How do you write children's books and get them published? You write a children’s book by choosing a target audience, incorporating captivating elements, and beautifully illustrating it. Children’s books may either be self-published or submitted to traditional publishers.
And this article can give you the other tools you need to write the next great children’s book that you may have been thinking about for years, but never thought you'd be able to write and share it with little ones.
What’s your reason for writing children’s books? For me, it’s that smile.
Many authors or aspiring writers dream of publishing a children’s book. Maybe you have an incredible idea that you can’t stop thinking about. Or perhaps you want to put to paper your little one’s favorite bedtime short story — the one you made up while snuggling together.
Whatever the reason, now is the time to check this dream off your bucket list.
And I'm here to help you do that.
I'm a multi-award winning & bestselling children’s book author and ghostwriter of more than 50 children’s books. And I founded a little thing called Children’s Book University®, which helps other authors create books like I have.
What follows is as much information as I could condense into a single article on how to write a children's book. Enjoy!
Unless you’re a celebrity or have a large following already, self-publishing your children’s book is a great way to get your foot in the door, even if your ultimate goal is to eventually explore traditional publishing.
If you present a well-performing book and an established author platform, your chances of landing a publishing deal are much higher than if you simply submit a query or manuscript.
How much money can be made from writing a children's book? The answer to this question greatly depends on the subject of the children's book. That's why doing our research is so important, even before we start writing our children's book.
Even for children’s books, we need to validate our book idea.
- How to Get to Know Your Audience
- How to Choose the Right Format for Your Children's Book
- How to Narrow Down Your Book Category
- How to Name a Children's Book
- How to Choose a Writing Style
- The Most Important Elements of a Children's Book
- How to Edit Your Children's Book
- How to Illustrate Your Children's Book
- How to Create a Book Dummy
- How to Sell Your Children's Book
- FAQs on Writing a Children's Book
Table of contents
- Questions to Consider Before Writing a Children’s Book
- STEP 1. Choose the Format
- STEP 2. Know Your Target Category
- STEP 3. Choose a Title
- STEP 4. Find a Writing Style
- STEP 5. Incorporate Important Elements
- STEP 6. Use Solid Characters
- STEP 7. Make the Story Engaging
- STEP 8. Proofread & Edit
- STEP 9. Illustrate Your Book
- FAQs for Writing a Children’s Book
- 1. Should I copyright my children’s book?
- 2. What should I not do when writing a children’s book?
- 3. How do I convert my children’s book into an ebook?
- 4. Should my children’s book have a subtitle?
- 5. How do I write a children’s book description?
- 6. What category should my children's book be in?
- 7. What is the best cover design for my children's book?
Additionally, book series are generally doing very well with kids. Once little ones come to love a character, they often can't get enough of them and their parents continue buying the books. The Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne and The Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle are wonderful examples.
The roadmap below outlines what steps we’ll take to write and publish a children’s book:
Questions to Consider Before Writing a Children’s Book
Will parents want to buy this book?
For books marketed to younger audiences, you need to know that parents will want to buy this book. Children usually don’t spend the money to buy your story. Yes, make something entertaining for kids — but you need parents to buy your book first.
The primary purchaser of children’s books is between 30 and 44 years old. Females make up more than 70% of these buyers.
A few ways you could really get to better know your audience are:
- Spend time with age groups you’re targeting and their parents/guardians (whether in real life or on social media)
- Talk to parents and teachers
- Give a survey to women within the target age range from your own social circles
Market research is also a huge tool to see what books parents are looking to buy their children. You'd be surprised at how much interest some themes get when compared to others. Take a look at this example here, showing the search volume for common children's book themes on Amazon:
Data provided by Publisher Rocket
Right away, you should see that some topics get way more interest than others- and depending on your personal goals, you might want to avoid writing a book about a topic with low searches.
Side Note: We recently reviewed another great course on publishing children's books, read our review here.
Do you know the [basic] structure of a children’s book?
When writing a children’s storybook, it’s really important to know the basic structure of a children’s book. There are lots of templates for writing a children’s book!
To learn more about children’s books and how to structure your writing for a younger audience, you could:
- Study books that fall into your targeted age group. What is the general layout? What vocabulary is used?
- Visit a bookstore or library and browse through the kids’ section to get a feel for this genre.
