I’ve been practicing creating picture books. I’m an artist, but I haven’t done illustrations before. My first effort went live just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. It’s called “A Pot of Gold” and it’s for the earliest readers.
Most early readers are created in-house, so publishers and agents aren’t interested in them. Kids love them, though, and there aren’t many St. Patrick’s Day books, so I decided to do the illustrations and post it to Kindle.
I learned so much in the process. I am now a master of the pen tool in Photoshop. I’ve also learned how to use Perspective Warp and Object Select.
I found out what the formats mean on Kindle and discovered free Google Fonts.
If you’ve finished a project and you are about to query an agent or editor, here’s a great article linked from Harold Underdown’s blog. If you don’t know about him and you write for children, keep his site handy. It’s a terrific resource.
Before you send, a checklist:
Did you research your recipient?
Did you spell their name right?
Are you sending a manuscript they said they didn’t want?
Did you include your social media information? (If you have it.)
Did you include your contact information?
Is your letter brief and to the point?
Does the tone of your letter catch the spirit of your story?
Did you include the character and the stakes? (If you don’t know what stakes are, look it up.)
Did you include only relevant biographical information?
I love the Children’s Book Academy. I just finished a month-long workshop on writing picture books and learned so much. Some manuscripts I need to revise one more time are humorous and that is important, because everyone loves funny stories (especially me,) but the best humorous tales offer a deeper layer, like the finish on a fine wine.
Click on this link to read what it means to create a picture book with both humor and heart.