“Books for children are as complex as their adult counterparts, and they should therefore be accorded the same respect.”
~ Mark Haddon
It’s month TWO of our Cardinal Rule Press Three-Month Writer’s Series and in this month’s Blog, we are sharing INSIDER TIPS from our experts on Writing a Children’s Book.
Speaking of INSIDER TIPS: Stay in the know by signing up for the Cardinal Rule Press bi-weekly Newsletter. This month, subscribers can download a FREE template for children to WRITE A LETTER TO AN AUTHOR. You’re little readers may just get a response back from a favorite!
MAY WRITER’S SERIES: WRITING A CHILDREN’S BOOK
Insider Tips on Getting Started
RESEARCH YOUR BOOK THEME/IDEA
Choosing a theme is a crucial aspect of writing children’s books. Have an idea in your head? GOOGLE IT! Do your research on your idea. There needs to be an appeal for your target age group. What makes your story different from all the other children’s stories out there? What is important to your readers? What kind of situations are they concerned about in their everyday lives? Your readers need to be able to identify with the characters visually as well as narratively.
Insider Tip: There’s nothing more frustrating for a publisher to receive a submission from a writer who worked so hard on a manuscript, when they know (and trust me, they know!) there are other children’s books out there with the same theme. Don’t get ahead of yourself – do the research before you begin!
There needs to be a clear beginning to your story, a clear middle or peaking point, and a clear ending with closure. Children like resolution in their stories. The story should stick to the point without using unnecessary words, terms or events that can distract the child from the main point. There is one path with children’s books which is different from adult novels: there are a limited number of characters and the focus stays on their experiences.
Insider Tip: Children are reading the story first and foremost to have fun. Just because your story has a message for children doesn’t mean that it needs to be made loud and clear. While you might want to teach life lessons to the children through your story, it needs to first be a fun story.
WHAT NOT TO ATTEMPT
Skip an attempt at illustrating. Unless you have a professional illustrator portfolio, let the future publisher take on that piece. While tempting, don’t attempt to rhyme in your book. There is a specific style of rhyme that editors and publishers look for and if you aren’t educated in that style, it can come off really bad in a submission.
Insider Tip: A professional editor can cost anywhere from $75-$250 and according to our publishing insiders, it is money WELL SPENT. Nothing screams “amateaur” more than a submission with grammatical errors and run-on sentences.
OUR BEST ADVICE?
Just START! One of the biggest barriers to writing a children’s book is thinking and talking about it for years and years but never putting pen to paper. Tuck away some intentional time in your schedule, take the pressure off yourself and just WRITE. Your first writing attempts may not result in a perfect story but if you never start, how will you ever know?
We hope you enjoyed this second installment of our Writer’s Series and we look forward to next month’s topic: The Writer’s Community. DON’T FORGET: Sign up for Cardinal Rule Press freebies and tips coming right to your inbox with our bi-weekly Newsletter. Sign up today!
“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” ~ Toni Morrison
~ Your friends at Cardinal Rule Press
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