Recent discussions about the SCBWI and my participation in the Muse Online Conference has made me think about the people who write for children. Now in terms of writing styles, there are two kinds of writers: the polished and the unpolished.

Polished writers are those that have been doing it for a while. They have taken classes or have a great critique group. They know how to turn off their internal editor for that first draft, but they also know to listen to it during rewrites. They’re the people with agents and/or they’re the ones submitting to various houses.

Unpolished writers are a little newer at the craft. They still make stylistic mistakes or aren’t quite able to pull off a convincing character or plot. They’ve yet to find the critique group or mentor to take them in hand and help them learn the subtle craft of writing.

Although these writers are at two different points stylistically, they can still be served by the same advice. A good writing book is just as useful to an experienced writer as to a novice. Yes, the experienced writer might know many of the tricks of the trade, so to speak, but it never hurts to be reminded. You could say that despite being two different types of writers (polished and unpolished) they are still one market with similiar needs.

However, when you come to published and unpublished authors you have two completely different markets. The needs of a published writer are vastly different from those of the unpublished. The published author has theoretically broken in. They are now interested in things like book promotion and school visits. They want to know how to follow up that first contract with a second. They don’t want to know about how to format a manuscript or to write a query letter. Yet, these are the very things an unpublished author needs to know.

And that made me wonder about this blog. Up until now, I’ve been doing a hit or miss smorgasbord of whatever struck my fancy. But what if I’ve been talking about how to build an effective viral marketing campaign and everyone really wants to know how to meet an agent? So in order to better know my market, I am doing that ever popular market research thanks to a simple poll. Basically, I want to know if you’re published or not. This doesn’t mean that I will stop writing about manuscript formatting just because 95% turn out to be published. The minority need information too. I just probably won’t write about it as often. For my quick and easy poll, please click one of the buttons below:

What kind of writer are you?

Published (or under contract)
Published in a different genre, but unpublshed in kids.
Not a writer at all (although if you’re a reviewer or blogger, technically you are a published writer)

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Make your own poll
© Copyright 2006-2011 Madeline Smoot. All rights reserved.
May be excerpted and duplicated for educational purposes.
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