After reading many, many books to my daughter, I decided to start writing my own children’s book. How hard can it be? You write a cute story about some animals having a picnic, get published and have the money roll in. Yeah, no that’s not how it really works. Writing and publishing children’s book is not as easy as it sounds. You have to remember that you’re writing for little kids who have a understandably limited vocabulary and very precise taste. Based on my own experience and a bit of research that I did, I came up with some advice on how to go about writing and publishing children’s books.
Start by deciding who you’re writing for and what you want to write about. Remember that children of different ages and genders are into different things. Three year boys generally like Thomas the Train and Cars while the girls like princesses and tea parties. Of course at some point they all like things animals, boats and birthday parties, but it’s up to you to decide what to write about and for whom. Try not to follow trends because by the time you write your book and get it published, there’s a good chance that the trend may be going down or is over. Once you’ve decided on a plot, characters and who you want to reach, remember to respect your readers. Just because they’re little doesn’t mean that they need to be lectured by your morals or spoken to like they’re dumb. Children are very smart and have very strong opinions.
Once you’ve written your first draft and added the pictures, go back to the drawing board and think about how to improve it. Is there something or someone that you can add to the story to make it more memorable? Will your audience want to come back for more? Is the story and the pictures of the right maturity level for your audience and will they connect with it? When you have gone over this a few times, then it’s time to put your story to a test. Give copies to people that you trust and ask them for their opinion. Go to a children’s school and read the story to the kids so that you can see their reactions.
Once you decide that you are completely satisfied with your story, find a digital printing company. Make sure that you get a digital printing company because you want your wording and your pictures to be sharp, clean and precise. Digital printing is the best way to go about getting this done. Be sure to let the book printer know if you want to print a hard or soft cover book, how you want your margins set, and that they should put your name and telephone number on each corner of each page of the book. This is a very important step so be sure to be clear about what you want. How many books you decide to prints depends on how many publishers you want to send your book to. If your strapped for cash, instead of printing a book, you can print loose pages. I recommend printing a few extra books because the first twenty publishers may very well turn you down.
When you get your books from the publishing company, do some research on publishing companies. Find out where to send your books and to whom. When you’re ready to send your book to the publishers, have a short cover letter saying why your book is different from anything else on the market. Don’t compare yourself with another author. That author is already out there so you should be unique. Once you send your book out, all there is left to do is to wait. The publishers get thousands of books a day so it will take some time for them to get to yours. Most importantly, don’t lose patience. If it doesn’t work out with the first book, write another one and see how that goes. Good luck!
A digital printing company Printing a few copies of your children’s book may help to make a good first impression when you send your work to a publisher for review.