With winter weather beginning to set in for many of us and other recent events, like back to school and National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) happening, you may be one of the many children’s book authors who is starting to write a new book for kids, perhaps in celebration of Children’s Book Week (November 7–13).
Writing a book for children never grows old because there are SO many possibilities! And nowadays, children’s books are more popular than ever, with more lucky parents spending more time with their children. Children’s books are shorter and quicker to write and edit! They are easier and faster to publish. They are simpler to market and promote. And they are more popular than ever! So, 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 contains just enough text to carry the story 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 topics these adults want to prepare their children to face. So, take advantage! Talk about a perfect time to write about the “boogey 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 that treats its younger audiences with a rich vocabulary and age-appropriate but sophisticated sentence structures. Kids 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 excellent tools for teaching sound decision-making skills. Still, most of these success stories find clever, quiet ways to do so without alienating readers by being too “preachy.” Use subtle metaphors for more significant issues (ahem, like boogey 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 contain notes for adults on how to best use the book to teach young readers a skill or an idea. Hint: this is especially useful to parents grappling with becoming educators due to stay-home directives.
- Humor them! Children have a keen sense of humor and often embrace farce and comedy with zeal and a hearty 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. In addition, we offer a comprehensive list of services that we hope you’ll take advantage of as you work to translate your vision to the page! Your kids, grandkids, and even their friends and family will thank you!