Last month on KBR we announced some exciting new developments for our incredibly popular Unpublished Picture Book Manuscript Award in 2014. So I thought this month’s article would be a good opportunity for me to give my three top tips that might help your manuscript get to the top of the pile.
You should always write what you LOVE, what you’re driven to write about, what comes naturally to you. Don’t write a story because you’ve heard that the subject matter is popular or because you think it’s commercial or trendy, or because a couple of books on similar subjects have won awards. If your story doesn’t come from the heart, it won’t touch ours.
Getting your story down on paper (or on screen!) is just the first step. We see many, many entries that have clearly been written at the last minute and sent in without any editing. We certainly don’t expect you to have your work professionally edited before submitting it, but we can guarantee that the winning entries will be from authors who have written their stories and then redrafted, edited and redrafted them again. It’s the time taken to revise and polish your work that makes the difference between a story that had potential and one that really works.
Be fresh, original, inventive. We read literally hundreds of manuscripts and there are always certain themes or trends that emerge. However, even if your story is on a topic that's been covered a thousand times before (for example, the arrival of a new baby in the house), that doesn’t mean you can’t write about it in a way that is exciting and original, that touches us deeply or that makes us laugh out loud.
Happy writing! We look forward to reading your entries …
Anouska Jones is our KBR Editor. Mum to a gorgeous little girl, she has nearly twenty years' experience in the book publishing industry. A publishing consultant and editor, Anouska is obsessed by all things to do with words, writing and books.