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How To Make Money Writing For Kids

Updated on January 30, 2015

But First, Tell Me This:

What's the worst writing advice you've ever received?

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Research Your Audience.

If you want to be successful, don't write for yourself. Write for your audience. Make sure you know what they want. And if you don't get it right the first time, learn your lesson. You'll do better on your next book.

Fun vintage fact: Do you know why Nancy Drew never aged or hooked up with Ned Nickerson? It's because the people who created her (aka the Stratemeyer Syndicate) realized that no one would want to see a married Mrs. Nancy Nickerson. They learned that from the past series they'd created.

What Do Kids Actually Want To Read?

Use Cliffhangers

If you read children's bestsellers, you'll see that they're carefully constructed to make sure that there's never a dull moment. Kids have a very little attention span, especially today they're on the internet 24/7.

So cut out the purple prose and leave your readers hanging by ending situations abruptly at the end of every page and chapter. And up the dramatics--just because the main conflict doesn't happen before chapter seven, doesn't mean you can't find a way for your protagonist to run into danger by the first page of chapter one.

Does Your Book Draw Kids In?

Give Your Character a Flaw

... but not too much of a flaw.

While Harry Potter can seem a bit awkward, he's brave when it matters. If anything, his awkwardness makes him relatable.

The lesson is, a protagonist in a bestseller shouldn't be antagonizing. His flaws should help him seem likeable. After all, at thirteen, who isn't a bit awkward?

So if you want to become a quick book-selling millionnaire, never give your hero the fatal flaw of cowardice.

Meanwhile, the other characters in your book should all be more flawed than your protagonist. No one wants to relate to the nerdy, fat, stupid, shy guy or girl, or overall loser, so don't give these traits to your protagonist. That's what the minor characters are for.

Hermione Granger Not Being A Coward

Give Your Book A Simple, Expected Plot

This might seem counterintuitive. You're probably thinking: "But I don't want them to guess who the bad guy is!" And yet kids like comfortable, formulaic literature. Good literature, sure--but expected, just the same.

There's nothing like knowing who the bad guy is from the beginning, then watching him be bad. It gives them goosebumps. Even adults fall for this schtick.

So don't fill your book with confusing twists and turns. Maybe add one thing your audience didn't see coming. Or better yet, something they did see coming, but that you tricked them into thinking they were alone in suspecting. Could we call that a... blue herring?

'Ha! I Knew It All Along!'

Build Your World

One of the common tips you'll hear is not to include any scene that's not necessary to the plot.

But that's just wrong.

Instead, you shouldn't include anything that's not necessary to the story. And the story includes lots of things--like your world. Even if your story happens in New York, NY, it's still a fictional world. It's your world. Spend time on scenes that don't add much to the intrigue, but tell us about your specific world, and your character's relationship to it.

Just stay away from purple prose and don't put these non-dramatic scenes at the end of the page or chapter.

Can We Visualize Your World?

Self-Promote Like Crazy

Get on the internet, and out in the real world, and connect with people. Tell them about your project. Don't wait to be published or to being the steps of self-publishing. The more of a network you have, the more you'll get noticed.

Once you do get noticed, your story will stand out from the rest. That is, if you've followed these story-writing tips: keeping your audience in mind, using cliffhangers, creating a not-too-flawed protagonist, sticking to a simple, expected plot and within the conventions of a genre, and building a great world. If you have, your book will a success. I promise. Now go write!

Tell Everyone About Your Book!

Now Tell Me This:

Who's Your Favorite Contemporary Best-selling Author?

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    • BessieBooks profile image

      BessieBooks 3 years ago

      Thanks for your feedback Claudia! I hope it will.

    • Claudia Mathews profile image

      Claudia Mathews 3 years ago

      Great information! I believe it will help me a lot. Thanks for writing this.

    • BessieBooks profile image

      BessieBooks 3 years ago

      Thanks Mara! Glad you liked it.

    • MonkeyShine75 profile image

      Mara Alexander 3 years ago from Los Angeles, California

      Another great hub I will refer back to often

      Thanks for sharing


    • BessieBooks profile image

      BessieBooks 3 years ago

      Thanks Jodah! I will definitely check out your stories.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Another very impressive hub Bessie, and helpful advice for the aspiring children's writer. I have written a few short stories for children here on Hub Pages and the text for two children's picture books, but I doubt I'd ever attempt to write a novel. I agree with everything you say here however. Lovely images enhance this article. Voted up.

    • BessieBooks profile image

      BessieBooks 3 years ago

      Thanks for your feedback Chriswillman!

    • Chriswillman90 profile image

      Krzysztof Willman 3 years ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      Some very solid advice on here and useful for new authors. Great read!

    • BessieBooks profile image

      BessieBooks 3 years ago

      Thelma--thanks! The first step to being a successful author is being well-read, so you're well on your way.

      moveisreviews-- They can be, if you're good at it! In fact the YA and children's fiction market is doing great, especially compared to the struggling adults' market. (And adults often read YA, too.)

    • moviesreviews profile image

      Billy Taylor 3 years ago from NY

      I had no idea writing childrens books can be so lucrative

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 3 years ago from Germany

      Well done! Thanks for the tips. I love reading children books and I hope one day I will be writing one.

    • BessieBooks profile image

      BessieBooks 3 years ago

      Thanks, Singular Investor!

    • Singular Investor profile image

      Singular Investor 3 years ago from Oxford

      Good hub - excellent advice !

    • BessieBooks profile image

      BessieBooks 3 years ago

      Thanks Laura! I appreciate the feedback :)

    • Laura335 profile image

      Laura Smith 3 years ago from Pittsburgh, PA

      This is really helpful. I write children's books, and I've started rereading the classics to remind me of how it's done. Thanks!