Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Book update

Everyone says it's easy to write a picture book.

It is. It's extremely easy.

It's just hard to write a good picture book. And editors don't want good picture books. They want great picture books. They only publish a handful a year. They want a book that people are going to buy instead of all the other great picture books on the shelf.

And the competition isn't just Elephant and Piggie (which is tough enough). It's Cat in the Hat and Very Hungry Caterpillar and Goodnight Moon and Where the Wild Things Are.

If you're feeling confident, walk into any children's book store and see how many books there are. Why would anyone other than your mother choose your book over all the others?

You have to set out to write great picture books. Plural, because most aren't going to sell no matter what.

If you're lucky, and you've been published multiple times, and you send out what you know to be an absolutely phenomenal manuscript, you'll get feedback like this:

"Todd's verse is (as usual) basically flawless, and very sweet--but I'm afraid the story just isn't standing out quite enough in the end."

I say lucky, because getting a compliment from an editor gives you enough positive momentum to move on to the next one. And the next one. And eventually you may sell one, and...

Hey, it's easy to write a picture book.

Okay. That wasn't meant to be a downer, just a reality check. In order to be a children's author you have to have a soft heart and a thick skin.

I have publication dates for upcoming books:

  • November 30, 2017: Chinese-language version of Ten Tiny Toes. (Seriously.)
  • March 28, 2018: Board book version of Ten Tiny Toes. (Can't wait.)
  • August 2018: How to Become a Knight. (Looking great.)
  • September 2018: Three Grumpy Trucks. (Looking great.)
I'm not allowed to share artwork yet, but here's an early sample from Three Grumpy Trucks that I already shared at a public reading, so I don't think I'll be killed for it:

Finally, I have a new manuscript under consideration with a publisher. We're not going to jinx it by talking about it yet. But we're hopeful, right? We know how easy it is to write a picture book.

Back to work :)

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