How to succeed in children's books by trying really, really hard.

Author:Gutman, Dan

How does one go from being a moderately popular mid-list middle-grade children's novelist to join the ranks of the heavyweight, top-drawer, front-of-the-store, best-selling elite? This is the problem I have been struggling with for the last few years.

As I see it, there are nine possible ways ...

  1. Win a major award. As we all know, a Newbery or National Book Award with your name on it is the quickest ticket to fame and fortune in this biz. The only problem is they usually give those awards for serious, deep, thoughtful novels with beautiful sentences and moral lessons, while I write books like Funny Boy Meets the Chit-Chatting Cheese from Chattanooga. Even if I wrote serious novels, the chances of winning the Newbery are probably a thousand to one. So don't even think about it.

  2. Have your book made into a movie. Two of my novels have been optioned, and one was made into a TV movie that nobody saw, but that was as far as it went. Because my closest Hollywood contact is the guy who rips the tickets in half at my local multiplex, this is a long shot at best.

  3. Write a killer series that every kid in America wants to read. Tried it. Twice. Both series bombed. My last royalty statement for Tales from the Sandlot said the four books managed to sell NEGATIVE copies in the last six months. From what I hear Junie B. Jones is doing somewhat better.

  4. Lightning strikes and you write the next Harry Potter. Yeah, like we haven't all been trying?

  5. Become a celebrity. Children's boors by celebrities always sell, right? Unfortunately I can't sing, dance, or act. The only talent I have is writing children's books. So forget about that.

  6. Commit a major crime. This is variation on #5. Certainly if I were to rob a bank or something and get caught, headlines like KID BOOK

    AUTHOR NABBED IN BANK HEIST would spike sales of all my titles. Sadly, I'm basically honest, and cowardly too.

  7. Die. Another variation on #5. People are always fascinated whenever somebody dies. It was clearly a great career move for Elvis. Heck, I wouldn't even...

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