It's an idea many have toyed with at one point or another in their life. Being a published author, such as Greg Pizolli, is a goal that can bring a sense of accomplishment, social recognition, and can even carve your name in the reading world for generations to come, but how would you even begin? For many, the creation of a children's book is a great first step to becoming a published author. These books are usually derived from the author's own childhood and experiences throughout their life, so the storyline can be.

How to get started

To begin, make sure you have an idea about the length and scope of your work. For this example, we will use a typical children's picture book in rhyme. These books can range from less than 10 pages to a max of 30 pages on average. The need for words on every page is not necessary; however, a stanza per page has a good balance of word and picture dynamics. So, for this example, we will write a total of 24 stanzas, one for each page.

Take your time when writing the story; you will end up editing and changing it more times than you think! This is the foundation of your entire book, each word carefully chosen for a reason. Make sure you take the time to read it out loud to understand the flow of the words. Each line in the stanza should have a parallel amount of syllables. This draws the reader into the story, subconsciously allowing their minds to follow the rhythm of the rhyme. When you've accomplished a solid draft of your work you can move on to the storyboard.

Creating your storyboard

Your storyboard is a rough idea of how you want each page in your book to look. Whether you are collaborating with an illustrator, or writing and creating the pages yourself, like Rob Hunter, this will give you a strong foundation that you can slowly refine. In this example, we would layout 24 pages, writing each stanza on the bottom of the page for reference. Each of your pages should be able to tell its own story.

No matter the illustrative style you decide upon, try to maintain that style throughout your book. Go through each page, adding more and more detail every time you go over it. You'll start to see your story come alive! Don't be afraid to make mistakes or change something, as you will more than likely change your view for each page multiple times.

As you start to piece together the puzzle that is your book, make sure you keep in mind which pages will be on the left side and which ones will be on the right. You may want to consider a two page spread at some point in the book to accentuate a scene.

Making it happen

With a confident storyboard of your pages, you now have the ability to make them exactly how you want them to look. Take each page and create multiple copies of it, adding and taking out detail and color until you're satisfied with your work. This will also be a good time for you to make any final changes to the text of the book. A picture is worth a thousand words and can change your mind as far as what you've written.

With each page finalized and looking its best, the final thing you will need for your book is a cover. The cover should be enticing to a potential reader, drawing them in to see more. It is the spontaneous selling point that can make or break any book. The most important thing about the cover is being confident in it. Would you pick up this book among hundreds of other ones? This is also the time when you can decide what will go on the back cover of your book. Is it a summary? A short bio? Marketing information? Try to come up with multiple options before you decide.

With your cover and your pages complete, you now have a working draft of your book. Even at this point it is not unheard of to make changes; again, the most important thing is to be confident in your work. Congratulations! You have your children's book ready to go. Your next step is getting it published.

Stay tuned for more on self publishing and getting your book out to the public.

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