There are a number of elements and strategies an author needs to write and publish a successful children’s book. This article covers five of them.
While success can mean different things to different people, to me a successful book is one that kids will love to read and hopefully learn from. A book that subtly leaves a lingering message which is considered the take-away-value. And, just as important, the book meets the standard industry guidelines.
A successful book is one that you’ll be proud to be author of.
Let’s go over the five children’s author must-haves.
- A quality children’s book.
Very first think is to write a quality book. But, how do you do you do this?
Anything worthwhile doing is worth doing right. So, to write a quality book, you should take the time to learn how to write a story.
There’s enough information online information, courses, and workshops to learn the process.
The basics are to be sure it has a beginning, a middle, and an end. It should have engaging characters. The protagonist should grow in some way. And, it should have a take-away-value.
There’s also editing and proofreading. You can self-edit and proofread and/or you get it professionally done to make sure what you missed gets found and corrected.
One of the best ways to know if you’re on the right track is to read recently published books major publishers and in your genre. Dissect them. Figure out why they work.
Another aspect of a quality book is to have if professionally formatted.
- A great book cover.
The first thing a reader will see is the cover of your book, and it’s usually the cover that will draw the reader to the book. Along with this, it’s usually the cover that will motivate the reader to buy the book.
Don’t skimp in this area. Get a professional cover. It’s definitely worth the investment.
If your budget allows, look for a professional illustrator or designer. A professional cover can be anywhere from $200 to $450, possibly more.
There are also a number of publishing services that offer book cover templates and if this is all your budget allows, be sure you can tweak it to make it unique.
You don’t want the same cover that thousands of other books have.
If you’re traditionally publishing, you won’t need to worry about a book cover.
- Professional illustrations.
Have you seen self-published picture books and wondered how the author could use substandard illustrations? This goes for picture books, chapter books, and any other genre that you’ll have illustrations.
You can have an awesome story, but if the illustrations stink, you’ve degraded your book.
Ask around for qualified illustrators or do an online search. Be sure to look at samples and pay attention to the people.
I give my clients a list of illustrators who my other clients have vetted.
What I’m noticing lately is some illustrators are great at inanimate objects and animals, and even fantasy characters, but their people characters are poor quality.
They have the same positions or facial expressions with very minor tweaks. Or, the people characters will lack movement.
Be careful. Do your research and find a professional illustrator.
Good illustrations can run from $90 to $350 per interior illustration – sometimes more.
And, be sure you own the rights to the illustrations.
- The ISBN
You should have an ISBN if you intend to sell your book through retailers.
The International Standard Book Number is needed for print books and identifies your book. It’s required by most retailers.
It provides the retailers with the edition, the publisher, the format, and metadata for your book. This all helps readers find your book.
The 13-digit number is unique to each book and is placed on the back of your book by the book designer. It will be in the form of a barcode.
- The LCCN.
The Library of Congress Control Number allows libraries all over the U.S. to categorized your book, if they’re interested in it.
Having your book in the library system is a big deal, and getting a number is free. It’s kind of a no-brainer.
- An author website.
It seems a lot of new authors don’t think they need an author website.
Truth is, you do.
Think of it as your online personal address. Social media pages are not the same.
It’s where you’ll bring traffic to, and it’s where you’ll build your email subscriber list to help sell your books.
You can even sell your books through your author website.
To find out why the author website is so important, check this out:
The Author Website – Do You Really Need One?
There are other important must-haves for a successful book, but these are some of the basics.
And always remember to add metadata (descriptions, keywords, categories) where ever you can. Always think marketing.
Whether you need help with children’s ghostwriting or rewriting, or coaching, let me take a look at your children’s story. Just send me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box.
Or, give me a call at 347—834—6700.
Let’s get your idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable story today!
Or, if you’d rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN’S FICTION BOOK.