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Jobs Working with Children's Literature

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue in children's literature. Read on to learn more about career options along with the types of degree programs that can prepare you for the field, information about where you might work and how much you can earn.

What Is A Children's Literature Professional?

Careers in children's literature include being a children's author, or being a children's book editor. Children's authors and children's book editors work together to produce captivating storybooks for children. These books include board books and picture books for young children. Children's book authors write the content for the books. They develop a story and character or characters and tell the story in a creative and engaging way. Children's book editors work for publishing houses and they assess manuscripts to determine which ones they want to publish. They consider whether the story fits with the type of books they publish, and they assess whether they believe the book will effectively engage their target audience. Once they contract a manuscript they may be responsible for working with the author to ensure that corrections are made or any necessary revisions are completed on schedule. Children's book authors must review their material to ensure that it is error-free and ready for publication.

Editor Author
Degree Required Bachelor's Bachelor's recommended
Education Field of Study English, literature, journalism Teaching, writing
Key Responsibilities Manuscript acquisition and editing, working with authors Writing and selling books
Job Growth (2018-2028) -3%* 0% (little to no change)*
Median Salary (May 2018) $59,480* $62,170*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What Jobs are Available to Me in the Field of Children's Literature?

If you're interested in children's literature, one job you might consider is that of a children's book editor. In that position, you'll work at a publishing company. There are several publishing houses that specialize in children's books. You'll be responsible for acquiring new manuscripts and editing them for content. You'll work with authors to help them develop and focus their stories and prepare their materials for publication.

You might also be interested in working as an author. You might be well-suited for this job if you're interested in creating characters and stories from scratch. Your duties will consist of writing children's books and selling them to a publishing company.

What Educational Programs Are Available?

If you're interested in finding a job as an editor in a publishing company, you will mostly likely need to complete a bachelor's degree program in a field such as English, literature or journalism. Some schools offer bachelor's degree programs in English that include courses in children's literature.

In addition to undergraduate programs, entire master's degree programs in children's literature are also available. These graduate-level programs include courses in literary criticism and theory, as well as in-depth studies of children's art and children's fantasy books.

Children's book authors come from a variety of educational backgrounds. Some are elementary school teachers, while others have no college education at all. In order to succeed in the field, you must have the ability to write and a good story to tell. Earning a bachelor's degree in creative writing or a Master of Fine Arts in Fiction Writing will provide you with the opportunity to write and receive valuable criticism and feedback from instructors and fellow students.

How Can I Find Work?

If you decide you would like to become a children's book editor, your first goal will usually be to find a position within a publishing company. You will likely have to start at the bottom as an unpaid editorial intern and then work your way up. You might work as an editorial assistant and associate editor before you can become a children's book editor.

As an aspiring children's book author, your road to success might be a little less planned out. You will probably start out by first writing a book. You may then find an agent who specializes in children's literature, or you might go straight to a publisher with your book.

What Salary Can I Expect to Earn?

Editors in general held about 118,300 jobs in the United States in 2018 and made a median annual salary of about $59,480, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). Writers and authors, meanwhile, held about 123,200 jobs and made a median annual salary of nearly $62,170.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

The work that writers, proofreaders and reporters do has similarities to the work of authors and editors. Writers may write articles, greeting cards or other materials. They need to produce work that will effectively interest their intended audience. Proofreaders review written text to ensure that it is error-free, which is similar to some of the tasks that editors may perform. Reporters research stories and write them. This is similar to the work of a children's book author because children's book authors may also need to perform research for their books and like children's book authors, reporters do a lot of writing. Proofreaders, writers and reporters all normally need a bachelor's degree in a discipline such as journalism, communications or English to prepare for their career.