Sunday, January 1, 2012

Writing Books for Children: From Contract to Sales to a Writing Career

You’ve chosen to write books for children, and you’ve done it by the book: you did your homework and learned the craft of writing; you created a polished manuscript; and you submitted it to publishers.

And, knowing it’s not necessarily the best writer who gets published, but the one who perseveres, you were steadfast and didn’t let initial rejections deter you.

Now, it’s finally happened - all your hard work paid off. A publisher accepted your book, and you’re on your way. 

But, this is far from the end of your writing journey . . . this is just the beginning.

After your book is accepted for publication, there are three steps you will go through . . . if you intend to make writing books for children a career:

1. Writing Books for Children: The Book Contract 

You may want to sign that publishing contract as soon as you can, but be sure to read the contract carefully; if you don’t understand something, ask for an explanation.

Once you’re sure you understand everything in the contract and agree with it, sign away.

After you sign a contract, you’ll be ‘put in queue,’ and at some point begin editing with the publisher’s editor. This will most likely involve more revisions.

From start to actual release, the publishing process can take one to two years.

2. Writing Books for Children: Book Promotion

A few months prior to your book’s release, you should begin promotion to help with book sales.

As soon as you have a book contract, you should begin creating an author website and platform - you will need to create visibility for you and your book.

You need to become a ‘blip’ on the internet radar. To create and maintain this ‘blip,’ you’ll need to post content to your site on a regular basis and use a number of other strategies to extend your promotional reach.

After your book’s release, you will want to take part in virtual book tours, do blogtalk radio guest spots, school visits, and all the other standard book promotion strategies. You can take this on yourself, or you can hire a book promotion service or publicist.

There’s much involved in book promotion, so if you can afford it, make use of professionals. Just be sure to ask around for recommendations; you want to use a service or individual who knows what she’s doing and who gives you value for your money.

Book promotion generates book sales.

You can check out these articles for book promotion tips:

Book Promotion: The Foundation

Book Promotion: Creating an Informational Funnel

Book Promotion: 20 Strategies that will Broaden Your Reach – Part 1

3. Writing Books for Children: A Writing Career

Now, you’ve got your book, and you’re promoting it like crazy (this is an ongoing process). The next step is to repeat the process, over and over and over. You don’t want to be a one-hit wonder, so hopefully you’ve been writing other stories. If not, get started now. On average, an author writes a book every one to two years. 

Along with keeping your writing books for children momentum up, having published books opens other writing opportunities, such as speaking engagements, conducting workshops, teleseminars, webinars, and coaching. There are a number of marketers who say your ‘book’ is your business card or calling card; it conveys what you’re capable of and establishes you as an expert in your field or niche. Take advantage of these additional avenues of visibility and income.

Karen Cioffi is an author, ghostwriter, freelance writer, and editor. To learn more about writing and marketing visit While there, sign up for A Writer's World newsletter; you'll get two free site-related e-books in the process.


  1. Everyone always says they want to write a children's book. It's the steadfast who persevere into making that dream a reality.

  2. Also, it's a good idea to have a website prior to even submitting your manuscript to publishers. Many agents and acquisitions editors won't even read the MS until after doing a quick google/bing search to see if they've even started to build a platform.

  3. Thanks Karen. I intend to read the articles you provided too.

  4. Dear Karen,
    Thanks for sharing your expertise. Your information about an international funnel will be very helpful.

    Never Give Up
    Joan Y. Edwards

  5. Rena, that's so true. If you're not in it for the long haul chances are you won't succeed.

    Aidana, you're right. You should start on your platform once you know you want to head in a writing career direction.

  6. Linda, I hope you find the links helpful.

    Joan, so, glad you found the post useful. You should find some helpful information on creating an informational funnel through that link.

  7. Thanks for that, Karen - great timing as my first tween novel comes out in March. I'm in Scotland and it's a Canadian publisher - three cheers for online marketing and e-books!