Some Advice on Writing Children’s Books


Because they tend to focus on simple stories, and are told in clear, easy-to-read prose, a lot of people tend to assume that anybody can write a children’s book. That’s true, anybody can write a children’s book, but you can only write a good children’s book if you know what you’re doing. Just because it’s a fairly simple form of storytelling doesn’t mean that it doesn’t require a degree of imagination and talent, and some knowledge of what goes into a good children’s book.

The first thing any author in any genre will tell you: Read the genre you want to write.

Read everything you can get your hands on. Stephen King has stated time and again that, while you can learn plenty from a great book, you can learn some of the most important lessons from terrible books! In short: know the genre, whether it’s children’s books, crime novels, or romance.

Second, know who you’re writing for. If you’re writing children’s books, you’re probably thinking “Kids, duh”. Not quite. Your book should certainly be accessible to any kid with the reading abilities to tackle it, but you’re not just talking to the kids with your book, you’re also speaking to the parent, to brothers and sisters, to grandparents, the people who are going to read this book to the child, and, probably, the people who are going to be paying for the book.

It\s not hard to write a story that’s accessible and enjoyable for small children, big kids, and full grown adults, honestly. If you know the basics of story structure, we’re all motivated by the same things. We all want to be loved and respected, we all want to accomplish what we set out to do. If you don’t have time to go look up the heroic structure, the monomyth, etcetera etcetera, all storytelling structure comes down to this:






The hero needs something, he or she goes to get it, and then returns to where they started, having improved their standing in life in the process. It could be as simple as a person wanting a glass of water, getting up and getting a glass of water, and returning to where they were sitting. If you can use this structure to tell a story that is funny, or touching, or sad, or happy, or inspiring, you can write a children’s book that will be entertaining for all ages. Just know what’s important to kids, what’s important to big brothers and sisters, parents, and grandparents, and you know what kind of story you’ll be telling.

Third, you should know at least a little bit about publishing. Look, it’s easy to get ripped off out there if you don’t study up on children’s book publishing. It’s not that there are dozens of fly-by-night con artists waiting to take the money and run, it’s that most children’s book publishers will only pay you a disproportionate fee to buy all of your rights. They will own your book, straight out. You won’t make royalties, you won’t be allowed to write a sequel (unless they ask for one), you simply won’t own your own book anymore.

Luckily, there are plenty of ways around this. A few big-name expert book publishing offer deals where you can keep the ownership rights, but not many. Your best bet is probably going through a smaller, more focused children’s book publisher. There are a lot of services online that will publish your children’s book for you, including marketing and distribution through and so on. These services do charge a small fee, but if you have faith in your own work as something that will interest parents, you should see a profit over time. You will retain your ownership rights, and you will have complete freedom to do what you like with them. What’s more, anyone can publish a book with these children’s book publishers. The big name publishers usually have their plates full, already, and only rarely take on new, unsolicited, first-books from new children’s book authors. With a self-publishing service, your foot is already in the door.

Related Posts
Ten Quick Tips for Inexperienced Writers
3 Effective Tips For Better Writing

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