Should be fun writing fiction

Writing a children's book: what is important!

With pictures / illustrations or without?

If you are writing a children's book for very young children, illustrations are very much in the foreground. Small children should first recognize and understand. This works very well in the interplay of language and image.

You can already write more text for children of primary school age. If you choose illustrations, however, they tend to underline what is written. The text comes more to the fore, the older your target group gets.

But even for older children, illustrations can sometimes be a nice addition to the book. For example, if you are writing a book about a fantasy world, a map can be very interesting for the reader. However, the decision for or against pictures is now completely at your discretion.

Fig. 1: Illustration from the E.T.A. Hoffmann archive of the Berlin State Library

You can find illustrators in many ways today. For example, you can come across an artist's blog or Instagram profile. You may even have a talent for drawing yourself. That means more work, but also less costs. After all, you should pay the illustrator fairly.

If you are going to contact a publisher, you shouldn't put too much effort into looking for a graphic designer. Most of the time, you just introduce the text first. The publisher has many contacts and can then find a suitable illustrator for your work.

Writing tips for children's books

You won't be able to write a children's book overnight. Because you have a young but critical audience. Writing is also a process that needs to be practiced. That is why we have summarized the three most important tips:

1. Read it yourself + look for a test reader

An author should be well versed in his profession. So that means for you: Read a lot! If you read good children's books, you will get a feel for an appropriate sentence structure. In order to obtain literature on a regular basis, membership in a library is worthwhile.

Fig. 2: Research options for writing children's books are offered, for example, by theChildren's and youth literature department of the Berlin State Library.

As soon as you devote yourself to writing children's books, trial readers are the be-all and end-all. At best, you can read your texts to children and find out what they find exciting about them - or boring.

2. Attend seminars on writing children's books

The exchange with other authors is very important if you want to write a children's book. As a student, you should definitely ask around at your university in order to be able to exchange ideas. Some universities even offer creative writing courses. For example, in the KVV of the SchreibArt Uni Cologne the “Authors' Workshop” seminar, which helps student authors to improve their skills.

But even if your university doesn't offer such courses, there are options. That is why it is worth taking a look at the program of the regional adult education center, for example. Various institutes and private schools also regularly offer seminars or workshops on creative writing.

3. Publish a children's book: how does it work?

When writing children's books, it becomes clear to you that you are yours Publish book you should think about it accordingly. Self-publishing works faster, for example, but you have to take care of many work steps yourself, such as the editing of the book.

A publisher, on the other hand, already has contacts and is marketing your book. However, the publisher also takes some liberties or could reject your children's book altogether.

Writing a children's book is hard work. Therefore, you shouldn't underestimate the task of writing for a young audience. Once you have an idea, you shouldn't just write. For example, think about illustrations, test readers and possible ways of publication at an early stage.