I've been getting a fair amount of email asking what I know about publishing an ebook for children. Even a few years ago, this was a non-existent market due to the graphic-heavy text of most children's books.
Today though, with so many ereaders capable of color, the children's ebook market is booming. Just take a look at the Kindle Best Sellers List for Children's Books, and you'll see the breakdown by age groups with a fair number of titles in each group.
Vtech - V.Reader Animated E-Book System is already available. Sure, you can only load Vtech cartridges, but the importance of this is that it teaches a child from babyhood to read books on an ereader device. The significance of this is enormous. If you look at the Vtech Reader, you'll see that it's designed basically like a Kindle, Nook, etc. A child will grow out of this and into a Kindle with no learning curve necessary.
Amazon isn't the only ebook retailer with a kids' section. Of course there's Nook for Kids along with Sony Ebooks and all the others. If you Google "children's ebook reader," you'll get more than 2 million SERPs.
Replies To Aspiring Chidren's Book Authors
Here are some of my comments to those who have emailed me about publishing for children. Although I am not published in children's fiction, I did try a few times long ago when my kids were little to get the stories I wrote for them published. I discovered it was very difficult to break into that market. However, with the rise of indie publishing, there's opportunity available for those who want to grab it with both hands and go for it.
Why Is It Hard To Publish For Children
It's probably harder to get published in children's books than any other kind of writing. Why? Because successful children's books last forever. That's why everything from Poky Little Puppy to Curious George, though many decades old, are always published anew every year. The market is selective, small, and extremely competitive.
Children's Book Classifications
Children's books are divided into specific groups based on the age of the reader. They begin with books for children aimed at the parent who will read the book to the child and end with books aimed at the teen/young adult market with many areas in between.
You need to know these classifications so you'll know how to categorize your book. Check out the bestseller lists at the various digital retailers to see how they class the books.
Solved Graphics Problems = Opportunity
Prior to the Nook Color, iPad, and Kindle Fire, being an indie publisher and using an eBook format wasn't especially lucrative because most children aren't given those devices to play with. However, with dedicated devices for kids, like the one I saw on TV, and the lower prices for the color devices, more parents are giving their kids these gadgets to at least use. I know one of our sons has children's books loaded on his iPad for his daughters.
The lower the price; the more you'll see parents buying the color ereaders for their children. This is a growth market for writers. Many writers now publish for ebook, but then use a service like CreateSpace to publish a print edition of their books. That way you've got both the smaller ebook market for children covered as well as the bigger print book market.
Interested But Unsure Of How To Get Started
As with any genre, if you've got the interest, then it's a matter of learning the skill set needed for the genre. Seriously study how to write children's books. Read, read, read in the category in which you want to publish. Writers Digest Books has published many books about writing for children. Every year they publish a market guide like 2011 Children's Writer's And Illustrator's Market. Visit their website and click Browse / Children's, and you'll find tons of info.
I'm a big proponent of Plan B. That's the plan you'll follow if your first pursuit doesn't work out.
Develop a fall-back plan that means writing in a different children's genre because you may find that Chapter Books or Middle Grade Readers or Young Adult Books have a bigger market share so there's more opportunity for a new writer than in the niche in which you're currently writing. This is true of traditional print publishing or indie publishing. Markets get glutted, and it becomes difficult to rise to the top. Keep your options open by having a backup plan, i.e., Plan B or C or D or whatever it takes.
Follow your bliss. If writing for children is where your bliss is hiding, seek it out. There's more opportunity now than ever before.
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