Wednesday, March 6, 2019
The Writer's Bulletin: 5 Tips for Writing Children's Books
5 Tips for Writing Children’s Books
Writing children’s books is a dream for many. Some dream of becoming the next Dr. Seuss. The good news is the publishing industry is always looking for good writers. The bad news is it’s not that easy to come up with the perfect story with the perfect illustrations, or imperfect – sometimes wild and quirky wins the day. Here are seven tips to guide your journey to writing a children’s book…
1. Find Your Niche or Target Market
Start here first. If you don’t have a niche or target market, chances are your book may fall through the literary cracks. Finding your nice sounds easy enough, but, in fact, it takes a lot of research. The children’s book “niche” is smaller than the adult niche markets, so you must be wittier and more clever to appeal to readers. Think (very far) outside the box and come up with your idea of what would be appealing to a child in today’s society.
2. Read to a Test Group of Parents and Children
Once you’ve considered your niche market, read your story aloud to a group of children. Have parents read it aloud as well. Take critique and the advice of both children and parents wisely as they can be the key to your success.
3. Make It Age Appropriate
For children, it is important to write to an age range. The industry considers these age ranges for school-aged children: 1-3 (early readers), 4-6 (intermediate readers), 7-9 (solid readers), 10-12 (preteens), 13-15 (young teens), 16-18 (young adults). You don’t want to write a chapter book for early readers. Consider the age of your reader and the context of your book; as the child ages, so does the maturity of his/her reading ability, as well as the storyline subject.
4. Make Your Book Bedtime Worthy
Many parents read to their children prior to falling asleep. Bedtime stories need to be long enough to tell a story, but not too long. The industry standard for children’s literature is no more than 1,000 words; however, 500 words is considered appropriate in most cases. Consider the font used for the text as well – parents usually hold a book at arm's length, especially when reading at bedtime.
5. Write for Today’s Child
Relevant content that is intriguing to today’s child will require research on your part. Children are savvy today about many topics. Good resources include parents, librarians, and teachers. Find out what resonates with your target audience/age range.