Should You Be Writing Picture Books?

Writing Picture Books

Stephanie Baudet, Writers Bureau tutor, answers some questions regarding writing picture books.  She relates that when children are very young, they are read picture books and it is through these books that they develop a love for reading and become readers throughout their life.

Now there’s nothing more enjoyable than sharing a picture book with a young child and seeing their faces light up as you read and reread the book to them.  Children love to have books read to them and they learn the story by having the story reread until the memorize it.

Are Picture Books Easy To Write?

Picture books are a lot harder than what they appear to be.  The author must consider every word used and choose them carefully so they tell the story in a fun but compact way.  The writing must have a poetic rhythm to it and covey the story in a visual way without being too wordy.

Can Writers Illustrate Their Own Picture  Books?

Many first-time writers who want to write picture books feel that they can illustrate their own picture books but don’t realize their artwork in no way can compete with some of the world’s best artists who are in demand to illustrate children’s stories.  As an author, you should concentrate on the story and if you want to submit some drawings as a guide for the illustrator then that’s fine but remember, your job is to write the story.

Should Rhyme Be Used In Picture Books?

Children are enamored with a play on words and enjoy a story when it’s fun.  A good rhyming picture book can get and hold a  child’s attention span for great periods of time.  The one drawback to this type of story refers to the difficulty in writing a very good rhyming book.  They are few and far between.  Since the costs are extremely high, many publishers here in the United States have to go to collaborate with foreign distributors to share the costs.  The other problem relates to translating these books into other languages which ups the production costs considerably.

How Should The Text Be Laid Out?

When submitting the manuscript, it can look like any other manuscript but remember, picture books are 32 pages long which consist of 28 story pages and 4 pages devoted to title page, copyright page, dedication and so on.  They should be paginated so that when in book form you can see how the story looks like.

What Should The Story Contain?

The stories need to be well written with strong characterization with a theme that a young child can understand.  The stories may appear to be simple but they are full blown stories with a beginning middle and end.  The main character should have a problem to start off the book and it is his journey where he finds himself and overcomes his problem that the story is found.  Include repetition as well as a little twist at the end for added suspense.

Tips For Writing Picture Books

Read as many picture books as you can to learn how these books are written, how the plots are woven into the story and how to do characterization for children.  These books should be the most recent as the children’s book market changes rapidly.  Be aware of what publishers are producing and what types of stories they are looking for.  make every word count and give meaning to each word spoken.  Read your work out loud to see how it translates to the spoken word.

These tips should be  very useful in making your picture books stand out.



A. J. Westin is a children's adventure book author who specializes in writing stories kids really want to read. He has written over two dozen books and has dedicated his life to helping kids become better readers through his inspirational stories.
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4 thoughts on “Should You Be Writing Picture Books?

  1. if oliver jeffers had taken notice of this dribble he would never have
    gotten published, shes too old fashioned and not up with modern taste

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