How To Write A Children's Book And Make It Known (7 Things You NEED to Know)

In this post, we go over how to write a children's book and make it known to the public.

Many people think writing a children's book is easy—it's not.

No matter what kind of storyteller you are, you need to be an expert in all aspects of writing, this includes:

  • Narration
  • Structure
  • Plot
  • Characterization
  • and so on

Not to mention that you need to do all that in just a few pages.

That said, if you want to write a children's book and become a children's book author, or if you want to make some extra cash, the following are things you need to know.

What is your children's book target audience?

Picture books (ages 5-7)

In industry terms, a picture book is a book that equally relies on illustrations and words to tell a story.

Since picture books are meant to be a child's first reading experience, the total word count will need to be very low (500 words or less), for a maximum length of around 30-40 pages.

The story should be short and engaging. Typically the stories will be about love, friendship, obstacles, and negative emotions the protagonist will have to learn to manage.

Early readers (ages 6-10)

Early readers will read books that are still heavy on illustrations but with a larger word count. This is because children in this age range are still learning to read and aren't yet ready for books that don't have pictures yet.

The word count for these books ranges from 2,000 to 5,000 and is still picture-heavy.

The story will be able to give space to slightly more mature topics by also introducing the mystery in everyday situations and more elaborate fantastic and magical elements.

The middle range (ages 8-12)

At this age, children are being introduced to chapter books and novels.

The word count is now 30,000 to 50,000 words and illustrations are much more sparse.

The topics become more complex and start introducing more abstract themes, such as the duality of good and evil, rebellion, family, and other more adult-related concepts.

Young adults (12 years and older)

This is the phase where there is a lot of crossover between children's fiction and adult literature. Each book will vary between these two audiences.

Generally, the word count ranges between 50,000 and 100,000 words.

This genre caters much more heavily to teenagers and is noticeably more mature in its story arcs.

Create Memorable Characters

Children want to read stories about other children who are a similar age as them and who have life experiences that mirror their own.

For example, a story with an eleven year old protagonist will appeal to readers who are about the same age.

If you want to learn how to write fleshed out characters who your audience will adore (maybe even hate) but will still root for, check out The Inner Journey lectures here.

how-to-write-a-childrens-book-and-make-it-known

Tell a Compelling Story

This suggestion might seem obvious, but you'd be surprised that many authors forget that children's stories must be for children.

Many first-time writers write children's stories from the point of view of adults. They assume children only want story books with pictures of cute little beings with some silly humor.

But children want more than this. They instinctively want stories in which they are the heroes who lead into action, face challenges, and make choices.

Your story must also address a theme that your target age group will find interesting.

What do you want your book to teach children?

You can choose pretty much anything, as long as it is relevant to the readers. For example, you could write about cheating, but you should write about a betrayed best friend rather than an unfaithful husband.

However, do keep in mind that certain topics, like the one just mentioned, is best geared towards teenagers or young adults.

Do not assume that children are too young to understand the theme, especially if there is a moral dimension to the story.

Refine the narrative voice

Adapt your vocabulary by remembering that each target audience is very different!

Children are also smarter than you think. Once you get past very simple vocabulary and story structure, children and young people can catch onto various voices fairly easily.

Consider changes in dialect to be a similar learning experience for readers the same way children learned new vocabularly at the early book reading stages.

Do you need an illustrator?

Illustrations are the most obvious difference between children's and adult books, but whether you need an illustrator depends on your situation.

Ask yourself: Do you want to write a picture book? Or do you want to publish your book yourself?

You could skip this step if you answered "no" to both questions.

Conversely, if you plan to self-publish a picture book, you must find a professional illustrator. (Unless you are already an illustrator).

Before looking for it, pay attention to the age group you are targeting to determine the the balance of images and text you need in your book.

For example, books designed to be read to children can feature elaborate illustrations that hold the child's attention. In addition, illustrations may contain details not explicitly mentioned or described by the text.

Pay attention to how words and images interact.

If you're going to hire an illustrator, make sure you study their portfolio. Each illustrator has a unique style. Your job is to find one that matches your writing - the best way to do that is to look at the work they've already done.

Find out which genres they prefer and what kind of books they usually illustrate. If you can imagine their artwork alongside your writing, you may have a good match.

Ask questions. Designers love to answer questions about their work. Ask questions about their inspirations, design process, or method of collaboration before you decide to work with them. Establish your budget and the number of illustrations you will need.

How to find the target market for your book?

Finding out who loves your book and where they "live" is the basic tenet of book marketing. Then, sell them your book.

The idea is the same when you publish a children's book, with one exception.

The target market for children's books is adults who buy books for them rather than actual children.

Parents, uncles, aunts, grandparents, teachers, or anyone else could be affected. You will quickly realize that there is no better target than those who purchase children's books once you can determine what they want in a children's book.

As Millennials make up the majority of parents of young children, they frequently turn to the Internet for research of all kinds.

Look for kids' book groups on Facebook or groups that might be interested in the subject of your book.

You can bet there's a Facebook group dedicated to fire trucks if you've written a picture book about them, and some members will have children.

Use the hashtags that pertain to your book's topic when posting images on Twitter or Instagram.

Here are resources I recommend to get more in-depth knowledge

Storytelling 101 teaches you how to write compelling stories worthy of commercial success. This is best for screenwriters, novelists, filmmakers, videogame writers and storytellers.

Children’s Books 101 teaches you how to write stories that children will love. This is best for aspiring children’s book authors and storytellers.

Owl AI is the revolutionary AI-powered content production platform that helps storytellers, writers, and bloggers of all subject matter easily create highly-polished content.

Success, Money & Mindset Subliminal is a self-hypnosis recording that we recommend to new writers to help with focus, concentration, creativity, and motivation.

Shadow Work Journal: 240 Daily Prompts contains inner work exercises related to relationships, anger, anxiety, self-love, healing trauma, abandonment issues, depression, forgiveness, etc.

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