So, You Wanna Write a Picture Book?

h1 December 17th, 2013 by jules

I write here at 7-Imp (and elsewhere) about picture books. ‘Cause I love them so.

I’ve never, however, tried to write one myself (except that time in grad school when I took a course from Jack Gantos, and HOO BOY, was it one of the hardest things I’ve ever been asked to do, but I digress). Despite this fact, I get lots of queries from people who want to publish a picture book but don’t know where to begin.

And I’ve found myself telling these people lately about a new handbook from picture book author Linda Ashman (with whom I had a Kirkus chat this past May). It’s called The Nuts and Bolts Guide to Writing Picture Books: Tools and Tips for Writing, Polishing and Selling Your Manuscript. If memory serves me right, she released it this past summer. I’m just now getting around to writing a post about it, though as I said, I’ve personally recommended it to several wannabe authors since then.

It’s an e-book, and you can even download the Table of Contents and Introduction here at Linda’s site. It is packed with the type of information those wanting to be published—or even thinking about writing a picture book—would need to know. In fact, I’m super happy that I can now direct folks to this guidebook, given that I do get asked often about how to get one’s foot in the door when it comes to publishing a picture book. There are nine chapters, which instruct readers—with accessibility and wit—in the ways of Prepping a Picture Book Manuscript for Submission. It’s a comprehensive and common-sense guide from someone who knows the ins-and-outs of picture book publishing and who speaks with wisdom. And occasionally throughout the handbook, Linda pauses to chat briefly with editors, agents, etc. in the field. (You know you wanna hear editors and agents weigh in with their responses to the following queries: “Please complete these sentences: I would love to publish more picture books like … and If I read another picture book manuscript submission about [fill in the blank], I will scream.” At least I found those responses really intriguing.)

Linda opens with Picture Book Basics, closes with helpful resources, and in between covers how to build a story, how to create memorable characters, the pitfalls and joys of rhyme and rhythm, submitting and selling your work, and much, more more.

Everyone has their own, unique path to publication, and there’s not one right way (Linda would be the first to say that, I’m sure), but this is a wonderful resource for aspiring picture book authors — as well as those who teach children’s literature, as Linda notes at her site.

Again, more information for those interested can be found here.

3 comments to “So, You Wanna Write a Picture Book?”

  1. I love NUTS & BOLTS! One of the exercises recently resulted in a new book sale for me. 🙂

    Everyone who is interested in writing picture books should get this guide!

  2. I’ve been meaning to check this out, and between your description and Tammi’s endorsement, I’m sold. *heads off to purchase it*

  3. So glad to have this. Now, every time anyone asks me about this, I will send them to this post!

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