Are you interested in knowing how to become a children’s book author? Then this post is for you. But before you make that big call, you have to be fully prepared for what lies ahead.
There are probably hundreds of children’s book writers competing for a handful of publishers and agents out there. So, if you want to succeed as an author, you must be persistent and choose the right path.
Here, we have highlighted the simple steps you can follow to write and publish your first children’s book. Continue reading!
Get Quality Education:
What does education have to do with becoming a children’s book author? Well, everything. Without education, it would not be easy to write grammatically sound books.
However, there’s no formal education for wannabe children’s book authors. The farthest that most schools go is offering undergraduate children’s literature courses.
An author needs to have a degree to hone his or her writing, editing, and critical thinking skills. A degree in English language, journalism, or communication can help prepare you for a robust writing career.
Studying an art course is a great stepping stone for any proposed children’s book author. But that doesn’t mean you can’t succeed as an author if you didn’t study English or any other art course. You can.
Several online courses for interested children book authors are available. You can attend one to learn how to write engaging children’s book that agents and publishers would find hard to resist.
That said, an author who did an engineering or science course in school might have an upper- hand in writing engineering children’s books. He or she can use residual knowledge to explain difficult engineering terms to children’s understanding.
A Handy Tip: Consider attending a school that offers courses in children’s literature. That way, you can learn the creative skills needed to write killer children’s books. Only top-rated schools should also be on your radar.
Choose Genre And Categories.
As a newbie children’s book author, you have to make several decisions besides choosing an appropriate title, plot, or character age. You have to decide on the genre and category to which you belong.
Now, what’s a genre? A genre refers to a book’s style description. For instance, a fantasy book style is different from an Sc-Fi book. That’s what we mean by genre.
Next, who are your readers? What’s their age group and reading ability? At what stage is their emotional and mental development? You have to answer these questions before even writing the first words of your new children’s book.
You can decide to produce books for multiple categories and genres. But before you make such a big switch, ensure you have already established yourself.
I am trying to say that you should consider producing three powerful picture books before publishing and marketing a middle grade.
It’s also important for authors who are just starting their careers to learn about their targeted audiences’ reading differences. What does each age group want to read about?
Furthermore, it would be best to bolster your understanding of using appropriate character age, word count, and language. Keep in mind when writing that you can’t use certain languages in your children’s book.
A Handy Tip: Take time to learn and understand the writing requirements for various genres and categories. It will enable you to write for multiple genres and categories with much ease.
I would also advise budding children’s book authors to learn to build an arena before hopping to the next. It would help if you didn’t jump from picture books to writing for young adults and the then middle grade. You will only confuse your targeted audience and waste marketing resources by doing so. Establish yourself in one area before branching out.
Read Children’s Books Ruthlessly.
Reading other children’s book writer’s work will expose you to a lot of things. You will learn how to make your story relatable to a range of children, use high-quality and professional illustrations in your work.
It doesn’t stop there. Reading will help you understand the marketing trend for children’s books. You will learn the styles, themes, and characters popular with publishers, agents, and children.
So, read as many children’s books as you can. It will expose you to many things about children’s book writing and place the key to success in your hands.
Focus on books written by top authors. Read their biography for some inspiration and prepare a long list of most or all the children’s books written by them.
Besides acquiring knowledge from their book, you will know how they grew from good to best authors in various genres and categories.
For reference, here’s a list of top children’s book writers who have graced us with their creative book-writing prowess.
- Roald Dahl
- Kate DiCamillo
- Maurice Sendak
- Eric Carle
- Robert Munsch
- Chris Van Allsburg
These are just a few names. You can decide to add other world-class authors or focus on the ones here. But have in mind that the more books you read, the more knowledge you’ll acquire.
Study what makes each author great and how their ideas relate to yours. And remember, you can come up with a more unique children’s book. You don’t have to limit yourself to what other authors have done. The world is looking for books that not only interest but intrigues.
Practice And Practice:
You should be familiar with the phrase “practice makes perfect.” It’s a common phrase but very real. The more you spend time writing, the better you become in your craft. You will be able to spot reoccurring errors, make adjustments, and perfect your writing skills.
You don’t have to write a complete book of three hundred pages for practice’s sake. Just write short stories and articles. You can even send them to children’s magazines and websites to build a robust resume while honing your writing skills.
Find Your Squad:
Writing is a craft, so treat it as such. If you don’t hone your skills, you may never be as successful as you dreamed.
Don’t forget there’s a high competition among children’s book authors out there. As you prepare to dive into this career path, have that in mind.
Consider joining a critique group. You’ll have the opportunity to critique other people’s work and have them do the same to yours.
Why is joining a critique group important? It’s simple. You’ll learn a lot of secrets and become a better writer. When you allow other writers to read your book and read theirs, you’ll be able to pinpoint a break in characters, sagging plots, and other areas of concern in their writings.
Another reason to join writing or critique group is that writing can sometimes be very tiring and boring. Most writers hibernate after producing several books because of how tedious and time-consuming writing can be. But when you join writers or a critique group, you’ll get motivated by how zealous most of the group members are.
A Handy Tip: Let your feedback be honest. Do not try to sugarcoat your feedback. Give both positive and negative feedbacks without fear or favor. And request the same from other writers, as you can only improve as a writer with honest feedback.
Having your critique group members read your book and provide feedback before publishing would help boost its success rate on the market.
Most of the successful authors you see today owe their success to other people. They won’t have had their big break if not for the power of networking.
So, as you prepare to dive into the children’s book world as an author, never neglect opportunities to network. You never know who will connect you to that agent or publisher that would showcase your work to the world.
Networking also allows other professionals to read your work and provide necessary feedback. It will also help you to stay up-to-date with the current happenings in the book for children market.
Now that you have succeeded in honing your writing skills and gained sound knowledge in the field, it’s time to start publishing.
You can choose one of two paths. You either become a self-published author or send your work to publishing houses for consideration. But prepare yourself for any outcome. Having your work rejected by a publisher doesn’t mean the book is poor quality.
If a publisher rejects your work, don’t beat yourself up. J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter pitch got rejected twelve times. But through persistence and self-belief, it finally got accepted.
There’s no one full-prove path to becoming a children’s book author. But with a college degree, constant practice, networking, and research, you can be better prepared to take the industry by storm.
There’s high competition in children’s book writing. You have to compete with newbie authors like yourself and authors who have made a name for themselves. Nevertheless, if you prepare well and follow the right path, success won’t be difficult to achieve.