How to write a children's book

Updated: Oct 7, 2020

Hey Guys! Let's take a walk through my process in creating my children's book, I love you from A to Z, which is tentatively scheduled to be released November 17th, 2020! I'm going to be sharing with you my journey on how I came up with the story and a little bit of what it is about.

Hopefully this article will help you in your writing process!

First, I will be giving you a background on how I came to write the book. If you would like to skip that and get to the nitty gritty, start at #2.

1. Background on deciding to make a book

I've always enjoyed writing and have received  some compliments here and there  but never took it too seriously. I have attempted to write a book and movie script as a teen but never followed through because I was distracted by my other interests and just having fun .

One thing I have not stopped writing was poetry. I wrote quite often in middle school and high school. I still write it from time to time, but am doing it less often. Poetry for me, is a way to express my feelings or ideas in a poetic manor. I am often better at words on paper than verbally at times.

Now let's  flash forward some years...  My husband thought I should write a children's book because he thought I'd be good at it. I love kids, I love writing and drawing and let's face it, I'm really just a big kid. But, at the time, I said no, I'd rather write romance because that's what  I liked to read at the time. Plus for some reason, I didn't want to do anything too "kidish"... I attempted a few pages of some action adventure romance novel, and then never got back to doing it (probably for the best).

Right before actually coming around to writing the children's book, I wanted to get some experience with creating a book that wouldn't take me too long to do. That's when I came up with my poetry book. I already had several poems written, all I had to do was put it in a book format and write a few more to make it whole. I also decided to add my photography in it as well , which is something my husband and I enjoy doing together. Once that was out, I could focus on creating my children's book. So lets get to that.

2. Inspiration and Research

When you're coming up with a writing topic sometimes you have something that has inspired you or moved you in some way and that's a great place to start writing. Or maybe you don't have some great inspiration but you do have interests, so start with that.

My inspiration came when my son was born. I wanted to write a book for him. I can go on and on about him, But that's not what this article is about. So I gave into my husbands suggestion, which was really good, because in hindsight, children's books are now my specialty and I really enjoyed writing them.

Before I started writing it, I did some research. I knew I was going to make a children's book for my son, but what was it going to be about?

I wanted to find something relatable, something people would enjoy reading to their kids, but also something unique. So that's where research comes in.

I came up with an idea to express my love for him. But there's plenty of those books out there. Maybe I could do an alphabet book... ehhh there are lots of those too. What I couldn't find was an alphabet book about loving your kid. BINGO! That was my story.

3. How to write your story once you know the topic

Now that I knew what I was going to write, how was I going to write it?! Since I also like poetry, and many awesome children's books rhyme, I knew I wanted to make my story rhyme.

Next, I took each letter of the alphabet and tried to come up with attributes that I not only loved about my son, but attributes that could be universal for other parent's children as well. Once I had my words, I put them into rhyming sentences and bam, I had a story.

4. Illustrating

After the sentences were ready, I needed to come up with illustrations. I  jotted down different illustration ideas for each letter and asked friends and family which would make for a better picture for the description. Then, I took their suggestions, brainstormed, and came up with what I ultimately wanted to portray through the pictures.

If you are not an artist and you prefer not to illustrate your book yourself, you can hire a freelance artist to do it for you. You could reach out to artists, like me, or you can find freelance artists on websites like Fiverr. It would still be a good idea to do the next step so your illustrator knows what to draw. I suppose, you could also write descriptions on what to draw per page.

5. Story boarding/ thumbnails

Now that I have my sentences and illustration ideas, its time to put together thumbnails. I do this, so I know my layout and exactly what and where everything will be for the final pages.

6. Drafts

I started the 1st draft of the book and redid it a few times. This process took me longer than usually because I got distracted with taking on different drawing challenges, such as Keshrt's 100daysofsketching, which I participated in two years in a row, Inktober, and this last July, a Marvel month challenge by theanimatedlife, that I did while I was still participating in the last 100daysofsketching challenge. (So, a lot of drawing that was not my book). As I participated in all these challenges, my drawing abilities improved however, which made me want to redo all my drawings. That leads me to my next point.

6. Procrastination/ Perfectionism

This whole process took me several years too long. So the lesson here is, although it's fun to participate in challenges and take on more than one project at once because the ideas are rolling in, try to finish one thing at a time. And if you have time to do an art challenge and still work on your project than go for it, just don't let it take away from your goal.

Also it's good to put out quality work, but our abilities are going to be constantly changing and developing the more we practice. We are also our toughest critics so we may never be fully satisfied with our work. But as long as great effort went into it and you think the quality is good, don't keep waiting for perfection. Get your stories out there.

7. Finalizing

Once I was happy enough with all my illustrations, I finalized the line work and colors and began doing the final layout.

8. Researching Printing and Distribution

I did all my research during the development process. I did not wait till the book was finished. I wanted to know what I was going to do by the time it was complete, so I wouldn't be waiting around to publish it.

When I completed my first book, This is Life, A Collection of Poems I went with Amazon KDP. It was the easiest and the cheapest option since there was no upfront cost. The only thing I had to pay for was my copyright which was something I chose to get. I decided to use Amazons free ISBN as well.

This time around I have my own website with my art and my merch. So I wanted to distribute it there mainly, so my profit margins will be better. I decided to try out Lulu, because their print on demand option and prices fit with my goals. I am also going to put it up on Amazon as well, just to have a greater reach.

9. Marketing

Now, I didn't do much of this my first time around. This time, however, I have a marketing schedule and a budget in mind. I plan on marketing the book 3 months before the actually release date in hopes of reaching more people.

I know some authors might even start marketing before that, but due to COVID and the fact that my following is not that big at the moment, this strategy is going to be the best for me.

So that's all for me for now. If you take anything away from reading this article, have a plan and follow through.

I hope you all enjoyed following me along on my process. I will keep you updated on any changes to the release date, and any additional information. Stay tuned for more tips on writing, character design and development, and art.

Until next time, be kind, stay positive and keep creating!!

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