I'm working on some now, and I have to tell you, there is a lot more too it than I originally thought. Did you know that picture books have 32 pages? Go ahead, go count some, I can wait...
I counted the pages in probably 30 picture books this week, and 98% of them have 32 pages. Who knew?!
As a mom of four children, I had a pretty good idea of what I did and didn't want from a children's book. No bad roll models, simple yet entertaining, and the proper format of the letter 'a' - you know, the one we teach our little's to recognize.
The best picture books, are the ones that can be read through in less than 2.5 minutes, but that your children want to spend hours reading over, and over, and over, and over again. Sure, you get sick of them, but it's because they are so good. They are the books that are fun to read, the ones that just seem to invite you to use expression. So that's what I'm working towards. Those are my goals.
I checked out a couple of books about writing for children from the local library... The only two books they had on the topic. One is from Europe, and pretty hard to follow. It talks about selling books for a certain price in a currency that I know nothing about. The author seemed to be very astonished by the difference in price and sales between children's fiction and adult fiction, but I have absolutely no clue what that difference was... Don't get me wrong, part of the book has been a bit helpful, but I won't be recommending it. I have barely touched the first chapter of the other one, but it's not looking too promising either.
The ministry owner that I'm writing these books for sent me the following advice:
1. Read positive and negative feedback for other children's book and find out what people are saying about books they don't like and ones they do like - typically for bad reviews it is:
- poor formatting
- characters setting a poor example for the kids
- poor editing / grammar
- not fun / poorly written / did not sustain interest for the child
- mistakes not picked up by the author / editor
2. Test the stories on kids and find out what they like, although this is also evidenced by what is selling well already on amazon.But what about you?
Do you have any qualities that you like or dislike in children's books?
Any books on writing for kids that you would recommend?
I'd love to hear from you!
Why is it so quiet?