Writing for children: FAQs

Any questions on writing a children’s book? Or are you considering editorial feedback for your children’s manuscript?

Read on for free advice and what we offer.

Do your editorial services include children’s manuscripts? Do you have editors with this expertise?

Yes, you can improve work through constructive and meticulous editorial advice from us. That advice is market-aware and always constructive.

Our children’s team is staffed by professional children’s authors, and we work closely with children’s literary agents, too.

Free plotting worksheets

Make the hardest part of writing easier

Do you have free suggestions, tips or advice for children’s writers?

Yes. We’ve put together a huge library of tips and guides, from how to plot a novel to how to write a picture book, so be sure to explore those free advice pages.

You can also join our course on writing for children in the company of a professional children’s author. You can study at home, working online so you can interact with and learn from classmates.

If nothing else, aim for clarity in children’s writing. Middle Grade children aren’t going to try to puzzle things out if your writing style isn’t immediate, clear, and easy to grasp. Nor will YA readers stomach preachiness or obscurity. On top of that, we recommend warmth, plenty of humour, vivid characters, and a compelling plot. Every chapter should move things along.

Will I need a children’s literary agent in time?

Most children’s writers need a literary agent, yes, and there are agents who specialise in handling work for children, so it’s these you’ll need to appeal to in course. The one exception is that if you’re writing picture books where you can go direct to (some) publishers, though overall, our advice is still to get an agent, at least while you’re still getting to know the industry.

I’m a picture book writer. Will I need to produce my own illustrations?

Publishers will commission their own illustrations, and would much prefer it if you present them with the text alone. The one exception: if you are a pro illustrator already, and have written words to your own pictures.

I just love classics like The Family from One End Street. That’s the style I aim for.

Stop. We get authors writing in the style of loved classics, but you need to pay attention to what children today are reading. You must write for today’s generation around you, meaning your language needs to sound current. Children don’t call each other ‘rotters’. You won’t sell a book if your language sounds dated.