Writing a children’s book is a challenging task, even for experienced authors! If you’re looking to get your book published, you’ll have to meet both the publishers’ and readers’ expectations. Just like adults, children enjoy reading books that have intriguing story lines. Here are three common mistakes to avoid when writing children’s books:
1. Making the moral of the story too transparent:
Most children’s books contain lessons, however, they don’t spell them out right away.Try not to make the moral of the story too obvious. Instead, weave in lessons to the main story by using actions of characters in way that encourages engagement and critical thinking of your young reader audience.
2. Lack of research on the publishing market:
Children’s books are categorized in the store by age group and genre. Authors do not get to decide which age group or genre their book will market to. Instead, the publishers decide how books will be marketed and to whom. Aspiring writers should research what it is publishers are looking for. Not all publishers want the same concept. In order to stay updated with the latest trends and publisher requirements, consider joining the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). I also recommend contacting publishers, directly, to request specific guidelines.
3. Overwriting in picture books:
According to Emma Walton Hamilton, a best-selling children’s book author and editor, a standard children’s picture book length is thirty-two pages and no more than 1,000 words (including the title, dedications, and acknowledgement pages). Instead of writing out what the illustrations show, Hamilton recommends letting the pictures and text inform one another rather than mirroring each other. Also avoid an excessive use of adjectives and try to show the story through character action rather than telling.
If you already have a book idea in mind or want to learn more on writing a children’s book, consider our online course with Steve Alcorn, a published children’s book author! During the past decade, Steve has helped more than 10,000 students turn their story ideas into a reality- some of these students have even published novels that were developed in the course!