Writing for Children

Ever been caught by a child who knows you just skipped over a line while reading them their favorite story? Then you already understand the power of a well-written children's book, and why it's important to get the words just right. You also already know the books children really treasure are tailored just for them, with age-appropriate language, believable story lines, and characters a lot like them who get in (and out of) all sorts of interesting trouble, just like they do. Since a children’s book contains fewer words than a novel, every word counts that much more.

What can a children's book editor do to help you get the words just right? A children's book editor never forgets that the best children's fiction always has a message, but to capture a child's interest and imagination, that message must come through a fun, creatively crafted, age-appropriate read. To achieve this, children's book editors are familiar with the way young people speak and learn. They can critique and examine illustrations with the fresh eye of a young reader. They also understand the specific trends and nuances of children's writing. To ensure that your work will appeal to your target audience, they can help you modify your manuscript to suit the reading abilities of children within your target age group. Editors skilled in this unique genre also understand the basic elements of good fiction—character, conflict, plot, theme, setting, and dialogue. A children’s book editor can make sure that you have strong verbs, vivid adjectives, and language that lends itself to reading aloud. So, whether you've written a picture book, a chapter book, or a young adult/middle grade novel, they can help you polish all these elements while ensuring a fun, engaging read.



Children's Book Editors, Illustrators, Cover and Interior Designers


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childrens book editing services by Lisa BLISA BALTHAZAR is a publishing executive and book editor with over 20 years’ experience in the industry. She currently works with writers who intend to self-publish as well as writers who are preparing query letters and book proposals for literary agents and traditional publishers.

Lisa was Editorial/Publishing Director for Golden Books, Price Stern Sloan-Penguin Random House, Intervisual Books, Gateway Learning Corp (Hooked on Phonics), and other established publishing houses.

As an editor, Lisa has helped hundreds of published authors hone their skills as writers. She is always a writer’s toughest critic but biggest cheerleader.

Lisa's critique letter and developmental editing includes character development and character arc, storyline and plot points, drama and conflict, pacing, dialogue, writing style, effective transitions and chapter breaks, grammar, formatting, PLUS any issues with your novel you might not be aware of.

"Lisa is an excellent editor. She has edited several manuscripts for me that were sent to my agent who accepted them without change and sent them on to various publishing houses. They were published with a minimum of editing, thanks to Lisa's insightful and enlightened work. I highly recommend her." —Ellen Jones

Quick tips for children's book writers:

  • If your character hasn't changed at the end of your story, chances are he isn't yet fully fleshed out.
  • If your character talks to himself or does a lot of wondering aloud, he needs a friend to talk to.
  • Don't create main characters who have a problem they don't solve themselves or who don't change throughout the course of the story.
  • Don't talk down to children as if they're small, idiotic adults.

FREEBIE: Lisa's clients receive her Manuscript Formatting and Grammar Guide.

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scholastic childrens book editorTED GASNER edited hundreds of award-winning fiction and nonfiction titles during his six years as a supervising editor for Scholastic Inc. Ted developed book series for print, eReaders, and websites, then assigned topics to authors, helped them with their outlines and first drafts, and then took over from there to copyedit the final product.

As a freelance editor, Ted has edited novels, memoirs, marketing and advertising materials, textbooks, research papers, websites and whatever else has comes his way. He has a strong background in fiction, history, the sciences, and sports.

Ted specializes in developmental editing, copyediting, line editing, and proofreading. A strong communicator, he works as a team with authors to help them bring out the best of the manuscripts.

"I've had the privilege of working with Ted, and he is a consummate professional. A talented editor with a keen eye for detail, Ted always offers fresh and creative ideas to help strengthen my prose without compromising my voice. If you are looking for a caring, prompt, thorough editor, he is definitely the person to contact." —Lisa Fox, author of Knightly Desire

“Ted has an amazing ability to boil it down to the best moments in the least amount of words! I really like all the sophistication he brings to the writing. Casual tone but with varying sentence structures that keep it interesting.” —Eileen Wacker, author of The Mom’s Code and OnceKids’ Fujimini Adventure Series

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childrens book editingMARLO GARNER has been editing books and teaching writing since the late 1990s. She teaches Writing for Children's Books (picture books), Writing Chapter Books for Children, and various other writing and revision workshops. She also works in an editorial advisory capacity, and a copyeditor and illustrator for a number of independent or educational publishers. Her Ginny Giles chapter book series—which contains numerous poems and rhyming verse—was released in 2010, and she is the author and/or illustrator of a number of other published books for children, including a picture book for Internet security giant AVG. She is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and the Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA) and received first place in the 'published' division of the New England SCBWI 2013 illustration awards. Marlo is currently writing and illustrating a middle grade dystopian graphic novel as well as a picture book, and she blogs about writing, editing, and grammar.

Marlo's editing services include:

  • Copyediting and proofreading
  • Developmental/substantive editing
  • Cover letters, query letters (free with contracted service)
  • Correct formatting and understanding the submission process
  • Critiques, writing instruction and mentorship
  • Children's books: picture books, poetry, magazine submissions, chapter books, young adult, children's non-fiction.
  • Literary fiction, crime, fantasy
  • Illustration, illustration critiques and advice for aspiring illustrators.
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christian childrens book editorJOAN GIARDINO is an editor, proofreader, and translator with more than 25 years’ experience in the book publishing industry. Her clients include major book publishers, authors, illustrators, theater directors, and personal historians.

She has edited or proofread hundreds of award-winning published books—children, middle-grade, and young adult fiction, nonfiction, adult fiction and nonfiction, biographies, and personal memoirs. Since access to the Internet has given the reader the ability to “see” and/or “experience” situations and places far away in time and place, Joan makes certain that the text rings true when editing nonfiction, historical fiction, or fiction that includes real places and events.

As an editorial consultant, Joan can:
  • Ensure that the author’s voice is engaging, clear and authentic
  • Make difficult information accessible and easy to understand
  • Copyedits manuscripts, paying particular attention not only to grammar and punctuation, but to plot, characters, details, and stylistic consistency
  • Oversee the book production process from raw manuscript to finished books
  • Work with authors and illustrators to make sure commissioned artwork reflects the text
  • Conduct research to find artwork and historical documents to enhance the text.
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