You're eager to write and publish children's books, perhaps partly because children's books seem like a logical place to start your writing career.
But have these questions been gnawing at you?
If you've never published a children's book before and you're asking these questions, there's hope for you!...
I've been a successful writer myself (see my bio), but I know what it's like to get ahead of myself. I experienced numerous embarrassments and some nasty failures along the way.
In my eagerness to succeed, I tried to take some big steps before I was ready.
I survived. But I was lucky. Most don't. Making it as a writer isn't easy.
I've Spoken To A Lot Of Aspiring Writers
Most successful writers have. Here's a typical experience.
I address a beginning screenwriting class and open it up to questions.
Okay, now take another look at that list. I consider the people toward the top the least likely to succeed in a writing career. I consider those toward the bottom the most likely.
And frankly, the two at the very bottom are the only ones I give a realistic chance of success.
You're Trying To Break Into A Very Crowded Field
Ask any writer. It sometimes seems like everyone wants to get into our business. In L.A. everyone has a screenplay idea. In New York everyone has a novel.
And to an accomplished writer who has managed to write and publish children's books, it can seem like every parent they meet plans to be the next Dr. Seuss.
It looks glamorous. It looks lucrative. It looks like you're your own boss. And most misleading of all...
It looks EASY. If you think it IS easy, click on this link:
It takes you right back to the top of this page.
Why It LOOKS Easy, But Why It's Not
Hollywood's product is often so bad that it leads people to think, "I could write that!" Some published children's books are so poorly conceived that it leads people to think the same thing.
Maybe you can write and publish children's books. Maybe you can't. But it's highly unlikely that anyone is going to give you the opportunity to publish a dismal children's book. Or even a fairly decent children's book.
Unlike the person who wrote the lousy book you just read to your child, you have to write GREAT ones if you want to publish children's books.
Why Do I Have To If They Didn't? (Or, "Hey, I'm Starting To Sound Like My Child!")
When art meets commerce, some ugly things happen. How do some writers manage to publish children's books that are bad? Like this:
A successful writer has a following
If she writes it, they will publish it, no matter how bad it is
A publisher wants a book on a particular subject
They go to a particular writer they've used before
A book was great when the writer first wrote it and sold it
Then a heavy-handed editor got involved
Someone owns the book rights to a popular TV character
Children badger their parents to buy the book regardless of quality
The publisher has a wayward son
He failed in the oil business. Now he wants to write kid's books
Or maybe, just maybe, it's not a bad book. Maybe it's written for children and you're reading it as an adult!
The point is, unless you get lucky - or your last name is Random
House - if you want to write and publish children's books you need to
write your personal BEST children's book to have any chance of
Have I Given You Pause?
If you were rushing ahead too quickly, I hope so. If it were so easy to write and publish children's books, there wouldn't be so many people trying it... and failing.
You know, if this web page were a school, I think I'd call it the University of Slow-The-Heck-Down.
Now I'm Going To Scare You
I just typed the keywords publish children's books into a popular search engine. I received nearly 3 million listings. More notably, I noticed the page was covered with sponsored listings.
(Sponsored listings are those links down the right side of the page and the blue tinted ones at the top.)
I then did something you haven't. I checked out the bid prices on those sponsored listings. THE TOP BIDDERS ARE PAYING MORE THAN $1.50 FOR YOUR CLICK. FOR YOUR CLICK!!!
Next I typed in BUY children's books, rather than publish children's books. Top bids are around 50 cents.
It's true! You're worth three times more as a children's book writer than you are as a buyer!!! What does that tell you?
Here's The Ugly Truth
People are desperate to get into all the creative fields. Many more people want in than can be in. The result?
Lots of people making money off of people who want in. So there you are hoping to make money doing something you love, and all these vultures are flying overhead trying to make money off of you!
There are good resources out there to help you in your quest to publish children's books - I'm by no means saying there aren't. I'm just saying beware.
