As a reviewer and a children’s book writer (soon to be out “Tuma, The Tribe’s Little Princess” – Book One of my series), I have been on both sides of the book’s coin. On one side I wrote and illustrated my children’s book. On the other side I manage Reader Views Kids, our website where all the reviewers are kids. During the time spent in these two roles, I became aware of few things about children’s books and about kids as an audience, that I didn’t really realize before, which have come in very handy while writing and publishing “Tuma.”
- Writing kid’s books should not be done in isolation. I always become a hermit when I am working on a book. First I put the story down and then I begin the critiquing and rewriting process. This did not work with my picture book. There are so many factors to consider for this audience, that it becomes imperative for the author to tune up with what is current with them.
- Not only does the vocabulary have to be age appropriate, but the story must also be age appropriate, in order to spark interest as well as gain parental approval. So, just because I believe I have a story that kids would love, doesn’t mean they will. It needs to be tested.
- Kids are brutal reviewers! Yes, they have no filter, so they will be as honest and as raw as it gets. This is why it is best to test your manuscript before investing in the publishing. It is not about the story and message you want to share; being current is about how you deliver the story and message to your audience.
I am not trying to discourage anyone from writing and publishing their children’s book idea. I am just pointing out that the audience needs to be included in the process. This will definitely give the book the best chance in the market, as the result will be in sync with what kids are currently into and not what we remember from our own childhood.