How to Write & Publish a Children’s Book in 9 Steps

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Kids can experience a world of creativity through children’s books. By utilizing vivid visuals and captivating text in books for young readers, parents and children alike can create lasting memories.

Here we offer step-by-step tips for writing, printing and publishing

How to Write a Children’s Book

Have you ever found yourself thinking, “I want to write a children’s book, but where do I start?” We hear this question quite often. If you’re writing a children’s book, 48 Hour Books makes it easy to self-publish. We have a variety of services to assist self-publishing children’s book authors. We also have a customer service team

Our team has created a comprehensive tutorial to assist with the process of constructing a children’s book. This guide provides a straightforward approach for anyone wanting to enter the world of children’s literature.

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1. Determine the Age Group for Your Target Audience

When writing books for kids, it’s important to establish the age group of your audience. This helps you make a variety of decisions. The standard age groups for children’s books are:

  • Ages 0‑3: Babies and toddlers
  • Ages 4‑6: Pre-K through 1st grade
  • Ages 7‑9: 2nd grade through 4th grade
  • Ages 10‑12: 5th grade through 7th grade

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2. Determine Page and Word Count Parameters

The length of a children’s book should be tailored to the intended age group. The number of pages can vary depending on what age range the book is intended for.

The average page count for children’s books is the industry standard. However, there is no need to worry if your page count is shorter or longer than these numbers.

  • Ages 3‑8: 32 pages
  • Ages 5‑10: 32-64 pages

Many people are curious to know what the typical word count is for a children’s book. The concept of brevity applies when writing stories for kids. If you are writing for a younger demographic, such as babies and toddlers aged 0-3, you should focus mainly on illustrations, with minimal text. You may even decide to create a picture book with no text. As the age group increases in age, you can include more words. Consider the average attention span of the age group you are targeting.

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The following are some suggested word counts for children’s books; however, these should only be taken as a general guide.

  • Ages 4‑6: 1,000 words or less
  • Ages 5‑9: 2,500 words
  • Chapter books for ages 7‑9: 10,000‑12,000 words
  • Short novels or middle-grade novels for ages 10‑12: 20,000‑25,000

3. Write and Edit Your Children’s Book

When crafting your children’s book, consider the age range of your readers. Construct an engaging plot and storyline that is appropriate for the knowledge level of your target audience.

Do you need to replace bigger words with simpler ones to make it easier for children learning to read? Is a supporting character detracting from the main story?

Editing is the refining process of writing, and it’s an important step. Have a second set of eyes review your content before you print – a trusted friend, well-read family member or even a professional editor can review your content. Ask them to check for grammatical errors or provide suggestions to refine your story. 48 Hour Books recommends using a professional editor, and we offer tips and contacts here.

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4. Format Your Children’s Book

48 Hour Books offers free book templates that make it easy to format your book. The templates open in Microsoft Word or nearly any word processing program and come in four standard sizes: 4.25 x 7, 5.5 x 8.5, 6 x 9 and 8.5 x 11

Simply type your book directly into the template and set it up as you choose. Be sure to select the right page size, and when you’re done formatting, convert the file to PDF format. You’ll upload the PDF file directly with your order on our website. If you get stuck or have any questions, we’re just a phone call away: 800 231 0521.

Creating digital versions of hand-drawn illustrations for your book requires scanning them at a high quality.

5. Design Your Children’s Book

Creating visuals, crafting the layout, and selecting the font are all essential components of any book, but this is especially true when it comes to children’s literature. Some books for kids are almost wholly dependent on illustrations while others focus on the text itself as the key design element.

If you’re not an artist, consider hiring an illustrator. It helps to have a color scheme or a style you hope to achieve. 48 Hour Books offers book design services,

It is recommended to use a bigger font size for children’s books than the standard 11 or 12 point font size that is usually used for books for adults. Font sizes between 16 and 24 points are preferable for the youngest age group, while a smaller font may be more suitable for older readers.

Take into account the layout of text and images when creating your children’s book. You may want to incorporate a playful approach and have the text within the visuals or alternatively have the text above or below the images.

6. Create Your Cover

Creating a book cover can be a great way to capture the attention of children. 48 Hour Books offers full-color covers without any additional expenses.

If you need help designing your children’s book cover, 48 Hour Books offers a Create-A-Cover service for $100. With this option, choose a general layout, background color and texture and add additional instructions and photos. Email photos to us or upload them to your account with your files, and our prepress technicians assemble your cover. The $100 is a one-time fee, so if you receive your cover proof and decide you want to change an element on it, such as the background color, you can! If you have Adobe InDesign, you can use one of our cover templates

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7. Determine the Size of Your Children’s Book

When it comes to selecting the size of your kids’ book, it is entirely up to you. However, the most common sizes are 8 x 10 or 10 x 8 (landscape). At 48 Hour Books, it is possible to print books in both sizes. When ordering from our website, choose the 8.5 x 11 standard size and make sure to mention in the Customer Comments area that you would like your book to be 8 x 10. We will then custom trim your books to that size.

