So you are thinking about writing a children’s book? Well, you have come to the right place! Here we share top tips from our long experience in publishing children’s books together with those of other experienced publishers about how to write a children’s book that will sell. Children love a good story, but it needs to appeal to them, or else they will get bored. Knowing what will engage and capture children’s imagination is key to writing children’s books. Wherever you are in your writing process, read on, and make sure your book will be a real page-turner.
Table of Contents
What is a Children’s Book?
A children’s book is specifically written for children. But, you need to be very clear about what your target age is, as a toddler and a teenager will read very different books. Young children need fewer words and more pictures, whereas older children can read more words, but can still enjoy illustrations.
Why Write a Children’s Book?
People write for all sorts of reasons. Maybe you want to write a book that your child would enjoy. Possibly you just have this great character in your head that you need to bring to life. Potentially there is a message you would like to share. Or maybe you just love children and telling stories to them. Whatever your motivation, you need to understand how children’s minds work so that you can write for them.
Who Buys Children’s Books?
Interestingly, children’s books are a little quirky in this regard. Whilst you need to write your book for a child, it will be bought by an adult. Parents, grandparents, family friends, aunts, and other adults will buy the children’s book. So it is worth considering this. The books that adults and children like will vary, but a good children’s book will appeal to both the child and the adult with the credit card. Picture books are often read by adults to children, so they may be more inclined to buy a book with delightful and vivid illustrations, or a good message, that they would like to convey to their child.
Tips to Write a Children’s Book
Writing a children’s book can seem challenging, but take a look at our top tips and set yourself on the road to writing a brilliant children’s book.
Determine your children’s book’s audience
First, define the age group that you are writing the book for. Children change massively throughout their childhood, and your book needs to be aimed at a specific age group.
Select a relatable theme
After defining the target market, pick a relatable theme that will attract children in your specific age group. 14-year-old boys are not going to be interested in unicorns, unless your story is based around evil unicorns that have rebelled against their leader, and formed their own gang.
Ensure your book is age-appropriate
Children’s understanding increases massively with age. A 3-year-old may enjoy a story about finding it hard to go to bed, because of the monsters that live in the light bulbs, whereas a 10-year-old may enjoy a story about a girl starting high school. The theme and story need to be compatible with the age that you are pitching to.
Outline your children’s book
When you are writing a children’s book, you still need to follow the same structure as you would when writing a novel for adults. Make an outline plan of your book, with your character placed in a position of conflict at the beginning. The story unfolds with their attempts to overcome their challenges and then ends with a final resolution.
Make a thorough, clear, and comprehensive draft
Remember, you cannot make a complicated plot like a novella in your children’s book. Children are young and do not have such a high level of understanding as adults. Thus, create a story that is thorough, clear, and comprehensive to the age that you are writing for.
Find a children’s book illustrator
You may know an illustrator, but if not, we work with many experienced and professional illustrators, who will work on your book with you.
What Makes a Good Children’s Book?
Books for children need to move at a good pace. Children need to be gripped on the first few pages. They enjoy reading about challenges faced by the characters, and how they overcome them. They want real characters, with flaws and quirks, who talk to them.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Writing for Children
Don’t spend pages on laborious descriptions, children get bored easily. Don’t underestimate children, they can cope with complex emotions and challenging events. Books don’t need to be all happiness and light.
How to Format a Children’s Book?
Your story will be professionally produced and laid out according to the agreed design. When writing your book for submission to a publisher, just make sure you follow their submission guidelines and format your book accordingly.
What is the Standard Size for a Children’s Book?
The size of a children’s book varies according to the age group it is being targeted at. Older children’s books are similar in size to adult novels, whereas picture books are often larger to allow room for the illustrations.
What is the Best Font for a Children’s Book?
The font for your children’s book will be discussed with your design team. Again, it will depend upon the age range, the genre of the book, and how the font impacts the story. Different fonts are used in some instances to distinguish between characters or make certain parts of the story stand out.
How Many Pages is a Typical Children’s Book?
The number of pages in your book will depend on the length and layout of the book. When you work with a publisher while writing a children’s book, they will ensure that the book is laid out correctly.
How Long a Children’s Book Should Be?
All picture books should be under 1000 words. For children aged 0 – 3, under 200 words, aged 2 – 5, 200 – 500 words, aged 3 – 7, 500 – 800 words, and aged 4 – 8 between 600 and 1000 words. For older children between 7 and 12, books can be up to 30,000 words, whilst, for children from 5 to 10, we suggest between 3,000 and 10,000 words. It is important that you follow these guidelines, as good books can be rejected for being over the recommended length.
Is It Better To Self-Publish Or Get A Publisher For Children’s Books?
Self-publishing has become much more common over recent years. Mainstream publishing is notoriously hard to break into, whilst self-publishing allows you the opportunity to publish your story. Do your research and make sure that you choose to work with a publisher who is genuinely interested and experienced in publishing your children’s book.
How Much Do Children’s Book Authors Make?
Write because you love writing and because you want to share your story with children. Whilst you can make money from writing, it is worth noting that many writers have other sources of income, and don’t rely solely on the money earned from writing. Be prepared to promote and market your book so that you can reach as many potential readers as possible.
Are Children’s Books In-demand in the UK?
Despite the modern world, children still love to read. Even with all the other sources of entertainment, books have endured throughout the years, and still do so today. If you are writing a children’s book, children are waiting to read it. Make it funny, engaging, and exciting, and you’ll find that children still love nothing more than curling up with a good book.
To help you with publishing your children’s book, get in touch with us.