Posted by: nancyisanders | September 17, 2010

Picture Book Pointers

If you want to learn more about how to write a picture book, here are several steps you can take this month towards your goal:

Step 1:
Read a book about how to write picture books.

Step 2:
Tuck a pen and notepad or mini journal in your pocket. Go to your local bookstore, sit in the children’s area, if they have one. Go ahead and sit down on the carpet with all the other kids who are there, if that’s how it’s set up. Read at least five brand new picture books. Jot down notes or thought as you read.

Step 3:
Go to your local library and check out at least 20 picture books to read over the next few weeks. During this time, read each one ALOUD at least once. Pick your favorite and type it out, word for word.

Step 4:
Start a picture book notebook. A small 3-ring binder is nice because you can add pages as you go. Write down kid-friendly words you come across like PIZZAZZ and YEE-HAW! Make a list of favorite and fun names you might like to use in your stories. Write down titles of favorite picture books and names of favorite picture book authors. Write mini-book reviews about the strengths and weaknesses of various picture books you read. Use it as a place to keep notes that will help you grow as a writer of picture books.

Step 5:
Choose two picture book projects to work on at the same time. One will be a picture book that you just want to write. The second one will be a picture book that you write specifically for publication. The process will be different for each one. For the first one, you might already have it in the works or have completed the first draft. Go ahead and pick it up and plan to work on it more until it is polished. For the second book, it should be a manuscript you haven’t yet started. First find a publisher of picture books you like. Then find a series of picture books they do. Then find a favorite title in that series that’s already published. Then think of several brand new topics you could write about that they haven’t published yet in that series. Finally, choose one of those topics. Then write your new manuscript to fit exactly into that series. That’s how to write a manuscript specifically to get published.


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