In this post I will write a brief overview of each step in the process of writing a children's book. It is very important to understand the order of the process as it can save you a lot of time and money. Many people get this wrong and it can end up creating double the work for either yourself or the people you employ to help you. I will write full posts on each of these steps in more detail however this post is purely for an understanding of what order the tasks should be completed in.
The first thing you need is an idea. Once you have come up with something you feel passionate about and would like to turn into a story the hardest part is over. You might find my post Best Selling Ideas and Concepts or Creating a Book for a Niche Market helpful.
Research your idea as much as you can. Not only the topic you have chosen to write about but also the potential market for you idea. See if you can find other books that fit your market and have done well. You might find my post Different Types of Picture Books helpful.
Write your story. This is not as easy as it sounds, writing for children is hard. You must develop your story over and over until it is the best you could possibly write. Get other people you know with strong writing skills to read your drafts and give you pointers.
At this stage you have not invested any money into your story so it is good to test it before you do. Read your story to as many people as you can especially children. You want to keep developing it at this point.
Once you are happy with the story it is a good idea to send it to a literary assessor specialising in children's literature. They are professionals and have a lot of experience with writing. They can tell you the weak points of your story and what you need to do to it to make it a successful marketable book.
Once you have made the improvements the literacy assessor pointed out the story is ready for editing. Again editors are professionals with a lot of experience they will probably make major changes to the story as they see many things you won’t. An editor is a very important part of the process one that should not be skipped under any circumstance. They are the difference between a professional story and an amateur story.
Before you move forward you need to decide what size your book will be. This is especially important if you are going to distribute it as an ebook and ipad app. You need to have the specifications of your final book in order to brief illustrators and designers.
Why wait for distribution? Self-publish and start selling your books, film or music on-demand with CreateSpace, an Amazon group.
Once the story is complete and you have decided what formats you require it’s time for the illustrations. You can either commission an illustrator or do them yourself. There is a massive difference in quality between an untrained artist and a qualified illustrator. Be aware of this. Illustrations must enhance the story not confuse it. Be very clear in you brief as to your expectations of the artists final images however trust them to make creative decisions. The more restrictions you give them the less creative the result will be. See my illustrations at http://www.amyburrell.com/
While the illustrator is creating the artwork it is a good time to apply for an ISBN. This can take a while so it pays not to leave it till the last minute. You need it in order to complete the next step in the process. CreateSpace provide free ISBN's
You will receive a barcode with the ISBN. This is also needed for the next step.
Once the ISBN and barcode have come through and the illustrations are complete you are ready to lay out the book. You can either hire a graphic designer to do this or do it yourself. I wouldn’t recommend giving it a go unless you actually have some kind of layout experience. A professionally laid out book will sell a lot better that one made in MSword. Graphic designers can also make sure you have all the right formats for the different distribution channels i.e. epub format, print format, ipad format.
Now it is time to publish in all the selected formats. There are hundreds of options for distributing your book, I will explain in more detail in a publishing specific post.
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It is a good idea to set out a marketing plan. Figure out what steps you are going to take to advertise your book.
If you have decided to print books you now need to distribute them. Get them into book stores or other avenues you decided on in your distribution plan.
Start applying your marketing plan and promoting your book in every way possible.
Hopefully if you have followed these steps successfully you should be starting to sell books at this stage.
It is important to keep the promotion going for years. A lot of books won’t start getting big success until their 2nd or 3rd year on the shelf. The more exposure you can get your book the higher your sales will get.