Writing a Children’s Book – 11 Things You Need to Know
Then you would like to write a children’s book. Before you start, you need to know what competitive field you are about to enter. It’s a misconception among writers that it’s easy to write a children’s book and be successful. The truth is that there are thousands of writers out there with the same goal. They come from all walks of life and all levels of writing skill. Don’t let that deter you from writing a book, but you should treat it like you would treat any professional goal: responsibly and prepared.
If you really want to be a children’s author, you have to take it as seriously as if you were writing the next greatest novel. Again, you need to be passionate about what you write.
Here are the things that will help you when writing a children’s book:
1. Study the market
Before you start, you should research the children’s book market. Look at what types of books are on the shelves and what you’re interested in writing. See what’s selling and talk to book professionals about what’s succeeding in the market.
2. Read good children’s literature
It’s a great idea to read as much literature as possible. Without taking the time to learn what kids are reading today, you’re going to write a book that will just gather dust.
3. Talk to booksellers and librarians
Booksellers and librarians can tell you which books are seeing the most traffic, and they can also tell you which children’s books have had public readings recently – and how popular they have been. Booksellers can give you simple information about the best-selling children’s titles. Visit libraries and ask the librarians about the type of books children like to read. Borrow and read these books to get an idea of how to write your own book.
4. Types of children’s books
You may be surprised at the diversity of children’s literature. It would be a mistake to assume that the success of the Harry Potter books, for example, means that the shelves of children’s books are full of similar material. As you explore the children’s literature section of the bookstore, you will see that there is no “right” way to write for children. You have the opportunity to find your personal expression and write a children’s book that is uniquely yours.
Many stories convey a moral or a message, such as protecting the environment or being kind to others. It’s important to be true to the message without letting it dominate the story. Remember that stories are about people, not social issues. For more experienced readers, you can write a children’s book in a proven style, such as mystery or sword and sorcery. The Hardy Boys mysteries are a good example.
5. Spend time with your audience
Your best resource is the children themselves, especially with the age group you want to write for. If you want to write a children’s book, you should see firsthand what interests them. Tell them about the books they choose to read and their favorites. Read to the children if you have the chance and observe what elicits the most animated reactions from them.
6. Join a group of children’s book authors
It is an effective measure of public interest. Tell them you’re interested in writing a children’s book, and you’ll find a bountiful source of ideas, advice, and information in your search.
- Internet search
- Go online and find out which children’s books are the most popular. Know which books have caught the attention of parents and children.
- Spice it up with humor
- Be sure to include plenty of humor in your book, as children love to laugh. Put yourself in the shoes of a child and let your imagination run wild. The silliest ideas have proven to be a hit with the kids.
- Use simple English
- Remember to think about who you are writing to. Remember, you’re not writing for college graduates, you’re writing for kids. Age-appropriate your book. Unlike adults, children have different levels of understanding and these levels vary greatly. You would write differently for a five-year-old child than for a fourth-grade student. You may want to respond to a specific reading level. Choose your audience before you start and be loyal to that audience. If you’re writing for young people, keep it simple, very simple.
10. Eye-Catching Cover Design
The cover design should be attractive, as well as the fonts incorporated into the book. Bigger, bolder fonts are known to be more appealing to kids. If your book doesn’t stand out among the thousands on the shelves, you’ll never make a sale. Go to your local bookstore and browse the area where your book would be displayed. Take note of the books that appeal to you the most and try to figure out why they are more eye-catching than the rest.
11. Good planning
Writing a book requires good planning. Don’t start a book you’ll never finish writing. Make sure you have a plan to follow that you can refer to when you get stuck, so you can achieve your goal. Once you have your plan, you might want to start looking at the legalities and copyrights – both to make sure your idea is yours and to see how much your copyright will cost you.