How To Make Money Writing For Kids
But First, Tell Me This:
What's the worst writing advice you've ever received?
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?
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!