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Monday, August 24, 2009

Review: How to Write a Children's Book in 14 Days

How to Write a Children's Book in 14 Days is the latest in WCCL's range of products and courses for writers, which also includes my courses Essential English for Authors, Write Any Book in Under 28 Days and The Wealthy Writer.

How to Write a Children's Book in 14 Days is written by successful children's author Mel McIntyre. It's provided as an instant download in the universal PDF format, and is therefore suitable for all computing platforms: Microsoft Windows, Macintosh and Linux. The main manual and bonuses are all password-protected (you'll find the password in the email you receive when ordering), but this is only a minor inconvenience.

Like all WCCL products, How to Write a Children's Book in 14 Days is beautifully produced, and it has obviously been professionally written and edited. The main manual weighs in at a substantial 178 pages.

The manual provides a practical, step-by-step guide to devising, planning and writing a children's book in the shortest possible time. It's divided into three main sections.

Section 1 (Day 1 to Day 5) takes you through planning your book. Its sub-title is The MAGIC Formula. Regular WCCL customers won't be surprised to discover that MAGIC here is an acronym. In this case it stands for Message, Audience, Genre, Imagination, Chapters & Verses.

Under each of these headings, Mel discusses the requirements for a successful modern children's book. The approach is hands-on throughout; for example, in the section about Message the student is required to complete a form summarizing the 'message' his or her book will communicate to readers.

Section 2 (Day 6 to Day 11) is where you get down to the nitty-gritty of writing your children's book. Its sub-title is Building BLOCKS, and yep, once again, BLOCKS is an acronym. B stands for Bang-On Beginnings - the rest I'll let you discover for yourself!

Section 3 (Day 11 to to Day 14) covers proofreading and editing your book. It's called Putting it to Bed (and no, for once bed isn't an acronym). There is also a short fourth section, which discusses getting feedback on your draft book and giving it a final polish.

Everything is clearly explained, with diagrams used where appropriate. There are also plenty of examples from successful, published children's books to illustrate the points made.

In addition to the main manual, there are also various bonuses. Perhaps the most useful is A Pocketful of Publishing. This discusses how to market your children's book (a topic not really touched on in the main manual). It includes details of publishers and agents who are currently looking for children's books. Self publishing is also covered, along with useful resources for those who want to try going down this route.

The other bonuses include a list of the author's top 50 recommended children's books that any aspiring children's author today should read. This is a mixture of acknowledged classics such as Alice in Wonderland, through to more modern books with which you may not be familiar unless you are a parent yourself!

Finally, the course includes an in-depth interview with the author himself, conducted by his wife.

Overall, I was very impressed with How to Write a Children's Book in 14 Days. If you want to write a saleable children's book, there is no doubt in my mind that this course will help you to achieve this.

Do I have any criticisms? Only perhaps that the recommended approach, with its heavy emphasis on planning and outlining, might not suit everybody. If you are the sort of writer who prefers to trust to inspiration and 'go with the flow', you might find it a little restrictive.

On the other hand, if you want a realistic, practical, step-by-step guide for creating your first children's book, How to Write a Children's Book in 14 Days would probably be ideal for you.

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10 Comments:

OpenID coffeewithkate said...

Looking forward to trying this one out Nick.

I already have "Write Any Book in Under 28 Days and am also looking to purchase The Wealthy Writer.

My aims are to put these products to the test over the next few months and to keep a diary of my progress (or not) on my blog.

It's a slightly daunting yet exciting project and I aim to have completed all 3 by Xmas at the very latest.

Kate

x

1:45 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

Thanks, Kate. That's quite a challenge. I look forward to reading how you get on!

2:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi,

I am sorry, I've bought the Write Any Book in 28 days and found it to be very helpful. I have been a subscriber to this blog and Trent Steele's newsletter for over 2 years, but this is ridiculous. I have searched high and low, and only found that Mel wrote a single children's book that ranks so low on the amazon sales list, they ran out of space for digits.

I think peddling this nonsense of "successful" writer serious hurts your credibility - it has certainly done so with me.

4:14 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

Thank you for your comment, and your kind words about my "28 Days" course.

To quote from the interview with Mel in the guide: "Although he writes non-fiction to earn his living, Mel has been writing children's stories for the past 10 years. He's had short stories and poetry published, and, most recently, US publisher Guardian Angel Publishing offered him a contract for four of his children's
stories. The first of these, Flutter Bunnies, has been released as a picture book in
December 2008."

So yes, Mel isn't (yet) a household name, but that doesn't mean he is not a successful writer. Neither does it invalidate his course, which overall, as I said in my review, I was highly impressed with.

5:29 PM  
Blogger Cindy Boyer said...

Nick, would this course be useful if I am wanting to target the younge kids as in toddlers?

4:00 AM  
Blogger Nick said...

Hi Cindy,

Parts of it would be relevant, but the course concentrates on writing books for Middle Grade readers in the 8‐12 age range.

I'm no expert on children's writing, but my impression is that with books for toddlers there is only a limited amount you can say (or do) about the writing. With such books it's really the pictures that are all-important. I'm not sure how easy it would be to sell a book for toddlers unless you could offer artwork as well (or partner up with a suitable illustrator).

8:38 AM  
Anonymous signe berger said...

I ordered your DVD set and have not received it yet. It has however been charged to my credit card. You do not have any contact info on your website in order for me to contact in regards to my order. I would like to be contacted immediately at (204) 444-4147 in regards to this matter.

6:34 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

Thank you for your query. Please could you raise a ticket at WCCL's customer support website at www.myhelphub.com. One of their trained technicians will then look into this matter for you.

I'd like to help, but I'm just a freelance writer who has written some courses for WCCL. I have no involvement in processing orders or dispatching CDs.

I do hope you receive the product you ordered soon.

9:53 PM  
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