Writing Children’s Books: It’s Not All Child’s Play

You’ve decided to write a children’s book. Congratulations! Children’s books are one of the most fun genres to publish, but can also be a very challenging genre in the publishing industry.

With new children’s books entering the marketing daily, there is a lot of competition. Walk into any bookstore, or search online, and you’ll see just how many titles your book will have to fight against for attention. Because of the high costs of production and publication, it’s often not profitable to publish a children’s book. But you can be a successfully published children’s book author, if you take time to learn more about the steps involved and your options.

An important first step, before you even write a single word of the book, is to identify your target audience. “Children,” you say. Not good enough. Girls? Boys? What ages? 2–5? 3–8? You have to be specific, because that will affect the writing and editorial process.

When writing, keep the target audience in mind. Are you writing with vocabulary they can understand? Are you keeping them engaged, or will they get bored? Will they want to read the book again, or toss it away after one reading? Your editor will assist you in determining this during the editorial process, and will make suggestions on word choice, flow, plot, and more.

Illustration is key to the success of your book. The trick is to have beautiful illustrations that didn’t break your budget in the process. Consider not having illustrations on every single page of the book. Or do a mix of some color and some black and white illustrations. Maybe find an art student who is looking for some experience in exchange for a reduced cost.

Printing is another area to budget wisely. Choose paperback over hardcover to cut costs. You may think it’s better to pay less per book by printing a lot of books, but what if you print hundreds of books that have a mistake in them? Better to print a small first run and make sure all the “kinks” are worked out before you commit to printing a large order of books.

Then of course there’s the marketing of the book, which will make or break the success of any book…but we’ll save that for another time!