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…

Are You Done Yet?

Wow, it’s been thirty years since my first children’s book contract. So… what have I learned in thirty years? I’ve learned that people often don’t respect or understand just how long it can take to accomplish a task that might appear, to the one not doing it, to be easy. I think everyone has experienced…

Book Design Portfolio

Recently I’ve been doing some design work for a fellow author – a book cover, interior graphics and design, and a bookmark. The project reminded me that I like doing this kind of thing! Maybe someone else will hire me? So I found one lead and they wanted a “design portfolio.” I created one and…

The Original Social Media

So today I was out and about, doing mundane chores I’d been putting off for a few years…seriously. One was getting my birth date fixed at the Social Security office. Another errand was getting my favorite watch fixed. I bought the watch because the band is made of cast silver that depicts little stories. I…

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…

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished.*

Today I encouraged a friend on Facebook to credit the artist when posting a copyrighted image. It’s just a little quest that I have. Yah I know you found it on a site, or another friend shared it first, but I don’t care. I located the artist and posted the link to their work. To…

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…