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How To Become A Children's Author - From Idea To Bookshelf

If you're pondering how to become a children's author, you're stepping into a realm where cherished tales endure for generations, sparking joy, wonder, and imagination in young readers. Crafting a children's book that stands the test of time requires a blend of dedication, creativity, and strategy.

Author:Xander Oddity
Reviewer:Dr. Felix Chaosphere
Feb 19, 20242.3K Shares39.3K Views
If you're wondering how to become a children's author, you're stepping into a realm where cherished tales endure for generations, sparking joy, wonder, and imagination in young readers. Crafting a children's book that stands the test of time requires a blend of dedication, creativity, and strategy. While there's no one-size-fits-all formula for success, the journey typically involves a combination of hard work, talent, planning, persistence, and perhaps a sprinkle of luck.

What Is A Children's Author?

A children's author crafts original stories specifically tailored for young readers, spanning various formats such as board books, picture books, early readers, chapter books, middle grade novels, and young adult (YA) literature. Each format targets a distinct age group and developmental stage, from infants to adolescents.
Board books serve as infants' earliest literary experiences, while picture books enchant preschoolers and are cherished by children up to around age eight. Early readers feature simple stories and illustrations designed for emerging readers aged four to nine. Chapter books, often illustrated, cater to more proficient readers with longer attention spans, typically between the ages of six and ten.
Middle grade novels delve into the adventures and challenges of pre-adolescence, capturing the interests of readers aged eight to twelve. Young adult literature, a genre in its own right, appeals to readers aged twelve and up, encompassing themes and complexities suitable for adolescents and adults alike.
Children's authors may specialize in a particular genre or age group, crafting series that follow beloved characters across different stages of childhood, from picture books to chapter books, providing continuity and familiarity for young readers as they grow.

What Does A Children's Author Do?

Children's authors primarily craft engaging stories that resonate with a child's experiences, perspectives, interests, and emotions. They leverage their creativity and writing abilities to develop narratives that capture the essence of childhood, addressing themes relevant to young readers' lives, curiosity, passions, worries, and educational needs. Additionally, their work involves:
  • Conducting research to enrich their stories
  • Revising and editing drafts, often in collaboration with editors
  • Seeking publication opportunities and liaising with publishers
  • Submitting manuscripts to various publishers and maintaining communication
  • Pursuing ongoing education in writing and children's literature
Earning a living solely from writing children's literature can be challenging, especially for emerging authors. Many supplement their income with other jobs while writing children's books part-time. Over time and with the publication of multiple books, they may establish a more stable income stream from their writing endeavors.
A mother reading a children's book to her two kids
A mother reading a children's book to her two kids

How To Become A Children's Book Author

Becoming a children's author doesn't follow a defined career trajectory. However, if you possess strong writing skills and compelling story ideas that you can promote, consider these steps to embark on your journey as a children's author:

Clarify Your Goals

Before diving into the process of becoming a children's author, it's crucial to define your objectives. Determine whether you're creating stories primarily for personal enjoyment or aiming to establish a career as a children's book author.
Your goals will shape your storytelling choices, design preferences, and approach to publishing, distribution, and marketing. Understanding your motivations will pave the way for a successful journey into children's literature.

Read Dozens Of Children's Books

Embark on a journey of research and inspiration by immersing yourself in numerous children's books. Explore both classic tales and contemporary award-winning literature, and browse through the children's section of your local library or bookstore.
As you delve into these stories, identify recurring themes, effective character behaviors, and the synergy between text and illustrations on each page. Take note of creative decisions you admire and those you wish to avoid, as this will inform your own storytelling process.

Know Your Audience

Understanding the preferences and interests of your target audience is paramount to engaging young readers. If you lack familiarity with children's behavior and preferences, spend time observing and interacting with kids to gain insight into their world.
Pay attention to what captures their attention, how their imaginations flourish, and what elicits laughter or curiosity. By connecting with your inner child and observing the dynamics of children's interactions, you'll be better equipped to craft stories that resonate with young readers.