Ensure that the files you create are in the same size as the desired final size of the book. For instance, if the intended children’s book size is 8 x 10, then your PDF files must also be 8 x 10.

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8. Choose Paper and Binding Style for Your Children’s Book

What paper do you want to use for your children’s book?

At 48 Hour Books, we provide 60# white offset paper as our standard option, free of charge. If your book contains a lot of colored photos or images, we suggest our 80# or 100# gloss text paper for better results.

What type of binding do you want to use for your children’s book?

Either hardcover or perfect bound (softcover)Books are an excellent choice for reading material. Softcover editions are lightweight and cost-effective to produce, while hardcover editions provide unparalleled longevity.

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9. Print Your Book

Easily place an orderCreate your book with 48 Hour Books by specifying the book details and providing your contact details. Upload your PDF file and complete the other steps to place your order. If you need help, our team is here to help.

It’s time to rejoice! You have just completed the process of publishing a children’s book! From the initial concept to the content and illustrations, this is an amazing feat that many writers only imagine doing. Give yourself a pat on the back! You can now rightfully call yourself a self-published author.

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How Much Does It Cost to Self-Publish a Children’s Book?

If you wonder what is the cost to self-publish a children’s book, there are various factors to consider.

Making sure to take care of all the details yourself and selling the books through your existing outlets such as social media, bookstores, or on your own website is the most cost-efficient way to go.

Making a substantial outlay is likely to be for printing and that amount can be highly variable, depending on several factors.

  • The size of your book
  • The number of pages in your book
  • The number of copies you print (you’ll typically pay less per book if you order in larger quantities)
  • The other printing options you select, such as black and white or color

You may want to budget for:
  • ISBN and barcode ($125). If you plan to sell your books in bookstores (including online), you’ll need an ISBN. When you print with 48 Hour Books, you can easily buy an ISBN and barcode package in singles or blocks of 10, 100, or 1,000.
  • Design fees. You can avoid these if you do the work on your own, but you may decide to hire a graphic designer to help with the layout of your inside pages or book cover. Our expert graphic design team at 48 Hour Books can do basic formatting starting at $125, and our most popular cover design service is just $100.
  • Proofreading/Editing fees. you can avoid these costs if you do the work on your own (or if you enlist the help of friends and family members!). Common proofreading fees are 2-5 cents per word or about $30 per hour. Check out 48 Hour Books’ recommended editing resources here. Do a final check using our proofreading instructions.
  • Marketing. On average, new authors spend $50-$250 on marketing their book. You can also hire a marketing expert to help. The average cost for that is approximately $1,000.
  • Shipping. 48 Hour Books ships using UPS, and shipping fees can be calculated easily. Think about how you plan to distribute your books and account for this when you’re setting the price for your book. Shipping costs range significantly but can add several dollars to your per book costs.
  • Website fees. You’ll probably want to create your own website where you can sell your books and post updates or contact information. There are lots of sites these days that provide beautiful and fairly easy-to-use templates if you pay a small monthly hosting fee – averaging $20-30 per month.
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If you’re not printing tens (or hundreds) of thousands of copies, the average children’s book costs approximately $5-$10 per book to produce. 48 Hour Books provides instant quotes using our instant cost calculatorBy gathering information about your project, we can provide you with an estimate of the cost, with no strings attached and no extra charges.

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How to Self-Publish a Children’s Book with 48 Hour Books

If you’ve made it this far, you already know it’s possible to publish your own children’s book and you’re ready to get startedPartnering with 48 Hour Books is a straightforward process. Here are the simple steps you need to take to get started:

Download Your Free Self-Publisher Checklist

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Let 48 Hour Books help you print your own children’s book!

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No matter the complexity of the query regarding your order, our team of experts is here to provide you with the best possible support for graphic design or editing. We make sure that your custom book printing experience is enjoyable, with our helpful and readily available customer service.


Frequently asked questions

How do I start writing a children’s book?

The first step in writing a children’s book is to have an idea. Brainstorm and come up with a story that is interesting and appropriate for the age group you are targeting. Once you have an idea, create a rough outline of what you want the story to be. After that, flesh out your characters, setting, and plot by writing an initial draft of your book.

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How do I make sure my children’s book is appropriate for its audience?

When writing a children’s book, it is important to keep the age group of your target audience in mind. Make sure the topics, language, and concepts you include are appropriate for the age group. Additionally, research and incorporate any cultural references into your story that may be important to the target audience.

How do I get my children’s book published?

Once you have finished writing your book, the next step is to look for a publisher. Research different publishers, and submit your book for consideration. Alternatively, you can self-publish your book if you don’t want to go through a publisher.

What are some tips for marketing my children’s book?

Once you have published your book, the next step is to market it. Reach out to bookstores and libraries to let them know about your book. Additionally, create a website, join social media networks, and use online marketing tools to promote your book. You can also organize book readings and signings to help spread the word.

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How long does it take to write a children’s book?

The amount of time it takes to write a children’s book varies depending on the length and complexity of the book. Generally, it can take anywhere from a few months to several years to write and publish a children’s book.

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