Writing For Children: How To Write A Successful Children’s Book

kidsChildren’s books offer lots of different opportunities for writers. Here are some tips to help you get started writing for kids:

First of all, what could you write for children? Fiction offers the best opportunities for children’s writing. You could write a full-length children’s book, but short stories are also a good choice. There’s also a demand for children’s non-fiction, especially books with an educational aspect.

Choose the age group you’re going to write for. Children’s books tend to fall into closely defined age groups, although there’s a year or two’s leeway either way. It will make your book easier to market and sell if it fall closely within one of the following age groups: Pre readers. Early readers. Junior readers. Early teen and young adult.

Make sure your writing is age appropriate. The best way to get guidance on this is to read books aimed at a similar age group. For example, most children love scary stories – but there’s a big difference between what is appropriate for a 5 year old and a 12 year old.

Certain common themes tend to work well in children’s fiction. For example, action (mainly for boys), fairies and princesses (mainly for girls) suspense, fantasy, magic and hero/heroine -v- villain stories.

But remember – thousands of stories have already been written around these themes so try to give yours a unique twist.

Don’t be scared to use your imagination. Children have a big imagination so you can (in fact should) make everything bigger, faster, brighter and crazier than you thought.

Put the reader in the story. Children love stories where they can identify with the characters in the story. Or, better still, imagine they ARE the characters in the story. (This is undoubtedly one of the reasons why the Harry Potter books have been such a big hit.)

Illustration. Illustration is an important part of most children’s books, especially up to age 8 or so. Paying an illustrator can be very expensive, so consider finding one who’s interested in doing a royalty or profit sharing deal. Another option is to pitch your book idea to an editor or publisher and ask them to find an illustrator.

Run a focus group. Children will give you better feedback than any editor ever will. They’ll always reply and they’ll always tell you the truth! Ask friends or relatives if they could help here. Or ask a local school if they’d be willing to let one of their classes read and comment on your draft.

I hope you’ve found these tips useful.