- Search for age group trends and consumer trends in general via sites like Slideshare
- Talk to experts in child psychology and learning to understand the unique needs of children at each age level.
Is there a template for writing a children’s book? Yes, there are many templates for writing a children’s book. Here are some of my favorites:
- My own How to Write a Children’s Book Template (it’s free with lots of added resources)
- Template.net’s Illustrated Children’s Book Template (not all are free, but very professionally done with lots of different choices)
- Write Kids’ Books Free Microsoft Word children’s book template (for chapter books for slightly older kids )
- Claire O’Brien’s Free Picture Book Scrivener Template (for everyone’s favorite book-writing software, Scrivener)
- Used to Tech’s Free Editable Book Templates in Word (for Microsoft Word)
Can you explain your book concept before writing?
You should be able to explain your book concept to anyone in a single sentence and in fewer than 30 seconds.
To best explain your book concept to potential readers or traditional publishers, you should develop a logline that encapsulates the plot and the hook.
If you’re not concisely explaining your book’s concept, you might lose potential readers and publishers because it’s too confusing.
Writing a Children’s Book: Things to Avoid
These 7 writing tips may help you avoid common issues when writing a children’s book:
- Don’t confuse age categories. I will talk more about the different age ranges shortly, but in essence, board Books for 0- to 2-year-olds should not have long words or long sentences. Middle Grade books should not feature profanities, and Young Adult fiction should not contain many illustrations (if at all).
- Avoid too many words in younger children’s literature. Picture books should never contain more than 800 words, including the front matter and back matter.
- Don’t make the moral of your story too obvious. Kids can smell a lesson being taught, and they don’t like it. Instead, subtly weave lessons into the story and characters.
- Avoid a bland title. Your title should interest potential buyers, clearly show what your story is about, and be easily searchable on Google and Amazon. Also, always use a subtitle to up your marketing game. Subtitles mean more keywords associated with your book.
- Don’t write bland characters. Your main character should take an active role in the plot, making bold decisions that move the story forward. Also, colorful personalities play well with younger kids.
- Avoid a slow start. Start your children’s book off with something exciting and suspenseful. Kids can lose interest if your story is slow, so be sure to hook your little reader from the very beginning.
- Don’t skimp on an illustrator. This is where many aspiring children’s authors struggle a bit. You don’t have to spend a fortune, but because illustrations play such a big part in children’s books, it’s important to use high-quality work. l While Young Adult books won’t need illustrations any longer, they are a must for books up until Middle Grade books. Especially those for younger kids will need vibrant illustrations on nearly every page. Picture Books should emphasize images just as much as the text.
How to Write a Children’s Book in 9 Steps
You want to make a children’s book. Below is every resource you’re going to need.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to write a children’s book:
- Choose the format
- Know your target category
- Choose a title
- Find a writing style
- Incorporate important elements
- Use solid characters
- Make the story engaging
- Proofread and edit
- Illustrate your book
Should you publish an ebook or paperback? You should consider publishing your children’s book in both ebook format and paperback format.
Paperback is still the most popular format for children’s books. If you’re looking to sell your children’s book on Amazon or in brick-and-mortar stores, you should invest in a high-quality paperback format.
Ebooks are not a very popular medium for children’s books. However, children’s ebook usage is continuously increasing.
Most parents still prefer their kids to read print books, but the number of parents who prefer ebooks or who have no preference is growing.
Ebooks also come in handy during promotions and review requests. Giving away an ebook for review is a lot easier and more cost-effective.
With a little research, you can determine how well books are selling in your desired format. Here's an example of five competing paperback books on Amazon showing for the keyword “Children's Books About Puppies”, which should give you an idea of how well that format is performing. You can even see how many pages these books are, so you can calculate your estimated costs!
Price, Earnings, and Pages Data provided by Publisher Rocket
It’s worth noting that a study out of the University of Michigan found that storytime with ebooks is not as effective. Compared with physical book storytime, parents spent more time talking about the technology, instead of the book’s content, during ebook storytime.
So physical children’s books won’t go away anytime soon.
To write a children’s book, you need to know your target category — that is, the age of your target audience.
When publishing on Amazon, you will be asked to list what ages your book is for. So it’s important to add the most appropriate age range. Otherwise you may receive lots of negative reviews from parents and other caregivers that thought your book to be unsuitable for their little ones.
