Posted by: nancyisanders | April 30, 2014

Writing a Nonfiction Picture Book in Just 1 Week

I want to give you a heads up today that in a week or so, we’ll be racing to the finish line and learning the pace it takes to write a nonfiction picture book in just one week.

“Are you crazy?” you might ask.

Well…maybe so…but then again, maybe not. Let’s just say I’m being realistic. If you want to earn income as a published writer and you want to write nonfiction picture books, sometimes you need to know how to write a nonfiction picture book in just one week.

For example, there is a nonfiction picture book publisher that I heard speak in a Webinar I watched this past year. This publisher said they are publishing 1000 nonfiction picture books this year.


1000 nonfiction picture books.

That’s a lot of picture books and they’ll need a lot of authors to do that.

So after thinking about that, I decided I’d like to land a potential contract to write nonfiction picture books for this publisher.

I went to their website and found their submission guidelines. Basically, they wanted to see samples of my published books as well as my resume. So I sent those in.

I heard from the publisher this past week by e-mail saying that they received my package of samples.

So I e-mailed back and asked them a question.

How fast do they expect their writers to write a nonfiction picture book?

The editor was kind enough to respond and explain their process. Since many of their books are written in series, they assign the first book in a series with a deadline of one month. During that month, the editor gives feedback and guidance to the author.

Then after that, the rest of the nonfiction picture books in that series are due a week apart from each other. The entire series is usually given 3 months max for the whole series to be written.

So yes, if you want to earn income writing nonfiction picture books, some publishers expect a one-week deadline from their authors.

I wanted to share this with you so that you know why I’m going to show you how to write one of these puppies in just one week.

And to make it even more fun, I’m going to join right in on the adventure. I’m going to write about a topic I’ve not written about before, to make the challenge even more exciting!

I can hardly wait! I hope you’ll join in on the fun.


  1. Well, Nancy, you’ve got me curious, and I can hardly wait for you to give us that blast of nf power!

  2. Congratulations on this new contract! 1 week is super fast + research.

    • Oh no new contract, Tina! Just corresponding with an editor so far. Maybe one of these days… :o)

  3. I’m surprised a publisher would have the capacity to publish this many nonfiction books in what sounds like a short amount of time. I would have expected for this volume they would be using a packager.

    Wishing you all the best in receiving a contract offer from them. Hopefully you’ll hear from them soon.

    I’m just starting a new project that’s in the research stage so I’m looking forward joining the fun of writing the book in one week. And I actually had to do this for a publisher in the past (6 books with 1 due each week) but I got the feeling it was because someone either left or was taken off the project. It wasn’t easy, but I found a way to do it.

    • Wow, Linda, good for you to write 6 books like that. I’m so glad you’re joining in on the fun. And yes, it is interesting to learn of this fast of a publication process!

  4. Hi Nancy, I will join the challenge as well! You said that it’s a topic you have never written on before. I’m assuming that means that you have not done the research yet?

    • Yay, Rona! Glad to have you on board. And yes, I haven’t yet done the research. I mean, I know about it in like how we all know that Washington D.C. is the US capital. But I’ve not studied it for specific facts to use in my writing. I’m waiting until that week to do it to show you the pace to keep. There will be some prep, though, and I’ll be talking about that in an upcoming post.

  5. I am in….I have been struggling to write my book. Perhaps, if I had some guidelines as to what to include or what to look for, I could do it. Sign me up. I am coming along for the ride. When do we start?

    • Yay, Jackie! The official launch date is May 12. Before that, tho, I’ll make a couple of posts about what you can be doing to get ready.

      • You know how much I need this. Thanks…I am looking forward to it.

  6. Okay. I’ll go for this interesting challenge.

    • Glad you’re feeling up to joining in, Christy!

  7. Will this be an online workshop, or emails sent each week or at your home? I am going out of town for a bit so wanted to know if I would be able to join in.
    Thanks for all you do to help other authors!

    • Nice to hear from you, Gloria! This just be a series of blogs I’ll post during the week to help guide us all through this process…not at my home this time. So you can participate when you’re out of town. Yay!

  8. I’ve done longer nonfiction books with short deadlines, but not picture books yet. I’ll enjoy seeing how you do it and working along with you on a project.

    • Glad to hear that you’ll be working on a project, too. And congratulations to you on your other books!!!!

  9. Reblogged this on Why I Write Picture Books? (#YIWritePB) and commented:
    I will be doing this. I am so excited. 😀

  10. I’d like to join in too:>)

    • Yay, Patricia! You’re in!!!!!

    • Patricia, you and I are on the journey again. It is going to be swell 😀

  11. Hi Nancy, I just received a series with four weeks until the first book is due, then two weeks in between. Rather than just taking two weeks to research/write, I am giving myself a month, but that means I have to start work on the second and third book while simultaneously working on the first. I have several weeks where I’m researching one book, writing another, and revising/paginating and doing back matter on yet another. I’ll be working on three books at a time, but at different stages of the process.

    • Congratulations, Kirsten!!! And YES!!! This is exactly how I write these multiple books, too. I think this system keeps the actual writing more fresh because you’re doing prep work on the upcoming one while you pare writing the current one. Way to goooo!

  12. I’m in! Looking forward to trying this with you!

    • Yay, Beth!!!! Glad you’re ready for some fun.

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