Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

September Meeting: Christina Soontornvat Shares Chapter Book Insights

At the September 2019 meeting, Austin SCBWI member Christina Soontornvat, author of the recently published chapter book series, DIARY OF AN ICE PRINCESS (Scholastic, 2019), shared her insights on writing for emerging readers.

Here are a few of her tips:

Read and know the current chapter book market. It’s changed greatly over the years. Know how your book fits into today’s market, and what type of chapter book you’re trying to write.

Have a great concept and know where it fits… it has to be fresh and original!

Connect with editors and agents who publish/represent chapter books!

Craft… always, craft!

Keep in mind a chapter series may not be the first thing you sell. Chapter series can be hard to sell, and sometimes publishers like to move forward with authors who have already been published because they know those authors are capable of writing, meeting deadlines, etc.

(The deadline turn-around for chapter books can be FAST. Christina wrote the first Diary of an Ice Princess in 3-4 weeks!)

If you’re really driven to write several books before you query them, that’s ok, but consider writing one, then spending your time working on developing your pitches and outlines for the others in the potential series.

Christina also shared the latest graphic from the Cooperative Children’s Book Center illustrating diversity in published children’s books from 2018 and encouraged writers and illustrators to create books that reflect the world we live in.