Depending on the kids’ age reading your book, you will want to adjust the number of illustrations, word count, writing style, and more.
Most children’s books fall into one of these 5 categories:
- Board books
- Picture books
- Chapter books
- Middle grade chapter books
- Young Adult books
Below is a table to show average statistics for the most common types of children’s books:
Children's Book Categories
|Almost every page
|Middle Grade Book
|Young Adult Book
|Few if any illustrations
Short words and short sentences are critical for the youngest children, so readers don’t feel overwhelmed. Colorful illustrations and fun characters are more necessary in children’s books than in adult fiction. Where adults can mentally grapple with ambiguity, kids prefer resolved stories and answered questions.
Each stage of development in a child’s life requires a different story structure and book setup. Adapting to each stage and its cognitive ability is essential if we want our book to be meaningful, educational, and fun.
Board Books are considered the youngest category — including on Amazon’s marketplace. They are for kids aged 0 to 2.
A Board Book is printed on thick paperboard. Often, it contains all pictures or fewer than 100 words.
In most of these categories, but especially these Board Books, marketing to parents is probably more important than appealing to kids. Of course, you want your book to be fun and intriguing to children. But make sure you give parents what they’re looking for: a good message and subtle, effective education.
Picture Books are the next category of children’s books. They are for 3- to 5-year-olds.
Children’s picture books contain up to 400 words, but there should still be vibrant illustrations on every page.
Also called the “Early Readers” category, Chapter Books are just what they sound like — the first books that children will read with the story split up into chapters.
Though some children will be excited to start reading chapter books, others will be reluctant. The broad age range for basic Chapter Books is 6 to 10.
Middle Grade books are for children 8 to 12 — a step up from Chapter Books.
These books typically feature a protagonist aged 10 to 13, slightly older than the reader. They should contain no profane language, no violence, and no romance outside of a first kiss or an innocent crush.
Common themes include friendship, acceptance, good conquering evil, and the importance of family.
A Middle Grade book is longer than a Chapter Book but shorter than a YA book. It usually contains between 30,000 and 45,000 words.
Young Adult books are targeted towards readers aged 13 to 18. Abbreviated as YA, Young Adult is meant to appeal to teenagers, although it’s important to note that more than half of YA books sold are read by adults older than 18.
Some people also use “Young Adult” to mean a genre where the protagonist doesn’t fit in, the parents are absent, they live in a post-apocalyptic world, and a coming-of-age story takes center stage. These are tropes and don’t necessarily apply to every YA story, but you get the picture.
YA books won’t always be considered children’s books. But some traditional publishers may classify “Young Adult” as a children’s book category.
You need to choose a winning title for your children’s book. You could do this after it’s written, but having a title in mind may guide you in your writing. You can always improve and change the title after the story is written.
A creative title lets your story’s personality shine through. But you also want readers to actually find your book. This could be difficult if you don’t name your children’s book correctly.
To title a children’s book, you need:
- To grab a reader’s attention (or a parent’s attention)
- To clearly tell what the story is about
- An easily searchable title, hard to confuse for something else
- Keywords that match what your audience is searching for
The book The Color Monster: A Story About Emotions is a great example:
- It grabs your attention because kids usually don’t associate monsters with different moods.
- It tells parents and kids that this story is about different monsters with different emotions.
- It is one of the first results when you search “monster book for kids.”
- It has the word “monster,” a very common search term for boy’s books.
- The subtitle reads “A Story About Emotions,” and includes “emotions,” which is another common keyword parents look for in their children’s books.
Speaking of subtitles: It’s important to include a subtitle underneath your title. This helps the marketing of your book by including additional keywords that parents can search for.
As you can see, some kids book genres have decent money coming into them, with less competition. So, make sure you do your research beforehand and see what possible types of kids books you can create. One way you can quickly see the competition of a genre is checking out your book's Amazon categories, and seeing how many sales it takes per day to become a bestseller. That should give you a good idea of the competition in that genre.
For example, take a look at the competition difference here for several children's categories about specific animals. Many young children have a favorite, and making a high quality book in a lower competition category can help your book be discovered by readers.
Data provided by Publisher Rocket
By writing a quality book for a category with low competition, but significant interest, your children's book will stand out from the crowd. If you decide to target a high competition category, just know there are publishers and authors with high experience already in that space, and you will have to work harder to capture a customer's attention.