Write Every Day

Consistent practice is essential for aspiring children’s book authors to hone their writing skills and flourish in their careers. Writing regularly, even on a daily basis, helps strengthen your creative muscles and familiarizes you with the craft.
If you're new to creative writing, this might seem daunting at first. Focus on maintaining concentration and tackling one storyline at a time, ensuring you outline a coherent beginning, middle, and end. Once you have a rough draft, you can refine it by revising dialogue, fleshing out characters, and polishing details.

Manage Your Expectations

Becoming a successful children’s book author presents unique challenges and demands realistic expectations. Recognize that the journey may be arduous, given the competitive landscape and misconceptions about writing for children.
Approach your book project with a genuine passion for storytelling, rather than expecting instant recognition or financial gain. Set achievable goals, allowing yourself to focus on the creative process and imbue each aspect of your work with care and authenticity.

Join A Children Author's Community

Engaging with a supportive community of fellow writers is invaluable for your growth and development as a children's author. Explore various avenues for connection, including social media groups, literary organizations, and local writers' gatherings.
Attend readings, conferences, and book fairs to network with authors at different career stages and glean insights from industry experts. Embrace the opportunity to immerse yourself in the world of children's literature, forging meaningful connections and nurturing a professional support network.

Get An Illustrator

Collaborating with an illustrator is essential for bringing your children's book to life visually. If your artistic skills suffice, you may choose to illustrate the book yourself. Otherwise, seek out a skilled artist whose style aligns with your narrative vision.
Establish clear communication and mutual understanding of your publishing goals and expectations. Foster a collaborative partnership built on trust, respect, and open dialogue, allowing both parties to contribute their expertise to create a captivating and harmonious story.

Ask For Feedback

Use both children and fellow writers as valuable sources of feedback for your children's story. Sharing your draft with young readers or reading it aloud to them can provide invaluable insights, as children tend to offer candid and direct feedback.
Additionally, seek input from experienced authors or editors who are familiar with the children's book genre. Their expertise can offer valuable guidance on aspects such as story structure, character development, and illustrations.

Be Prepared To Rewrite

Understand that crafting a children's book requires patience and multiple revisions. Embrace the rewriting process as an opportunity for growth and improvement. Recognize that each page demands careful attention to detail, and be prepared to invest time and effort into refining your story, illustrations, and overall presentation. Stay open-minded and flexible throughout the revision process, as it may lead to exciting creative breakthroughs.
A girl reading a children's book
A girl reading a children's book

Build An Audience

Generate anticipation for your children's book by engaging with potential readers early in the writing process. Use social media platforms to tease elements of your book, such as character details or sketches, leading up to its launch. Cultivate a following of fans who are eager to support your work by sharing updates and behind-the-scenes insights as you progress towards publication.

Promote Your Book

Start promoting your children's book well in advance of its release to maximize visibility and sales. Build an email list and draft a launch announcement to notify supporters when the book is available. Establish an author website containing promotional materials, book images, and your biography.
Create a press release highlighting your book's unique features and reach out to local libraries and bookstores to schedule reading events and storytime activities. If you plan to self-publish, educate yourself on effective marketing strategies to ensure widespread awareness of your book among friends, family, and potential readers.

How To Become A Children's Author - FAQ

Is It Hard To Become A Children's Book Author?

Writing children's books can be some of the hardest writing for writers. Because of the limited word count, each word matters that much more. Plus your audience has a smaller vocabulary so it's your job to know the balance between making it easy for them to read but not too easy that they're bored.

How Much Does It Cost To Publish A Children's Book?

It usually costs between $500 and $5,000 to publish a book in the United States. A lot of that cost comes from hiring an editor, book designer services, and marketing. The average self-published book costs about $2,000 to publish and market.

Is Writing Kids Books Profitable?

If you choose to self-publish your book on platforms like Amazon, you can earn a royalty of up to 70% of the sales price for each copy sold, depending on the pricing and distribution options you choose. For example, if you price your book at $10 and sell 1,000 copies, you could potentially earn $7,000 in royalties.


Knowing how to become a children's author is an exciting journey from having an idea to seeing your book on the bookshelf. By following the steps outlined in this article, aspiring authors can bring their stories to life, connect with young readers, and share their creativity with the world. So, don't hesitate to embark on this fulfilling adventure and turn your dreams of becoming a children's author into reality!
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Xander Oddity

Xander Oddity

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