If you are one of the many writers around the world finding themselves stuck at home with more time to write, you may be one of the many children’s book authors who started writing a new book for kids last week in celebration of Children’s Book Week (May 4-10).
Well, Children’s Book Week May be over, but writing a book for children never grows old because there are SO many possibilities! And nowadays, children’s books are more popular than ever, what with more lucky parents spending more time with their children.
Children’s books are shorter and quicker to write and edit! They’re easier and faster to publish. They’re simpler to market and promote. And, they’re more popular than ever! If you’ve never fancied yourself a children’s book author, maybe it’s time to rethink that.
Let’s look at six things to keep in mind when writing and publishing children’s books:
- Mind your length. As any preschool teacher or children’s librarian can confirm, reading with children is most enjoyable for both parties when the book in question contains just enough text to carry the story along without exhausting a child’s attention.
- Pick a timely subject. Picture books are more likely to be picked up by parents, teachers, and librarians on the prowl if they tackle subjects which these adults want to prepare their children to face. Take advantage! Talk about a perfect time to write about the “boogy monster” or “having cooties!”
- Don’t dumb it down. You heard right—baby talk doesn’t carry as compelling of a story as a book which treats its younger audiences with a rich vocabulary and age-appropriate but sophisticated sentence structure. Kids who are learning to read are much more accepting of new information than when they become kids who are reading to learn.
- Voice morals carefully, and cleverly. Few will argue against picture books as prime tools for teaching sound decision-making skills, but most of these success stories find clever, quiet ways to do so without alienating readers by being too “preachy.” Use subtle metaphors for larger issues (ahem, like boogy monsters and cooties, for example).
- Think about those end materials! Many of today’s best picture books include a few pages at the end which include notes for adults on how to make best use of the book in teaching a skill or an idea to young readers. Hint: this is especially useful to parents grappling with becoming educators as a result of stay-home directives.
- Humor them! Children have a keen sense of humor, and often embrace farce and comedy with both zeal and a squeal. While the story itself can’t always be humorous, more often than not, the illustrations can be.
At Outskirts Press, we are here to support you during every stage of the publishing process, whether you’re using our One-Click Publishing suite to publish your next children’s book, or if you need custom-drawn full-color illustrations. We offer a comprehensive list of services which we hope you’ll take advantage of as you work to translate your vision to the page! Your kids, grand kids (and even their friends and family) will thank you!