When people think children’s literature, they usually picture fiction. This seems to be true of children’s writers as well; most of them turn to fiction as a genre, almost instinctively. As it turns out, there are plenty of reasons for children’s writers to consider writing non-fiction. ‘It’s fun!’ and ‘It’s profitable!’ are just two of the many reasons
Writing non-fiction means that the writer must first understand the concept, then find a way to provide a fun angle to it and finally, write it in a unique voice. Whether it is an article on Science or an autobiographical piece on a famous personality, the writer gets a chance to improve her own knowledge base and hone her writing skills. Writing children’s non-fiction is a challenge, which just ups the fun factor in the long run.
Children’s non-fiction is a wide arena comprising endless options. Children’s non-fiction can cover any of the following subjects –Science, History, Literature, Geography etc. The list could go on and on endlessly. In fact, now there is even a unique blend of fiction and non-fiction called ‘creative non-fiction’. This is a great option for writers who find it difficult to completely abandon fiction writing.
Children’s non-fiction is a fast-growing market, with parents ever eager to scoop up new ways to stimulate their children. Even the parents of pre-schoolers are interested in non-fiction in the form of concept books (alphabets, numbers, shapes, colours etc.). For older children, both parents and schools are always on a lookout for content that supplements the school curriculum; anthologies, biographies, self-help books and workbooks are always in high demand. Books on social issues are also popular; books that sensitise children and help them understand concepts like disability, inequality, and diversity are a staple in most community libraries and school libraries. Both trade publishers and educational publishers are always on the lookout for children’s writers who can fulfil this market demand.
Creating a niche
While there is a sizable market for children’s non-fiction, there is also a shortfall in children’s writers who cater to this market. Since most writers are hooked onto children’s fiction, there is a considerable demand for writers who specialise in children’s non-fiction. For writers with good writing skills and great professional reputation, there is no dearth of work in the non-fiction genre. In fact, writers who have been on the field for a couple of years have ample opportunity to do freelance assignments for varied publishers in the market.
Over the years, the importance of children’s non-fiction has grown considerably. Along with this growth, the pay structure of the writers has also shown upward mobility. In fact, in many publishing houses, the pay of non-fiction writers is on par with that of fiction writers. So for writers who want to try something different and wish to get published more often, children’s non-fiction may just be the way to go.