I often run writing classes and one of the first things I ask my students is why they are writing, is it for pleasure or do they want to get published. Most of them say they want to get published. I ask them this because I think it's vitally important, especially when writing for children. If you're writing for pleasure then you can write what you want, you don't have to fit in with the current market or obey any rules. So all I need to show them is how to hone their work, to make it more concise, to cut out the clichés, the repeated phrases, the unnecessary words and ensure they have the language level right for the age group.
If you're writing because you want to get published it's a different matter. Especially for children's books. Then you have to think about lots of different things before your book even gets to your target reader. Things like the length of your story (many publishers have set word lengths for different age groups), where it will fit in the publishers list (if they’ve already got a series of books about a doggy detective they won’t want another one), current market trends (vampire books are so 2010) to name just a few. A well-written, gripping space adventure story can be rejected simply because the publisher feels there are enough space stories about. This is what happened to my children’s fantasy, novel Firstborn. Despite glowing comments from several publishers this was rejected time and time again because, I was told, there were too many dragons stories about. So I decided to e-publish it.
Now, I’m a traditional author at heart and think that there’s nothing better than curling up in your favourite armchair with a bar of chocolate and reading a book. I love the feel of a book in my hands, looking at the cover, reading the blurb, turning the pages. But sometimes there’s a story bursting in you that you simply have to write and the beauty of e-publishing is that now you can write it, and publish it even if it isn’t what traditional book publishers are looking for at the moment. Which is brilliant, because as authors we want our stories to be read and enjoyed and now we have another way of doing that.