Monday, January 28, 2013

Picture Book Workshop #1

Hi.  Welcome to Picture Book Workshop where I'll be giving tips on writing/illsutrating/publishing picture books.


Well, from time to time someone asks me how they can get started.  Or, more often, someone knows someone who knows my mother/step-mother/friend who wants to get in touch with me about their picture book that they have just written.

I find that I give the same advice over and over again.  So why not just put it right here in my good ol' blog!

Before I get started, I want to make sure that everyone who reads this understands that I only have the information that I have.  I'm not claiming to be a picture book genius with 30 years of publishing experience under my belt.  No siree.  I have two picture books out (the Wink the Ninja books.)  One picture book (Monkey Ono) is coming out in March.  And (and now is the big announcement) I am currently working on a 4th that will be out Spring 2014.

I have worked with editors and designers and I have a great agent, Scott Treimel, who whips me into shape.

I have about 10 years experience - give or take - on how I produce a picture book.  So that's what I'm offering.

See below:

If you are in the Yellow Group, you know more than I do about the craft and business of creating picture books.  You are probably too busy to be on this webpage. 

If you are in the Blue Group, you know less.  Maybe you're toying with the idea of writing a picture book.  Maybe you've written one and you don't know what to do next.  Or maybe you already have a book published and you're just looking to see what's out there and garner tips.  Welcome Blue Groupers!  These Picture Book Workshop posts are for you.

Enough chatter!  Let's do this thing!


I would advise everyone who has either written a picture book story or is toying with the idea of writing a picture book story to read a full book (cover - to - cover) on the craft and business of picture books.  You need to know what you are getting into and there is a lot to know.  And you need to know what some of the big newbie mistakes are, b/c you've probably already thought of a few.  If you proceed to send your manuscript off to a publisher without knowing what you're doing, you're just wasting everyone's time, including your own.

For example, did you know that you absolutely should NOT try to hire someone to do illustrations for your manuscript before you send it to a publisher?  HUGE no-no.   If you write, you're only job is to write a really great picture book.  If a publisher wants to buy it, they'll assign an illustrator to do it.  They know a lot of illustrators.  And they pay them.  Illustrators like to be paid.

Here are some books to check out:

This is one of the books on my shelf.  It's a little out of date now, but 90% of the information holds.

Writing Children's Books for Dummies by Lisa Rojanny Buccieri
This is the most recent one I could fine.  Full disclosure: I have not read it.  But I like the Dummie series for breaking down information in a way that is clear and manageable. 

2013 Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market by Chuck Sambuchino
This is a MUST HAVE if you are starting to submit your work.  MUST HAVE.  It lists the publishers, what they are looking for, how to submit, etc.  It is a reference book.  It also has helpful articles and tips and such.

Otherwise, go to Amazon or Barnes and Noble or your local book seller and look around.  There is a lot of information out there.  Get some.  There really aren't any short cuts.  You need to do the work yourself.

Okay good. 

Now I will plug my book that is coming out in March.   

HEY - do you have small kids who have a lot of energy, love the beach and stuffed monkeys?  Then check out MONKEY ONO by me.  Available for pre-order from many fine on-line bookstores!


Lucia Sasaki said...

Hi Julie!
Thanks a lot for sharing your knowledge with who want to know and learn. I loved this post!!
I like so much your blog because you are a writer who knows how to make your own road.
As I read your post about the importance of going to the conferences I thought to myself about all the Librarianship conferences and seminars and such I have been attending for decades and I agree completely with you.
Thanks again for all your post, you enlight my day.

Julie_c said...

Thanks so much, Lucia. You are very kind! You lightened my day as well!

Cathy Ballou Mealey said...

Julie, I've combed through all your marvelous PB posts - thank you! What a great job you have done summarizing the nuts and bolts of PB writing. I'm not in the yellow group, and moving away from the blue group. Can we start a green group??!

Julie_c said...

Cathy, Sounds like you and I are firmly int he green group! :)