You need to find a writing style that fits the age group you are writing for, the associated word count, the story you’re telling, and your own preferences.
You may be an excellent writer, an engaging blogger, maybe even an already accomplished author of adult fiction or nonfiction. But when it comes to writing style for children, you have to adopt a new mindset and an appropriate writing style.
Here are some writing styles you should consider:
- Rhyme: If you decide to write your book in rhyme, you need to make the rhyme very, very good. Make sure lines have the same syllable counts and rhythms. Don’t force bad rhymes or skip rhyming. Be consistent. (The Little Blue Truck and Llama Llama books are excellent examples.)
- Past or Present Tense: Kids prefer books in the present tense, actively engaging them in the story. They’re experiencing it as it happens, rather than being removed from something that happened in the past. (Maisy books are a great present-tense example.).
- First or Third Person: A third-person narrator’s voice may give you more freedom and flexibility. Children tend to prefer it to the first person. However, if it works with your theme to tell the story through a first-person narrator’s eyes, then make that choice.
There is no right or wrong approach; it’s merely a question of style. Once you have chosen your style, you will need to stick to it throughout the book.
STEP 5. Incorporate Important Elements
Your inspired story idea is only as strong as how you tell it. There’s a beginning, a middle, and an end. There are actions, scenes, and emotions. Be sure to be clear about your core message.
The 5 most important elements in a good children’s book:
- Unforgettable characters: The best characters have strong personalities, make bold moves, and go after their dreams against all odds. Children fall in love with them and want to be like them. Children want to relate to the main character in some way. They also relate to kids that are just a bit older than them. Characters who remind kids of themselves are the most unforgettable.
- Suspenseful action/hook: Beginning a children’s book with a suspenseful action or hook is an effective way to draw in young readers. Consistent action throughout your story is vital, as it will hold the reader’s attention. Chapter books, for example, usually end each chapter with a cliffhanger to ensure the reader keeps turning the pages.
- Realistic dialogue: Children like to read stories that sound like they talk. Listen to conversations you hear around you; none of them will sound like the nicely flowing, full sentences you learned to write in school. Make sure you’re using age-appropriate language that kids will understand and relate to.
- Good storyline: A good storyline means there are always obstacles and challenges for your characters, ever-escalating the action. Note that little ones like happy endings and answered questions. If your storyline lacks a happy ending, you risk upsetting the reader or leaving them dissatisfied.
- The instant recall factor: You want your book’s character to remain in the minds of your little readers long after they’ve read your book. If kids ask to read it over and over again, you can consider your story a success.
While the sequence and rhythm of events are significant, keep in mind that not all stories have the same structure. There is no one formula because following a formula would rob stories of their true potential.
Yes, it’s crucial to have an intentional structure. But if it doesn’t fit perfectly, don’t force it.
You have to use solid characters in your children’s book. Interesting, unforgettable characters are a must, especially when helping kids recall your story and core message.
The best characters in children’s books…
- are around the age of the child, if not a few years older
- have colorful personalities
- make bold choices that move the story along
- speak as the readers speak (dialogue style)
- have relatable wants and dreams
It's also important to research a character's surface level attributes before starting to write your book. Children will often ask their parents for a specific type of character such as a train, or a pig, or any other current interest they may have. For example, take a look at how much bestselling books earn for these character types, as well as the level of competition become a bestseller:
Data provided by Publisher Rocket
You need to make the story engaging in your children’s book.
First, you need a good ending. Younger kids need a happy ending that satisfies them. You don’t want to make a kid cry because your story ended sadly. That doesn’t mean slightly more realistic conclusions are pointless, but your audience may struggle to understand complex topics.
Next, make sure your main character is making deliberate choices to move the story forward. If they aren’t making any decisions, they probably shouldn’t be the main character.
Any good story needs suspense, no matter your age category. Cliffhangers are a great way to engage your reader. In a younger book, a cliffhanger may be as simple as writing “Peek-a-” on one page, then “BOO!” on the next.
Here are some examples of suspenseful questions that different age ranges should ask throughout the story:
- In your picture book, is the caterpillar going to achieve its dream of becoming a butterfly? Is the mama cow going to find its baby calf?
- In middle grade books, is the girl going to get her first kiss? Is the boy going to convince his parents to let him get the big Nerf water gun?
