While there’s no right or wrong to the interpretation of art, we all know that the best audiences are the ones that keep their minds free of confines that can take the wonder out of a piece. Since literature is no different, it’s no big leap to assume that the best reader is one not yet plagued by the skepticism that the real world often inflicts on adults.
To put it simply: there’s nothing better than writing for children, with their wonder still intact and their minds capable of things ours can no longer even entertain as thoughts.
But here’s the catch: writing a great children’s book that finds a dedicated audience is no easy feat. It’s an entirely different form of literature that you need to try out, especially if you’re writing a children’s book for the first time.
That’s where we come in. In this blog, we will cover:
- Aspects that make children’s books unique
- Understanding of different types of children’s books
- The rewarding benefits of becoming a children’s book author
- Top tips on creating the perfect outline for your book
- Steps involved in writing a great children’s book
Here you will find everything you need to learn about how to write a children’s book that becomes the next best-seller in that genre. Let’s go!
What’s a Children’s Book?
That’s a tough question because there are so many types of books that fall into this category. From mystery to fantasy to comedy, there’s pretty much every subgenre in there. Simply put, children’s books are anything suitable for a child, from when they are crawling to teething toddlers to young adults. A book is considered appropriate for children if the targeted audience is between 0 and 15 years old.
Then there is a variety of skill and standard that signifies who the book is intended for. There’s a lot that goes into that single thought and, therefore, will need a lot of work and planning.
For instance, books that are written for young adults will include stories, plots, world-building, settings, lots of details, character development, little to no illustrations, and hundreds of pages.
On the other hand, younger audiences will be delighted to read a book with lots of images, fewer words, and simpler plots that guarantee engagement.
To make this simple for you when you’re writing a children’s book, we’ve divided this into five most common categories:
Children’s Picture Books
If you’re wondering how to write a children’s picture book and how it is different from a regular book, here’s what you need to know. Pictures books are more appropriate for younger children ranging from 3 months old to age 5. That’s the age when kids will love books with elaborated and colorful illustrations and lesser word count. You start focusing more on the content as the age of the intended reader increases.
Books written for babies and toddlers should not have 300 words. At that age, the books are read to the children by the parents, and making them wordy takes away from comprehension.
That said, wording it right is imperative. Even if it is for a baby that doesn’t understand much, the parents will ensure that the picture book they picked to narrate to their little ones has the right content.
Early Reader Book
These books are generally written for young kids aged between 5 and 7 as they’re in the early stages of elementary school.
The focus of this one will be entirely different as these are intended to help young kids become independent readers. These are simpler books with a storytelling narrative. These also include a lot of illustrations to keep kids engaged.
Usually, the word count for early reader books ranges between 1000 and 3000.
Another book type appropriate for young readers is chapter books. These are like novels for younger children, where the story is divided into chapters, and are suitable for kids between 6 and 9 years old. Chapter books are often capped at 10,000 words, with a more elaborated plot and characters and some challenging vocabulary to encourage progressive reading.
Novels for Young Adults
Suitable for young adults, these novels often include a teenage protagonist and various other characters. The word count can go anywhere up to 100,000 words, with genres expanding to science fiction, fantasy, and more.
So if you’re wondering how to make a children’s book, deciding on the type and the readers’ age you’re targeting should be the first step.
Top Tips on How to Write a Children’s Book
You really have to rely on your creative instincts when writing children’s books that you hope will be well-received and loved by their audience. Some people have the natural gift for storytelling, while others learn the tactics from veteran writers and established authors. Regardless of your approach, some important tips can come in handy in writing a children’s book that sells.
Here are our top tips:
Become a Kid
That’s the best thing you can do when learning how to write a children’s book. Step into their tiny shoes and think like you’re a kid. Find out topics or activities that may interest you if you were the age you’re writing for. Your content should be compelling and engaging for a young reader, so it is crucial that you tap into the mindset and expectations of a child.
What types of books did you like when you were younger? Or more like, what kinds of books do you think you didn’t have as a child? See if there’s still a void and fill that up. Recalling your own experiences is a great way to create great children’s literature.
Another great way to do this is to seek help from the kids in your life. Whether you have younger siblings or your own kids, you can ask them these questions, and the answers will lead you to a potential idea that you can shape up in a book.
Determine the Audience
We can’t emphasize enough the importance of determining your audience for each phase of your writing for children. From establishing the main idea to deciding on the book layout to agreeing on the number of illustrations and page count—you will need to keep your audience in mind at all times.
The age and stage of the children you’re writing for will help you plan out your whole book. You will choose the language, layout, and plot according to the age group to make it more relevant and appropriate.
Identify what makes a Children’s Book Interesting
Children’s books are unique in that they come with a lesson. You are essentially shaping the future of this world through your words, and you cannot compromise on that. A children’s book is a part of the learning process for these young minds, and creating it in the best possible way is your responsibility.
Here are some factors to make sure your children’s book is well-loved:
- It has some sort of lesson or inspiration for the kids to learn
- You have used high-quality illustrations throughout your book, especially for the cover design
- The story—especially for younger children—is simple to read and easy to follow
- It is entertaining and engaging for adults too
- It doesn’t have a very specific audience—the wider, the better
Keeping these points in mind will help you create an excellent structure for your children’s book. The key is to help you create a story that connects with your young (as well as adult) audience, so you’re hitting the milestones needed for a great book that sells.
Read a Lot of Children’s Books before Attempting to Write One
Seeking out children’s literature by other famous and established authors is a great way to achieve the right inspiration to begin your own unique work. Depending on the subgenre or age you’re targeting, reading books within that capacity will help you better understand the work and emulate the tone.
Don’t hesitate to check out work from some lesser-known authors, either. After all, that’s more like your direct competition in the beginning. Check what works in their writing and how they manage to keep the most curious age group engaged till the end.
