I Could Have Written That Book
When my sons were small, I made almost weekly treks to the local library. In the children's area, we checked out stacks of books together. Some of them I carried home and others I read to the boys right on the spot in the library. Every now and then as I read through the pages, I thought, "Well, I could have written that book." Or "I could have told a better story that this one."
Many of those authors will go to their computers, open a blank file and write this story, then go to a market guide and fire that manuscript off to a publisher and earn their first rejection form letter. While their enthusiasm for the children's book market is admirable, these writers have violated one of the first principles to getting published. They have not studied the market.
Until I worked inside a publisher who made children's books and acquired them for the publisher, I never understood the huge expense related to producing simple 24-page or 32-page full-color books. While the advances for these books to the writer are often in the modest $1,000 to $2,000 range, the actual cost can easily reach over $100,000. You can see how the decision to publishing a children's book is not made lightly--at least if the publisher wants to remain in business.
Did you notice in the previous paragraph where I mentioned 24-page and 32-page children's books that the books have standard lengths? Even this type of detail is important to understand about the market if you want to write children's books.
Understanding and insight into the current marketplace will put you way ahead of the other submissions for a children's book editor.