Every author has a different approach to writing books. There are no hard and quick rules on how to do this. A picture book needs all the same narrative elements a novel does, such as excellently-drawn characters and a compelling storyline. To support all the young writers who aspire to be the next E.B. White or Margaret Wise Brown, we’ve compiled this eight-step tutorial on how to write a children’s picture book with tips for reading, illustrating, and publishing it.
What Is a Picture Book?
A picture book may be the first book and reading introduction for a small kid, a forum for fresh thoughts and perspectives, with photographs that transcend all over the world. A picture book might also make a life-long affection.
Although the picture books can seem straightforward, it is no easy job to produce a successful one. How can you make a clever, entertaining, and enjoyable book rather than cliché, melodramatic and preachy? Each word is examined and painstakingly selected. So that is exactly how it needs to be: how to write a children’s picture book.
Why Picture Books Are Essential for Children
Picture book writers meet a vital gap in children’s early literacy. New moms are encouraged to continue reading to their 4 to 6-month-olds through “lap reading,” which is where an infant lies in an adult’s lap, learning to look and listen.
Reading aloud to kids at an early age provides several major advantages.
- It builds up their social and emotional ties.
- Develop their capacity to think.
- Their oral language skills are improved.
- You can encourage them to lie back and listen.
- Develop the vocabulary.
- Introduce ideas among them about the universe.
Children’s graphic books are not just for infants and preschoolers to read aloud.
How to Write a Children’s Picture Book
Come Up With Your Idea
This is the first step on how to write a children’s picture book. Successful picture books are the ones that find the best compromise in catering to two separate audiences: although a picture book is meant for teenagers, it’s the adults who know whether to purchase it or not — or read it aloud.
Fortunately, coming up with a design for your picture book is practically the same as getting an idea for any book category. It’s also how you express that differing idea. Your concept for a picture book can focus on common memories of childhood.
- Losing a favorite toy
- Struggles in Bedtime
- Imaginary friends
- Fear of the dark
Focus on Your Target Audience
Who is going to read the book? Who will purchase your book? These are critical questions for identifying your target audience. We’re talking about writing picture books for children, and you may think your audience is young. It would be the kid who sees the image of your bright colors cover, but the parents hear the catchy phrase, ‘Father, I want a picture book.’
Keep the buyer and reader in mind when planning a picture book for children.
Work Out Your Narrative Voice
Many children can read for themselves before they graduate from the picture book and early reader categories. All stories that depend heavily on graphics are still often read out loud. That’s why rhyming is relatively popular in children’s books. It provides an enjoyable and stimulating atmosphere of verbal storytelling. There are various other considerations to bear in mind about the picture book’s type of narration:
When you’ve accidentally dropped a term into a discussion with a kid, ask them what it means when you struggle to find a way to describe it. You’ll realize the value of tailoring the picture book’s language to the readers’ age range. You want to make the language that you use available to them and aided by drawings and artworks.
On the note about helping kids develop their language and literacy skills, repetition plays a central role in many picture books. The use of repetition allows kids to predict the next term or phrase in a tale, enabling them to take an interest in reading and moving along.
Rhyming, as with repetition, can help young people recognize elements in a story to come. This can also lead to a more enjoyable, entertaining reading experience.
Develop Motivating Characters
Writing a picture book isn’t an excuse to cut back the research that produces believable, well-rounded protagonists with their motives, challenges, strengths, and weaknesses. You’re sharing a tale in much fewer words than a book. So you’ve got the luxury of utilizing images to better express significance, but the characters will also look like real people.
Spending the trouble to write fully rounded characters should not only enable you to fine-tune your craft, but it will also be able to build a fan base.
Draw and Show Them, Don’t Tell
A word of advice given to all writers, ‘draw and show, don’t say,’ potentially places picture book writers at an advantage due to the drawings accompanying their books. You can focus on your drawings to communicate information to readers, enabling you to conserve your small amount of words for specific items.
One trick to be sure that the picture book demonstrates rather than says is to watch for phrases with such terms remind the reader what you would be willing to teach them.
Edit and Ask for Feedback
Once you have your book polished as much as you can, it’s imperative to reassess reviews from the most genuine beta readers out there: kids.
If you have relatives or friends with babies, encourage them to let their little ones read your novel and keep their input. You’re going to have an opportunity to hear what your book reads when hearing it aloud from someone else.
Choose a Title
A children’s book title, coupled with the bright drawings, attracts a future reader’s eye. Make the title short and captivating. Use wordplay or plain literary devices, but don’t select a title that confuses the reader. Build an array of potential names. Instead, take a survey composed of both children and adults and see which titles can attract their eye.
Illustrations for Picture Book
Whenever a publisher orders your book, they’ll choose their designer to take control of the drawings. Submitting your already illustrated book to a publisher might hurt your prospects of securing a book contract because it might keep editors from seeing if your book suits them. If you intend to print your children’s picture book on your own, you’ll want to engage a skilled artist to take the images.
Publishing Your Picture Book
If you’d like to help decide how long it takes to promote your book, have the full decision on all artistic choices, and keep a much larger share of royalty fees, then self-publishing your photo book is probably the right move for you.
The advantages of traditional publishing correlate with possible self-publishing drawbacks. Such benefits include broader exposure and better odds of having the book sold in book shops, a marketing department working on the novel at no expense to the publisher, a bonus, and at least a book promotion tier.
For aspiring authors who want to entertain kids, follow this guide on how to write a children’s picture book in eight easy steps. If you arrived on this blog post at the very beginning of your writing path, try to bear in mind every step of attracting young readers. If you can address this often demanding effort with a sense of silly curiosity and fun, you’re on the right path. Find out more about children’s books.