Young authors have existed for almost as long as books have been around. A girl named Dorothy Straight was the youngest child to write a published book. She published her book “How the World Began” when she was only four.
In 2022, a five-year-old named Bella Dark published her book “The Lost Cat.” Will your child be the next published author? If your child enjoys writing and has a story to tell, you can turn a child author publishing project into something you’ll enjoy doing together.
Child Author Publishing: Why Self Publishing Is the Best Approach for a Book Written by Your Child
Although a few young authors have been published by commercial publishers, they are extremely rare cases. In most cases, you will find that self publishing with a professional printing company is the best way for child author publishing. Here are some reasons why:
Avoid rejections: Trying to get any book published by a commercial house is a monumental task, even for adults. That’s why many writers turn to self publishing. Your child doesn’t need the stress, uncertainty, and multiple rejections that are likely to come from approaching commercial publishers.
No legal contracts: Minors can’t legally sign contracts or open bank accounts. This makes it difficult for you to deal with the legal and financial side of child author publishing and selling a book. If you plan to sell it, you will have to collect the money for your child and hold it for them.
Creative control: Most commercial publishers require extensive editing of the books they publish. In many cases, they change major parts, including the ending, and they also get the final say on the cover design, title, and illustrations. When you self publish your child’s book, you keep complete creative control of every detail.
Physical book: Digital books may be popular, but nothing beats the thrill of holding a printed, physical book in your hand. Your child will have a book with their name on the cover and copies to show off to friends. Copies of the book make excellent gifts, and the book will become a treasured part of your family collection.
Writing the Book for Child Author Publishing
If your child is just talking about writing a book, you can help them by teaching them about establishing a writing schedule and finding time to write. When talking about how to go from ideas to paper, it’s best to follow the same path an adult would use:
- Write an outline
- Write the first draft
- Revise and edit
- Do a final proofreading
You can help your child by pointing out how all this hard work will help them write the best book possible. This experience will also be valuable for showing them how much work their favorite writers put into creating the books they enjoy.
Point out that books don’t appear by magic. They are the result of a writer taking time to plan, write, and polish a manuscript. It will be a wonderful learning experience for your child.
Illustrations for Child Author Publishing
Will your child’s book have illustrations? If a young child writes the book, it is probably aimed at other small children, so illustrations are a natural fit. Your child may even choose to illustrate the book themselves.
Do you know anyone artistic? Ask if they’d be willing to create paintings or drawings for your child’s book. You may have to pay them for their artwork.
Writing or Word Processing
Is your child writing the book by hand? You would be amazed at how many successful, published authors still write their first drafts by hand. There are good reasons to encourage this. When the book is finished, you can write the final draft on a word processing program.
To design the layout of the book, use an online template. This will be helpful if you’re producing a child author publishing book with illustrations. Templates make it easy to produce professional-looking layouts.
Editing and Proofreading for Child Author Publishing
Once your child’s book is written, go over it carefully to check for mistakes in grammar and spelling. You don’t need to hire a professional proofreader, but it’s a good idea to run the manuscript through an online grammar and spelling checker.
Most word processing programs have built-in programs that do an excellent job of catching basic mistakes and suggesting ways to reword clumsy lines.
Copyright and Legal Issues for Child Author Publishing
Just like an adult, a child can hold the copyright of their original material. You can get a copyright for a minor by applying to the U.S. Copyright Office. In strictly legal terms, it isn’t necessary to get a copyright because any written work is automatically considered copyrighted by the author.
However, getting a copyright gives you an extra level of protection, and it doesn’t cost much. You can submit an online application for a single work for $45.
Include a copyright page in the child author publishing book. Here’s a sample of what it should look like:
The Adventures of Misty the Cat
Copyright 2022 by James Reeves
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without written permission by the author.
Printed in the USA by Dazzle Printing
Child Author Publishing: How to Get a Book Written by Your Child into Print
When you self publish your child’s book, getting it printed will be the most exciting part. After all your child’s hard work, dedication, and creativity, they’ll get to see the result in a real book they can display proudly.
Find a Printer
Working with the right printer makes all the difference with child author publishing. Look for a printer who specializes in printing books by self published authors. Working with a knowledgeable, affordable printer will make the experience much smoother than working with a printer that doesn’t have this experience.
Create a Book Cover
Your child’s book deserves a great-looking cover. The cover is the first thing people notice about a book. Today’s book design trends feature large fonts and colorful, eye-catching images. Show off your design skills, or ask your printer about in-house professional design services.
Choose Your Stock and Cover Paper
When you put together a book written by a child, you’ll have to decide what type and size of paper you want:
- What kind of paper will you use? Typically, a book uses standard paper for the body of the book and heavy card stock for the covers.
- What size of book pages do you want? Most books use standard sizing, but children’s books are large.
- Will you want lamination on the covers? Lamination makes the colors stand out and gives the book a high-quality look.
Select Your Binding Style
The most popular binding style for child author publishing books is perfect bound printing. This creates a book that looks like those you see on the shelves of your library or bookstore. This is a classic binding style that works for any type of book. Other types you might consider are plastic coil binding and wire-o binding.
Prepare the Manuscript for Print
Prepare the book by putting all the pages and images into a PDF file. Be sure your child’s book has all the parts necessary for publication:
- Title page
- Dedication page
- Copyright page
If you need help with the technical details of publication, consult our handy guide to book printing.
Enjoy the Process of Child Author Publishing
Is your child a budding author? Let them experience the thrill of seeing their name in print when you self publish your child’s book. At Dazzle Printing, we specialize in helping self published authors of all ages enjoy seeing their books in print.