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Writing a Children’s Book – 11 Things You Need to Know
So you want to write a children’s book. Before you begin, you must know what field of competition you are entering. It is a misconception among writers that it is easy to write a children’s book and be successful. The truth is that there are thousands of writers with the same goal. They come from all backgrounds and levels of writing ability. Don’t let this stop you from writing a book, but you should treat it like you treat any professional goal: responsibly and prepared.
If you are really serious about becoming a children’s author, then you need to go into it as seriously as if you were writing the next greatest novel. Again, you need to be passionate about what you write.
Here are some things that will help you write a children’s book:
1. Research the Market
Before you begin, you should study the children’s book market. Look at what kinds of books are on the shelves, and what you are interested in writing. See what’s selling and talk to book professionals about what’s happening in the market.
2. Read good children’s literature
It is an excellent idea to read as much literature as possible. Without taking the time to learn what kids are reading today, you will write a book that will simply collect dust.
3. Talk to Booksellers and Booksellers
Both booksellers and librarians can tell you which books see the most traffic, and they can also tell you what children’s books have had public readings recently – and how well attended. Booksellers can give you direct information on which children’s titles sell best. Visit libraries and ask the librarians about the kinds of books that children like to read. Get and read these books so that you can get an idea of how to write your own book.
4. Types of children’s books
You might be surprised how much variety there is in children’s literature. It would be a mistake to assume that the success of the Harry Potter books, for example, means that children’s books are full of similar material. In exploring 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 own expression and write a children’s book that is uniquely yours.
Many stories carry a moral or message, such as protecting the environment or being kind to others. It is important to be faithful to the message without letting the story dominate. Remember, stories are about people, not social media. For more experienced readers, you can write a children’s book after a time-tested 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 have to see firsthand what interests them. Talk to them about what books they choose to read, and what their favorites are. Read to children if you have the opportunity, and observe what gets the most animated reactions from them.
6. Join a group of children’s book authors
It is an effective measure of where the public’s interest lies. Tell them you’re interested in writing a children’s book, and you’ll find an abundant source of ideas, advice, and information in your search.
- Internet search
- Go online and find out which children’s books are the most popular. You know what books will capture the attention of parents and children.
- Spice it up with humor
- Be sure to include a lot of humor in your book, because children just love to laugh. Put yourself in the shoes of a child and let your imagination run wild. The silliest of ideas have proven to be a hit with kids.
- Use plain English
- Remember to think about who you are writing to. Don’t forget that you are not writing for college degrees, you are writing for children. Make your book age appropriate. Unlike adults, children have different levels of comprehension and these levels vary widely. You might write differently for a five-year-old than for a quarter-year-old. You may want to meet a specific reading level. Choose your audience before you start, and be true to that audience. If your writing for young people, keep things simple, very simple.
10. Eye-Catching Cover Design
The design of the cover should be attractive, with the fonts incorporated in the book. Bigger and bolder fonts are known to be more attractive to children. If your book does not stand out among the thousands on the shelves, you will never succeed in making a sale. Go to your local bookstore and look for the area where your book will be displayed. Take note of the books that stand out to you, and try to understand why they are more attractive than others.
11. Proper planning
Writing a book requires careful 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 that you can reach your goal. Once you have your outline, you may want to start looking into legalities and copyrights – both to make sure your idea is yours alone, and to see how much your copyright will cost you.
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