Insider’s Look Into Children’s Book Writing Workshop This Weekend

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Experienced children's book author and publishing professional, Tracey Dils. (Submitted)
Experienced children’s book author and publishing professional, Tracey Dils. (Submitted)

Nov. 12, children’s author and publishing professional Tracey Dils will present a workshop at the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio on how one can pick up the pen and start crafting children’s books.

For Dils, who has a vast number of fiction and nonfiction books under her belt (including 1998’s You Can Write Children’s Books) becoming a published author is something that occurred very early in her life.

“When I was in the fifth grade, Highlights magazine published a little thing I had written about my teacher,” said Dils. “It was a big deal for me to see my name in print, and by the time I was in high school I started doing some more creative writing.”

Only several years after her graduation from the College of Wooster, Dils was already the editor-in-chief at Willowisp Press, which planted the young writer in the world of children’s book publishing.

“Ultimately the company ended up moving to Florida, which is a move I was eventually glad my family and I did not take,” said Dils, who shortly thereafter took on a position at the Ohio State University Press as a marketing director. Unsatisfied with the work that she was doing at the OSU Press, Dils took the plunge into full time freelance work in 1994.

“I treated like a ‘normal’ job, I woke up in the morning, put on real clothes – some freelancers tell me that they love to work in their pajamas, but not me,” she said. After she had published a number of children’s books, she found herself being invited to spend a few hours in various public schools as a visiting author.

“Visiting schools was what really excited me,” said Dils. “And schools would often ask me to spend a little bit of extra time with their ‘gifted children,’ and I would, but I’d also ask if I could spend some time with the children who were struggling. Because if you give a child the ability to write, you’re giving them a voice when they may have not had one before.”

Dils career has taken her all around the globe to various children’s book fairs, and led her to continually be able to research the various topics tackled by the numerous nonfiction children’s books that she has penned.

During Saturday’s workshop, Dils will go over some of the common myths that surround becoming a published children’s book author, as well as various techniques that aspiring writers should be aware of. The workshop will commence at 2 p.m. at the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio in Lancaster, located at 145 East Main Street. For a separate fee, Dils will look over in-progress book manuscripts and offer management tips for aspiring writers.