- In YA books, is the protagonist going to realize she’s beautiful and save the world?
When you finish your first draft, you need to proofread and edit your children’s books.
Check out Kindlepreneur’s useful article on the Best Proofreading Services You'll Ever Find.
You should wait to hire a professional editor until you have self-edited your book. But you need a pro to look at your work before publishing.
Editing is a valuable and necessary investment, particularly for anything longer than 600 words. A professional proofreader or a line editor can help with spelling and grammar. For chapter books and beyond, you may want to hire a developmental editor to look at the big picture.
A good editor is instrumental in making your book a success because poor spelling, grammar, and book structure will reflect poorly on you as a children’s book writer, leading to negative reviews and fewer sales.
Your book and its message might be fantastic, but too many errors will be noticed by your readers. They may voice their opinion in a review like this, which ultimately lowers your overall rating.
So if your book is more than 600-800 words long, you should send it off to a professional editor for proofing.
Yes, you can go over it yourself and let your significant other read through it. But letting an unbiased, independent professional look over it will make your manuscript as good as it can be.
To find a great editor, read Kindlepreneur’s handy article Selecting The Best Book Editor.
When it comes to adding illustrations to your children’s book, there are three options you can choose from:
- Do it yourself
- Hire someone
- Combination of both
The best option for you will depend on your budget, time, skill level, and trust you’re willing to put into someone else's interpretation of your story.
Illustrating your book may take almost as much time as — if not more time than — actually writing the words of your children’s book.
I’ve broken up the illustration process into 7 steps:
- Choose your orientation
- Plan your image sizing
- Create a storyboard/book dummy
- Combine text & illustration
- Choose an illustrator
- Pay for illustrations
- Obtain your illustrations
1. Choose Your Orientation
When it comes to picture books, there are 3 orientations to choose from:
(This doesn’t apply to chapter books or books for older children. Those usually feature the classic 5½” x 8” format.)
You should choose your book’s orientation early on since it will inform virtually every decision about illustrations down the road.
This is not a hard and fast rule, but here are general reasons to choose each:
- Vertical images are great for character-based books
- Horizontal images are best for a journey-like story
- Square images are excellent for instructional books
2. Plan Your Image Sizing
Whether you hire an illustrator or create the illustrations yourself, you’ll want to make sure you plan your image sizing correctly. This way, once you upload your artwork, everything runs smoothly.
Below are the most common sizes for children’s book images:
- 5.5” x 8.5”
- 6” x 9”
- 6.14 x 9.21”
- 7” x 10”
- 8” x 10”
- 8.5” x 8.5”
- 8.5” x 11”
If you plan on having your images cover the entire page, make sure to add 0.125” to the top and bottom, as well as one side. This accounts for trimming (sections to be removed in printing).
Amazon offers handy templates to plan your image sizing. But remember that you’ll still have to add the bleed allowance yourself.
Here are great inches-to-pixels and pixels-to-inches converters. These help you know how large your image should be, depending on your selected trim size. Be sure to choose a DPI (dots per inch) of 300 when using the mentioned converter.
3. Create a Storyboard/Book Dummy
A storyboard or book dummy helps you decide what to include in each illustration and how the text will match up with the images.
This is meant to help you determine which illustrations you want to include, better informing your quest to find and hire an illustrator. This step is extra helpful if you are planning to create your illustrations yourself.
The storyboard creation process doesn’t have to be perfect. Be expressive, and have fun. In the end, you’ll probably create a few different versions, each being an improvement over the previous one.
How to create a storyboard or book dummy:
- Fold enough blank sheets of paper and staple the stack down the middle.
- Print out your manuscript on a separate paper.
- Cut and paste each block of text into the book dummy (folded paper).
- Flip through each page, read your pasted text, and think of an illustration that would go nicely with that particular text.
- Start sketching on the page of pasted text — or on the opposite page if that’s more helpful. Then you can visualize everything before you give your work to an illustrator.
4. Combine Text & Illustration
How you combine your text and illustrations is entirely up to you.
However, it's a crucial element on how to write a children's book. Whatever you choose, be consistent throughout.
There are two ways of combining text and illustrations:
- Text as part of the image
- Text and image separate
Text as Part of the Image
Having the text as part of the image makes your book format much more straightforward,, and looks consistent across all devices.
