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My first blog: How I started as a children’s picture book author

Hello and welcome to my first blog post!

People often ask me about my experiences of being an indie children’s author, so I decided it was high time I wrote it all down, got it out of my head, and started sharing everything in one handy place – a blog!

Perhaps you’re interested in writing and/or publishing a children’s book yourself but are yet to start or don’t know where to begin. Perhaps you’re a fellow children’s author and want to connect (it can be a lonely game, and the more writer friends the better!). Maybe you’re interested in learning what it takes to bring a children’s book to market. Or perhaps you’re a parent or a teacher interested in inspiring children to get reading and writing.

Well, if any of these apply, you’re in the right place! I invite you to join me on this journey.

Please share your thoughts, ask me questions, and make suggestions along the way – just pop them in the comments below.

But first, this is me!

I’m Kirstie Watson, mum to Jack (8) and Grace (5), wife to James, and I live in Milton Keynes, UK.

I’m a full-time writer (though currently fitting work in around home-schooling), an indie author of two children’s picture books - The Witch’s Cat and The Cooking Catastrophe and Pirate Mouse, with a new title, Fish Don’t Sneeze, on the way later this year.

Why I love writing for children

I write children’s picture books because they hold a very special place in my heart. I mean, there’s something very special about the combination of carefully crafted words and pictures to communicate a narrative that’s compelling for both children AND adults.

There’s really nothing like sharing a picture book with children and witnessing their eyes alight with awe and wonder. Stories broaden their horizons, help them to learn new things, pick up new words, formulate new ideas, and undoubtedly spark an interest in books and learning to read and write. See what I mean? Magic!

When I’m not working on books

I love to visit schools as often as I can and run interactive storytelling sessions, assembly talks, and writing workshops. Author visits make all the hard work of publishing a book worthwhile. They allow me to share my love for writing and are always a big hit with the children.

When I’m not working on my children’s books, I’m writing for businesses as a copywriter - helping them find the right words to give their business a competitive edge.

I love spending time with my family, eating (too much) nice food, visiting new places, running, walking in the great outdoors, reading, and drinking tea.

How I started writing for children

For a long time, writing was just a hobby that I fit around my day job. But in 2016 I made the tough decision to leave the corporate world to give this whole 'writing thing' a proper go.

At this point, I wasn’t even considering publishing a book. I was planning on running children’s interactive story-time and craft events – or Telltale Tots as it became known.

So, I needed some stories! I had a head start thanks to years of story scribbles, and I took 6 months out to just write. I wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote.

By the end, I must have written at least 20 stories of varying degrees of quality – including the beginnings of The Witch’s Cat and Pirate Mouse.

Somewhere along the line I decided, after all this hard work, I may as well fulfill my dream of publishing a book, and thus The Witch’s Cat was born.

I’m planning on eventually publishing all my stories, and perhaps even get around to writing some more.

What to expect from the blog

I want to just get something straight from the start. I am not professing to be an expert in writing or indie-publishing. I am still learning all the time. I’m yet to sell hundreds of thousands of my books or be a no. 1 best selling author.

BUT, what I can offer is:

  • My own honest experience of indie-publishing children’s picture books.

  • The highs and lows of being an author, including the mistakes I’ve made and the lessons I’ve learned.

  • What and who inspires me to write.

  • Tips for children’s storytelling, and how to envelop children in the story.

  • Ideas for story-inspired activities – crafts and play

  • Tips and ideas for getting children excited about reading and writing.

  • Reviews of inspiring children’s books – including indie-published books.

  • Interesting and useful information gathered from experts in the field.

Well, that’s it for now. Thanks for tuning in, and make sure you subscribe to be notified of new posts.

Kirstie x

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