While adults find themselves with less money and time for reading books, they still spend enormous sums on books for their children. Children's publishers are one of the few segments of the publishing industry that is still going strong in tough economic times. Children's publishing a sure-fire way to make money with books.
You don't even have to be a very good writer; the more elementary your vocabulary and syntax, the better. All you have to do is observe a few simple rules.
Don't write anything controversial. Don't write about religion, or politics, or racial relations, and above all, never write about sexual matters. You may win literary awards with such daring themes, and a few libraries may stock your book, but parents will not buy it in significant numbers.
Stick to safe, cozy, traditional subjects like honesty, fairness, being kind, and conventional fantasies. Faeries, unicorns, leprechauns, etc. delight little children and make parents nostalgic for their own childhood bedtime stories. Making the parents feel warm and fuzzy is what sells children's books.
Of course, you still must have a "serious literary purpose" to justify the generally outrageous prices that children's publishers charge for a tome of less than 100 pages with an average of less than 50 words per page. Write a good bedtime story, and then make up some deep, subtle life lesson that goes with it.
Publishing a children's book can hardly be done these days without erecting an interactive Web site where little fans can talk to each other, ask questions of the author (which you don't have to answer but really should), and clamor for more of the same story line. Such reader feedback is often profitable, as it does suggest other books that can be milked out of the original setting.
The writing style of a children's book should be simple, direct, and heartwarming. It should make the child reader feel warm and safe. It should also be tested for recitation -- the ability to read it aloud without stumbling or running out of breath. Remember, children's books are often read aloud by parents to the little ones. So avoid compound sentences and words whose pronunciation is not obvious.
Children's book publishing is a numbers game. You need to crank out a couple of dozen books a year to make serious money, unless you get lucky and write the next "Harry Potter" series. Then you can write longer books and take as much time as you please, while the demand builds up to a fevered frenzy.