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        How to Write a Children’s Book: An Easy Step-by-Step Guide

        • calenderSep 05, 2023
        • calender 5 min read

        Writing a children’s book comprises a lot more than just elaborating on a story idea and adding attractive images. It involves developing an age-appropriate story that fascinates kids and enthralls them till the end. So how to write a children’s book that captures the short attention span of your young readers?

        Well, there are ten steps to writing a children’s book:

        • Target the right age group
        • Find an idea that’ll work
        • Develop your idea into a story
        • Create kid-friendly characters
        • Keep the story fast-paced and exciting
        • Create catchphrases
        • Think graphically
        • Add an attractive title
        • Revise the draft
        • Look for editors and illustrators

        Let’s take a closer look at these tips for writing children’s books.

        1. Target the right age group

        You may be surprised to know that the children’s book category includes books for all ages from 0 to 18! This includes diverse sub-genres from board books for newborn babies to fiction and non-fiction for young adults (Y/A). So before you begin writing books for kids, you need to determine your target audience’s age category.

        Understanding your target audience is also essential to marketing your book effectively. The first thing that publishers, educators, and parents will check is the age group your book caters to. You’ll have to be quite specific about your readers if you want your book to do well in the market.

        Here are the different age categories and the types of children’s books for them:

        • 0- to 4-year-olds: Board books
        • 2- to 5-year-olds: Early picture books
        • 4- to 8-year-olds: Activity books, novelty books
        • 5- to 8-year-olds: Early reader fiction
        • 6- to 9-year-olds: Chapter books
        • 8- to 12-year-olds: Middle grade books
        • 12- to 18-year-olds: Young adult books

        Note that the age categories for children’s books may vary slightly based on your source. There are always some overlaps in these categories, so you’ll have to undertake some hefty research!

        2. Find an idea that will work

        It’s important to know your readers before you explore ideas for your children’s book-writing endeavor. At the same time, you must also figure out what their parents seek.

        Wondering where to look for ideas and how to start a children’s book? You can begin by interacting with kids of the age group you’re writing for. Consider visiting popular bookstores to notice the themes that attract kids belonging to your target age group. This will help determine what may work and what may not when you’re writing a kid’s book.

        To determine whether an idea can work, try answering the following questions:

        • What’s the basic theme of my story?
        • Why do I want to tell this story?
        • Is this idea unique?
        • Are my theme and idea relatable to kids?

        3. Develop your idea into a story

        When exploring how to write a children’s book, the next step would be developing your idea into a compelling story. Make sure to do your research for fiction writing before embarking on this journey. 

        The idea is to begin your story with a hook, which is one of the effective ways to catch readers’ attention. It will infuse excitement and drama in your writing to engage your young readers. 

        As you go about writing the story, stop for short intervals. Read out what you have written and listen carefully. Ask yourself if the storyline is gripping enough to hold your interest and that of your young audience.

        Furthermore, remember the importance of crafting a satisfying conclusion that ties up all the loose ends when writing children’s books. A well-written conclusion will leave a lasting impression on young readers and leave them eager for more adventures.

        4. Create kid-friendly characters

        When seeking tips for writing children’s books, one essential aspect to consider is the stock characters available to you. Develop these archetypes into lovable, memorable, and relatable characters.

        As the story progresses, let your protagonist develop wisdom, skills, and strength. Introduce obstacles in your story and allow your protagonist to overcome them and learn from these experiences. Such a character arc fascinates kids and enables them to learn valuable life lessons.

        Take a few examples of children’s books that have iconic characters. You can opt for books like Pippi Longstocking or Matilda by Roald Dahl. Analyze them to understand how to create relatable characters with depth and then proceed to create your own characters.

        5. Keep the story fast-paced and exciting

        When delving into how to write a children’s book, maintaining a quick-paced and thrilling narrative is crucial. You have to ensure that the story progresses at a fast pace as well. This helps to keep the excitement level high among young readers.

        One trick to apply here is to use short and crisp sentences for your narrative. By using shorter sentences, you can infuse a vibe of urgency into the story. There’s another advantage to this: Children need less time to read shorter sentences. This helps to grasp their concentration and retain it on the page.

        You can also introduce dramatic subplots when you write a children’s book. This is another effective idea to make your story an exciting read. But make sure to stay away from unnecessary descriptions for maximum effect.

        6. Create catchphrases

        Have you ever wondered why writers create catchphrases for their characters? The simple answer is to lend a unique voice to a character and ensure that it stands out.

        By using captivating catchphrases, you can bring alive your characters. Catchphrases and memorable lines are your key to creating a lasting impression on the minds of your young readers.  

        But when it’s a question of how to write a kid’s book with catchphrases, you need to remember two points.

        • Always limit your catchphrases to just a few characters and select those characters wisely.
        • Make sure that you don’t use the catchphrase of a character too much or too often.

        7. Think graphically

        As an author, you need to think about how to make a children’s book come alive visually. This is where graphic elements can help you. These elements and captivating imagery can elevate your narrative and take it to the next level.

        But make sure to write your first draft without using images. This is important since it will allow you to bring alive your imaginary world with the help of words. Once this is done, you can add images to complement your story.

        Remember that you should depend on the imagery to create a visual roadmap for your narrative. You should not use it to do all your storytelling work.

        8. Add an attractive title

        The title of your children’s book carries a lot of importance. It creates the first impression of the book and sets the tone for the story.

        To come up with an impressive title when writing books for kids, identify the most important theme or moment in your story. You can then convert it into a catchy title. Another idea that almost always works is to use the name of the main character as the title.

        Just remember that the title you pick should resonate with your young audience. It should invite them into a world of wonder and imagination.  

        9. Revise the draft

        Once you’re done writing the first draft, it’s time to turn it into a more polished version. For that, you need to reread and revise it. Sometimes you may need a couple of revisions before being satisfied.  

        As you go about revising your draft, pay attention to the following points:

        • Do the story and the characters appeal to you?
        • Are there plot holes in the story?
        • Is there a need to rewrite any part of the content?

        Be open to seeking feedback from others, such as fellow writers, teachers, or editors. Their perspectives can help you refine and elevate your draft further. 

        10. Look for editors and illustrators

        You need a talented illustrator who can enrich your story through their artistic talent. If you’re self-publishing your book, it’s your job to hire an illustrator who can elevate your story visually. Go through online reviews and recommendations while you’re selecting an illustrator and make sure to clearly communicate your ideas to them.

        The work of a book editor involves reviewing your manuscript thoroughly to mark out errors. These can be errors in your language or formatting errors. They also suggest how to improve your story further.

        Unless you’re extremely talented and with lots of time to spare, you’ll certainly require professional help while editing and illustrating a children’s book. So, opt for an editing or self-publishing service that has expertise in publishing kids’ stories.

        So those were the ten steps to writing a children’s book. You’ll have to invest a lot of your imagination and creativity, streamlining your book-writing efforts, so you can create a fantastic story. So, go ahead, allow your imagination to flow freely and enjoy your kids’ book writing journey!

        As your favorite literary editors, we have some more resources that will help you out. Take a look:

        Frequently Asked Questions

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        Prasanna Linkedin

        Prasanna is on a little break from academia and spends his time compiling fiction writing tips. He enjoys poetry, mythology, and drawing lotuses on any surface he can find.

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