Welcome back to AuthorHouse Author’s Digest! Children’s fiction is a bit unique among writing genres in that even you, the author, are not a member of your intended audience. You have to adjust for your reader in a way that’s a bit more extreme than other categories of writing. Everything that you put on the page (grammar, sentence structure, vocabulary, etc.) must cater to a young reader.
And while being clear and concise is recommended for any type of writing, it’s even more vital in children’s writing. A 50,000-word novel would be on the short side for adults; on the other hand, it could be as many as 49,000 words too long for children, depending on their age group.
So, without further delay, AuthorHouse presents some tips for writing children’s books:
Be professional! Your intended audience might be children, but everyone else in the process (editors, agents, etc.) isn’t. All the “rules” for professional-level writing in other genres apply here too: meet deadlines, follow submission guidelines, rewrite, etc.
As Dale Carnegie pointed out decades ago, success in any endeavor depends not just on technical expertise in that field, but on the simple, interpersonal relationships you have with your partners and coworkers. Make sure you’re someone that’s easy to work with!
Beware of length. We alluded to this above. Thirty-two pages is a very typical length for a children’s book, with a word count of just a few hundred words. For reference, this article is just over 400 words. If your manuscript is much longer than that, perhaps you’d be better off making it into a series.
Read it aloud. This is a common editing tip for all genres of writing. In children’s writing, though, it’s even more important. Why? Because, depending on your audience’s age, it’s very possible that the book will be read to the child, not just read by them. If you find yourself stumbling over particularly difficult passages, imagine how your reader will feel when he or she has to navigate the same passages, again and again.