for the record, I understand that you feel scared at the prospect of starting to write. But you have to start. Don't worry, the first draft doesn't have to be any good. The SEVENTH draft doesn't have to be any good, either–the book won't be done until you say it's done. And then it STILL won't be done, because if you find an editor who wants to work with you she'll have suggestions, and if she's a good editor then they'll be suggestions that make your book better. But you have to give yourself permission to write badly, if only to get going.

Good Luck,


Hoonie Mamma said...

Hi Adam

Thank so much for your response, Im sorry I totally missed the point :)

I am going to write my books and Il do my best to make them awesome. If they suck and they dont get published then at least I can say I gave it a shot :)

Ps sorry for the late response (Ive been doing a signed book auction for Macmillan)

Hope I didnt upset you with my tweet and or comment :)

Thankyou for taking the time to reply its much appreciated xxxxx