Wednesday, August 3, 2011

5 Myths About Writing Children’s Books

Children’s book writing is supposed to be the easiest genre, isn’t it? And shouldn’t it be simple to get your children’s book published once you have an idea?

Contrary to popular belief, the “easy” world of children’s book writing may not be as simple to break into as you first anticipated. Here are 5 important myths to keep in mind when submitting your children’s book for publication:

  1. It’s easier to write a children’s book than an adult novel. False! It’s difficult to write a good book no matter the length and regardless of the age of your reader. Just because you are writing a simpler book for a younger audience doesn’t mean that you should compromise on quality. In many cases, it is even more difficult to get your point across when using fewer words and simpler themes in a children’s book.
  2. Picture books are the easiest books to write by far. False! Just because pictures are taking up quite a bit of space in a children’s book doesn’t mean that you’re off the hook. A picture book requires elegant simplicity, concise wording, and sharp verbiage to keep children interested and entice them to read the book again and again. On top of that, competition in the picture book market is fierce, so your book idea needs to pop in order to get noticed by a publisher.
  3. A children’s book has to teach a lesson. Not so fast! A quality children’s book shouldn’t cram a lesson down kids’ throats. Yes, a children’s book needs to educate and impart knowledge, but the topic and theme should still be significant and thought-provoking, even in a picture book. The key is to tailor the theme of the book to your audience so that children are not only interested in the story but can take something away from the book after reading it.
  4. A good children’s book should be written in rhyme. Not always! Yes, some of the cutest children stories do rhyme, but creating a good quality rhyme throughout a story is difficult to do. In many cases, it is best to avoid rhyming altogether unless you are confident in your rhyming story as a total package.
  5. You need an agent to publish a children’s book. Wrong again! Children’s book publishing is a competitive market, but it is possible to get a publishing contract without an agent. If you cannot find an agent interested in your work, then it may be time to seek out smaller publishing houses that are willing to work with authors one-on-one so that your work is more likely to get noticed.

Bethany Ramos is an author and full-time freelance writer with experience in Internet marketing, social media marketing, and SEO. She is passionate about writing captivating children's books and witty chick lit. For more information, you can visit her blog at


  1. So very true. I have written different stories for almost all age levels and they all are difficult in their own ways. Whether it's children, middle grade, young adult or adult, no age group is easy.

  2. Excellent points, Bethany. I've been preaching the same message for years.


  3. Great article, Bethany. While I haven't written a children's book, I've written educational materials for children. And it's is incredibly hard to write simply!

  4. Samuel Clemens once said of his book "I would have written a shorter book, but I didn't have the time." Any author will tell you writing the book isn't the hard part, it's editing it down by removing words to make it a tight story! In a 100,000 word book you can have 4% bad words, that's 4,000 of them. In a 400-word children's book with the same guideline, you only get 1 bad word!

  5. You're so right, Bethany. Writing for children has so many additional elements to watch out for that writing for 'grown-ups' don't have.

    Great post.