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Advice for Children's Authors

Darley Anderson’s Children’s Book Agency's advice for aspiring children’s authors...

"There is a reason why Darley Anderson are the top agents in town - they are professional, approachable, always have their authors’ best interests at heart and are lovely people too!"

A.M. Howell

Start with a bang

In the best commercial children’s stories, the writing starts where the story starts. We want to read books that jump into the storytelling straight away, and keep their reader hooked. Whether it’s a thrilling chase, a blast of magic or a secret discovery, try to create an un-putdownable scene on your very first page. Or better yet, in your very first line!

Unforgettable Characters

Great characters are at the heart of every great story. In the books we love the most, the characters transcend their stories and almost feel real. That’s why we care so much about what happens to them! We’re looking for believable, well-crafted characters with a little something extra that makes us root for the protagonists and share in their triumphs 

Keep up the Pace

Your story needs to keep moving forward. A sluggish pace results in a bored reader. Is a passage or description or bit of dialogue essential to the plot or characterization? If the answer is no, you should probably remove it to keep the momentum going!

Raise the Stakes

This, along with characterization, is key to keeping us invested in your story. Why should we care what happens to the characters? What will happen if they don’t succeed? Stakes can be big (maybe the world will end!) or they can be smaller and more personal, but in every case they need to feel important.

Use Your Voice

You may have heard the term ‘voice’ before, when it comes to what agents and editors are looking for, but it can be a hard term to pin down! With this, what we really mean is that we’re looking at the way that you tell the story. Does it feel like it’s authentically you, or are you imitating someone else’s style? The voices that stand out and that we fall for are the ones that only that specific author could ever write.