Want to be a Children's Author? Find Out What's Stopping You!


 Contributed by Karen Cioffi, Children's Ghostwriter, Editor, Coach

There are many people, men, woman, professionals, and those in business who  dream of being the author of a children’s book.

Usually, it’s to inspire a child or bring memories or stories they told their children to life. Or, it can be a business person who wants a children’s book as part of their product line.

From my experience, the majority of these people want to be author of a picture book.

I’ve had hundreds and hundreds of queries about starting a project that fell through.

Why does this happen?

Why do the majority of people who want to be children’s author never follow through on their dream?

While I don’t know for sure, I do think there are a few basic reasons.


Yep. If you are hiring a children’s ghostwriter, it will cost money.

This is a huge concern for most, and understandably.

What really surprised me during 2020 (COVID time) was the number of people who did use my services. It was my busiest year ever. It had to be that people had time on their hands and wanted to be kept busy.

Then there are the writing services on sites like Fiverr. These types of services, and many others, have writers who don’t know English very well or aren’t professionals.

Yes, it will be cheaper than a professional writer, but keep in mind that you get what you pay for. If you don’t care about the quality of the book you’ll be author of, it’s an option.

Below is an example from a Fiverr project a client came to me to fix. This was for a picture book:

His feet were heavy with reluctance as he dragged them unwillingly one in front of the other. He looked at his reflection in the bathroom mirror and couldn’t help but notice his sad expression. His piercing dark blue eyes, once full of joy and excitement, now looked weary and defeated.

In another section "really" was used three times within four sentences.

The entire story’s formatting was horrible, such as the lack of new paragraphs for new speakers. There were grammatical errors and multiple points of view.  

So, again, you get what you pay for.

I can’t imagine someone wanting to have their name as author of a story like that.

Another cost factor with children’s books is illustrations.

If you’re self-publishing, you’ll need to hire an illustrator for a picture book.

You’ll also need illustrations for chapter books and simple middle grade books.

I listened to a YouTube video with editor and former literary agent Mary Kole. (Check out her YouTube channel, Good Story Company.) She said if you want a high-quality professional illustrator for a picture book, you’re looking at $10,000 to $20,000. And, if you want an acclaimed illustrator, it’s much more than that. (1)

Obviously, most people can’t afford that. So, it’s understandable why some people drop the idea.

But don’t let that stop you dead in your tracks. I work with good illustrators who charge far, far, far less.


One perfect example of losing motivation is a client from 2019.

I wrote a young adult (YA) story for an attorney. It was almost done and he was gun-ho. He even wanted seven picture books written after the YA was finished.

He paid in full and we were working to finish it.

Then he slowed down. Family. Vacation. Work.

Then COVID-19 hit.

I contacted him and he said he’d get back into it, but he didn’t.

I tried contacting him again as he paid for a completed manuscript and there are still about five or so chapters to go, but no word.

So, as we all know, life happens. This can put a monkey wrench in any project.


There is a lot involved in having a book ghostwritten and illustrated.

And, it’s a lot of work if you’re writing the story yourself.

After that, it’s the business of getting the book formatted, the interior design, and uploading for publication and distribution.

It can seem daunting.

But it doesn’t have to be.

There are a number of services that will help you put your book together and get it published. I’ve even added this service to my site to make it easier for my clients.

There is plenty of help out there.

So, what to do?

If your dream is to have your name as author of a children’s book, take the first step.

Find out what’s involved and what the cost will be. This will give you a solid foundation on what you need to do and what you’ll need for a budget.

I'd be happy to discuss your children's writing project with you.

It may be that your imagination is getting carried away.

Don’t let your dream go unfulfilled.

Get started today!

Picture Book Author-Illustrator

This article was first published at: https://karencioffiwritingforchildren.com/2021/06/06/whats-stopping-you-from-becoming-a-childrens-author/


Karen Cioffi is an award-winning children’s author, ghostwriter, editor, rewriter, and coach with clients worldwide. If you need help with your story, click HERE.

Karen also offers:

A guided self-study course and mentoring program.

A DIY book to help you write your own children’s book.

Self-publishing help for children’s authors.


Terry Whalin said...


Thanks for this fascinating article. There are many challenges for every author to publish a book--and children's author books in particular. We read those books to our children and believe we can easily write one--yet the process has many steps that no one outside of publishing sees. There are many choices in that journey and writers need the right connection to get it done (in many different areas). It is the persistent who finish. If it were easy, everyone would do it.

author of Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success (Revised Edition) [Follow the Link for a FREE copy]

Karen Cioffi said...

Terry, from what I'm seeing, it seems everyone is publishing picture books. They're far from quality, but it doesn't seem to bother those authors (I use the term loosely). One author who queried sent me a ChatGPT draft.

It does take persistence and lots of research to find the right people to work with if an author wants to do it right and needs help.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

I just posted a reply recommending you, Karen, for info on choosing an illustrator. The author's question was so broad, it made me think they don't understand that different illustrators come in different costumes, different styles, different skills. They obviously need your guidance! (-:
Very best,
Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Karen Cioffi said...

Thanks so much, Carolyn! I commented on the thread.

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