Pint-sized interviews that leave you smiling.

Roxyanne Young is a freelance writer, novelist, photographer, graphics designer, and co-founder of 2-Tier Software, Inc. She’s the Editorial Director of, which unites her two loves: building Web sites and writing for kids. She’s a co-author of TALES OF THE CRYPTIDS: MYSTERIOUS CREATURES THAT MAY OR MAY NOT EXIST. Roxyanne oversees the SmartWriters’ annual W.I.N. Competition (Write It Now!). With her knowledge of children’s writing, contests and website expertise, I knew she would have some great advice.

What’s the number one piece of advice you’d give to someone entering a children’s writing contest?
Besides making sure your writing is stellar, make sure your entry fits the category. One of the most common comments I’ve made to people who entered the W.I.N. this year and who also requested a critique on their entry is that it is better suited for a different age group or market. There are many picture book entries, for instance, that are really magazine stories in that they are either too complicated/text heavy, or don’t have enough scenes to support an illustrated story for 32 pages. Some of them would be much better expanded and aimed at slightly older kids as an early chapter book or young mid-grade novel. Still others really belong to the YA category, even though they were entered as Midgrade novels.

Pay attention to the intended market and how your work will really fit there. Is your main character one that your targeted young reader will relate to? If not, aim your book at older readers.

What is your number one piece of advice for a writer in regards to his/her website?
I have two: keep your content updated frequently and exchange links with other writers. Actually, here’s a third: add your Website address to every piece of communication you put out there, whether digital or print. I know a writer who slips her business card into her bill payment envelopes because you never know when that woman opening the mail at the power company is also on the PTA committee that is looking for a children’s writer to visit her kid’s school.

What’s your favorite children’s joke?
Q: How do you catch the Easter Bunny?
A: Hide in the bushes and make noises like a carrot.

(Hee-hee. Too cute!)


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