Friday, October 23, 2009

Write One Yourself

Ever been reading a picture book to one of your kids and thought to yourself, “Who wrote this garbage?” Ever walked the aisles of your local bookstore, stunned by the tonnage of tomes on the shelves, and thought, “I could do better than this.”


I haven’t done an official survey, but I imagine that most parents, at one time or another, have toyed with the idea of writing a picture book. Of course, like many things, it’s probably not as easy as it looks. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Again, no official survey here, but it seems to me that the more you model reading and writing to your kids, the more they’ll want to do it, too. In fact, if you share your great book idea with your kids, they’ll probably want to critique it, possibly even help you write it, or at least draw the pictures. So maybe it’s time to give that idea a try. If you do, here are a few things to bear in mind.


Picture books are almost always 32 pages long, but the first few pages are taken by the copyright and title pages.


Be clear on where the page breaks will occur. Some pages might have only a word or two on them; some can have up to a paragraph or more.


Think visually. You don’t have to draw the picture yourself, but it helps if your text suggests an image.


Yes, picture books are short. But it’s still nice when a story has a strong beginning, middle, and end.


One more thing: There are many companies these days who will publish a book for you – and even sell it online. Check out Xlibris. For less money than you might think, you can have your very own Amazon number. Or if you’re feeling ambitious, research the names of the kids’ editors at traditional publishers who’ve published books you’ve enjoyed, and send yours their way. Editors are always looking for the next big thing. You never know, right?

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