However, you decide to include the text in the image itself, this will have to be done by your illustrator. This method makes editing the text a bit harder — any changes or corrections have to be made within the image itself.
Below (left) is a page from my book The Garbage Trucks Are Here, and on the right is a page from my book A Gemstone Adventure.
Text and Image Separate
The other option is to have the text and image separate. The text sits below or above the illustration or on a separate page.
Below is a double-page spread from my chapter book series, The Amulet Of Amser. It has an image on the left-hand page and the text on the right-hand page.
You can arrange this layout by yourself. You don't have to involve your illustrator.
5. Choose an Illustrator
I've started gathering individual authors and agencies into one big list to help with your search. Check them and their sites out below. Keep in mind that I haven't used these services myself.
|Fiction and non-fiction for children, educational, colored, or black and white. Audience age - 6+
|Andy Catling Illustration
|Picture books, YA books, Book covers (various)
|Jennifer Nelson Artists, Inc.
|Variety of specialties – they represent 15 artists worldwide
|Adorable characters, whimsical, commercial
|Alison Mutton, Alene Illustration
|Children’s illustration for picture books, chapter books and covers, in modern, fairytale, low fantasy or historical settingschildren’s illustration for picture books, chapter books and covers, in modern, fairytale, low fantasy or historical settings
|Picture Books, Chapter Books, Cover Design, Dummy Book Production
|Fiction and non-fiction children’s picture books and book covers, realistic, animals and people
|Bill Ledger Cartoon Studio
|3D and 2D illustration for children’s books and commercial projects
|Specializes in early childhood and elementary-aged publications, but not opposed to YA as well. Uses mixed media materials that include watercolor, ink, color pencils, gouache, and digital software.
|John Peter Meiring
|Children book Illustration, comics, and graphics
|Represent over 150 illustrators worldwide. Specializing in children's illustration.
|Children's book illustration, editorial illustration
Children’s picture book illustration, layout and design, and character development. Strives to infuse projects with diversity, happiness and positivity.
|YA covers, primarily fantasy, modern and horror
Here’s a list of outsourcing sites and social media sites where you can choose an illustrator for your children’s book:
- LinkedIn — artist and illustrator groups
- Facebook — artist and illustrator groups
- Goodreads groups
- Children's Illustrators
These outsourcing sites provide you with reviews from the artist’s previous clients and may even include information about previous completion rates. Most importantly, these sites are cost-effective.
On most outsourcing sites, you’ll post your project (similar to a job offering), and children’s book illustrators will bid on it.
To get an idea of how much you should be offering, browse some of the platform’s current projects. Know that your bid sets a baseline only, as each illustrator will bid individually on your project if he or she is interested in working with you.
After the initial bidding process (usually a couple of days), you will have to go through each illustrator’s profile and portfolio to decide who would — or wouldn’t — be a great fit.
- Here’s a helpful vetting process to see if an illustrator is a good fit:
- Look at their profile and read through previous reviews.
- View their portfolio to get a feel for their style.
- Request a sample of their work to see how effectively they can turn your writing into illustrations and how well they follow instructions. View an example of such a request with this link.
6. Pay for Illustrations
You’ll need to pay for illustrations. An illustrator is more critical than an editor for picture books — the illustrations are what the reader will be most focused on.
To get a feel for acceptable prices for a project, browse websites to find postings for similar projects. Actual prices differ significantly from service provider to service provider and change drastically over time.
Payments are generally released based on milestones that you set, such as the completion of the storyboard. The milestone setup will depend on the scope of your project and the platform you are using to hire your illustrator.
The cost of your illustrator depends on multiple things:
- Number of illustrations
- Complexity of the artwork
- Illustrator’s skill level and experience
- Location of the illustrator
- Delivery speed
7. Obtain the Illustrations
Once you choose the best-fitting illustrator for your project and they’ve completed their work, you need to obtain the illustrations.
You want high-resolution images (300 dpi) with the proper sizing and the raw files of all images. This will enable you to make changes directly to your illustrations if need be.
A signed art release form is relevant if you decide to hire an illustrator directly. Any art attained via outsourcing sites should automatically make the illustrations your intellectual property.
FAQs for Writing a Children’s Book
1. Should I copyright my children’s book?
The answer to whether or not you should copyright your children’s book is entirely up to you. Just know that under U.S. copyright law, you already own your work the instant you write it down. However, you can protect your copyright by registering it with the US Copyright Office.
