Children’s Writing Tips: 4 Rules Beginning Children’s Book Writers Should Never Break

What Are The 4 Rules Beginning Children’s Book Writers Should Never Break?

When writing children’s books, many writers are not aware of the  4 rules beginning children’s book writers should never break.  They go about writing for children without an idea of what they should be doing and then wonder why no one wants to publish their book or if they are self-published, no one is reading their book.   There are guidelines that have been put in place for writers to follow to ensure they all have a fighting chance to get published as well as having their books meet publishing standards.

Here Are The 4 Rules Beginning Children’s Book Writers Should Never Break?

  1. Do Not Write Picture Books In Rhyme – Though many children do enjoy seeing and reading rhyming picture books it is not something beginning writers should try.  It takes a great deal of skill and expertise to come up with an unique story that has exciting characters in about 1000 words.  It also takes an even greater skill to tell that story in rhyme.  Once you have the story written see if rhyming will enhance the story.  Make sure that it it has a very strong rhyme, has a consistent meter, doesn’t use cliches, has a definite rhythm to it and sounds pleasant to ears when read aloud.
  2. Do Not Disregard Designated Word Lengths – Although having a great story is one thing, if it doesn’t prescribe to designated word lengths it may preclude you from being considered getting your children’s book published.  each children’s genre, from picture books to middle grade books to young adult reading material has predetermined word lengths that publishers have found that these readers will read.  This is even more important with picture books as young children’s attention spans do not allow for longer stories.  When writing for magazines, word limit is a must as they only have so much room and space on a page to publish your story and it must follow their guidelines or be rejected.
  3. Do Not Provide Testimonials In Queries – It’s nice to have positive feedback from children and adults about your story but editors are not looking for this.  They don’t give much weight to these types of testimonials. They know what they are after and will get testimonials after it has been published.  Also, don’t fill up your query letter with lots of ideas about the story.  Leave that up to the publisher to decide.  Keep your query letter tight, brief and to the point.  Just tell them the synopsis of the story, relevant information regarding who you are and a send it with a self addressed stamped envelope.  the idea is to sell your book and not the reasons behind why you wrote it.
  4. Do Not Write A Series Before Selling The First BookUnless an editor is looking for book series proposals stick to writing the first book.  If you can show that the book can sell and deserves a second book in the series, stick with the one book.  These types of books grow slowly as just one book a ta time.  Each book must stand on its own with a strong plot, good characterization, a strong beginning, a well-developed middle part and a satisfying ending.  You don’t want to leave the ending up in the air for another book.

Finally, following certain rules provides clear instruction as to what is asked for when writing and submitting your stories.  It would be a free-for-all if it wasn’t.  The better you can provide what is asked for, the easier it is to get your manuscripts read and publish.  These are the 4 rules beginning children’s book writers should never break so live by them and you will be successful.


A. J. Westin is a children's adventure book author who specializes in writing stories kids really want to read. He has written over two dozen books and has dedicated his life to helping kids become better readers through his inspirational stories.
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9 thoughts on “Children’s Writing Tips: 4 Rules Beginning Children’s Book Writers Should Never Break

  1. Thank you! Would love to have something in print by 2013 or 2014. These
    tips are very helpful and I plan on using them. By the way, John, your
    voice is incredible! :)

  2. I am writing a children’s book but am not familiar with publishers. Are
    there any that you recommend? If I wanted to publish a book as well as make
    that book an ebook, is It possible? Thanks

  3. Pingback: How To Submit A Children's Book Manuscript | A. J. Westin

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