Writing space

Writing tips abound on the internet at conferences, and in classes and workshops. I gave a number of tips this past weekend, where I was honored to be one of the speakers at the SCBWI Dakotas conference in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Doing that reminded me of this list I came across a few weeks back.

I figured this was a good time to share the link. One of them stuck out for me for picture book writers:

“#3 Only develop ideas worth a publisher’s investment.

Did you know it costs a major children’s book publisher over $100,000 to get a picture book from manuscript to the book store? Is your idea worth that much of a risk? Novels cost less to produce (no color illustrations) but the market is smaller. Books that are simply cute, sweet, informative, or teach an important lesson don’t do enough to justify the publisher’s financial risk. Manuscripts need to do more than one thing. So develop ideas that are funny and teach science concepts, or are multicultural, entertaining, and illustrate an important life lesson without preaching to the reader.”

This is great advice, but it can take time (at least it did for me) to develop an instinct for knowing when something might be worth a publisher’s investment, and even then I’ve been wrong more often than not (if the rejections are any indication!). Also, these days, I’m not sure the market is smaller for novels so I take that sentence with a grain.

Check out the full list here:

7 Things Editors at Children’s Book Publishers Wish Writers Knew