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Tips for Writing Children’s Books

Writing for kids and writing for adults are two very different tasks. Here are some writing for children tips that might help in your future manuscript submissions.

An Apple laptop open to a page of writing

Understand Your Book Categories

It is very important to understand book categories, audiences, and genres when you are writing for children. You should know the difference between middle grade and young adult books. You should know the difference between a board book and a picture book.

You can have a great concept for a book, but if you write it too high or too low for your audience it will not pass the submission stage.

Also, it’s important to note word counts matter in children’s literature. You shouldn’t write a 10,000 word picture book nor a 500 word middle grade book.

Study the Children's Book Market

You have an idea for a wizard book; however, publishers don’t need another Harry Potter (because it's still selling well). Study the children’s book market. What is out there already? What is missing? How is your concept the same but different from those selling well in stores?

Publishers are looking for new concepts with strong diversity and themes that hit home with readers. Series are popular because publishers can count on those books for future catalogues.

Work at Writing

It’s one thing to have a winning concept. It’s another to actually get to work writing. Keep an eye on your sentence structure, reading ease, and yes, grammar and spelling. Then, look over your work and consider getting a beta reader. Beta readers read over your work when you think your work is done. Quite often, beta readers come up with questions and comments about issues you can’t see because you’ve looked at your document so many times. Take beta readers' feedback with a grain of salt (everyone has an opinion) but also use their ideas to revise your manuscript.

Tip: Most publishers use American spelling for children’s books (so be prepared to take the “u” out of “colour” if you are a Canadian author).

It’s normal to have many, many drafts of a manuscript before it is polished enough for submissions. It takes time to develop a story idea, work it into words, and then ensure the story flow works for the genre and word count.


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