How to Write KidLit

(and not lose your mind)


It was a rainy afternoon (just kidding, I don’t actually remember what day it was) when I decided - HEY! I’ll write a kids' book. Like a little side project. That should be easy. All you have to do is write 500 words and sketch some stuff, upload it on amazon and call it a day.


I mean, how hard can it be? I wrote 120k in my last project - surely I can squeeze out 500 good ones on the go. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.


Well.


No.


6 months after my initial idea, my day is full of things I am having to learn the hard way (youtube and lots and I mean LOTS of trial and error).


That’s the thing no one tells you: writing a kids book is hard. Someone once said it’s like you try to write a haiku about War & Peace. You need to condense your messages in a child friendly, entertaining way that’s easy for the parents to read (so they don’t get a dry mouth or a knotted tongue) as well as having colourful illustrations that the kids can focus on, and even better, it is also educational without being obvious.


Having had no prior experience in writing for kids or in rhymes, formatting a kids' book, illustrating and marketing one, it turned out to be a much bigger task than initially planned.


So how did I do it?


Here are the things that helped me most:


Invest in your tools

Make your life easy and invest in good materials. Like please. Don’t wing it. I got myself a HUION drawing tablet when I created my own illustrations, but I wish I had just bitten the bullet and purchased certain programs like Canva pro right away because you will end up needing them if you want your book to look good!


Research!

The technicalities of a fully illustrated kids' books vs a novel are wildly different. Things like text placement, flow, length, printing requirements are all things I had to learn the hard way. Courses at Udemy, for example, are very useful!


Know your genre

Read lots of kids' books in your genre and age group! Spend some afternoons at the library and get inspired. Look up the bestsellers and see what people say what they loved most about them.


Author tube

Seriously. The internet can sometimes be an overwhelming place and looking for answers if you sometimes don't even know the question yet can be downright demoralising. But thankfully there are amazing people out there who share their wisdom.


Author tube is a great resource and I bet you a cookie that if you run into problems creating/ editing/ uploading your book or anything in between, you WILL f