Improve where you think you need to work.
Top Questions to Answer Before Writing a Children’s Book
Before we jump into the details of “how to write a children’s book” and learn all the steps to bring one to reality, here are the top questions you must answer before attempting one.
Is my book attractive enough for parents to buy for their children?
Whether you’re writing a children’s book or marketing it, your approach should be two-way—it should consider the kids and their parents. Remember: it’s the parents who will spend the money to buy the book, so focusing on the primary buyers should be a priority concern.
If you’re a parent, you can self-analyze the book and see if you will be motivated to buy it. You can talk to fellow parents, teachers, and even your own spouse to find out if your book is created and marketed for the targeted audiences.
Have I chosen the right genre for a children’s book?
The answer to this question boils down to how well you’re associated with the genre you’ve picked. As an author, you must be passionate about writing children’s books to get them right. Additionally, you should be knowledgeable about the children belonging to the age group you’re targeting.
Doing your homework before deciding on the genre will be fruitful before starting your project.
Am I following the right structure for a children’s book?
For younger readers, you should really know how to write a children’s picture book to be relevant.
In case you’re writing a novel for young adults, you should follow the right basic structure and template that works for their age.
How to Write a Children’s Book— A Guide
Here’s a detailed guide to writing a children’s book:
Make it Relevant for Children
If you’re after commercial success, know there’s no secret recipe that we can share with you. But if there’s one thing that can make your book a hit among young readers, it is making your content relevant to the audience.
Come up with a great idea that children will love, and then let your creativity loose.
But how will you know if your idea is appropriate for kids? The checklist below will help:
- What’s the purpose of writing a book or narrating the story?
- What’s the book about?
- Is this a universal theme that will be approved by your young audience?
- Is the idea unique and marketable?
It may take research, reading, and talking to your audience to craft a unique idea that works. Make sure you make the most out of the little critics around. Bounce off your top ideas with children to see which one excited them more. Stick to that idea!
Choose the Right Marketing Strategies for the Age Group You’re Writing for
We’ve mentioned this before, and we will do it again: determining your target audience and their expectations are the key to writing a children’s book that becomes a hit. So refer back to the types of books and the appropriate audience discussed above and choose the age group you want to write for.
Next is the right marketing strategy. To write a marketable manuscript, you must ponder what your readers expect in terms of topic, style, length, and complexity.
Voicing it Right
When writing a children’s book, you must keep a distinctive voice that makes your book unique. It should be simple, easy to understand, and age-appropriate. If you’re writing for middle-aged kids or young adults, you need to use progressive language that helps them relate to the content.
Your book is your source of speaking with the children—i.e., your audience. This book is not the place to flaunt your grandiose knowledge of the language. You need to impress children here, and doing so by using four-syllable words is definitely the wrong approach.
At the same time, avoid talking down to children. Kids are smart these days, and the only way to win them over is with the right content.
Create Memorable Characters For Children’s
What are some of the most iconic characters that you can recall from your favorite books from your childhood? Characters like Matilda, Harry Potter, and Pippi Long stocking are some common names that may pop up in your head. So what did the authors do to create these timeless characters that take you back down memory lane every time you hear their names?
According to expert children’s book authors, the golden rule for building a character for any children’s book is to keep your protagonist slightly older than the age bracket of your target audience.
So if your target audience is between 5-7 years old, your protagonist could be anywhere between 8 and 10 years of age. An 11-year-old Harry Potter became the favorite character for most 8-9 years old.
This takes us back to how imperative it is to know your target market inside out. Portraying a character with exciting adventures will make them role models that children look up to.
Keep Room for Mistakes
Expecting to create a perfect manuscript from the get-go can be a paralyzing experience as an author. Writing is a form of art that requires constant evolvement. It is similar to chiseling marble statues, where getting a real, life-like head on the first attempt is almost impossible.
Your first stage should be to have a plan in mind: organize all your ideas and put it all together in a rough draft.
Work on the format, characterization, fun details, themes, marketing content, jokes, and everything else that you can incorporate into your book. Once everything is organized, go back and see if it resembles what you initially had in mind for writing a children’s book.
Edit and make changes to your draft unless it emerges from the sweat and tears to become a copy you are actually proud of. Be brutal with your self-edit. This is your final draft which will ultimately blossom into the finished version of your book.
If you’re writing a picture book, you can cut down to the illustrations and relevant content that adds value to your book.
Lastly, don’t hesitate to share it with family and friends before you hire a professional for the final touches or set out to publish it. Involving children as your test readers will help you get the perfect critics for your work.
From finding a children’s book ghostwriter to hiring a professional for illustrating, editing, proofreading, and publishing—it is all possible. If you’re passionate about writing a children’s book but don’t have it in you to work through each process or lack the specific skill required to write a great children’s book, you can always seek professional assistance.
Hiring a pro when in doubt is the best way to stick to your plan and follow your goal without having to put in all the effort single-handedly.
Many ghostwriters are willing to write a book that goes hand in hand with the ideas in your mind in the most professional way.
The best part is that you pay these writers just one time, and you can copyright the book under your name.
By charging you the agreed amount, the writer gives you the authority to publish and copyright the ownership and distribution of the book entirely.
What’s more, their years of high-profile experience in writing, designing, and editing a children’s book will improve your narrative and give the unique ideas in your mind a storybook shape that’s ready to go to market immediately.
It requires incredible dedication, focus, and hard work to become a well-acclaimed author of children’s books. But the experience is equally rewarding and fulfilling if you get the desired response from your young readers.
If you follow the instructions we’ve left for you in this blog, there’s nothing stopping you from crafting a children’s book that will be absolutely worthwhile in the end.