Don’t over-pluck your picture book

If you write picture books, you know it’s a lot easier to tell your story in more words than probably anyone wants to publish. It used to be that 1,000-1,200 words was the limit. Now, it’s more like 700. Or even shorter! But that does not mean you cut all but the first 700 words…

Can you handle the truth?

In the world of publishing we (hopefully) agonize over a project until it is perfect and present something we believe in our hearts is an incredibly awesome work of art. So it’s never any fun when our projects are rejected by an agent or publisher. In 30+ years of publishing children’s books, here’s my take…

Not the dummy!

I can’t remember the last time someone requested to see a full mechanical for a picture book, also called a mock-up or a book dummy. A mechanical isn’t requested much anymore for a proposed picture book since we submit most of these tentative projects via the internet. A storyboard might be appreciated if the story…

Yay for Lighter Days!

This winter has been busy with contracted projects plus a couple of requested outlines and proposals that also take up a lot of time – hey, here’s to hope! Anyway two of the subjects I’ve written about during these cold, dark, dreary days are pandemics and hurricanes. While the research has been interesting, these are…

All in a Day’s Work

This week I finished a pretty horrifying but interesting proposal that was requested based on a query. Here’s how it works much of the time for nonfiction projects: you pitch an idea to a publisher that is accepting queries only. First you make sure they haven’t done anything like it and yet you feel it…

Spacing out in our space

A friend asked his artist friends to share photos of their work spaces for a presentation he was working on. When I sent him mine, his comment was, “I love ugly offices.” That’s what I have. My office is situated in a dilapidated mobile home across the road from my house. We call the old…

Restoring Old Stuff

What Do They Dream? is one my ideas that’s been rejected by a small number of publishers, most 4-5 years ago. Several rejections were very nice, just “too many dream books.” So after filing it away for a few years, I decided to try to make the text more unique, and continue working on collage…

Sharing Our Stuff

Some of us are old enough to remember what a lonely job this is: creating stuff while sitting in a dark attic using a single candle for light. The family occasionally tossed up a bone and told us to sell something soon or we’d all starve to death. We’d send off our latest brainstorm in…