If you’re anything like me, you probably have been thinking about writing a children’s book for a long time now. (And you might even have a laundry list of new ideas to try.) But before you can get to all those other ideas, you have to learn how to write your very first book.
That’s what this post is created for — To help you, as a new writer wanting to write your first children’s book. Below are the 6 steps you must take, along with links to additional articles to help you dive deeper.
6 Essential Steps You Must Take In Order to Write a Children’s Book:
It’s one thing to have an idea for a children’s book. It’s another to write it and write it well. (In fact, the main reason a book will be rejected by either a publisher or a reader is due to the writing.)
There’s a reason you have this idea. Now, you just need to learn how to make it an actual book! Use these six steps to help you:
1 – Start with an idea.
You probably have an idea already. (It’s why you’re trying to figure out how to write a book. Obviously.) But you want to make sure your idea’s completely fleshed out and is marketable.
Do a quick Google search for books with your theme and read through some of the descriptions. If nothing exactly like it exists, then move forward!
And if you’d like more tips on finding an idea, read these:
- What to do if you need help coming up with more ideas
- How to know if you have a really good story idea
- How to know if you have a bad idea
2 – Pick a character to star in your story.
This is the person who will be your main character, yes. But they will also be the person who should shape your story.
In order to do this, you must know them intimately, like you would a best friend, and understand the goal they’re trying to achieve. They shouldn’t be able to easily be replaced by another character, which means you need to take your time creating them.
If you need help creating your characters, read these:
3 – Develop your plot.
Once you have a character, the next thing you need to do is decide what’s going to happen to them. (AKA: determine your plot.) It’s easy, when you think about their goal — the thing they’re trying to get to by the end of the book.
When they start to go for their goal, you bring in something to stand in their way. Then have them stumble and try again three times before you get to the end.
And if you’d like to dive deeper into writing a plot, read these:
- How to plot your picture book perfectly
- The step-by-step plot structure of a picture book
- How to easily plot a novel
- Plotting exercises to help your plot
4 – Know your age category/genre.
Yes, you might be writing a children’s book but there are MANY different types of children’s books. (Hint: they’re not all picture books.) Before you move any farther with your story, make sure you know what genre your book idea would fall under.
And one thing I think’s important to note — you might be thinking you want to write a picture book, but it might not be right for that age group. Be open to other genres and write the book that your readers want. Not the one that you think you’re capable of writing. (You can write more than you give yourself credit for.)
Here’s a list of all the different children’s book categories and the age levels for each:
5 – Have your story reviewed.
Before you ever decide to move forward with your book and publish it, you need to make sure it’s ready. This includes having someone like a critique group read your story.
You might have to have it reviewed a few times before it’s ready and that’s okay! Just make sure to follow the above steps to keep focused on the parts that matter.
Check out these links to help you find a critique group and get your story reviewed:
- Book a one-on-one critique with me
- Find a writer’s group in your area
- Use 4 quick editing tips to improve your story
6 – Finalize your story for publication.
This is the last step before you publish your book! (YAY! 🎉) Now, you just need to make sure it’s polished and ready to go. And that starts with proper formatting.
No matter if you’re writing a picture book or novel, you need to write your story manuscript the same way you would a paper for school. Start it all on the same page and continue writing without any added page or chapter breaks.
Read this article to help you finalize your story and make sure it’s ready to send to publishers:
Books are the gift that keeps on giving! Imagine how you’ll feel when you see the way your book makes a child’s eyes light up when they’re reading. 😍
If you’re ready to get started, download the children’s book template !