A Simple Guide to Writing Children’s Books
Thinking about becoming a children's book author? Well, you have come to the right place. Shaping young minds gives a powerful feeling and is certainly very rewarding. Having said that, it is mandatory to develop an understanding of the process before you can even begin down that track.
So, what does writing a children's book really require?
In this blog, we will explain the genres of children's books, how to hire the perfect ghostwriters and how to find an illustrator.
Types of children's books
Before executing a story, it is essential to understand what a genre is and how it helps in categorizing the story. The genre labels the main theme of the story. It outlines and gives a brief knowledge about what to expect from the book.
While browsing through a bookstore, the genre helps us to decide on what type of story we are looking for.
In addition to the genre, children's books are also divided based on reading levels. These are toddlers (1-3 years old), preschoolers (3-5 years old), Middle childhood (6-11 years old), young teens (12-14 years old), and young adults (15-18).
Below are some of the categories/genres of books.
The meaning is as literal as the name; 'pictures.' The illustrations can be in the form of paintings, graphical (virtual) images, 3D, and so on.
Pictorial books are very captivating for young audiences, such as toddlers and infants. The colors in the pictures and how the story is portrayed through them play an important role in catching the attention of developing brains.
Poetry is a beautiful form of conveying emotions through rhythmic words. Poetry talks about either a common theme/topic or different themes. It is largely considered a strong language of love.
Young adults are generally more enthusiastic about poetry.
The stories that are covered in this genre are the narratives of centuries-old cultures and people. This genre tells the old tales, myths, and stories of the past that have developed as different people passed them over. Simply put: these stories are from "Folks." The historical events narrate various styles of living, communities, customs, values, and cultures.
These experiences of different ethnicities and cultures serve as an exciting and adventurous genre for kids.
This genre unfolds stories that are not realistic-or have a touch of magic. They can also be categorized as 'Fictional' stories. These are those stories that cannot happen and are purely based on imagination.
Fantasy stories enable children to be imaginative and creative. Fairy tales can also be classified under this genre.
The non-fiction genre is a great way to inform children about the possible wonders of the real world. It also works as a persuasive way of providing information.
How to write a children's book in '8' steps
Yes, you read it correctly.
All it takes to compile a children's book are 8 simple steps! As easy as it sounds, catching the attention of children is a difficult task. We are here to provide you with a solution to your literary hurdle.
1) Deciding the age group
Children go through various stages of development. Each stage of the development process has different properties, values, and interests. Therefore, it is important to select the age group that the narrative will refer to.
Deciding the age group will help to choose the appropriate word limit for a specific age group.
Age group Word count
Toddlers Up to 100 words
Preschoolers 200 - 1000 words
Middle Childhood 5000 - 10,000 words
Young Teens 20,000 - 40,000 words
Young Adults 50000 - 80,000 words
2) Constructing a plot
To create an interesting plot according to the age group, you should be able to answer the following questions:
- Is it relatable for the targeted audience?
- Does it engage with a variety of children?
- Does the story have an interesting character?
- Is there any important lesson in the narrative?
- Is the story irresistible for children?
If you answered yes to all these questions, then congratulations, you have succeeded in developing an intriguing narrative.
3) Classifying the book genre
Now, according to the plot of the story, it is essential to label the storyline of the book. First, start by labeling the book as fictional or non-fictional. Upon deciding on the correct label, we move on to the sub-genres. Sub-genre of the book can be sci-fi, action, thriller, and so on. This helps the targeted audience in choosing their desired story. The sub-genre is the keyword that identifies what the audience is looking for.
4) Characteristics of a good book
What makes a children's book good is that the narrative showcases an important lesson in a captivating way to grasp children's attention. The storyline should be easy to comprehend according to the age group. The narrative should be sufficient to entertain the children as well as the adults. Moreover, the storyline should be relatable to many children.
5) Choosing the right title
You deserve a pat on the back for making it this far!
It is important to choose appropriate words to form a book title. A good book title is brief and eye-catching. It should also be able to identify the storyline or connect with it. Most importantly, the title should match the genre it is labeled as.
6) Compiling a draft
Now it's time to assemble the research in a calculated form. It is necessary to put together the narrative in sequence.
Start by making a prototype. This will allow you to easily identify the errors. Any new changes can be easily accommodated. It can also be reused for more projects in the future to avoid making the same mistake.
7) Get checked by an editor
Having an opinion from a professional editor/critique will help locate any miscalculation that might have slipped you. A professional editor will always give honest feedback. Besides, it's always useful to have an extra pair of eyes.
Another thing to consider before hiring an editor is to make sure they have experience in editing books for children. It is essential to have an opinion from a critic who edits children's books.
8) Finding an illustrator
An illustrator is an artist who acquires the skills to visually represent your story. A visual representation is a picture, piece of film, or display used to accompany the key idea.
A good children's book needs illustrations to convey the writer's idea of the storyline. Illustrations provide a universe of similar-looking objects that all belong to your story. It also helps the children explore their imaginative side.
How to find a childrens book illustrator for hire
To execute your idea, do some research on the style of illustration you want for your book. This will narrow down your choices and will save you time as you go through numerous portfolios.
Once you have that, you can begin your search.
If it's a freelancer you're looking for, you can head to one of the popular platforms, do some recon and hire one that seems to fit the requirements. Or you can also hunt for references from other authors around you.
The alternative is companies that offer illustration services.
Many self-publishing businesses offer illustration services with experts who excel in children's book art design. They can line you up with the right fit and probably will even cost less since they have in-house employees.
How to brief your illustrator
After choosing a suitable illustrator according to your narrative, budget, and art style, it's time to prepare a brief for the artist.
A brief includes the following things
- Details about your book. This includes the genre of your book and the project goals that you have set out to achieve.
- The targeted audience and their age group.
- Type of illustration you are looking for. Include references if you can.
- The number of illustrations you need. This may or may not include a book cover.
- The size of your book
- Key dates and deadlines.
Congratulations! You have succeeded in compiling
a book. All the hard work
you have poured into putting together your story
will result in fruitful rewards. Oh, and one more thing, don't forget to