Read Kindlepreneur’s handy article written by a lawyer: How to Copyright a Book in the US
What should I not do when writing a children’s book?
2. What should I not do when writing a children’s book?
You should try not to sound too preachy or instructional about your themes and morals. Kids are very perceptive. They smell an agenda miles away.
You should not leave a story unresolved or a question unanswered. Depending on the age group you’re writing your children’s book for, you need to provide a satisfying ending — particularly for smaller kids.
You should not break patterns. Children love a routine. The key to routines or patterns is to not break them. In your children's book, once we’ve established a pattern (rhyme, repeating phrase, character behavior, etc.), try your best to stick to it.
3. How do I convert my children’s book into an ebook?
One of the easiest ways to convert your children’s book into an ebook is Amazon’s Kindle Kids’ Book Creator.
While I use other methods, I love working with and recommending this simple yet powerful tool. It’s FREE and helps you create an ebook version for your illustrated children’s book. You can import artwork, add text, and create Kindle Text Pop-Ups.
And the best part is that there’s no HTML/CSS knowledge required!
4. Should my children’s book have a subtitle?
Yes, your children’s book should have a subtitle, mainly for marketing purposes.
Giving your children’s book a subtitle provides you with an additional opportunity to use keywords, key phrases, or synonyms that potential readers might be using when searching for a children’s book like yours.
Using a subtitle also allows for more creative freedom than with your actual title. So if your title itself doesn't fully communicate the topic of the book, you’ll have the subtitle as a backup.
Figure out what is trending in children's books using Publisher Rocket. Use this info to develop an effective subtitle.
Just type in a children's book idea, and you can quickly see how many people are searching for those books on Amazon, the average amount of money made by the top books, and even the competition:
As you can see, some kids’ book genres have decent money coming into them with less competition. Make sure you do your research beforehand and title/subtitle your children’s book accordingly.
5. How do I write a children’s book description?
You write a children’s book description (blurb) by looking at similar books’ descriptions. Pay special attention to length, word choice, and the style they are written in. That’s usually a great way to see what your audience expects and is used to.
Like books of other genres, your book description is fundamental to your children’s book’s success.
While your book cover and title help with your book’s discoverability and grabbing a potential buyer’s attention, your description is often the reason a reader decides to buy (or not to buy) your book.
To help you with your blurb format, be sure to check out Dave’s amazing Book Description Generator that takes care of all the text formatting for you.
6. What category should my children's book be in?
Amazon has over 450 paperback and 260 eBook categories for children’s books. Your children’s book should be in the category that best describes your audience:
- Board Book — 0-3 years old
- Picture Book — 2-5 years old
- Early Reader/Chapter Book — 6-10 years old
- Middle Grade Chapter Book — 8-12 years old
- Young Adult (Teen) Chapter Book — 12-18 years old
(These categories are how Amazon’s marketplace categorizes children’s books.)
During your children’s book setup, you may have noticed that not all children’s book categories are offered as an option. That’s because some of Amazon’s categories need to be unlocked before being selected.
However, if you set up your children’s book correctly by adding age ranges, you will be able to add your book quickly and easily to any of these hidden categories by following Dave’s steps in his article How To Choose the Best Book Categories. This is a game-changer for you and your children's book.
7. What is the best cover design for my children's book?
The best book cover design for your children’s book is one that entices potential readers, looks professional to parents, looks fun to kids, and communicates what your book is about.
Now you know how to write a children’s book!
Follow this guide, and you’ll craft a beautiful story tailored toward your audience. And you’ll have the illustrations to make your children’s book eye-catching, and intriguing.
Children value creativity and individuality. There is no one way to draw. No one way to paint. No one way to write. It’s about being uniquely you, lending your unique voice to your unique story.
That’s why you shouldn’t be afraid of the way you write, and you draw because that’s what sets you apart. Diversity is important. Tell your story.
It will teach you how to:
- Format Your Paper & Ebook Versions of Your Book Step-by-Step
- Publish Your Paperback and Ebook
- Market Your Freshly Published Children’s Book
Writing a children’s book is one thing; writing a children’s book that sells is another. Check out Kindlepreneur’s video on How to Write a Children's Book: 8 EASY STEPS!
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