If you have a big idea that can inspire or educate young readers, publishing a children's book is a good way to get your message to the masses. Books help children not only develop language skills but also learn more about the world around them and discover important lessons. They're also a source of great joy for many families.
Adding your unique story or perspective to the shelves of young readers can be done in a few simple steps. To create a children's book, you'll need to come up with an age-appropriate topic, select a book format, find an illustrator, buy an ISBN, and connect with a publisher.
In this article, Book1One walks you through the journey of creating a children's book from inspiration to publication.
Create an Age-Appropriate Storyline
Whether you already have a storyline in mind or are still working on your topic, the biggest part of this step is appealing to your target audience. For children's books, this means engaging with a specific age group: young children, early readers, or young adults (teens).
At this stage, researching your audience is fundamental to the outcome of your story. Identifying your target audience can help you do the following:
- Come up with a relevant conflict or storyline
- Create relatable characters
- Craft your story in an age-appropriate way
- Decide how important illustrations will be
Writing to a specific age group also helps inform the language you'll use throughout your story. Stories for younger readers typically tackle straightforward issues or complex issues in a simpler, age-appropriate way. On the other hand, stories for teens speak to the issues most relevant to that specific audience.
If you're unsure about the specific details of your story, try researching what's trending in the kids’ market right now. Are dinosaur books in demand, or are animal books selling more often? Do older kids seem more interested in fantasy or science fiction?
As an author with a goal audience in mind, there is a whole world of possibilities to explore. Plus, your book can sell quite well if you tap into the right niche. This can be especially important if you plan to go further and create a complete series of books.
Select Your Book's Format
Once you have an age-appropriate storyline in mind, it'll be easier to put together a narrative that truly resonates with young readers and follows your desired format well. There is a wide range of book formats for children on the market, and each one serves a specific type of narrative or overall purpose. These include the following examples:
- Picture books: Great for a variety of age ranges, these books tell a story through images. Words will be few and far between (if it has any at all).
- Easy readers: This type of book is typically geared toward kids who are just starting to develop fundamental reading skills. The paragraphs will be concise and made up of simple, direct sentences. These books are often accompanied by engaging imagery.
- Chapter books: From elementary-age kids to young adults, chapter books cover a wide range of audiences. These books often differ in storyline and character complexity, as well as language usage based on the target audience. Unless it's a graphic novel, chapter books often have fewer images than books designed for early readers.
At this stage, you should also keep the book’s length in mind. It's important to create a story that's long or short enough to suit your book's format and your target audience. For example, a book designed to help kids develop basic literacy skills, which is over 200 pages long, might not hold the attention of a struggling reader as effectively as one that's only 20 pages long.
Hire a Skilled Illustrator
Once you have your storyline down, it's time to work with an illustrator. Illustrations are more than pictures on the page. They help bring your story to life and add entertainment value – especially for the younger crowd.
An illustrator can work with you to define specific settings, come up with a fun look for the main characters, design unique page layouts, and much more. The ideal marriage between words and pictures can make a world of difference in your story and how it's interpreted by your audience.
If you don't know one personally, illustrators can be hired in many places, such as on freelancing websites and social media. While the cost of hiring an illustrator can vary, it typically depends on several factors, including:
- Number of illustrations
- Type of artwork
- Level of experience
When you've found an artist, meet to discuss your story and vision. The more details you can give about your storyline, settings, and characters, the easier it will be for an illustrator to help you complete your book. They may also have some new and interesting ideas that can set the tone for your story in meaningful ways and craft an eye-catching cover design that sets your book apart from others on the shelf.
Buy an ISBN for Your Children's Book
If you want to make it easier for people to find your book, an international standard book number (ISBN) is key. The Books in Print database is one that's frequently referenced by publishers, retailers, and libraries. An ISBN puts your book in that database, increasing the likelihood that it'll be found and purchased. It's also required by most book retailers.
The ISBN stores essential information about your children's book, such as its version (print or digital) or edition. It's also used in marketing and distribution, making it easier to analyze sales data. If you're planning to sell different variations of your book, you'll need an ISBN for each one:
This helps customers find exactly which version of your book they want. Best of all, they never expire. So you can purchase an ISBN online in advance and register your title later.
Find a Self-Publishing Company
When your book is ready to be printed, it's time to find a publishing firm. Many self-publishing companies have online platforms that make it easy to print children's books right from a home office and offer free price quotes. Since printing prices typically depend on your book's length, design, and the number of copies, a quote can help ensure your project is on budget and you'll profit from your efforts in the end.
While researching companies, get an idea of each one's self-publishing process. This process is integral to the ease with which you're able to get your book published and also the final aesthetic. You'll likely have several physical design elements to choose from, such as:
- Cover style
- Paper weight
With a simple PDF upload, you could be well on your way to having a finalized book in your hands, and eventually, on the shelves of your local bookstore.
Crafting a children's book is simple when the journey is broken down into actionable steps. After developing an age-appropriate narrative, selecting an ideal book format, hiring an illustrator, purchasing an ISBN, and connecting with a book publishing company, you're ready to share your story with the world.
With your book in hand, children can dive into the world you've created, experience newfound adventures, and befriend a few memorable characters along the way. Who knows? They may even develop a lifelong love of reading and become a self-published author – just like you.