Think back to the subjects that fascinated you as a child—was it trains, adventures, monsters, fossils? They draw kids today too. Yet many new writers dismiss a marketable topic because they think all the “good ones have been taken.” But creative thinking separates the published from the unpublished.
The solution? Discover a new angle to an old idea. Target a common topic to a different age group.
When Shirley Raye wrote her reader, Lewis & Clark: A Prairie Dog for the President, there were already many children’s books on the subject of Lewis and and Clark. However, there were none in the reader lines for grades 1-3. Nor was there a book that focused on the explorers’ adventures in capturing and delivering a live prairie dog to President Thomas Jefferson. Her manuscript put a new twist on a story from history, and it filled a market niche.
So as you research the market for books that cover your subject, note the holes in the market. Are there readers on your topic, but no middle grade nonfiction books? Are there high level middle grades books, but no low level ones? If there is plenty of nonfiction on your subject, but no fiction, can you focus a fictional story around a factual or historical event?
To put a new slant on an often-done topic, highlight a relatively unknown person or incident connected to a famous event. Think outside the box, and you’ll create new writing opportunities and fresh ideas to entice editors.
We hope our workbook, Write a Marketable Children’s Book in 7 Weeks, will inspire your creativity. Please give it a look and let us know what you think. And send us any questions you have about writing for children.