Some of you have probably already submitted to a ton of children's book publishers and may now be thinking about self publishing. If so, there's an excellent resource on this site, where children's book authors who have self published tell about their experience.
In fact, the self publishing section of this site has become so popular that I started a site devoted to self publishing in all genres.
I'm also asking you to ask yourself whether you aren't trying to push ahead of where you should be right now in the process.
In other words, should your personal keywords at this moment be publish children's books or should they be write best children's book possible?
It's human nature to want results NOW. I am no stranger myself to
rushing through something that should have been taken slowly. And I've
always paid the price for impatience.
If You're Way Ahead Of Where Most Aspiring Writers Are...
...then best of luck to you. I hope you write and publish children's books to your heart's content.
There are some excellent resources out there to help you find an agent, a publisher, etc. Choose wisely at all steps of the process. But remember: there are people out there who just want to make money off you.
But if you want to succeed and you're a little worried about knowing what you don't know, then take a deep breath, and let's talk about what to do next.
You May Have Noticed...
...that Best-Childrens-Books.com is being built for writers AND buyers.
"Hmm. Buyers? You mean the people I hope will some day buy my published children's books?"
Yep, those same people. I steered you away from them on the Home Page. But I'm hoping to steer them back to you a little down the road.
I'm also hoping to create a community here of aspiring children's
book writers, so that you can share information and resources with them
before you attempt to publish children's books.
My Vision For This Site As A Writer's Resource
Once we have a few more visitors, we'll have:
Forums, where you can discuss issues pertaining to writing and publishing.
A "dating" page where writers and illustrators can try to make a match.
And here's something we have ready to go now: A free downloads
page where parents (as well as other writers) can read your book for
free. (Picture books only at present.)
"Ahem. Excuse me. Didn't I say I was here to publish children's books? Why the HECK would I want to give away my book for free?"
Excellent question. Here's the answer:
Because it's the perfect, FREE opportunity to see how your text competes in the marketplace. If no one "buys" your free book, how exactly would you hope to get children's book publishers to pay for it?
And, of course, you could remove your children's book from the page as soon as you've gauged the demand for it!
Fact is, a lot of parents troll the internet looking for free, downloadable books for their children. Those who come to Best Children's Books - Find, Read or Write, will be steered to you.
Where else do you think you're going to be able to do market research on your story for free?
So That's The Idea
I'm going to build something here - slowly, patiently - and I need your help.
Below is a simple form for you to fill out to indicate your interest in becoming part of the How To Write And Publish Children's Books Community, and also to tell me if you think there are any other features the community should have.
Once we have a few people ready to commune, I'll get it up and running ASAP.
So please fill out the form, then consider returning to the home page. Take a moment to look at the children's book marketplace as a buyer, not a seller. It may make you think!
And two other things if you're in a writing or learning mood.
1) There's a page on the site now that's intended to help beginning writers write their first children's book.
You probably don't need the same kind of hand-holding, but there's a fair amount of advice on it that you may want to check out.
You may also want to try it as a writing exercise.
2) There's another page on this site for writers with some experience. It's about helping you brainstorm more creative stories and story solutions. The kind that might give you a better chance of getting published!
3) There's another page about writing children's book reviews for this site.
Warning: This site has absurdly high standards, so I reject most applicants! But there are other sites on the net that are eager to accept reviews.
You can't make a ton of money writing children's book reviews, but that's not the point. The point is that as a children's book writer - someone who hopes to publish children's books - you should be a voracious children's book reader.
Writing reviews of published children's books will help you think
about what makes a children's book good or bad, marketable or
I know you came here looking for information on how to publish children's books
I know I gave you something other than you expected.
So thanks for reading this far. Publishing children's books is still the goal. This site is just about getting there a little more slowly.
Let's stay in touch. I'll hope to see you back here soon!
Best Children's Books - Find, Read or Write home page.