Writing A Children’s Book: Stage One (Planning & Research)
This year I decided to document my process of creating a book, from ideation to publication. So far I have produced two books, Tom and Geraldene (2015) and Peaty the Worm (2016). My approach takes the form of several stages. Writing A Children’s Book: Stage One (Planning & Research) focusses on generating ideas, exploring chosen concepts, gathering inspiration and examining the current market. The purpose is to have a starting point where the story can grow and develop.
Writing A Children’s Book is a feature on my blog where I discuss my process of writing, illustrating and self-publishing my own children’s book. The stages follow a personal strategy and should be an ‘inspiration’ rather than a how-to.
It all starts with an idea. The basis for the story that will adapt and improve. Some ideas are a few words, while others become whole paragraphs.
Note: Over the past year I had been formulating a story, which centred around my selected idea. If I didn’t have a concept I was interested in, the number of ideas would be more extensive.
My selected concept is ‘Jobs that women can do in a wide variety of fields, to inspire young girls to dream of the future.’ I chose this idea because I wanted to create a book that had a positive message. As a woman and person who seeks equality, it felt like the right choice.
My selected idea involves the story of girls pursuing careers in many different fields. The purpose is to show how strong, smart, kind, creative and amazing women are.
Details / Aims / Random Thoughts
- Empower young girls to dream of the future and understand they are capable of becoming many things.
- Present high diversity with women from all backgrounds and physical appearances.
- Each page is showing an adult female in a particular role with a short description of what they are doing (and why).
- The book could be in a series which focusses on specific fields (such as; creative, health, education, etc.).
A mind map allowed me to focus on a key topic (girls) and explore associated connections. I created branches on strengths, personality, appearance, aspirations and jobs.
I find words can be a great inspiration to my creative process. Using the words from the mind map and further additions I created a list of inspired words.
Choosing a title for a book doesn’t have to happen at the beginning. Sometimes it takes further time and consideration. I decided to generate ideas while I was in the planning stage and refine later.
Visual inspiration can be a compelling source to start formulating ideas and visualising your story. Categories of inspiration included; girls & women, children’s books, illustrations, typography and colour.
Girls & Women
View more Girls & Women inspiration
View more Children’s Books inspiration
View more Typography inspiration
Note: Images/illustrations and similar should never be considered as sources to copy. You can be inspired by art, but should not replicate it (unless given permission).
Current Children’s Books
In my analysis of current children’s books, I looked at 50 books from 5 stores (iBooks paid, iBooks free, Amazon, Google, Booktopia). I examined 10 books from each shop listed in the top 10 or ‘popular’ category. Books varied from eBooks to hard copy and the cover and preview (if available) were observed.
Analysis of current children’s books revealed that 28% focus on education, 40% are targeted towards boys (or have a male as the main character). 46% of books use a traditional hand-drawn style, with 40% using display typography on the cover and a combination of colours. The average price is $7.73, and the average page number is 30.
Note: It is also worthwhile to view as many ebooks and printed books as you can. Visiting a library or bookshop can provide a great insight into current books that are in the market.
Children’s Books With A Similiar Theme
In my analysis of current children’s books with similar themes, I looked at 15 books which had a focus on empowering girls through positive messages and education. Books varied in shop location and version (ebook or print). The cover and preview (if available) were observed.
Analysis of current children’s books with a similar theme revealed 73% of books were targeted toward the age groups of 4-8 years. 73% of books used a traditional hand-drawn style, with 47% using display typography on the cover and a combination of colours. The average price is $12.45, and the average page number is 39.
Note: Examining books with a similar theme gives you the opportunity to see what has ‘been done’ and where your book would ‘fit in’. Next week I will go into more detail about market gaps and target audiences.
Title Ideas Analysis
I began analysing the 75 title ideas by conducting a google search to look for similar results. I also observed book titles on Amazon, Google and Goodreads. Finally, I checked for any registered trademarks or business names (in Australia).
In my first round of analysis, the list was narrowed down to 41. To ensure I had an accurate collection I carried out further investigation by searching for exact matches on Google, Amazon and Goodreads. I also recorded the number of results for each instance.
Finally, through two rounds of searching my list of title ideas is down to 13. Is my future title in there? Only time will tell. (:
Title Ideas Short List
- A girl can be many things
- A girls bright reality
- A girls brilliant future
- A Girls Dream Career
- A girls future can be awesome
- A girls grand job
- A girls path is bright
- All the jobs that girls can have
- All the roles that girls can be
- All the stars that girls can be
- All the things girls can become
- I’m a girl, and I can be a..
- Jobs that girls can have
If you have a favourite title from the list let me know or if you have any suggestions I would love to hear them. 😘
In the first stage of writing a children’s book, I was able to choose a concept, generate ideas, gather visual inspiration and examine current and similar publications. Through all of these tasks, it has allowed me to built a stronger connection to the concept of the story, so I can begin to establish the narrative. 💖