Time for a new regular feature here at my Writing for Children blog. Called Seven Answers to Seven Questions, it asks the same seven questions of any writer who cares to drop by and answer them. I’ve started by asking some of my writer friends to contribute and their answers will be posted here soon. In the meantime I figured I should have a go at answering them for myself.
So, here are my own seven answers to seven questions
1. Tell us a little about your publication credits. If you have none, tell us about the genres you prefer to write, and your current projects.
I’ve got twenty four books in print, listed on my website. My first book was a book of blackline masters, called Speak Out, published by Ready Ed publications and my recent book was Frogs: Awesome Amphibians , also published by ready Ed. In between I’ve had books published by several publishers including New Frontier, Banana Books, Learning Media and more.
I currently have seven new books in production, including a verse novel with Walker Books Australia.
2. How long have you been writing for children?
All my life. I started writing kids’ stories when I was a kid, and never stopped. I’ve been published over the past 12 years, with my first trade publication coming five years ago.
3. How much time do you spend each week writing and/or revising? And how much time on other writing-related tasks such as promotion, researching markets and so on?
How long is a piece of string? I spend as much time as I can, which varies considerably, but I try to spend at least a couple of hours each day writing or revising. Some days I manage eight hours, some days none.
As for promotion and market research, probably five to ten hours a week. This includes time on my blog, reading other blogs and websites, newsletters and so on.
4. How much time do you spend reading children’s books? And what are you reading right now?
Too much! I read constantly, predominantly new release children’s books. I’m lucky to have a constant supply of new books coming to me for review on Aussiereviews.
At present I’m reading an adult fantasy called The Twisted Citadel, which is the second in a series. I’m loving it.
5. What advice would you give other would-be children’s writers, or share with other professional children’s writers?
Read, read, read. I think the most important thing you can do if you want to be a professional writer is to read as many books as you can in your chosen genre(s). As much as possible, these should be recent releases.
And secondly, be persistent. It can take years of writing, rewriting and being rejected before you get your first break – and after that there will still be periods where it seems all so hard. But stick with it, because the rewards are wonderful.
6. What is your favourite online resource for children’s writers? Why?
7. Do you have a website or blog? What else do you do to promote your published works and/or your writing skills?
I have a website and three blogs – I’m a bit greedy. My website is www.sallymurphy.net. My main blog is www.sallymurphy.blogspot (if you’re reading these answers, you’re here already). My other blogs, Pemberthy’s Ponderings and Awesome Amphibians are aimed at promoting the specific books they spring from. Pemberthy’s blog is also a lot of fun. Oh, and another website which reviews books, Aussiereviews.
I do lots of things to promote myself. I have a business card with the cover of one of my books, I do school visits and other speaking engagements whenever I can. I go to conferences and festivals. I write articles for websites, newsletters and so on. I’m sure there are other things.
If you would like to have a go at answering these seven questions, paste them into the body of an email, add your answers (as short or as long as you like) and email them to me at sally @ sallymurphy.net (remove the spaces). You don’t have to widely published, or famous or anything – I’d love to hear from writers of all levels of experience.