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How to Self-Edit a Children's Book

Over the years, I've gathered a lot of tips and instructions on how to write a picture book. I love to help others so I created downloadable tips and resources for children's writers. (I think there are 5 or 6 pages total!) Recently, I did even more for other writers: I created a self-editing chart. My hope is to provide other children's writers like you with a practical resource to help you improve your manuscript. I use this self-editing chart on my own work and often for the professional critiques I provide others.
Download Self-Edit Chart for Children's Writers
This self-editing chart for children's writers focuses on content and character development, mechanics and grammar, and format. It also includes some insight into informational picture books and a few things to consider specifically for picture books. If you're looking for a free proofreading chart for students or writers, I have that printable, too.

Build on a Foundation of Knowledge

Please know this chart is just the basics. If you haven't take a lot workshops on the craft of writing for children, you may not understand some of these terms. It usually takes years of working, revising, and learning as a writer before REALLY understanding what it takes to write a solid picture book.

Search online for any of the phrases you don't quite understand. Many early writers need to remove many details to let the pictures tell more of the story. That's what "Leave room for illustrations" means. Search up some of these terms. And take classes. LOTS of classes! And just as important (maybe more?) read and study tons of recently published books in the genre you want to write.

Resources for Children's Writers

I also recommend Writing Picture Books by Ann Whitford Paul and Anatomy of Nonfiction by Peggy Thomas and Margery Facklam (affiliate links).

Need more resources? I have a resource list and tips for children's writers. (Want even more tips? Subscribe to this blog. I created a freebie just for subscribers.)

Be Prepared

And be prepared. You may have 20 (or 50) different drafts before it's ready. Check out my interactive lesson about my author writing process for Whooo Knew? The Truth About Owls
Some of us work on one picture book for years before it's right. Yep. And not every manuscript is worthy of publication. But I learn from all of it!

Next Steps

Have you thought about how other books can help you be a better writer? The best writers study mentor texts. Read all about how mentor texts can help you as a children's writer!

Before you even consider sending this to an agent or publisher (or self-publishing) make sure you get feedback from others. (I've written about the importance of critiques here and here.) 

Critique partners and groups are incredibly important. (Please note, I don't mean showing your manuscript to your 10th grade English teacher. I'm talking about feedback from professional writers. Or at the very least other writers who actively pursue more knowledge about the craft of writing AND write in your genre.) 

I also suggest a professional critique, especially if your writing partners are unpublished. If you're interested I provide professional critiques for children's writers. If I can't help you (because of a deadline, conflict of interest, or other situation), I can recommend others who give valuable feedback. 

If you find this chart helpful, I hope you'll explore this site for more resources and subscribe so you don't miss a post. If you're interested in any of my on-demand video courses, use WRITE15 for a 15% discount!

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