Once upon a time movies for kids were just…really, really bad. They were simplistic, had terrible acting, and even worse production value. They were bad because the adults making those movies underestimated kids. In some ways they were right, because there wasn’t much good out there, and kids (being kids) will stare at a screen no matter what. So they got away with bad content.
Until Pixar came along. They produced movies of such great quality they forced other children’s movies and TV shows to up their game.
It’s exactly the same with children’s books. For a long time (with some notable exceptions like Maurice Sendak and Beverly Cleary), children’s literature was pretty terrible. It was terrible because publishers and editors underestimated what kids knew, understood, and could appreciate. Then J.K. Rowling came along, and the entire world of kids lit exploded.
For authors, this means two important things. First, the market for children’s books is bigger than at any other time in history. Second, you have to bring your A-Game.
To capitalize on the first by succeeding at the second, start by understanding the truth behind some of the most common and damaging myths of the children’s book publishing world.
Top Myths of Children’s Book Publishing
Myth #1: Word Count Doesn’t Matter
Sure, word count matters less if you’re self-publishing…but that doesn’t mean you can ignore the conventions of the genres. Children’s books are even more limiting for word count than books for adults. Whatever age group you’re writing for, keep it within the following ranges: