Children have incredible imaginations! For this reason, creative storytelling may come naturally to them. So, it should be no surprise that children write books and are eager to be published, just like adults. If you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering how to publish a book written by a child.

Publishing a book written by a child is only slightly more complicated than the typical publishing process. Nevertheless, there are still a multitude of opportunities to publish a book written by a child!

If your child has written a masterpiece and is eager to share it with the world, read on to find out how to publish a book as a kid and make their dream come true.

How Old Do You Have To Be To Publish a Book?

The youngest child to write a published book was a four-year-old girl named Dorothy in 1964.

Since 1964, publishing has changed drastically. As a result, it is now even easier to publish books written by children and adults. With that said, however, younger authors may require special considerations.

Publishing is often an involved process. Deciding factors to take into consideration are editorial, legal, and marketing decisions. Ultimately, these factors may complicate the process beyond a child’s comprehension. For authors who are minors, an adult (parent or guardian) should take responsibility for the publishing process on the child’s behalf.

Teen authors, however, are much more capable of having a more involved role in the publishing process. In fact, many teens can participate in the editorial, legal, and marketing process – with the guidance of an adult, of course.

So, how old do you have to be to publish a book? You can be any age, as long as there is an adult ready to help.

FAQs About Kids Publishing a Book

When your child has their mind set on seeing their book published, parents may have a few questions at the outset. Here are some of the most asked on how to publish a book written by a child:

How long does it take to get your child’s book published?

The amount of time invested to publish a child’s book will depend on several factors. These include:

1. The child’s age

A book written by an eight-year-old will likely be much less time intensive than a teenager’s book project. While a young child could pen their story in a week or two, an older child might delve much deeper and spend six months to a year to complete the book.

2. The child’s ability to stay on task

It’s one thing to want to write and publish a book and quite another to apply the self-discipline needed to actually complete it. A child’s commitment to staying focused and following through will largely determine the time it takes them to complete the project.

3. The child’s time availability

The child may have great intentions and truly want to publish their story. However, activity constraints could prolong the writing timeline. Kids are busy with sports, lessons, and schoolwork, which can place limits on the time available to write.

4. The length, genre, and complexity of the story

The amount of time required for the child to complete their book will depend on the project itself. A short story with no illustrations will probably take less time to produce than a graphic novel based on illustrations driving the story. This is simply because it takes much longer to create the drawings than to type a story.

How much does it cost to publish your kid’s book?

Cost is a common consideration for parents deciding whether or not to have their child’s book published. Self-published books, regardless of the author’s age, do require some outside services. These services might include:

  • Editing. While the child can edit the first draft or two on their own, if they want a polished product, they will need an editor. Hiring a copyeditor can help identify flaws in the story arc, character development, flow, pace, continuity, or plot. They will also identify and correct any glaring grammar or punctuation issues. Expect to pay $200 to $400 for editing depending on the book’s length.
  • Cover design. Unless the child has been trained on Adobe InDesign, you will probably need to hire someone to create a captivating book cover. Costs will vary, based on whether you hire a college graphic arts student or a professional cover designer. Expect to pay $500 to $1500 for a book cover design.
  • Formatter. Once the manuscript has been edited and a cover created, it is time to format the book into a PDF for print-on-demand and/or an EPUB or Mobi file for eBook publishing. Expect to pay $500 to $1000 for formatting depending on length.
  • Proofreader. The final step before publication is proofreading. Proofreading the final files provides one last opportunity to catch any typos or spacing issues. Expect to pay $100 to $200 for proofreading depending on length.

Does my child’s book need a copyright?

The U.S. Copyright Office does issue copyright protection to minors. A copyright is not absolutely necessary, as any written work is already protected. But with a fairly simple copyright application process and a modest fee, it can add an extra layer of legal protection against infringement.

how to publish a book written by a child

How To Publish a Book Written by a Child: What You Need To Know

Now that you know a child can publish a book, you’re probably wondering, “Well, how can a kid publish a book?” The first thing to consider when publishing a book written by a child is whether the book is ready for publication.

Here are some steps for parents to help guide their child through the writing and publishing process:

1. Create an outline.

Have the child start their book project by creating an outline. A book outline becomes a valuable tool to follow throughout the writing process. They can set up their outline however they want, but it should feature a defined plot synopsis, a story arc that describes the structure, character descriptions, and sections or chapters. The outline can be modified as the writing proceeds.

2. Write the story.

As the child writes the story, they will be following the book outline for guidance. Parents can offer some suggestions for developing scenes, and also help them select effective or descriptive word choices. The child needs to also inject compelling dialogue between characters to bring their story to life.

3. Revise the book.

A first draft is never meant to be the finished product. Explain to the child that it is the starting point, and that it needs some fine-tuning. Have them print out a copy of the manuscript to perform a manual edit. Once they have cleaned it up and fixed any major problems in the Word document, the manuscript will be ready to send over to the editor.

4. Have it copyedited.

During the editing phase, any problems with the plot, characters, pacing, organization, grammar, or spelling will be identified, discussed, and corrected.

5. Design the book cover.

While the book manuscript is being edited, have your cover designer work on creating an amazing book cover for the project.

6. Fix the formatting.

To prepare the book for publication, a typesetter or formatter will create files using a template. If the child decides they want to publish the book as both a print edition and an eBook, they will need two different files created by the formatter.

7. Start proofreading.

Having the files proofed is the final checkpoint before the book is uploaded and published. Any flaws in the formatting or pesky typos are identified during this step.

8. Bring it to publication.

The day your child has been dreaming about has finally arrived — the book is ready to go live. Once it is uploaded onto an online bookseller platform, their book will be available to purchase. Congratulations!

Getting the Book Ready To Be Published

If you’re here, it’s a safe bet that you think the book written by your young author is publish-worthy. But is it truly ready? Perhaps the talent is there, and the story is amazing, but there might be grammar mistakes or developmental issues that require revision.

If you’re not familiar with publishing standards, it might be best to ask for professional help in getting the book ready. There are many options to ensure that your child’s manuscript is ready to be published, including the following:

  • Find an editor for comprehensive editing.
  • Hire a proofreading service to spot typos or grammar mistakes.
  • Join writing groups to exchange critiques with other writers.
  • Look for beta readers to see how an audience might respond.

Don’t let your child be discouraged if their book requires revisions. This is a standard step to publishing that even experienced authors must go through to see print.

Traditional or Self-Publishing?

What is the best method to publish a book written by a child?

One of the biggest decisions modern writers must make is if it is best to try traditional publishing or to self-publish. Many of the factors that adult authors consider are the same for children looking to publish.

There are pros and cons to each method, so weigh the options and decide what is best for your child’s needs. Trying to publish traditionally requires fewer financial obligations upfront. Nevertheless, you might have less creative control and could face a slew of rejections during the process. Self-publishing ensures creative control. However, self-publishing can cost more and is a much more involved process.

Self-publishing a child’s book can be extremely worthwhile in terms beyond simply publishing a book. In fact, having creative control is a huge, rewarding factor. In addition, working alongside an adult can make the child feel in control. Participating in the promotion of their book can also offer confidence, agency, and valuable experience to children.

Publishing a Kid’s Book is Child’s Play!

How can a kid publish a book? In all honesty, the same way adults do — modern technology has expanded the options available to writers looking to publish. While children don’t often get traditional book deals, publishing is possible, and any kid with a fantastic book can self-publish with the help of an adult and the right publishing partner.

Are you ready to help your child’s dream come true? You know how to publish a book written by a child, so start by exploring your options. Getting a quote and a free consultation from Gatekeeper Press is the first key step to publishing your child’s book!

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