Think of your favorite children’s book – maybe it’s The Giving Tree, Goodnight Moon, or Charlotte’s Web – and then distill the story down to its very essence. You’ll realize that what makes the book so endearing is its core message. This beloved book is not just entertaining, but it also has meaning. As you embark on the goal of writing your own meaningful children’s story, use these handy tips to guide your book project from start to finish.

How To Brainstorm Children’s Book Ideas in 4 Easy Steps

One of the more challenging steps of writing a children’s book is coming up with a compelling story idea. Try using these steps to help you:

Take Inspiration from Stories You Like 

Consider the books you remember from your childhood or the books you love reading to your children or grandchildren — what makes them special? To help identify that unique quality, try this exercise. 

Make a list of the books you cherish most. If you can’t think of any, check out some famous children’s books by authors Dr. Seuss, Richard Scarry, or Robert Munsch and make a list of the ones you really enjoyed.

Now, what do your favorite children’s books have in common? Look for an underlying theme, such as the importance of kindness, friendship, or tolerance, and allow these insights to guide you in forming your own book idea.

Think About Lessons You Want to Share

Children are like sponges, soaking up important life lessons when these lessons are embedded in an engaging story. Consider some life lessons you’d like to teach a young person and make a list. Use your life experiences to inform your story ideas. Some ideas include:

  • The Golden Rule
  • Following your dreams
  • Importance of work ethic
  • Perseverance in times of trial
  • The value of family or friends
  • Accepting others

Come Up with the Main Character First

Once you create a compelling protagonist for your story, the plot may seem to write itself. Make a list of possible main characters, which can be anything at all, and then assign them some interesting personality traits. Ideas for a main character include:

  • Human being
  • Animal
  • Fairies
  • Dinosaurs
  • Monsters
  • Cars/boats/bicycles
  • Trees
  • Mythical characters

The main character you choose will depend on the type of children’s book you want to write and what age range you are targeting.

Find a Fun Setting

Pay special attention to this step, as the setting will play an outsized role in capturing the child’s imagination. Be very descriptive and colorful when describing the setting. If you lack ideas, consider using a setting generator or writing prompts for some inspiration.

How to Write and Edit Your Children’s Book Story

When penning your children’s story, never lose sight of your audience. Select an age group for the book, and make sure your story idea is relatable to children in that age group. Write the story in language that is simple and straightforward so the meaning of the story is easily absorbed. If you are writing a rhyming book, make sure the rhymes work well. If you plan to add illustrations, add them after the final draft of the story is written. 

Publishing & Marketing the Book to Parents

Once you have completed your story, it is time to partner with an editor who can ensure the manuscript is free of typos or any other snafus before publishing your children’s book. The editor will also provide some suggestions on structuring the content and illustrations and can offer some formatting and design options.

After the files are ready to upload, you can publish your children’s book directly through Amazon’s KDP platform by following the instructions. Alternatively, you can connect with a self-publisher that can distribute the book widely in both online marketplaces and bookstores.

As a self-published author, you are responsible for marketing your children’s book. Since you’re targeting parents (and grandparents, teachers, and librarians), you will want to devise a solid marketing strategy. Consider these ideas for marketing your children’s book:

  • Social media. Since your target consumer is the millennial parent, social media is the most effective way to gain their attention. Use hashtags and inexpensive ads on Instagram to market to young parents, such as #childrensbooksofinstagram #kidsbook #raisingreaders. Look for parent groups on Facebook to join and where you can share about your book. Make an author Facebook page and create ads to target young mothers.
  • Schools. Your local schools may be pleased to have a children’s book author come in and read their book aloud. Check with the principal to learn how to plan an author visit, and ask if they’d like you to drop off a copy of the book for their approval.
  • Podcasts. Reach out to some parenting podcasts, like “The Mom Hour” or “That New Mom Life,” and ask if you can be a guest on their show to share about your new children’s book. Mothers tune in to these podcasts while driving to work or doing chores, so your guest spot may attract lots of customers.
  • Libraries. Go to your local library and ask the librarian what the procedure is to add your book to their catalog. Also, ask them how you can participate in a library visit during story time and read the book aloud. While a library may not net any income, your book will be in circulation, which can lead to more exposure as an author and even some potential sales.

Work with the Professionals at Gatekeeper Press

If you are in the process of writing a children’s book and need a little guidance or some professional editing to bring it to the next level, consider partnering with Gatekeeper Press. Gatekeeper Press offers a full range of editing services, in addition to illustration, cover design, and book distribution. Call us today or contact us online!